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The Atomic Bomb Part 2: Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Aug 2, 2022
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23
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Part two of our three-part mini-series on The Atomic Bomb.

On 6 August 1945, at 08:15am, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

In this episode we'll explore these destructive three days, and look at what actually happened.

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today is part two of our three-part mini-series on The Atomic Bomb.

[00:00:28] In part one we heard about the discovery of nuclear fission, the scientists behind it, and how the bomb was developed. 

[00:00:36] Today’s episode is all about what came next, the decision to drop the bomb, and what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August of 1945.

[00:00:47] And in part three we will discuss the aftermath of the bombs. We’ll look at some of the ethical questions about whether the bombs should have been dropped at all and how the use of atomic weapons has impacted global politics, both in the Cold War and beyond.

[00:01:04] OK then, let’s get right into it.

[00:01:08] The last thing we heard about in part one was the Trinity Test, the successful test of a real atomic bomb in the Nevada desert on July 16th of 1945. 

[00:01:21] The scientists had done what had been asked of them. In 27 months they had developed the most powerful bomb in the world, a bomb with the explosive energy of 25 kilotonnes of TNT.

[00:01:36] The only question was, how was it to be used?

[00:01:41] To back up one minute, let’s remind ourselves of what exactly was going on in the world when this first atomic test was completed.

[00:01:50] The date was July 16th, 1945.

[00:01:54] Two months before, on May 8th of 1945, Germany had surrendered to the Allied forces, and after five and a half years, Hitler was dead and the war in Europe was over.

[00:02:08] On the other side of the world, there was no such sign of peace.

[00:02:13] The Pacific War was in full flow, and the Japanese continued to fight fiercely against the mainly American Allied forces. 

[00:02:23] The start of 1945 had seen the battles of Iwo Jima and later Okinawa, where the Americans learned that, for their Japanese adversaries, this was a fight to the death. 

[00:02:36] This might sound like an exaggeration, but in the case of Iwo Jima, of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island, 99% fought to the death rather than surrender, and in the case of Okinawa it was 94%. 

[00:02:53] We’ll go on to discuss whether a Japanese surrender was actually possible without an atomic bomb in the next episode, but the point is that in 1945 the American soldiers and the American public back home had understood quite how hard it would be to take Japan and finally win the war.

[00:03:14] Preparations were made for a full-scale invasion of Japan. But it was evidently going to result in huge loss of life on both sides. 

[00:03:25] On the American side, up to 20,000 soldiers had been killed taking the relatively small island of Okinawa. 

[00:03:34] How many more would be killed when invading the main islands?

[00:03:39] Military strategists tried to calculate it. 

[00:03:43] One estimate, delivered on July 15 of 1945, a day before the first atomic test, suggested that just the first phase of the invasion would result in between 130,000 and 220,000 US casualties

[00:04:01] And a later estimate suggested that the Allied forces would suffer between 1.7 and 4 million casualties, with anywhere from 400,000 to 800,000 deaths in the entire invasion.

[00:04:17] And let’s not forget about the Japanese side here too. 

[00:04:20] The Japanese Vice Admiral, Takijirō Ōnishi, who was known as the father of the kamikaze, estimated that up to 20 million Japanese would lose their lives if and when the Allied forces invaded. 

[00:04:36] 20 million would have been about a quarter of the entire Japanese population.

[00:04:41] Now, of course, there is reason to exaggerate the number here, to deter an American invasion, but the Japanese casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa certainly suggested that the Japanese wouldn’t go down without a fight.

[00:04:57] In the Oval Office, the President of the United States was Harry Truman, who had taken over from Franklin Roosevelt after his death on April 12th of 1945. 

[00:05:08] Truman had been Vice President, so he was aware of the Manhattan Project, the project to build an atomic weapon, although he wasn’t the person who had ordered it.

[00:05:19] Truman had a decision to make. 

[00:05:22] After the successful Trinity Test on July 16th of 1945, he knew he had an incredibly deadly weapon that could be used to kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Japanese. And he was pretty sure that Japan had no such weapon itself, so there would be no way to fight back, with a comparable impact at least.

[00:05:46] On July 25th, 10 days after the test, Truman wrote in his diary: 

[00:05:53] “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.”

[00:06:05] A day later, on July 26th, the Potsdam Declaration, or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender, was published. 

[00:06:15] This document was co-signed by Truman, the President of the United States, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the UK, and Chiang Kai-Shek, the president of the Republic of China. 

[00:06:27] It called for Japan to surrender unconditionally, saying that if Japan didn’t it would face–and I’m quoting directly here–”prompt and utter destruction”.

[00:06:41] The official response came from the Japanese Premier, Kantarō Suzuki.

[00:06:46] Interestingly enough, on a linguistic note it’s still debated whether the Americans actually understood the translation of what Suzuki said. 

[00:06:57] He used the Japanese word “mokusatsu”, which can be translated as “ignore”, “pay no attention to”, or simply “no comment”.

[00:07:09] The Americans understood that this meant he was saying Japan would ignore it, or take no notice of this declaration.

[00:07:17] Of course, it was quite an important point to understand correctly, as if it meant he would completely ignore it “forever” then this was a sign that Japan wouldn’t surrender

[00:07:29] And if it meant temporarily and there was no comment for right now, well, it might mean there might have been a way to find a peaceful solution, or that there was a way to negotiate a surrender that would be acceptable to the Japanese.

[00:07:46] In any case, the Americans interpreted it as Japan saying that it would ignore this demand for surrender, and it would fight to the death. 

[00:07:56] Meanwhile, the Americans had been transporting the atomic cores, the cores of the bombs, across the Pacific, and by the start of August they were ready at a US naval base on the island of Tinian, in the Pacific.

[00:08:12] Earlier that year, an American committee had prepared several target cities in Japan, cities that would be potential targets for an atomic bomb. 

[00:08:22] There were three boxes that these cities needed to tick to be considered as a potential target.

[00:08:29] These cities needed to be larger than 3 miles, so that’s just under 5km, in diameter, so they needed to be big enough.

[00:08:39] Secondly, it needed to be sure that an atomic bomb would create effective damage. Put crudely, there needed to be a combination of buildings and people that could be blown to pieces.

[00:08:53] And finally, the target city needed to be unlikely to have been attacked by August of 1945. 

[00:09:01] A slightly strange reason, you might think, but the Americans wanted to showcase and measure the true impact of the bomb. 

[00:09:11] If the atomic bomb was dropped over a city that was already partially destoyed, then it would be harder to measure

[00:09:19] If it was dropped on a relatively unscathed, a relatively untouched city, then it would show quite how powerful it was.

[00:09:29] Remember, the intended audience for the atomic bomb wasn’t just Japan, it was the American public, the wider world, and debatably it was also the USSR, Soviet Russia. 

[00:09:43] The initial targets chosen that met these three criteria were Kokura, a city now called Kitakyushu, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata, and Kyoto. 

[00:09:56] You’ll note that Nagasaki wasn’t actually on the first list. We’ll come to why that was in a minute.

[00:10:03] The order to drop the bomb was given on July 25th by President Truman, but this didn’t mean that it would be dropped immediately. 

[00:10:12] The bomb would be dropped on one of the targets as soon as possible after August 3rd. 

[00:10:19] The reason that there wasn’t a definite date was because the plane carrying the bomb needed to be able to physically see its target on the ground. There couldn’t be clouds, otherwise the bomb might be dropped in the wrong place.

[00:10:35] The day chosen was August the 6th.

[00:10:38] It was a Monday, and as the residents of Hiroshima slept soundly, a squadron of 7 American bombers took off from Tinian, in the Mariana Islands, and flew 6 hours north towards Japan.

[00:10:53] One of them was a bomber called the Enola Gay, which was carrying an atomic bomb with the innocent sounding nickname of “Little Boy”. 

[00:11:03] At 8:15am, and flying 9,470 metres above the city, the plane released the bomb.

[00:11:13] As soon as the bomb was dropped, because it was so heavy and the plane was now 5,000 kilos lighter, the plane instantly jumped three metres, and the pilot made a 155 degree turn away, racing to get out of the area before the deadly bomb exploded.

[00:11:33] For 44.4 seconds, “Little Boy” fell, zooming down towards its target

[00:11:40] When it was 580 metres above ground level, the firing mechanism went off, firing an enriched uranium bullet at six uranium rings.

[00:11:52] As the free neutrons struck the nuclei of the uranium atoms, neutrons within the nucleus were released, giving off tremendous amounts of energy and causing yet more neutrons to split, which hit more nuclei, splitting them and starting a nuclear chain reaction.

[00:12:10] The entire process took fractions of a millisecond.

[00:12:15] The bomb exploded, instantly killing between 70 and 80,000 people, about a third of the population of Hiroshima at the time. 

[00:12:26] Never before, in the entirety of human history had so many lives been purposefully extinguished in such a tiny amount of time. 

[00:12:36] The bomb was two thousand times more powerful than any other bomb that had ever been used in history, and as you will know, the impact was terrible.

[00:12:48] Sixteen hours later, President Truman issued a grim warning to the Japanese people. 

[00:12:54] His statement read–and again I’m quoting directly here–"If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”

[00:13:23] Note, he didn’t actually reveal that it was an atomic bomb. 

[00:13:27] Very few people knew that such a bomb even existed, all they knew was that Hiroshima had been struck by the world’s biggest explosion and it had caused untold death and destruction.

[00:13:41] Japanese atomic scientists only realised that the bomb had likely been atomic the following day after going to Hiroshima and seeing the extent of the damage.

[00:13:53] Despite realising what the Americans had, the Japanese leadership believed that no more than two more atomic weapons would be ready, so Japan would only need to suffer a maximum of two more atomic bombs. 

[00:14:08] Remember, there were Japanese predictions of up to 20 million Japanese losing their lives if the Americans invaded, and more than a hundred thousand Japanese had been killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima alone, so losing a few hundred thousand people in atomic bomb attacks was, although evidently tragic, tolerable.

[00:14:30] And on the subject of tragedy, after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima about as many people were injured as were killed, with people who were lucky enough not to be killed outright by the bombs suffering everything from terrible burns, to being crushed by falling buildings, right through to long term damage from the radiation and the evident but less visible mental trauma of having lived through such a scarring event.

[00:14:58] But there was no time to mourn the dead.

[00:15:01] The Americans decided to proceed with another attack, with two possible targets: Kokura, a city in southwestern Japan that was the location of one of the country’s largest weapons factories, was the main target

[00:15:15] Kokura is now part of a city called Kitakyushu, by the way.

[00:15:19] The second, backup, target, was the city of Nagasaki, a port city in the southwest. 

[00:15:27] Interestingly, Nagasaki wasn’t on the first shortlist of potential targets, but was only added to it after Kyoto was taken off because of its cultural and historical importance.

[00:15:39] At 3:47 in the morning on August 9th, just three days after Hiroshima, another bomber squadron lifted off from Tinian, in the Pacific.

[00:15:51] Among the bombers was Enola Gay, the aeroplane that had dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

[00:15:58] But this time the Enola Gay was acting as reconnaissance, going ahead to check the weather above Kokura.

[00:16:05] The deadly weapon, a bomb called “Fat Man”, was carried in another plane called Bockscar.

[00:16:13] When the bombers arrived at Kokura, they found that there was a lot of black smoke above the city, caused partially by another bombing raid on a nearby city and partially by a factory intentionally burning black tar to create smoke above city to create a sort of protective black shield above it.

[00:16:34] The bombers circled Kokura for almost an hour, trying to find a break in the clouds, but there was none.

[00:16:42] They were flying high enough that they were safe from Japanese anti-aircraft guns, but they were burning fuel fast, and they couldn’t circle forever. 

[00:16:52] They decided to go to the secondary target, Nagasaki, 150 kilometres to the south. 

[00:16:59] If there was a clear view above the city, that would be the target for the bomb. 

[00:17:04] If not, they would have to try to fly to the newly occupied island of Okinawa, and would probably have to drop the bomb in the sea on the way.

[00:17:14] As the bombers arrived, they found that Nagasaki too was covered by thick clouds, but at exactly 11:01 there was a small break in the clouds, allowing the bombers to see the city. 

[00:17:29] The order was given for the bomb to be dropped, and 47 seconds later the again innocently named “Fat Boy” exploded 500 metres above the city, destryoing everything within a 1.5km radius.

[00:17:44] Nagasaki was a smaller city than Hiroshima, and was mainly chosen for its military facilities, so it’s estimated that fewer people died there than in Hiroshima, but it’s thought that between 40 and 80,000 people perished either in the blast or as a result of it in the days, weeks and months afterwards.

[00:18:07] One of the difficulties in actually knowing how many people died was because there was no official death toll, and figures are normally chosen by taking the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the bombs and then afterwards. 

[00:18:24] Overall, the death toll is estimated at between 130,000 and 230,000 people, with the majority of those civilians, not people directly involved in the military.

[00:18:38] The dropping of the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the biggest single cause of civilian death ever, and it is no exaggeration to say that never before in human history, and one can only hope never again, have so many people been killed in such a tiny period of time.

[00:18:59] To make matters worse for Japan, in the early hours of August 9th, the same day as the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, news reached Japan that Soviet Russia had declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuoko, Manchuria, the puppet state in modern day north east China.

[00:19:19] There was also another statement from President Truman, I’ve actually got a clip of this for you now:

[00:19:25] "Having found the bomb we have used it.

[00:19:28] We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us." 

[00:19:39] In case the audio quality was a bit bad there, he said “ “Having found the bomb we have used it…We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.”

[00:19:57] Frantic discussions ensued between senior Japanese military officials. Some wanted to continue to fight, while others supported a surrender

[00:20:07] The power of the atomic bombs was now clear to see, and Japan had no idea how many more the Americans had. 

[00:20:15] Would the next attack come that day? Tomorrow? Next week? 

[00:20:20] And if they had already destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what would be next? Kyoto? Tokyo?

[00:20:28] Finally, in the early hours of August 10th, less than 24 hours after the bomb exploded above Nagasaki, the Japanese emperor privately told the Allies that the country would surrender, and on August 15th he publicly announced this to the nation.

[00:20:46] Although it wouldn’t be officially signed until September 2nd, the Second World War was effectively over.

[00:20:54] The atomic bomb, for all of its death and destruction, looked like it had completed its mission. 

[00:21:01] A war that had cost up to 50 million people their lives was now over. 

[00:21:07] The question that many would come to ask would be, had it really been necessary, and was the world really now a safer place?

[00:21:18] OK then, that is it for today's episode, part two of this mini-series on the atomic bomb.

[00:21:25] I know it might be an uncomfortable topic, but it is an important one, and even though I’m sure you knew quite a bit about the events of the summer of 1945 already, I hope you found this interesting and that you've learnt something new.

[00:21:40] As a reminder, this was part two of this three-part mini-series. 

[00:21:44] If you missed part one, that was on The Manhattan Project, the science behind the bomb, and the work that went into creating it.

[00:21:51] Next up, in part three, we’ll look at the world after the bomb, how things have developed since then, both in the decades after and in more recent years, and look at some of the ethical arguments behind the dropping of the bomb.

[00:22:07] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode, and of this mini-series in particular.

[00:22:12] Did the Americans need to drop these two atomic bombs? 

[00:22:16] Was there another way out of it?

[00:22:18] What would have happened if Japan had not surrendered

[00:22:21] If you are a Japanese listener, how is this period of history looked back on in your country, and what do you think Premier Kantarō Suzuki meant by “mokusatsu”?

[00:22:32] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:22:36] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:44] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:49] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today is part two of our three-part mini-series on The Atomic Bomb.

[00:00:28] In part one we heard about the discovery of nuclear fission, the scientists behind it, and how the bomb was developed. 

[00:00:36] Today’s episode is all about what came next, the decision to drop the bomb, and what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August of 1945.

[00:00:47] And in part three we will discuss the aftermath of the bombs. We’ll look at some of the ethical questions about whether the bombs should have been dropped at all and how the use of atomic weapons has impacted global politics, both in the Cold War and beyond.

[00:01:04] OK then, let’s get right into it.

[00:01:08] The last thing we heard about in part one was the Trinity Test, the successful test of a real atomic bomb in the Nevada desert on July 16th of 1945. 

[00:01:21] The scientists had done what had been asked of them. In 27 months they had developed the most powerful bomb in the world, a bomb with the explosive energy of 25 kilotonnes of TNT.

[00:01:36] The only question was, how was it to be used?

[00:01:41] To back up one minute, let’s remind ourselves of what exactly was going on in the world when this first atomic test was completed.

[00:01:50] The date was July 16th, 1945.

[00:01:54] Two months before, on May 8th of 1945, Germany had surrendered to the Allied forces, and after five and a half years, Hitler was dead and the war in Europe was over.

[00:02:08] On the other side of the world, there was no such sign of peace.

[00:02:13] The Pacific War was in full flow, and the Japanese continued to fight fiercely against the mainly American Allied forces. 

[00:02:23] The start of 1945 had seen the battles of Iwo Jima and later Okinawa, where the Americans learned that, for their Japanese adversaries, this was a fight to the death. 

[00:02:36] This might sound like an exaggeration, but in the case of Iwo Jima, of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island, 99% fought to the death rather than surrender, and in the case of Okinawa it was 94%. 

[00:02:53] We’ll go on to discuss whether a Japanese surrender was actually possible without an atomic bomb in the next episode, but the point is that in 1945 the American soldiers and the American public back home had understood quite how hard it would be to take Japan and finally win the war.

[00:03:14] Preparations were made for a full-scale invasion of Japan. But it was evidently going to result in huge loss of life on both sides. 

[00:03:25] On the American side, up to 20,000 soldiers had been killed taking the relatively small island of Okinawa. 

[00:03:34] How many more would be killed when invading the main islands?

[00:03:39] Military strategists tried to calculate it. 

[00:03:43] One estimate, delivered on July 15 of 1945, a day before the first atomic test, suggested that just the first phase of the invasion would result in between 130,000 and 220,000 US casualties

[00:04:01] And a later estimate suggested that the Allied forces would suffer between 1.7 and 4 million casualties, with anywhere from 400,000 to 800,000 deaths in the entire invasion.

[00:04:17] And let’s not forget about the Japanese side here too. 

[00:04:20] The Japanese Vice Admiral, Takijirō Ōnishi, who was known as the father of the kamikaze, estimated that up to 20 million Japanese would lose their lives if and when the Allied forces invaded. 

[00:04:36] 20 million would have been about a quarter of the entire Japanese population.

[00:04:41] Now, of course, there is reason to exaggerate the number here, to deter an American invasion, but the Japanese casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa certainly suggested that the Japanese wouldn’t go down without a fight.

[00:04:57] In the Oval Office, the President of the United States was Harry Truman, who had taken over from Franklin Roosevelt after his death on April 12th of 1945. 

[00:05:08] Truman had been Vice President, so he was aware of the Manhattan Project, the project to build an atomic weapon, although he wasn’t the person who had ordered it.

[00:05:19] Truman had a decision to make. 

[00:05:22] After the successful Trinity Test on July 16th of 1945, he knew he had an incredibly deadly weapon that could be used to kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Japanese. And he was pretty sure that Japan had no such weapon itself, so there would be no way to fight back, with a comparable impact at least.

[00:05:46] On July 25th, 10 days after the test, Truman wrote in his diary: 

[00:05:53] “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.”

[00:06:05] A day later, on July 26th, the Potsdam Declaration, or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender, was published. 

[00:06:15] This document was co-signed by Truman, the President of the United States, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the UK, and Chiang Kai-Shek, the president of the Republic of China. 

[00:06:27] It called for Japan to surrender unconditionally, saying that if Japan didn’t it would face–and I’m quoting directly here–”prompt and utter destruction”.

[00:06:41] The official response came from the Japanese Premier, Kantarō Suzuki.

[00:06:46] Interestingly enough, on a linguistic note it’s still debated whether the Americans actually understood the translation of what Suzuki said. 

[00:06:57] He used the Japanese word “mokusatsu”, which can be translated as “ignore”, “pay no attention to”, or simply “no comment”.

[00:07:09] The Americans understood that this meant he was saying Japan would ignore it, or take no notice of this declaration.

[00:07:17] Of course, it was quite an important point to understand correctly, as if it meant he would completely ignore it “forever” then this was a sign that Japan wouldn’t surrender

[00:07:29] And if it meant temporarily and there was no comment for right now, well, it might mean there might have been a way to find a peaceful solution, or that there was a way to negotiate a surrender that would be acceptable to the Japanese.

[00:07:46] In any case, the Americans interpreted it as Japan saying that it would ignore this demand for surrender, and it would fight to the death. 

[00:07:56] Meanwhile, the Americans had been transporting the atomic cores, the cores of the bombs, across the Pacific, and by the start of August they were ready at a US naval base on the island of Tinian, in the Pacific.

[00:08:12] Earlier that year, an American committee had prepared several target cities in Japan, cities that would be potential targets for an atomic bomb. 

[00:08:22] There were three boxes that these cities needed to tick to be considered as a potential target.

[00:08:29] These cities needed to be larger than 3 miles, so that’s just under 5km, in diameter, so they needed to be big enough.

[00:08:39] Secondly, it needed to be sure that an atomic bomb would create effective damage. Put crudely, there needed to be a combination of buildings and people that could be blown to pieces.

[00:08:53] And finally, the target city needed to be unlikely to have been attacked by August of 1945. 

[00:09:01] A slightly strange reason, you might think, but the Americans wanted to showcase and measure the true impact of the bomb. 

[00:09:11] If the atomic bomb was dropped over a city that was already partially destoyed, then it would be harder to measure

[00:09:19] If it was dropped on a relatively unscathed, a relatively untouched city, then it would show quite how powerful it was.

[00:09:29] Remember, the intended audience for the atomic bomb wasn’t just Japan, it was the American public, the wider world, and debatably it was also the USSR, Soviet Russia. 

[00:09:43] The initial targets chosen that met these three criteria were Kokura, a city now called Kitakyushu, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata, and Kyoto. 

[00:09:56] You’ll note that Nagasaki wasn’t actually on the first list. We’ll come to why that was in a minute.

[00:10:03] The order to drop the bomb was given on July 25th by President Truman, but this didn’t mean that it would be dropped immediately. 

[00:10:12] The bomb would be dropped on one of the targets as soon as possible after August 3rd. 

[00:10:19] The reason that there wasn’t a definite date was because the plane carrying the bomb needed to be able to physically see its target on the ground. There couldn’t be clouds, otherwise the bomb might be dropped in the wrong place.

[00:10:35] The day chosen was August the 6th.

[00:10:38] It was a Monday, and as the residents of Hiroshima slept soundly, a squadron of 7 American bombers took off from Tinian, in the Mariana Islands, and flew 6 hours north towards Japan.

[00:10:53] One of them was a bomber called the Enola Gay, which was carrying an atomic bomb with the innocent sounding nickname of “Little Boy”. 

[00:11:03] At 8:15am, and flying 9,470 metres above the city, the plane released the bomb.

[00:11:13] As soon as the bomb was dropped, because it was so heavy and the plane was now 5,000 kilos lighter, the plane instantly jumped three metres, and the pilot made a 155 degree turn away, racing to get out of the area before the deadly bomb exploded.

[00:11:33] For 44.4 seconds, “Little Boy” fell, zooming down towards its target

[00:11:40] When it was 580 metres above ground level, the firing mechanism went off, firing an enriched uranium bullet at six uranium rings.

[00:11:52] As the free neutrons struck the nuclei of the uranium atoms, neutrons within the nucleus were released, giving off tremendous amounts of energy and causing yet more neutrons to split, which hit more nuclei, splitting them and starting a nuclear chain reaction.

[00:12:10] The entire process took fractions of a millisecond.

[00:12:15] The bomb exploded, instantly killing between 70 and 80,000 people, about a third of the population of Hiroshima at the time. 

[00:12:26] Never before, in the entirety of human history had so many lives been purposefully extinguished in such a tiny amount of time. 

[00:12:36] The bomb was two thousand times more powerful than any other bomb that had ever been used in history, and as you will know, the impact was terrible.

[00:12:48] Sixteen hours later, President Truman issued a grim warning to the Japanese people. 

[00:12:54] His statement read–and again I’m quoting directly here–"If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”

[00:13:23] Note, he didn’t actually reveal that it was an atomic bomb. 

[00:13:27] Very few people knew that such a bomb even existed, all they knew was that Hiroshima had been struck by the world’s biggest explosion and it had caused untold death and destruction.

[00:13:41] Japanese atomic scientists only realised that the bomb had likely been atomic the following day after going to Hiroshima and seeing the extent of the damage.

[00:13:53] Despite realising what the Americans had, the Japanese leadership believed that no more than two more atomic weapons would be ready, so Japan would only need to suffer a maximum of two more atomic bombs. 

[00:14:08] Remember, there were Japanese predictions of up to 20 million Japanese losing their lives if the Americans invaded, and more than a hundred thousand Japanese had been killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima alone, so losing a few hundred thousand people in atomic bomb attacks was, although evidently tragic, tolerable.

[00:14:30] And on the subject of tragedy, after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima about as many people were injured as were killed, with people who were lucky enough not to be killed outright by the bombs suffering everything from terrible burns, to being crushed by falling buildings, right through to long term damage from the radiation and the evident but less visible mental trauma of having lived through such a scarring event.

[00:14:58] But there was no time to mourn the dead.

[00:15:01] The Americans decided to proceed with another attack, with two possible targets: Kokura, a city in southwestern Japan that was the location of one of the country’s largest weapons factories, was the main target

[00:15:15] Kokura is now part of a city called Kitakyushu, by the way.

[00:15:19] The second, backup, target, was the city of Nagasaki, a port city in the southwest. 

[00:15:27] Interestingly, Nagasaki wasn’t on the first shortlist of potential targets, but was only added to it after Kyoto was taken off because of its cultural and historical importance.

[00:15:39] At 3:47 in the morning on August 9th, just three days after Hiroshima, another bomber squadron lifted off from Tinian, in the Pacific.

[00:15:51] Among the bombers was Enola Gay, the aeroplane that had dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

[00:15:58] But this time the Enola Gay was acting as reconnaissance, going ahead to check the weather above Kokura.

[00:16:05] The deadly weapon, a bomb called “Fat Man”, was carried in another plane called Bockscar.

[00:16:13] When the bombers arrived at Kokura, they found that there was a lot of black smoke above the city, caused partially by another bombing raid on a nearby city and partially by a factory intentionally burning black tar to create smoke above city to create a sort of protective black shield above it.

[00:16:34] The bombers circled Kokura for almost an hour, trying to find a break in the clouds, but there was none.

[00:16:42] They were flying high enough that they were safe from Japanese anti-aircraft guns, but they were burning fuel fast, and they couldn’t circle forever. 

[00:16:52] They decided to go to the secondary target, Nagasaki, 150 kilometres to the south. 

[00:16:59] If there was a clear view above the city, that would be the target for the bomb. 

[00:17:04] If not, they would have to try to fly to the newly occupied island of Okinawa, and would probably have to drop the bomb in the sea on the way.

[00:17:14] As the bombers arrived, they found that Nagasaki too was covered by thick clouds, but at exactly 11:01 there was a small break in the clouds, allowing the bombers to see the city. 

[00:17:29] The order was given for the bomb to be dropped, and 47 seconds later the again innocently named “Fat Boy” exploded 500 metres above the city, destryoing everything within a 1.5km radius.

[00:17:44] Nagasaki was a smaller city than Hiroshima, and was mainly chosen for its military facilities, so it’s estimated that fewer people died there than in Hiroshima, but it’s thought that between 40 and 80,000 people perished either in the blast or as a result of it in the days, weeks and months afterwards.

[00:18:07] One of the difficulties in actually knowing how many people died was because there was no official death toll, and figures are normally chosen by taking the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the bombs and then afterwards. 

[00:18:24] Overall, the death toll is estimated at between 130,000 and 230,000 people, with the majority of those civilians, not people directly involved in the military.

[00:18:38] The dropping of the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the biggest single cause of civilian death ever, and it is no exaggeration to say that never before in human history, and one can only hope never again, have so many people been killed in such a tiny period of time.

[00:18:59] To make matters worse for Japan, in the early hours of August 9th, the same day as the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, news reached Japan that Soviet Russia had declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuoko, Manchuria, the puppet state in modern day north east China.

[00:19:19] There was also another statement from President Truman, I’ve actually got a clip of this for you now:

[00:19:25] "Having found the bomb we have used it.

[00:19:28] We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us." 

[00:19:39] In case the audio quality was a bit bad there, he said “ “Having found the bomb we have used it…We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.”

[00:19:57] Frantic discussions ensued between senior Japanese military officials. Some wanted to continue to fight, while others supported a surrender

[00:20:07] The power of the atomic bombs was now clear to see, and Japan had no idea how many more the Americans had. 

[00:20:15] Would the next attack come that day? Tomorrow? Next week? 

[00:20:20] And if they had already destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what would be next? Kyoto? Tokyo?

[00:20:28] Finally, in the early hours of August 10th, less than 24 hours after the bomb exploded above Nagasaki, the Japanese emperor privately told the Allies that the country would surrender, and on August 15th he publicly announced this to the nation.

[00:20:46] Although it wouldn’t be officially signed until September 2nd, the Second World War was effectively over.

[00:20:54] The atomic bomb, for all of its death and destruction, looked like it had completed its mission. 

[00:21:01] A war that had cost up to 50 million people their lives was now over. 

[00:21:07] The question that many would come to ask would be, had it really been necessary, and was the world really now a safer place?

[00:21:18] OK then, that is it for today's episode, part two of this mini-series on the atomic bomb.

[00:21:25] I know it might be an uncomfortable topic, but it is an important one, and even though I’m sure you knew quite a bit about the events of the summer of 1945 already, I hope you found this interesting and that you've learnt something new.

[00:21:40] As a reminder, this was part two of this three-part mini-series. 

[00:21:44] If you missed part one, that was on The Manhattan Project, the science behind the bomb, and the work that went into creating it.

[00:21:51] Next up, in part three, we’ll look at the world after the bomb, how things have developed since then, both in the decades after and in more recent years, and look at some of the ethical arguments behind the dropping of the bomb.

[00:22:07] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode, and of this mini-series in particular.

[00:22:12] Did the Americans need to drop these two atomic bombs? 

[00:22:16] Was there another way out of it?

[00:22:18] What would have happened if Japan had not surrendered

[00:22:21] If you are a Japanese listener, how is this period of history looked back on in your country, and what do you think Premier Kantarō Suzuki meant by “mokusatsu”?

[00:22:32] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:22:36] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:44] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:49] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today is part two of our three-part mini-series on The Atomic Bomb.

[00:00:28] In part one we heard about the discovery of nuclear fission, the scientists behind it, and how the bomb was developed. 

[00:00:36] Today’s episode is all about what came next, the decision to drop the bomb, and what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August of 1945.

[00:00:47] And in part three we will discuss the aftermath of the bombs. We’ll look at some of the ethical questions about whether the bombs should have been dropped at all and how the use of atomic weapons has impacted global politics, both in the Cold War and beyond.

[00:01:04] OK then, let’s get right into it.

[00:01:08] The last thing we heard about in part one was the Trinity Test, the successful test of a real atomic bomb in the Nevada desert on July 16th of 1945. 

[00:01:21] The scientists had done what had been asked of them. In 27 months they had developed the most powerful bomb in the world, a bomb with the explosive energy of 25 kilotonnes of TNT.

[00:01:36] The only question was, how was it to be used?

[00:01:41] To back up one minute, let’s remind ourselves of what exactly was going on in the world when this first atomic test was completed.

[00:01:50] The date was July 16th, 1945.

[00:01:54] Two months before, on May 8th of 1945, Germany had surrendered to the Allied forces, and after five and a half years, Hitler was dead and the war in Europe was over.

[00:02:08] On the other side of the world, there was no such sign of peace.

[00:02:13] The Pacific War was in full flow, and the Japanese continued to fight fiercely against the mainly American Allied forces. 

[00:02:23] The start of 1945 had seen the battles of Iwo Jima and later Okinawa, where the Americans learned that, for their Japanese adversaries, this was a fight to the death. 

[00:02:36] This might sound like an exaggeration, but in the case of Iwo Jima, of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island, 99% fought to the death rather than surrender, and in the case of Okinawa it was 94%. 

[00:02:53] We’ll go on to discuss whether a Japanese surrender was actually possible without an atomic bomb in the next episode, but the point is that in 1945 the American soldiers and the American public back home had understood quite how hard it would be to take Japan and finally win the war.

[00:03:14] Preparations were made for a full-scale invasion of Japan. But it was evidently going to result in huge loss of life on both sides. 

[00:03:25] On the American side, up to 20,000 soldiers had been killed taking the relatively small island of Okinawa. 

[00:03:34] How many more would be killed when invading the main islands?

[00:03:39] Military strategists tried to calculate it. 

[00:03:43] One estimate, delivered on July 15 of 1945, a day before the first atomic test, suggested that just the first phase of the invasion would result in between 130,000 and 220,000 US casualties

[00:04:01] And a later estimate suggested that the Allied forces would suffer between 1.7 and 4 million casualties, with anywhere from 400,000 to 800,000 deaths in the entire invasion.

[00:04:17] And let’s not forget about the Japanese side here too. 

[00:04:20] The Japanese Vice Admiral, Takijirō Ōnishi, who was known as the father of the kamikaze, estimated that up to 20 million Japanese would lose their lives if and when the Allied forces invaded. 

[00:04:36] 20 million would have been about a quarter of the entire Japanese population.

[00:04:41] Now, of course, there is reason to exaggerate the number here, to deter an American invasion, but the Japanese casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa certainly suggested that the Japanese wouldn’t go down without a fight.

[00:04:57] In the Oval Office, the President of the United States was Harry Truman, who had taken over from Franklin Roosevelt after his death on April 12th of 1945. 

[00:05:08] Truman had been Vice President, so he was aware of the Manhattan Project, the project to build an atomic weapon, although he wasn’t the person who had ordered it.

[00:05:19] Truman had a decision to make. 

[00:05:22] After the successful Trinity Test on July 16th of 1945, he knew he had an incredibly deadly weapon that could be used to kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Japanese. And he was pretty sure that Japan had no such weapon itself, so there would be no way to fight back, with a comparable impact at least.

[00:05:46] On July 25th, 10 days after the test, Truman wrote in his diary: 

[00:05:53] “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.”

[00:06:05] A day later, on July 26th, the Potsdam Declaration, or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender, was published. 

[00:06:15] This document was co-signed by Truman, the President of the United States, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the UK, and Chiang Kai-Shek, the president of the Republic of China. 

[00:06:27] It called for Japan to surrender unconditionally, saying that if Japan didn’t it would face–and I’m quoting directly here–”prompt and utter destruction”.

[00:06:41] The official response came from the Japanese Premier, Kantarō Suzuki.

[00:06:46] Interestingly enough, on a linguistic note it’s still debated whether the Americans actually understood the translation of what Suzuki said. 

[00:06:57] He used the Japanese word “mokusatsu”, which can be translated as “ignore”, “pay no attention to”, or simply “no comment”.

[00:07:09] The Americans understood that this meant he was saying Japan would ignore it, or take no notice of this declaration.

[00:07:17] Of course, it was quite an important point to understand correctly, as if it meant he would completely ignore it “forever” then this was a sign that Japan wouldn’t surrender

[00:07:29] And if it meant temporarily and there was no comment for right now, well, it might mean there might have been a way to find a peaceful solution, or that there was a way to negotiate a surrender that would be acceptable to the Japanese.

[00:07:46] In any case, the Americans interpreted it as Japan saying that it would ignore this demand for surrender, and it would fight to the death. 

[00:07:56] Meanwhile, the Americans had been transporting the atomic cores, the cores of the bombs, across the Pacific, and by the start of August they were ready at a US naval base on the island of Tinian, in the Pacific.

[00:08:12] Earlier that year, an American committee had prepared several target cities in Japan, cities that would be potential targets for an atomic bomb. 

[00:08:22] There were three boxes that these cities needed to tick to be considered as a potential target.

[00:08:29] These cities needed to be larger than 3 miles, so that’s just under 5km, in diameter, so they needed to be big enough.

[00:08:39] Secondly, it needed to be sure that an atomic bomb would create effective damage. Put crudely, there needed to be a combination of buildings and people that could be blown to pieces.

[00:08:53] And finally, the target city needed to be unlikely to have been attacked by August of 1945. 

[00:09:01] A slightly strange reason, you might think, but the Americans wanted to showcase and measure the true impact of the bomb. 

[00:09:11] If the atomic bomb was dropped over a city that was already partially destoyed, then it would be harder to measure

[00:09:19] If it was dropped on a relatively unscathed, a relatively untouched city, then it would show quite how powerful it was.

[00:09:29] Remember, the intended audience for the atomic bomb wasn’t just Japan, it was the American public, the wider world, and debatably it was also the USSR, Soviet Russia. 

[00:09:43] The initial targets chosen that met these three criteria were Kokura, a city now called Kitakyushu, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Niigata, and Kyoto. 

[00:09:56] You’ll note that Nagasaki wasn’t actually on the first list. We’ll come to why that was in a minute.

[00:10:03] The order to drop the bomb was given on July 25th by President Truman, but this didn’t mean that it would be dropped immediately. 

[00:10:12] The bomb would be dropped on one of the targets as soon as possible after August 3rd. 

[00:10:19] The reason that there wasn’t a definite date was because the plane carrying the bomb needed to be able to physically see its target on the ground. There couldn’t be clouds, otherwise the bomb might be dropped in the wrong place.

[00:10:35] The day chosen was August the 6th.

[00:10:38] It was a Monday, and as the residents of Hiroshima slept soundly, a squadron of 7 American bombers took off from Tinian, in the Mariana Islands, and flew 6 hours north towards Japan.

[00:10:53] One of them was a bomber called the Enola Gay, which was carrying an atomic bomb with the innocent sounding nickname of “Little Boy”. 

[00:11:03] At 8:15am, and flying 9,470 metres above the city, the plane released the bomb.

[00:11:13] As soon as the bomb was dropped, because it was so heavy and the plane was now 5,000 kilos lighter, the plane instantly jumped three metres, and the pilot made a 155 degree turn away, racing to get out of the area before the deadly bomb exploded.

[00:11:33] For 44.4 seconds, “Little Boy” fell, zooming down towards its target

[00:11:40] When it was 580 metres above ground level, the firing mechanism went off, firing an enriched uranium bullet at six uranium rings.

[00:11:52] As the free neutrons struck the nuclei of the uranium atoms, neutrons within the nucleus were released, giving off tremendous amounts of energy and causing yet more neutrons to split, which hit more nuclei, splitting them and starting a nuclear chain reaction.

[00:12:10] The entire process took fractions of a millisecond.

[00:12:15] The bomb exploded, instantly killing between 70 and 80,000 people, about a third of the population of Hiroshima at the time. 

[00:12:26] Never before, in the entirety of human history had so many lives been purposefully extinguished in such a tiny amount of time. 

[00:12:36] The bomb was two thousand times more powerful than any other bomb that had ever been used in history, and as you will know, the impact was terrible.

[00:12:48] Sixteen hours later, President Truman issued a grim warning to the Japanese people. 

[00:12:54] His statement read–and again I’m quoting directly here–"If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”

[00:13:23] Note, he didn’t actually reveal that it was an atomic bomb. 

[00:13:27] Very few people knew that such a bomb even existed, all they knew was that Hiroshima had been struck by the world’s biggest explosion and it had caused untold death and destruction.

[00:13:41] Japanese atomic scientists only realised that the bomb had likely been atomic the following day after going to Hiroshima and seeing the extent of the damage.

[00:13:53] Despite realising what the Americans had, the Japanese leadership believed that no more than two more atomic weapons would be ready, so Japan would only need to suffer a maximum of two more atomic bombs. 

[00:14:08] Remember, there were Japanese predictions of up to 20 million Japanese losing their lives if the Americans invaded, and more than a hundred thousand Japanese had been killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima alone, so losing a few hundred thousand people in atomic bomb attacks was, although evidently tragic, tolerable.

[00:14:30] And on the subject of tragedy, after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima about as many people were injured as were killed, with people who were lucky enough not to be killed outright by the bombs suffering everything from terrible burns, to being crushed by falling buildings, right through to long term damage from the radiation and the evident but less visible mental trauma of having lived through such a scarring event.

[00:14:58] But there was no time to mourn the dead.

[00:15:01] The Americans decided to proceed with another attack, with two possible targets: Kokura, a city in southwestern Japan that was the location of one of the country’s largest weapons factories, was the main target

[00:15:15] Kokura is now part of a city called Kitakyushu, by the way.

[00:15:19] The second, backup, target, was the city of Nagasaki, a port city in the southwest. 

[00:15:27] Interestingly, Nagasaki wasn’t on the first shortlist of potential targets, but was only added to it after Kyoto was taken off because of its cultural and historical importance.

[00:15:39] At 3:47 in the morning on August 9th, just three days after Hiroshima, another bomber squadron lifted off from Tinian, in the Pacific.

[00:15:51] Among the bombers was Enola Gay, the aeroplane that had dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

[00:15:58] But this time the Enola Gay was acting as reconnaissance, going ahead to check the weather above Kokura.

[00:16:05] The deadly weapon, a bomb called “Fat Man”, was carried in another plane called Bockscar.

[00:16:13] When the bombers arrived at Kokura, they found that there was a lot of black smoke above the city, caused partially by another bombing raid on a nearby city and partially by a factory intentionally burning black tar to create smoke above city to create a sort of protective black shield above it.

[00:16:34] The bombers circled Kokura for almost an hour, trying to find a break in the clouds, but there was none.

[00:16:42] They were flying high enough that they were safe from Japanese anti-aircraft guns, but they were burning fuel fast, and they couldn’t circle forever. 

[00:16:52] They decided to go to the secondary target, Nagasaki, 150 kilometres to the south. 

[00:16:59] If there was a clear view above the city, that would be the target for the bomb. 

[00:17:04] If not, they would have to try to fly to the newly occupied island of Okinawa, and would probably have to drop the bomb in the sea on the way.

[00:17:14] As the bombers arrived, they found that Nagasaki too was covered by thick clouds, but at exactly 11:01 there was a small break in the clouds, allowing the bombers to see the city. 

[00:17:29] The order was given for the bomb to be dropped, and 47 seconds later the again innocently named “Fat Boy” exploded 500 metres above the city, destryoing everything within a 1.5km radius.

[00:17:44] Nagasaki was a smaller city than Hiroshima, and was mainly chosen for its military facilities, so it’s estimated that fewer people died there than in Hiroshima, but it’s thought that between 40 and 80,000 people perished either in the blast or as a result of it in the days, weeks and months afterwards.

[00:18:07] One of the difficulties in actually knowing how many people died was because there was no official death toll, and figures are normally chosen by taking the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the bombs and then afterwards. 

[00:18:24] Overall, the death toll is estimated at between 130,000 and 230,000 people, with the majority of those civilians, not people directly involved in the military.

[00:18:38] The dropping of the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain the biggest single cause of civilian death ever, and it is no exaggeration to say that never before in human history, and one can only hope never again, have so many people been killed in such a tiny period of time.

[00:18:59] To make matters worse for Japan, in the early hours of August 9th, the same day as the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, news reached Japan that Soviet Russia had declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuoko, Manchuria, the puppet state in modern day north east China.

[00:19:19] There was also another statement from President Truman, I’ve actually got a clip of this for you now:

[00:19:25] "Having found the bomb we have used it.

[00:19:28] We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us." 

[00:19:39] In case the audio quality was a bit bad there, he said “ “Having found the bomb we have used it…We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.”

[00:19:57] Frantic discussions ensued between senior Japanese military officials. Some wanted to continue to fight, while others supported a surrender

[00:20:07] The power of the atomic bombs was now clear to see, and Japan had no idea how many more the Americans had. 

[00:20:15] Would the next attack come that day? Tomorrow? Next week? 

[00:20:20] And if they had already destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what would be next? Kyoto? Tokyo?

[00:20:28] Finally, in the early hours of August 10th, less than 24 hours after the bomb exploded above Nagasaki, the Japanese emperor privately told the Allies that the country would surrender, and on August 15th he publicly announced this to the nation.

[00:20:46] Although it wouldn’t be officially signed until September 2nd, the Second World War was effectively over.

[00:20:54] The atomic bomb, for all of its death and destruction, looked like it had completed its mission. 

[00:21:01] A war that had cost up to 50 million people their lives was now over. 

[00:21:07] The question that many would come to ask would be, had it really been necessary, and was the world really now a safer place?

[00:21:18] OK then, that is it for today's episode, part two of this mini-series on the atomic bomb.

[00:21:25] I know it might be an uncomfortable topic, but it is an important one, and even though I’m sure you knew quite a bit about the events of the summer of 1945 already, I hope you found this interesting and that you've learnt something new.

[00:21:40] As a reminder, this was part two of this three-part mini-series. 

[00:21:44] If you missed part one, that was on The Manhattan Project, the science behind the bomb, and the work that went into creating it.

[00:21:51] Next up, in part three, we’ll look at the world after the bomb, how things have developed since then, both in the decades after and in more recent years, and look at some of the ethical arguments behind the dropping of the bomb.

[00:22:07] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode, and of this mini-series in particular.

[00:22:12] Did the Americans need to drop these two atomic bombs? 

[00:22:16] Was there another way out of it?

[00:22:18] What would have happened if Japan had not surrendered

[00:22:21] If you are a Japanese listener, how is this period of history looked back on in your country, and what do you think Premier Kantarō Suzuki meant by “mokusatsu”?

[00:22:32] I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:22:36] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:44] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:49] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]