Posts Tagged ‘Potsdam

06
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-6-08: Atom Bomb

On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world’s first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender, made the decision to use the atom bomb to end the war in order to prevent what he predicted would be a much greater loss of life were the United States to invade the Japanese mainland. And so on August 5, while a “conventional” bombing of Japan was underway, “Little Boy,” (the nickname for one of two atom bombs available for use against Japan), was loaded onto Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets’ plane on Tinian Island in the Marianas. Tibbets’ B-29, named the Enola Gay after his mother, left the island at 2:45 a.m. on August 6. Five and a half hours later, “Little Boy” was dropped, exploding 1,900 feet over a hospital and unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT. The bomb had several inscriptions scribbled on its shell, one of which read “Greetings to the Emperor from the men of the Indianapolis” (the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas).

There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city’s 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before-only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.

According to John Hersey’s classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.

There were so many spontaneous fires set as a result of the bomb that a crewman of the Enola Gay stopped trying to count them. Another crewman remarked, “It’s pretty terrific. What a relief it worked.”

“Atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Aug 2008, 11:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6542.

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Here is a picture of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on august 6, 1945.  This recreated version of the atomic bomb can be found at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

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17
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-17-08: Potsdam

Potsdam Conference begins

The final “Big Three” meeting between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain takes place towards the end of World War II. The decisions reached at the conference ostensibly settled many of the pressing issues between the three wartime allies, but the meeting was also marked by growing suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

On July 17, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam to discuss issues relating to postwar Europe and plans to deal with the ongoing conflict with Japan. By the time the meeting began, U.S. and British suspicions concerning Soviet intentions in Europe were intensifying. Russian armies occupied most of Eastern Europe, including nearly half of Germany, and Stalin showed no inclination to remove his control of the region. Truman, who had only been president since Franklin D. Roosevelt died three months earlier, arrived at the meeting determined to be “tough” with Stalin. He was encouraged in this course of action by news that American scientists had just successfully tested the atomic bomb. The conference soon bogged down on the issue of postwar Germany. The Soviets wanted a united but disarmed Germany, with each of the Allied powers determining the destiny of the defeated power. Truman and his advisors, fearing the spread of Soviet influence over all Germany–and, by extension, all of western Europe–fought for and achieved an agreement whereby each Allied power (including France) would administer a zone of occupation in Germany. Russian influence, therefore, would be limited to its own eastern zone. The United States also limited the amount of reparations Russia could take from Germany. Discussion of the continuing Soviet occupation of Poland floundered.

When the conference ended on August 2, 1945, matters stood much where they had before the meeting. There would be no further wartime conferences. Four days after the conference concluded, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan; on August 9, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. World War II officially came to an end on August 14, 1945.

“Potsdam Conference begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2731.

 

On This Day

1212 – The Moslems were crushed in the Spanish crusade.

1453 – France defeated England at Castillon, France, which ended the 100 Years’ War.

1762 – Peter III of Russia was murdered. Catherine II the Great took the throne.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to the British at Rochefort, France.

1821 – Spain ceded Florida to the U.S.

1898 – U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter took Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

1941 – Brigadier General Soervell directed Architect G. Edwin Bergstrom to have basic plans and architectural perspectives for an office building that could house 40,000 War Department employees on his desk by the following Monday morning. The building became known as the Pentagon.

1944 – 232 people were killed when 2 ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, CA.

1946 – Chinese communists opened a drive against the Nationalist army on the Yangtze River.

1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA.

1960 – Francis Gary Powers pled guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court after his U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.

1966 – Ho Chi Minh ordered a partial mobilization of North Vietnam forces to defend against American air strikes.

1975 – An Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit. It was the first link up between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

1987 – Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and rear Admiral John Poindexter begin testifying to Congress at the “Iran-Contra” hearings.

1997 – After 117 years, the Woolworth Corp. closed its last 400 stores.

 

Congress learns of war of words

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress learns of General George Washington’s refusal to accept a dispatch from British General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Viscount Howe, opening peace negotiations, because it failed to use the title “general.” In response, Congress proclaimed that the commander in chief acted “with a dignity becoming his station,” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them “in the characters they respectively sustain.”

“Congress learns of war of words.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=55035.

Confiscation Act approved

In a big step toward emancipation, President Lincoln approves the Confiscation Act, which declares that any slaves whose owners were in rebellion against the government, would be freed when they came into contact with the Union army.

“Confiscation Act approved.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2250.

Fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia

On this day in 1917, a three-day stretch of fighting in the streets peaks in Petrograd after the provisional government falls temporarily amid anger and frustration within and outside the army due to the continuing hardships caused by Russia’s participation in World War I.

“Fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=817.




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