At 0815 on the morning of August 6, 1945 the first Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Less than a minute later the bomb detonated over the city with devastating effect. The Japanese war council had no idea what had happened, but refused to surrender to the Allied forces.
Three days later, on August 9, 1945 at 1101, a second, but differently designed Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. After much debate, the Japanese war councile agreed to surrender with only one condition. That Emperor Hirohito would remain at the titular head of the Japanese government.
On August 14, 1945, the Emperor announced the surrender to the nation by radio. In and of itself, that was unprecedented, but it was necessary.
On September 2, 1945 the formal Instrument of Surrender was signed by all parties on the deck of the USS Missouri.
Since that time there has been much debate as to whether or not the use of the Atomic Bombs was necessary.
It was. Japan had signaled that it was not going to surrender no matter what. Preparations were made to defend the Homeland from a seaborne invasion by the Allies (primarily American). The Japanese government had decreed that all subjects were to be ready to fight until the last person. An invasion would have cost between 500,000 and 1,000,000 million Allied casualties and an unknown number of Japanese casualties. Based on the actions of Japanese civilians on Saipan and Okinawa, it was likely that there would be mere thousands of Japanese left at the end of the battle.
Additionally, there was a plan “Operation Mailfist” by the British to invade Singapore towards the end of 1945. This would have followed on “Operation Zipper” which would be an invasion of Malaya. Casualties were expected to be very heavy for the Commonwealth forces. This, too was cancelled after the bombings and surrender.
The Japanese were not going to surrender until they reluctantly concluded that there was no alternative. It took two bombs for the war council to come to that conclusion. Which was fortunate because there were more bombs being readied for use.
Of course some people have decided that the use of the Atomic Bombs was racism against the Japanese. I guess the actions of the Japanese Army against Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos were just regular murder, so it was okay. Not to mention their treatment of English, American, Australian, and other European prisoners.
Interestingly, the development of the Atomic Bombs was spurred by Nazi efforts to develop a similar weapon. Had the Allies not defeated the Germans in May 1945, Berlin and other German cities would have been the likely targets.
On this day we should remember who brought the US into the war, who slaughtered prisoners, and which military had a motto of “Burn all, rape all, kill all” going back to the mid 1930s. We should also remember which nation spent large sums of money to rebuild Japan after the war.
One other thing I should mention. Japan was attempting to build it’s own Atomic Bomb during World War II. Research into development of an atomic weapon started as early as 1939. Efforts were abandoned for a while, but during the war with the United States there were two projects attempted. Both the Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy had projects in place to develop Atomic Bombs. Neither were close at the end of the war, but if the war carried over into 1946 or 1947 there is no way to know what might have happened.