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Table of Contents
Hiroshima and Nagasaki are cities in Japan which were almost wiped out after American bombers dropped atomic bombs during the Second World War. After the incident, Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced its unconditional surrender.
See the fact file below for more information on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Hiroshima and Nagasaki worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HIROSHIMA and NAGASAKI AS JAPANESE CITIES
- Hiroshima was founded in 1868 following the Meiji Restoration. During the imperial era, it was the center of military activities, especially during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War.
- As of 2017, Hiroshima is home to 1,195,327 people. Before the Second World War, the city had an estimated population of 419,182, which drastically dropped to 137,197 after the atomic bomb.
- Located on the island of Kyushu, Nagasaki is the city in Japan which became the center of colonial Dutch and Portuguese administration between the 16th and 19th centuries.
- Due to its harbor, explorers and traders made early contact with Japan. During the Tokugawa era, scholars believed that Nagasaki was the only window on the world. It is also the center of Roman Catholicism in Japan.
- At the time of WWII, Nagasaki was an important industrial city that employed about 90% of the city’s labor force.
THE MANHATTAN PROJECT
- Given the threat posed by Nazi Germany’s development of nuclear weapons, the US government began to conduct its own research on atomic weapons. Facilities were constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the War Department under the top-secret program, code named “The Manhattan Project”.
- Los Alamos in New Mexico became the testing ground for scientist Robert Oppenheimer and his team as they worked on the development of an atomic bomb.
- On July 16, 1945, after a series of research and tests, the first successful test of an atomic device, a plutonium bomb, was seen at the Trinity test site, in New Mexico.
- Despite the defeat of Germany in Europe, Japan vowed to continue fighting and conquer the Pacific. In mid-April 1945, the Japanese forces were able to inflict huge casualties on the Allies in the Pacific. The Japanese rejected the Allied demands as a result of the Potsdam Declaration.
BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI
- Under Operation Downfall, US military commander General Douglas MacArthur continued with the traditional bombing and invasion of Japan.
- About 500 miles from Tokyo, Hiroshima became the first target of the atomic bombing as it was then the manufacturing center of Japan. On August 6, 1945, a uranium gun-type bomb called “Little Boy” was dropped by plane and destroyed five square miles of the city. Operation Centerboard was approved 2 days before the bombing.
- On August 9, Fat Man, a plutonium bomb, was dropped on Nagasaki and destroyed 2,6 square miles. Fat Man was more powerful than Little Boy, but the bomb’s effect was reduced due to the mountains in between.
JAPANESE SURRENDER AND IMPACT OF BOMBING
- On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japanese surrender over a radio broadcast. The United States and other Allied members celebrate the day as Victory in Japan, also known as V-J Day.
- On September 2, 1945, the formal surrender agreement was signed on the US battleship Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.
- It is estimated that about 290,000 civilians and 43,000 soldiers were in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing. About 90,000 to 166,000 people are believed to have died in the months following the explosion. Moreover, the US Department of Energy projected that about 200,000 people died over a period of five years after the bombings with burns, radiation sickness, and cancer being among the main causes of death.
- At the time of the bombing, there were about 240,000 Japanese residents, 9,000 soldiers, and 400 prisoners in Nagasaki. Due to its topography, there was less damage compared to Hiroshima. However, people were evacuated to rural areas and the thousands who remained were killed or suffered severe injuries.
- It is believed that the original target was not Nagasaki but Kokura, which then housed Japan’s largest munition plants. Due to thick smoke from fires above Kokura, however, pilot Major Charles Sweeney dropped the bomb on the secondary target, Nagasaki.
- According to journalist George Weller, years after the bombing, many in Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered “atomic illness” or onset of radiation sickness caused by the bombing.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Hiroshima and Nagasaki worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were almost wiped out after American bombers dropped atomic bombs during the Second World War. After the incident, Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced its unconditional surrender.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Hiroshima and Nagasaki Facts
- Japanese Cities
- WWII Glossary
- War Figures
- Japanese Emperor
- Then… & Now…
- Bomb Profile
- War in the Pacific
- Two Sides of the Coin
- Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Japanese Surrender
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Use With Any Curriculum
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