ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on August 6th, 2007 at 5:00 pm

From the Trinity Site to Hiroshima

Today is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. There is much controversy centering around whether the US should of dropped the atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II. In this series of postings I will discuss this issue along with providing the historical context that went into the decision to use nuclear weapons.

From the Trinity Site to Hiroshima

The first nuclear weapon was tested at the Trinity Site on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain Time on July 16, 1945. The 19 kiloton bomb was put on a 100 foot steel tower and exploded, causing what witnesses said, the sun to rise twice that day.

I have actually visited the Trinity Site on the White Sands Missile Range which is open to the public only twice a year. One girder of the original tower remains, the rest was evaporated, and the sand below the explosion was turned into a emerald green colored glass called Trinitite. Visitors are told not to pick it up because the glass is still radioactive.

In this photo notice the lack of vegetation compared to the green brush you see in the distance. This is because of the remaining radiation due to the Trinitite that remains in the ground that effects plant life there.

This is the memorial at the center of the Trinity Site.

The MacDonald Ranch house is where the nuclear bomb was assembled and also served as home to the scientists during the assembly phase of the nuclear bomb. When it came time to test the bomb the house was vacated, but some how the house survived the nuclear explosion:

The MacDonald farmhouse about 3 kilometers from the Trinity Site.

What makes the house’s survival more amazing is that structures around the farmhouse were leveled by the bomb:



But even more amazing then the house surviving is that this windmill some how survived:


This same phenomenon of singular structures remaining while others were completely obliterated by the bomb would happen again the next month in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Hiroshima after the bombing in 1945

Hiroshima was a city of military importance. The city contained the headquarters of the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was also a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for the Japanese military. There was military justification for the attack to go along with the perceived need of the US leadership to break the will of the Japanese people by destroying an entire city. The weather was good, and the crew and equipment of the Enola Gay B-29 aircraft piloted and commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets, took off to bomb their primary target of Hiroshima. The Enola Gay dropped the nuclear bomb called “Little Boy” over the central part of the city. It exploded about 600 meters (2,000 feet) above the city, killing initially an estimated 80,000 civilians. The radiation poisoning would claim twice as many lives as the initial bombing.

Today Hiroshima is a thriving city that has a deep memory of the tragedy of August 6, 1945. The city has erected a museum and memorial to mourn the victims of the atomic bombing. It is almost hard to believe today that Hiroshima was the site of an atomic bombing:
Hiroshima today is a thriving city.

Next Posting: Remembering Nagasaki

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  • Remembering Hiroshima at Forward Deployed
    6:29 pm on August 6th, 2007 1

    [...] Click here to continue reading this entry Share This Popularity: unranked [...]

  • devildog6771
    12:26 pm on August 6th, 2007 2

    Had we not dropped the bomb when we did, things would have gone very differently with the war, I'm afraid. The Japanese had already sent a series of hot hot balloons to test their delivery system of a biological agent their "angel of death" perfected in China. I believe one exploded on the West Coast. Some made it to the Central USA. Japan's Air Force was not as developed as ours was at that time. Thus the balloon delivery system. They were only a very short day away from the actual launch date of the real attack.

    One day the Japanese may see the error of leaving all this out of their history books as Germany is now discovering the mistake they made never talking to their young about the Nazis and how they took over the government from a people who predominately were peaceful. Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany. But, with all the problems there now, the young are becoming drawn to that time as a time of German greatness.

    You wrote a very well written accounting of the sequence of events. I enjoyed your post. I am curious, however, about hoe they dissipated the radiation?

  • Gdog
    12:40 pm on August 6th, 2007 3

    Wow, very interesting stuff. Are visitors at risk when they are visiting the Trinity Site?

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    2:09 pm on August 6th, 2007 4

    The original soldiers and scientists that went to the sight after the explosion did not realize the threat from radiation. Many of these people would later get sick and die. To reduce the radiation at the site they had the soldiers put the Trinitite into barrels and they buried the barrels out there on the missile range. With the Trinitite removed it greatly reduced the radiation.

    The radiation reduces every year as each half-life is reduced. Today visiting the site is equivalent of receiving an X-ray, so it is safe. If you ever do get a chance I do recommend a visit. The site is way out in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico so it is quite a ride to get there.

  • Surabol
    12:36 am on August 7th, 2007 5

    I think most Americans believe that dropping the bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima was overkill. Critics say Japan was effectively beaten and the emperor was under pressure to surrender at the face of impending defeat and Russian advancement.

    Of course, Koreans could argue that Japan could have signed some sort of peace agreement that allowed control over Korea then bide their time until they can rekindle their imperial ambitions once again. Japan's unconditional surrender allowed countless future Korean generations to waste 22 hours in PC game rooms. Freedom!!!!!!!

  • GI Korea
    12:54 am on August 7th, 2007 6

    In my upcoming posting this week I will discuss in detail the logic behind dropping the bomb.

  • jion999
    9:16 am on August 7th, 2007 7


    "Japan’s unconditional surrender allowed countless future Korean generations to waste 22 hours in PC game rooms. Freedom!!!!!!!"

    You forget about the freedom of North Korea and Korean war.

    Japan’s unconditional surrender allowed Koreans to be divided by victors and fight each other.

  • Far East Cynic: August 2007
    11:00 am on November 2nd, 2007 8

    [...] post about that time a couple of years ago. GI Korea has a pretty good history of the Atomic Bomb here. Japan Probe has some pretty good coverage here. // posted by Skippy-san @ 9:00 PM [...]

  • Remembering Nagasaki
    11:29 am on June 15th, 2008 9

    [...] Previous Posting: From the Trinity Site to Hiroshima  [...]

  • Remembering the Hiroshima Atomic Bombing
    8:32 am on August 6th, 2008 10

    [...] 63rd anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  I recommend everyone read my prior posting where I trace how the bomb went from the Trinity Site in New Mexico to eventually being dropped on [...]

  • Far East Cynic » Genbaku no hi
    8:59 pm on August 6th, 2011 11

    [...] Today is the 6th of August. It was the day in 1945 when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by the B-29 Enola Gay. In Japan, today is known as Genbaku no hi. That also began a 9 day period when Japan was literally and figuratively on the brink of the abyss. I wrote a detailed post about that time a couple of years ago. GI Korea has a pretty good history of the Atomic Bomb here. [...]


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