With specific objectives, the United States’ decision to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima required extensive research leading to its production. The main goal of the American side was to damage the enemy’s confidence, while choosing a target with the highest military output in order to conclude the war (Avalon Project- Chapter 5, par. 5). The group in charge of developing the technology was known as the Manhattan Project, and was kept top-secret. Selection began in the spring of 1945, with assistance from the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, his Headquarters (Avalon Project- Chapter 5, par. 2) .There was a variety of experts working on the project, including mathematicians, theoretical physicists, and specialists trained in weather and blast effects Headquarters (Avalon Project- Chapter 5, par. 4) . In order to monitor all of the results, the city had to be untouched, meaning the target had to have no signs of previous bombings. Based on these requirements, the designation of Hiroshima for the bombing was not a simple determination. After a target was selected and the weapon was developed, testing was set to begin. On July 16, 1945, the first test in Alamogordo, New Mexico, proved that the bomb was prepared for release onto the Japanese population (Seibert 1).The calculations revealed the bomb’s maximum blast effect was intended for a target over one mile in radius, meaning the population had to be crowded, making it perfect for urban Hiroshima. (Avalon Project- Selection par.5).Now that a strategy was in place, it was time to prepare for the attack and the outcomes that would follow.
Besides the physical aspects of the atomic bomb, the political reasons must also be taken into consideration. When justifying the actions taken against Hiroshima, President Harry Truman viewed the bomb as a horrifying and necessary WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction) that would help protect the American country from unwanted harm (Walker 146). Truman’s Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, even called the bomb “a Frankenstein monster that could devour mankind” (Walker 44).A certain level of premeditation was involved with this nuclear warfare, and as of July 1945, the city had been reserved for the bombing, meaning no American bombers were allowed to touch it (Walker 134). Even as the weapon was developed and tested, the American population remained unaware but protected, as the goal was to kill Japanese, not Americans (Walker 39). In Hiroshima’s state of preservation, it made it an ideal target, which would yield high damage. Stephen Walker, the author of Shockwave, described “Hiroshima’s pristine condition virtually guaranteed the weapon’s initial use would be spectacular. That was the best reason for bombing it. Apart from Kyoto, no other city was so well preserved” (Walker 136).On August 5, 1945, at 8:15 in the morning, the atomic bomb struck Hiroshima (Hersey 1). The blinding white flash of the nuclear explosion destroyed the city, littering streets with collapsed buildings and fallen telephone poles, trapping people underneath the debris (Hersey 28). As the Japanese rushed to deal with the damage to its city and population, as soon as the immediate danger was over, physicists from the country became concerned about