This Day in History: The US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan at 8:15: a.m. on August 6, 1945.

Smoke rises 20,000 feet above Hiroshima, western Japan, after the first atomic bomb was dropped during warfare. (AP Photo, File)

The four-tonne uranium bomb called “Little Boy” was dropped from the US B-29 bomber Enola Gray some 31,500 feet above the city’s center. It exploded less than a minute later, sending temperature at the impact site to between 3,000 and 4,000 degrees Celsius. Nearly everything within a two kilometre range of the site was destroyed, with “black rain” of higgly radioactive particles falling on the city within an hour.

An unidentified man stands next to a tiled fireplace where a house once stood in Hiroshima, western Japan. (AP Photo/Stanley Troutman, Pool, File)

The ensuing devastation was unlike anything the world had ever seen before, a nuclear attack that would killed an estimated 300,000 people – roughly 40 per cent of the city’s population – including those with radiation-related injuries and illnesses. About half of those died in by the year’s end.

An estimated 140,000 people, including those with radiation-related injuries and illnesses, died through December. 31, 1945. (US Air Force via AP, File)

Exposure to the blast’s radiation caused many to vomit and experience hair loss. Those with severe symptoms died within three to six weeks. Those who didn’t die developed burns and cancers and other illnesses.

Three days after Hiroshima was hit, the US released a second bomb, this time on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered on August 15, effectively ending World War II and putting an end to its hostility towards its Asian neighbours.