On August 6th and 9th of 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing significant death and destruction in both places. To this day, the bombings remain history’s only acts of nuclear warfare.
Nearly 71 years since US President Harry S. Truman’s decision to unleash approximately 12,500 tons of TNT over Hiroshima, US President Barack Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the city.
The following declassified photos shed additional light on the procedures leading up to the nuclear attacks, giving a chilling glimpse into how and where the most destructive bombs ever used in warfare were prepped.
This post was originally written by Christian Storm.
Soldiers check the casings on the 'Fat Man' atomic bomb. Multiple test bombs were created on Tinian Island. All were roughly identical to an operational bomb, even though they lacked the necessary equipment to detonate.
On the left, geophysicist and Manhattan Project participant Francis Birch marks the bomb unit that would become 'Little Boy' while Norman Ramsey, who would later win the Nobel Prize in Physics, looks on.
A technician applies sealant and putty to the crevices of 'Fat Man,' a final preparation to make sure the environment inside the bomb would be stable enough to sustain a full impact once the bomb was detonated.
At the airfield, 'Fat Man' is lined up over a pit specifically constructed for it, from which it is then loaded into the plane that dropped it over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Both pits for 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man,' each roughly 8 feet by 12 feet, still exist today on the island and now serve as a memorial.
Workers check 'Little Boy' one last time, keeping the tarp on for security reasons. They used a similar lowering procedure for 'Fat Man' three days later.
Once 'Little Boy' is ready, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is reversed and positioned over the trench.
Using the hydraulic lift, 'Little Boy' is carefully raised and loaded into the belly of the Enola Gay.
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