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39

The official reason was to avoid a long and costly battle attempting to force the Japanese to surrender by invading the mainland. The Japanese were tenacious fighters and their tactics of Kamikaze suicide bombers and their courageous defense of their country in engagements such as the Battle of Okinawa, lend substantial credibility to this claim. Some such ...


25

Hiroshima, the first city, was "an important army depot and port of embarkation in the middle of an urban industrial area. It is a good radar target and it is such a size that a large part of the city could be extensively damaged. There are adjacent hills which are likely to produce a focussing[sic] effect which would considerably increase the blast damage. ...


25

To simply say that they wanted to try out different types is to miss the point that weapons-grade uranium and plutonium have fundamentally different production methods and lend themselves to very different weapon designs. Uranium bombs require a very high percentage of the isotope U-235, which is only present in miniscule quantities in natural uranium. ...


24

The effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki run quite deeply. One of the most profound effects is that Japan is very pacifistic and one of the few (if not the only country) that has outlawed war. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution prohibits the Japanese government from declaring war, although permits Japan to maintain a self-defense force. Since the end of ...


21

The U.S. likely did not target Tokyo for the atomic bomb strikes as it was the seat of the Emperor and the location of much of the high ranking military officers. These are precisely the people you do not want to kill if you want to negotiate a surrender, as they are the people you would be negotiating with. The U.S. decided to drop the bombs onto military ...


20

The Japanese had 4 terms they were demanding in order to "surrender": The emperor would remain inviolate. Japan's borders would be restored to those of summer of 1942, requiring the allies to return to Japanese control every island and country that they had been thrown off of, such as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and the Philippines. Japanese troops would ...


19

Ray Monk in Inside the Center: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer tells the story thus: Truman returned to Washington from Potsdam on the evening of 7 August and was immediately caught up in a whirlwind of activity generated by Groves, who was determined to proceed as quickly as possible with a second bombing of Japan. He and Admiral William ...


17

I think there are a couple of points in your question which I think need clarification and context: "Before the Japanese could surrender" : There seems to be an implication here that Japan was about to surrender and didn't quite get the chance. The second bombing occurred three days after the first. The regime in Japan had made it very clear over a long ...


14

It depends on what you consider worse. Time magazine lists an incident that occurred on December 18 1970 at Yucca Flat Nuclear Test site where radioactive debris from the underground test of a 10 Kiloton Nuclear detonation was vented into the surrounding atmosphere. However the Department of Energy stated afterwards that the 86 workers who were exposed did ...


13

About the Yasukuni Shrine part of the question, since no one has addressed that: It is important to remember the nature of that establishment. The Yasukuni Shrine houses over 2.4 million of Japan's war dead, only 0.043% of whom (1,068) are convicted of any war crimes. They weren't even all members of the Japanese military. Those commemorated at the shrine ...


13

This was also a direct question in an interview with J. Robert Oppenheimer's biographer Ray Monk, which he chose to answer thus (approx. 16' into the program): One of the aspects of the Manhattan project that is often not emphasized as much as it should is the sheer scale of the industrial operation. Two whole towns were created for doing nothing but ...


12

Germany had its own version of the Manhattan project know as Uranprojekt; here is a comparison between them. In a project like an atomic bomb, the intellectual requirements are far greater than economic needs. No doubt, there is a minimum economic limit to carry out such a project, but Nazi Germany, when it started Uranprojekt in April 1939, still possessed ...


12

Ballistic missile delivery depends very much on knowing exactly where you are launching from. Early SLBM launch platforms had typical positional uncertainties of 100's of metres. As the missile and any MIRV warheads were just unguided projectiles launch positional errors magnified and the resultant destination error could be very wide. Land based missiles ...


11

From the notes of the first Target Committee meeting (spring 1945) Tokyo is a possibility but it is now practically all bombed and burned out and is practically rubble with only the palace grounds left standing. Consideration is only possible here. The same was true of most Japanese cities. From The making of the atomic bomb. The committee had ...


10

The book Manhattan, the Army and the atomic bomb has a chapter dedicated to the choice of bombing targets on pages 528 – 530. It makes clear that the original intention was to drop four bombs. Originally the targets selected were Kokura, Hiroshima, Niigata and Kyoto. Later it was decided to spare Kyoto for its historical relevance and bomb Nagasaki ...


9

World War II was in progress - most of the men were busy elsewhere. While most of the workers were women (see above), there was no requirement to be a woman. See Rosie the Riveter Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions ...


8

The military relations between India and Russia is based on "India's needs and Russia's opportunism". India needs technology and Russia provides it, by selling it. By this Russia gets lot of money, a friend and balance against West(until cold war) and a counterweight to threats from China and Islamist fundamentalits. The new relation(post cold war) is ...


8

Yes. SL-1 is estimated to have resulted in a release of about four to five times as much I-131. SL-1 may have been made public because the scale and location of the event made it difficult to hide. It may also not have been considered sufficiently sensitive to warrant extreme secrecy, unlike projects such as aircraft nuclear propulsion.


8

I suppose you could consider Castle Bravo to be a 'nuclear accident.' While we did intend to nuke the atoll, we didn't intend the blast to be anywhere nearly as large as it was, contaminate islands more than 100 miles away, or irradiate a Japanese fishing boat. If you count Castle Bravo, it's almost certainly the largest in U.S. history, much worse than ...


8

Wikipedia answers this rather well. Basically, a plutonium bomb is more complicated than a uranium bomb. However, weapon-grade plutonium is also easier to obtain than weapon-grade uranium, since the plutonium can be separated chemically from burnt nuclear reactor fuel, whereas uranium needs to be enriched in a costly process. In fact, all of the enriched ...


7

The Soviet point of view was that the US used the bomb to threaten the USSR. According the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, article "Nuclear weapons" ("Ядерное оружие"): "Применение ЯО не вызывалось военной необходимостью. Правящие круги США преследовали политические цели — продемонстрировать свою силу для устрашения свободолюбивых народов, запугать Советский ...


7

From Global Security: Russian Military Spending: In 1988 military spending was a single line item in the Soviet state budget, totaling 21 billion rubles, or about US$33 billion. Given the size of the military establishment, however, the actual figure was at least ten times higher. Western experts concluded that the 21 billion ruble figure reflected only ...


7

According to this document from the National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162 at George Washington University they were planning on seven more bombs. As for targets however General John Hull states in the document (dated August 13 1945): What General Marshall wants to know is the status of the development of these bombs now so we can ...


7

First, a correction on Deuterium; it is a hydrogen atom with a neutron as well as a proton in its nucleus, giving it an atomic mass of ~2 instead of ~1. Heavy water is a molecule with one hydrogen and one deuterium atom bonding to the oxygen, instead of two regular hydrogen bonding to the oxygen. It's chemical formula is DHO, (or sometimes colloquially but ...


7

It appears that he was informed before the bombings, but only a few days before. However, this was probably more a matter of information security dotrine than of any lack of trust in the General. Access to US intelligence information is based on two principles: Clearance level, and Need to Know. In order to have access to a military secret, a person must ...


7

The Western allies were not clueless about the Soviet espionage. However, they could not prevent it and were probably underestimating its extent. The reason they were unable to prevent it is manifold. The nature of science (and the Manhattan project was much more an open-ended research enterprise than a typical modern-style DARPA project) as understood ...


7

Hard to say, military-related nuclear incidents tend to be classified. But I'll wager a guess as to why New York Times felt the need to specify TMI was the worst commercial nuclear incident: Commercial nuclear facility operators generaly operate under the supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency. Among other things, this agency defines an ...


6

As a former mentor of then Senator Harry Truman upon his arrival in Washington; FDR's Assistant President for much of WWII; a pre-convention favorite in 1944 to be FDR's running mate; and newly appointed Secretary of State; Jams Byrnes certainly wielded considerable influence with Truman during those summer months of 1945. However it is worthwhile to ...


6

This question asks for an opinion. At best it asks for an estimation. Using history as a reference, we know at least about a few things concerning atomic bombs: -They do a lot of structural damage (Hiroshima and Nagasaki did, even though there are some nowadays which can damage organic tissue without destroying many buildings, but that's not history) -They ...


6

It's going to depend on how you define "nuclear accident" and how you define "worst." USS Thresher (SSN-593) went down with all hands in 1963. The cause (we think) was a significant sea-water leak (flooding casualty). The reactor was scrammed (emergency shut down), and without its main source of propulsion the submarine sank. Everyone on-board was ...



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