In the whole of human history thus far, nuclear weapons have been used in anger exactly twice. Sixty-eight years ago today an American B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped Little Boy, the first atomic bomb ever used in war, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Between 90,000 and 166,000 people were killed by the bomb, some in the initial blast and others later through radiation poisoning. The scale of devastation is hard to comprehend.
Mathew Lucas's Hiroshima infographics present the information abstractly. Lucas, a graphic designer based in Macclesfield, England, told Popular Science he "wanted the work to highlight not just the the dropping of the Atom Bomb but the factors leading up to the event, the event itself and the countries involved in the process." The first, above, is a timeline of sorts. Dozens of lines--each representing a historical event leading up to the dropping of the first bomb, from Wilhelm Röntgen's discovery of x-rays in 1895 to the first plutonium reprocessing in 1945--all shoot upwards from a single source. This very deliberately mirrors the rising smoke of a mushroom cloud. The second, below, features a line for every person killed by the blast, using the first-obtained casualty figures at respective distances from the blast. These rings also resemble the Enola Gay's targeting reticle.
The final image covers the globe in lines from bomb development sites until they converge on Hiroshima. It's designed to mirror the Uranium-235 atom, which was used in the bomb.
... and 68 years later we are still keeping ourselves busy with extreme nuclear research, building particle accelerators with ever increasing luminosity ... as if nothing ever could go wrong ... just like this old poster:
"Do nothing and nuclear testing will eventually come to an end."
I know there are people here that are going to disagree with what I am about to say, but if you know your history, you know that it would have cost millions of more lives if the US had not dropped the bombs. Go back and read about how the Japanese defended the islands of Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Philippines. On Peleliu the Japanese had 11,000 defenders- of those only 202 were captured. On Okinawa, there were close to 105,000 defenders - of those 95,000 died in combat, 2000 surrendered, the rest committed suicide. Then lets discuss the the hundreds of thousands of civilians that were killed, and the 12,000 US soldiers that died taking it, and the 38,000 that were wounded.
Japanese at that time on the main islands would have fought to the death(yes women and children were being trained to defend their homeland - some only with bamboo spears). Even after two atomic bombs were dropped there were Japanese military leaders that wanted to keep fighting. Imagine if the US would have had to fight their way across the the main islands of Japan - Japan might not even exist today. Yes it is sad that the bombs were used - but it stopped the bloodshed. It brought an end to the war that could have lasted by some estimates 3 more years and cost 7 million more lives.
I am alive thanks to this effort. A land invasion would have probably wiped out grandpa. Thanks science!
The quickest and most massive genocide in the history of the world, and it's all ok because it's the USA. YAAAAAY USA USA Wiped out innocent cities, skin sloughing off, horrible torture to innocent citizens, painful agony and malformed babies that were the lucky ones, slow excruciating death for millions that didn't die immediately. A gas chamber and making blankets out of human hair and doing weird experiments was actually more humane than what the usa did.
Go usa go usa the best stupid experiment ever, CONGRATS
nobody gives a ****
Thank you AirshipGirl. Fat Man and Little Boy weren't exploded just to satisfy the blood lust of President Truman and U.S. military leaders. It was a strategic decision to prevent further loss of life. It sounds insane that killing a couple hundred thousand civilians makes more sense than not doing it and I would probably be too squeamish to make that decision myself, but we were in the middle of a long, bloody, expensive and tragic war on two fronts that affected the entire world.
Viktor E. Frankl, who lived through the horrors of a concentration camp said it well in "Man's Search For Meaning": "An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior." A bloody costly war against people willing to commit mass suicide rather than surrender certainly qualifies as an abnormal situation.
Bill Whittle's video essay on this subject is pretty much the definitive video on the history leading up to the decision to bomb Hiroshima, and the overwhelming morality of doing so. If anyone wants to call the bombing evil, be my guest. Provided you have some better alternative that would cost fewer lives, fewer civilian lives, less collateral damage, and less long-term suffering, I'd love to hear it.
How about an 'infograph' about how many people are alive today thanks to the bombs? Or how much healthier and wealthier the world is for having a Westernized, 1st world Japan? Or just how much better Japan is itself? It's a micro-America rather than a micro-Poland.
Hey, how 'bout some inforgraphs about North Korea and China? If we had been using to use ~12 nukes on military targets in the Korean War, Macarthur could've obliterated China's ability to defend itself or N. Korea. He could've taken North Korea easily, and gone strait into Red China and dismantled the communistic dictatorship that had recently taken hold at the cost of a few million lives. Oh, plus then we wouldn't have to fight the same war again in Vietnam. Anybody here want to argue that it was good Vietnam happened?
North Korea would just be more South Korea. Tibet wouldn't be oppressed by Chinese rule. Millions of baby girls wouldn't of been killed by the 1-child rule. Millions more that died from starvation and government killings would've lived. And all the proxy wars fought in Asia, backed by Red China, wouldn't have occurred.
But no, nukes = bad. So Shut Up.
I'm not advocating for nuclear warfare today - the world is a more complex place, and warfare doesn't occur on a scale that warrants it, to say the least. But before you try to come with all this critical theory crap, attacking the morality based on emotion rather than fact and context, consider how anti-science the approach is. Consider how much you're trying to drive humanity back into the dark-age, by revising history to teach the exact opposite lessons it cost millions of lives to learn - All so you can show how 'moral' you are, because enlightened people understand all war and all tools of war are evil always forever.
Let's let history be the judge of the rightness of using the atomic bomb.
"Never think that war, no matter how justified, is not a crime." - Ernest Hemingway.
“They have plundered the world, stripping naked the land in their hunger… they are driven by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor… They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.” ― Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania
"In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful : Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
"A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures on armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain." --Anatole France
"I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket." -- Major General Smedley Butler, USMC (1933)
"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time....I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing. -- Dwight Eisenhower, in 1953 after being shown plans to launch a preventive war against the Soviet Union; as quoted by Jonathan Schell, in the Nation (March 3, 2003):
"AHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh GOD OH GOD AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..."
-8 Million Jews before they died
-3 Million invalids, retards, homosexuals, gypsies, etc before they died
-20 Million Chinese from the 2nd Sinon War before they died (Japan occupation of China)
- 10 to 100 million more of the above if the United States didn't force Japan and Germany into capitulation.
Take your "All war is evil." quotes and shove them. Aggression is often evil. War is one side defending itself against another aggressor. Often they're both at fault. But typically one far more than another, and particularly in this case, one not at all.
"In the whole of human history thus far, nuclear weapons have been used in anger exactly twice" seriously? I would normally would not resort to cussing or getting ghetto on a sci forum, but what the f__k are you talking about? You're statement is pure conjecture, where is your evidence to back up your claim? Is this going to become a new narrative for how childern are taught about WWII. It seems like a small throwaway line and I know that there many American apologist in science and academia, but when someone peppers an article in Popular Science with opinion and not fact, I really have to ask myself how much of the editors opinions are forming other articles.
For those that say dropping the bombs "saved countless American military lives", REALLY? So it's OK to kill civilians to protect troops? WTF? You may feel different if it was your kids or you, that was sacrificed.
AirShipGirl, Laurenra7, Others...agreed completely. Also, this title : "nuclear weapons have been used in anger exactly twice.". This is about the political issue of using a nuclear weapon human beings. A liberal view is that there is no excuse to do this and I get the feeling that is the point of this article. I fully expect the next visualization to be "The Holocaust Visualized","African American Slavery Visualized","Rwandan Genocide Visualized". A more simple example would have been "A Nuclear Blast Visualized". Hmmm... smell like you may have stepped in some liberal doo doo? A little but I won't judge too harshly and dilute the real issue here. I'll ignore this for once.
I would like to point out that Hitler was also very close to having a working nuke. That is why Einstein helped develop this weapon and use it. He was carried the biggest guilt of Hiroshima as it was his equation E=mc2 that made the realization that a small core of uranium could unleash huge amounts of power. He then got wind from a another scientist of a chain reaction, caused by neutrons, that would indeed turn that fissile material into the enormous power his equation claimed. The nuke was unfortunately the physical experiment that proved his theory correct. Einsteins urgency was to build the bomb before Hitler could. If Hitler, or Japan, had that Nuke first... USA wouldn't be here today and the rest of the world would be very different. This was not just self defense, it was defense of the entire human race. It was a winner. Many lives were saved, even if temporarily, by those events. Thank god they happened.
Horrific are the civilian lives lost and the eye witness accounts of the destruction and death that followed. Glorious are the millions of tragedies that were never told.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
ssilletti, your'e view is one that is inherent in most human beings. I hope you realize that your view is naive, and weak, and the rest of the world would have been crushed had any other Super Power had that bomb first. You are most likely here today as a byproduct of the US dropping the bomb. At the very least, there is overwhelming "history" that would contradict your view.
As for those who claim the US to be some sort of hostile bully... we had the nuke and we could have used over and over. Not only did we not take Japan for ourselves, and rebuild it, but we have not taken over any country that we certainly could have. Nothing in our history shows that the US has ever had its eye on taking over the world. I think Hiroshima proves that to a great degree.
To the muhfukkin old Red Japanese army that bombed Pearl Harbor and was trying to destroy the US... thank you. We bitch slapped you so hard that the rest of the world stopped fighting. That was the point too. Hate that we had to do it but let it be a resounding reminder that no country is ever coming over here and taking American lives, much less destroying America. America will go anywhere in this world to stop oppression or threats that take the basic freedoms of others.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
Sorry rainbowmaker that you are a dummy when it comes to this sorry event in history.I don't know how old you are,but apparently you know nothing about what was happening in the world at total war.These people at the time were fanatics and would do anything,as was previously demonstrated by them if Japan were invaded due to their arrogance.Better the enemy that attacked you dies instead of you>>>>>>>>
Civilian deaths happens, errors are made. But the U.S. knowingly dropped the nuclear bombs on civilians, non-combatants. And to everyone making excuses to justify these actions, tell me how better off we are because of the thousands of children that were murdered. Were the children a threat?
If you recall, most of our soldiers were drafted. And their civilians were rather fanatical. Villagers resisted the US troops with bambo sticks. Children had bombs strapped to them. And beyond the resistance to the last man our troops would've faced (that would result in hundreds of thousands or US casualties, and Millions of Japanese 'civilian' casualties) the Japanese people themselves vehemently believed that the US troops were berzerking monsters, an threw themselves off of cliffs to their death to avoid being captured for fear of torture.
Also we didn't just go for civilian targets. Those cities were prime manufacturing hubs with army barracks, steal companies, and munition facilities. It was Japan's fault for interweaving them in their civilian population.
So in short
-US Soldiers would've been fighting Japanese Civilians, so they aren't civilians.
-US Soldiers drafted, hard to really rank them above civilian
-US suffered perhaps a million fewer casualties less. Japanese suffered 5 or 20 million fewer dead.
-Japan made civilians the target
But I love how you place an infinite value on life, so that 200,000 deaths is equivalent or worse than 20,000,000, as long as you act outraged enough. What a pathetic bubble you must live in. Stay out of the world son, it's a harsh, scary place and it isn't for children.
@Handthumb. Yes they were. A threat to our soldiers, and to themselves. As were all of the other children in Japan, who were trained to suicide bomb tanks and attack soldiers with knives, and to commit suicide rather than being captured.
Killing them stopped the war, and saved others. And again it wasn't just some glory-shot. The target cities were chosen because they were key manufacturing centers that directly supplied the coastal defenses where Operation Olympic was going to land. Had the Japanese placed those plants and barracks outside of the cities, we would have been able to chose a worthwhile target with far fewer casualties.
Also, we dropped Hiroshima. Japan was free to surrender. They didn't. Nagasaki is on their heads. And the civilians in Hiroshima on are their heads as well. As are the millions killed the the firebombings leading up to the nuclear bombs, which by all accounts generating far more total destruction of cities and lives than the nuclear blasts. This is precisely why America doesn't place military installations inside cities. Because it is unreasonable to expect, in any way, that you can use your own civilians as hostages to make the enemy not attack.
@D49, follow this link, at the time stamp. Great summary of what you're saying about the concept of America having overwhelming military superiority, vs any other nation in history.
Hiroshima was only 16 kilotons. Today, an average US nuke is 80 kilotons. That's about 24 times more powerful. There is no theoretical limit to the size of a fission bomb. However, the Hiroshima bomb had only one "flash". The flash is what vaporizes you before you could drop a spoon from your hand to the floor. Todays nukes produce 2 or 3 flashes. The blast radius is much larger also. If 2 - 3 nukes were dropped on Japan today, most of the entire country of japan would be leveled, burned or irradiated.
The sad part is, that out of the some 11,000 operational nukes around the world, a small fraction of those bombs is all that would be needed to throw the entire planet into nuclear winter. No need to shoot them at strategic points really. Just make sure that about 20 - 50 go off somewhere.
Neutrinos as hope:
The same neutrinos that start the chain reaction in fissile material can also be used to reduce the radioactive cores in nukes to something that would not go critical. It could be done silently and done over time. The detonation of a nuke is a 2 step process. 1.) Implode the core of fissile material. 2.) Send neutrons in at the same time to begin a chain reaction that causes the material to go critical. Neutrinos pass through the Earth and most things undeterred. However, neutrinos do react with radioactive material. A powerful enough neutrino beam would start to strip neutrons off of fissile material without causing the material to go critical. If this beam does not exist in some country, probably the USA, then I would be very surprised.
Unlike the Sun, whos neutrinos are coming from a source that is very far away, a neutrino beam that originated on Earth could easily produce billions+/sq inch. of Neutrinos that could Easily make this a reality. Perhaps satellites that could simply concentrate solar neutrinos via grazing incidence would be a more viable source of neutrinos than man-made ones. And yes it is now possible to use grazing incidence to reflect neutrinos.
This same technology could be used to weaken nuclear waste.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
For all of us who are still justifying( "if was not this then something worse would had have happened") ... the sad fact that we need to reconcile our minds with is that USA remains the only country in the entire world that used nuke (more then once) and killed that many of civilian people. Just get to the terms with this event in history of mankind, learn and take a moment to remember these souls lost in action that was not theirs.
Call it what ever you want. The bottom line is those bombs saved more lives than they took. Without them the US would have been forced to invade the main islands of Japan which would have resulted in a lot more civilian deaths. It is horrible that all those people died but it could have been a lot worse. Those bombs ended the war.
Actually, the funny (not 'ha-ha', but ironic) thing about these bombs is that they were completely unnecessary and were of little, if any, significance in ending the war. Details here: www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/05/29/the_bomb_didnt_beat_japan_nuclear_world_war_ii
McD, Xvice, it must suck going through life like that. Hvice how many Tutsi were killed in Rwanda in 1994? How many Jews died in the Holocaust? How many people were killed during the Crusades or when Genghis Khan invaded China? etc., etc., etc. Each one of those events above killed more people (without nukes) then the US did during its ass-kicking of Japan. A war winning ass-kicking might I add. Until the day comes when humans have evolved beyond religious differences, greed, idiocy, fear and self-righteousness we will continue to see war. Take your tree hugging, anti-american bullshit and shove it up your asses. May the next nuke, drone, grey-goo, whatever, take you two first so I don't have to listen to your pussy descendants spew the same spineless bullshit that you do. Obviously neither of you have ever been in the military. At least we (US) fight for something. And remember that we didn't attack Japan... they attacked us! Toss that around your brain in your next meditation circle. It wasn't like they were shoplifting. They planned on destroying America and they tried. We could have destroyed them but even those two meager nukes were a merciful volley in light of the fact that we could have easily made their whole country uninhabitable for a very long time. Grow up. Give thanks your here and that there is a country in the world that fights for the freedom of the human race. Ban me POPSCI I'm about sick of your liberal bullshit website anyways. Sickening.
Hiroshima Visualized: Because it isn't like there is actual visual footage of the bombing already...
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So sick of revisionist trying to make it out the the US was a bad guy in WWII. First, we were not the ones that started the war. It wasn't the US that went into Europe and destroyed countless cities. It wasn't the US that went in and killed and murdered millions of Chinese - yeah, bayoneting babies in Nanking was something Japanese soldiers loved to do(photos don't lie). They even held contest to see who could kill the most people with a sword. More innocent people were killed in Nanking than all the people that died to the two bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It wasn't the US that bombed Pearl Harbor where one of my relatives died. I am not an apologist. My grandfather, later whose brother was killed at Pearl Harbor, flew fighter planes for the US. He rarely talked about his time in the war, but the one thing he never said was that the US shouldn't have dropped the bombs. He and many others back then were grateful the war was brought to an end. He hated that he had to do what he did, but it was necessary - because the Germans and Japanese were hell bent on destroying the world. If you seriously think that Japan would have surrendered without the dropping of the bombs - you need to go do some further research. Go read about the battles of the Philippine Islands and Okinawa. Read how the Japanese refused to surrender and fought to the very last man. Oh and while you are at it, read about how they decimated the civilian population while retreating. They murdered the populace as they left an area. Hundreds of thousands of Philippino's were killed - with their hands tied behind the backs and a bullet in the head. This isn't made up history - it is actual history, recorded by people that witnessed it and took movies and pictures - so they could be used in military courts to convict the Japanese of war crimes. Unfortunately the bastards that did it committed suicide before justice could be served. You want the world to cry for the Japanese that died from the bombing of two cities? Then when are the Japanese going to apologize for all the atrocities they committed during the war - and still haven't apologized for.
PopSci - if you are going to do an article about such things - at least do your research and tell the whole story. Yes the atomic bombs were a horrible weapon - but there are far more horrible things people can do to one another and the Japanese and Germans were especially good at doing it. I will not shed a tear. I will however be forever grateful that the US did the right thing and saved millions of lives - not just US, but millions of Japanese lives. I'll say it again, if the US had not dropped the bomb, the Japanese would have fought on, and today there might not be a Japan.
Yeah, I can't understand why we stopped using the nuclear bomb... it is such a life saving device. We should drop a bomb on every single group that is willing and capable of killing Americans. It's an immediate solution to the war on terrorism, war on drugs, the threat of the axis of evil or anything that might threaten us in the future... can you imagine how many lives we would be saving right now?!!!
America have become weak. Am I right?
Yeah, we would definitely have had to invade the mainland. Except, maybe it's not so black and white:
NY Times Article: "U.S. Spied on Its World War II Allies" By TIM WEINER
The documents also show that the United States had information suggesting that top members of the Japanese Army were willing to surrender more than three months before the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 48 years ago.
"Since the situation is clearly recognized to be hopeless, large sections of the Japanese armed forces would not regard with disfavor an American request for capitulation even if the terms were hard," a German diplomat reported to Berlin after talking with a ranking Japanese naval officer on May 5, 1945, three days before Germany itself surrendered. Passed Up Chain of Command
United States intelligence analysts underscored this information as they passed it up the chain of command, the records show.
Just as a possibility, is another way to think of this, instead of ending WWII, is as the first act of the Cold War?
Now, does that mean that Japan would have definitely surrendered? No - but it's also absurd to think that the atomic bomb was the only solution.
Damned right vilarsia! Why not? No reason to use such a force right? We already know that we are going to come in and murder you with guns, knives, bombs and gas so why kill our hands-on fun? I think the Nuke was far more humane than shooting them actually. I guess now you're argument would be "America should have calmed down and been the bigger person"? You and victor44 are ridiculous. You would offer milk and cookies to quench the blood thirst of a killer in your own house. Go hug trees somewhere else until you acknowledge that the US didn't create the sins of man that cause war. They are inherent in man. We didn't even start the war. We ended it though. That is not weak. You are fucking weak and so is your thinking. We will continue to crush those who do the same until the world is not an American utopia but simply civilized. Letting the majority of a people choose for themselves is called democracy. We don't ask that you believe in what we believe in but we find that majority of humans on this planet all want the same things. Those things are not dictated by their governments but voted on by their people. That is freedom. To those who don't think so you are brainwashed. Freedom of religion, of speech, to vote, to protect yourself and to live your life without others infringing on your basic freedoms. Piss on Japan and Germany during WWII! No wait, drop nukes on them! Oh ya, we did. Germany definitely deserved a few too. Good thing Einstein helped make that bomb a reality or they might have had some nukes with Hebrew names dropped on them too.
"Amen" and "Jebediah" don't sound threatening until they are written on the side of two A-bombs on their way to destroy Germany. lol. We did the bare minimum to win, not take over the world.
Airshipgirl, I have read numerous books on WW2 and I would not disagree with your basic premise. Having read a 2 volume set on the submarine warfare in the Pacific and a biography of General Curtis LeMay I might have discussed a different way to use the Atomic bombs. Submarine warfare in the Pacific may have started out slow, but by the beginning of 1945 Japan was suffering greatly from not getting ships in or out. General LeMay was the "inventor" of low level night bombing with incendiary bombs. The "firestorms" killed more civilians than the two atomic bombs and destroyed more of the Japanese war machine than the daylight raids, which were only hitting about 5% of their targets. I would have hoped to lure the Japanese Navy and Army to some island area we did not need and wiped them out. Still I would not really argue in favor of invasion with Operation Downfall(Operations Olympic and Cornet cover name). Too many islands, enemies home ground, homogenous society of fanatics, typhoon weather close to the d-day and loss of anymore American lives. Most important, America had the atomic bomb and no one else.
linking particle accelerators to nuclear bombs just demonstrates your ignorance on the subject. Your credibility is about zero now. Educate yourself! The treat nuclear weapons represent for humanity isn't coming from particle accelerators and associated research which have nothing to do with a nuclear weapons. It is even not coming from research on nuclear weapons in countries already having them. It is coming from proliferation of low-end nuclear weapons in countries which do not have it right now and are trying to acquire the technology and know how to build their own arsenal. And we are talking here about technology, it is no longer a research issue it is just a matter to acquire expertise on an existing technology.
Research in nuclear physics benefits to humanity in many manners. From characterization of materials to cancer therapy, including energy production. Associating nuclear research to weapons is naïve.
It almost looks like the energy field created by my perpetual motor.