As the workday came to a close on August 5, 1945, across the world three B-29 planes made their way to the skies over mainland Japan. There it was early morning of August 6, and the world was on the brink of a new era. Americans awoke on August 6 to news of the destruction of Hiroshima, Japan, by a single bomb that was more destructive than anything seen before. With the release of the first atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” dropped from the B-29 Enola Gay, the world had entered the atomic age.
Research shows that “short-distance survivors” – those who were located within 1.5 km of the hypocentre of the blast – have an average rate of leukaemia about fifty times higher than the average rate of leukaemia occurrences among distant survivors. This was the first finding of an atomic bomb radiation-induced disease, leukaemia.
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Mr Yoshiro Yamawaki was just 11 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki. He and his twin brother were about 2.2 km from the hypocentre. He has since become an advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons and hopes that in sharing his experience he can prevent others from having to suffer the effects of nuclear weapons. In 2010 he was appointed as a Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons by the Japanese government.
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In August 1944 Higgins Industries, under the direction of Andrew Higgins, was dealt a costly blow when a contract for C-46 cargo planes was canceled. This represented a huge loss for Higgins Industries and the city, as the sprawling Michoud plant in eastern New Orleans had been completed specifically to build these cargo planes. The contract cancellation made headlines across the country and caught the attention of the Tennessee Eastman Corporation, which operated the electromagnetic separation plant “Y-12” at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Y-12 plant was responsible for producing uranium to be used in atomic bombs. By the end of the month, Higgins Industries had a contract to make carbon components for Manhattan Project production work.
The Bomb That Ended the War | HistoryNet
The population of Hiroshima had reached a peak of over 380,000 earlier in the war but prior to the atomic bombing the population had steadily decreased because of a systematic evacuation ordered by the Japanese government. At the time of the attack the population was approximately 255,000. This figure is based on the registered population, used by the Japanese in computing ration quantities, and the estimates of additional workers and troops who were brought into the city may not be highly accurate.
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At 8:16 A.M., the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb called "Little Boy" over the central part of the city and the bomb exploded with a blast equivalent to 12,000 tons of TNT, killing 80,000 outright.
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That night Andrew Higgins spoke at a press conference in Chicago. He revealed that the manufacturing process his employees had believed to be routine was in fact work for the Manhattan Project. Although he couldn’t divulge any details about what they had been doing, Higgins was able to make it known that the work at Michoud had helped to build the most powerful weapons in the world. Higgins remarked about the atomic bomb, “The potentialities of it intrigue the mind of man.” He applauded the hard work of the men and women on this most secretive line, calling them “heroes and heroines.”