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Military History/The bombing of Hiroshima


QUESTION: Hey, I'm a Junior in High school and our english teacher is having us do a historic research paper. For one of our sources we need to do an interview with an expert. If you wouldn't mind answering 20 questions or so, please email me at .

ANSWER: Greetings

I would be honored to help.  I prefer to use  If you can send you question to me thru Allexperts I will be happy to answer them.  If you prefer a phone interview I can arrange that.  We would need to find a time that is good for the both of us and then I will provide you with a phone number.

Thank you and I wish you success in your research.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for helping out. These are my questions:
1. Why did America start the Manhattan Project?
2. What kind of people worked on the project?
3. How long was the project thought out before we dropped the bomb?
4. How much damage did the bomb cause on Hiroshima?
5. Where exactly was "Ground Zero"?
6. How many people were effected by the radiation of the bomb?
7. Where wre meetings for the project held?
8. Why did we drop 2 bombs instead of one?
9. How many spies gave info to our enemies?
10. What were their names and the countries they helped?
11. How many people had doubts about the bombs?
12. What were the downsides to working on the project?
13. Why japan and not germany?
14. What were the names of the B-29 planes and their crew?
15. What was the planned time of attack vs the actual time?
16. Why Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
17. How many countries helped with the bombs, if any
18. What were the effects on hiroshima?
19. What was life like for hiroshima after the bombing?
20. Where did they go if their homes were destroyed?

Thanks again


1.    The USA started the atomic bomb program in response to fears the Germans were attempting to build such a weapon and a letter to FDR by Dr. Albert Einstein a leading physicists.  Albert Einstein feared that a German atomic bomb would end the war in Germany’s favor.  The idea that 1 bomb can wipe out an entire city or a large amount of forces was very desirable to military planners.

2.   There were thousands of people working on the atomic bomb project scattered all over the USA.  The main research base was in Los Alamos but also in Oak Ridge in Tennessee and the Hanford Site in Washington State.  Most were scientist’s engineers and mathematicians.  Thousands of ordinary workers helped in building the structures for the early reactors and performing other duties as needed.

3.   No planning for using the bomb was in place until it was believed that a bomb was buildable and could be small enough to deliver.  Once the size of bombs had been calculated and the B-29 could deliver the weapon; a 509th Composite Group was formed to train crews in using this new weapon.  So the 509th Composite Group came into existence in December of 1944. How to use the bomb was under taken by the Interim committee in May of 1945.  This group came up with the plan to bomb Japanese cites in order the end with war without invading the Japanese home Islands.

4.   The first atomic bomb destroyed 2/3 of Hiroshima, About 90,000 to 100,000 people died in the blast or it’s after effects.  Most Japanese homes were wood and bamboo so the affect was greater than say against a city of brick buildings.

5.   The bomb went off 1,900 feet above the Shima Hospital near a T shaped bridge over the Matayashu River and the Ota Rive.
6.   The atomic bomb killed between 90,000 and 100,000 people.  It is believed that another 100,000 were affected by the radiation from the bomb.
7.    They were held in Washington DC at the Pentagon

8.   The reason for 2 bombs was Japan didn’t surrender after the 1st bomb.  After the 1st bomb the Soviets invaded Japan controlled Manchuria or northern China.  The 2nd bomb finally convinced the Japanese Emperor to surrender.  Even then some in the Japanese Army didn’t want to surrender and attempted a coup.  It failed and the Emperor's voice as heard on the Radio calling for surrender
9.   Hundreds if not thousands spied against the US.  The main country spying on the US was the Soviet Union.,_1930%E2%80%931945

10.   Some names such as Takeo Yoshikawa a Japanese intelligence officer helped spy on Pearl Harbor before the attack.  Judith Coplon a NKVD agent. David Greenglass stole design plans for the atomic bomb and gave them to the Soviets.  The big ones were the Rosenbergs a husband and wife team working for the NKVD gave the soviet invaluable data on how to build an atomic bomb.

11.   Not many because so few knew of it existence.  Admiral Leahy part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doubted the bomb work.  Some scientists feared how the bomb would work but by 1944 most scientists in the project saw the math and believed the bomb would work.

12.   The down sides of working on the bomb was the poor location mainly Los Alamos.  Los Alamos was a dusty small town in the middle of nowhere.  Not a great place to live but far away from any major cities.  Most people working on the project didn’t know what they were working on.  You had to sign secrecy paper work and still you didn’t know what you in the end were building.  There was huge pressure so stress was very real and the science was new and untried.  Many people were exposed to radiation in testing many of the parts that built the bomb.

13.   The US bombed Japan over Germany because Germany surrendered in May of 1945 the bomb was not ready until July when it was tested.  

14. The first bomber was the Enola Gay its crew
•      Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. (1915–2007) – Pilot and Aircraft commander
•   Captain Robert A. Lewis (1917–1983) – Co-pilot; Enola Gay's assigned aircraft commander*
•   Major Thomas Ferebee (1918–2000) – Bombardier; replaced regular crewman Donald Orrphin.
•   Captain Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk (1921–) – Navigator[N 4]
•   U.S. Navy Captain William S. "Deak" Parsons (1901–1953) – Weaponeer and bomb commander.
•   Lieutenant Jacob Beser (1921–1992)  – Radar countermeasures (also the only man to fly on both of the nuclear bombing aircraft)
•   Second Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson (1922–2010)  – Assistant weaponeer
•   Technical Sergeant George R. "Bob" Caron (1919–1995)  – Tail gunner*
•   Technical Sergeant Wyatt E. Duzenbury (1913–1992) – Flight engineer*
•   Sergeant Joe S. Stiborik (1914–1984) – Radar operator*
•   Sergeant Robert H. Shumard (1920–1967)  – Assistant flight engineer*
•   Private First Class Richard H. Nelson (1925–2003) – VHF radio operator*
The second bomber was Bockscar its crew          Maj Charles W. Sweeney (1919 – 2004), Aircraft Commander, N. Quincy, MA
•   Capt Charles Donald "Don" Albury (1920 – 2009), Co-pilot (pilot of Crew C-15),[2] Miami, FL
•   2nd Lt Frederick "Fred" J. Olivi (1922 – 2004), Regular Co-pilot
•   Capt James F. Van Pelt, Jr. (1918 – 1994), Navigator, Oak Hill, WV
•   Capt Kermit K. Beahan (1918 – 1989),[34][35] Bombardier, Houston, TX
•   MSgt John D. Kuharek (1914 – 2001), Flight Engineer, Columbus, NE
•   SSgt Raymond C. Gallagher, (1921 – 1999), Gunner, assistant flight engineer, Chicago, IL
•   SSgt Edward K. Buckley, (1913 – 1981), Radar Operator, Lisbon, OH
•   Sgt Abe M. Spitzer, (1912 – 1984), Radio Operator, Bronx, NY
•   Sgt Albert T. "Pappy" DeHart, (1915 – 1976), Tail Gunner, Plainview, TX
•   CDR Frederick "Dick" Lincoln Ashworth (1912 – 2005,) (USN), Weaponeer
•   1st Lt Philip Michael Barnes, (1917 – 1998), (USN), Assistant Weaponeer
•   2nd Lt Jacob Beser, (1921 – 1992), Radar Countermeasures, Baltimore, MD (Lt. Beser flew on both atomic missions, serving as the radar countermeasures crewman on the Enola Gay, August 6, 1945 and Bockscar, August 9, 1945).

15.   There was no planned time.  As both bombers approached Japan there were weather planes letting them which cities had the right conditions for attack.  Hiroshima was attacked at 8:15AM on August 6 1945and Nagasaki was attacked at 11:10AM on August 9 1945

16.   Why Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Hiroshima was targeted because it had not yet experience a firebombing attack.  It had sustained no damage in earlier bombing raids.  The city also had a 20,000 man military unit and a military head quarters. Nagasaki was attacked because it was a major port and had a major torpedo building center.  Also the main target for the 2nd bomb Kokura was covered by clouds.

17.   The countries in the Manhattan Project where the US, Great Britain and Canada.  There were Physicists from other countries but those countries had no active role.
18.   The bomb dropped on Hiroshima destroyed over 2/3 of the building in the city and Killed 90,000 to 100,000.  At the center of the explosion the temperate for an instant was hotter than the sun.  A matter energy explosion.

19.   After the bombing many people abandoned the city for family in other towns.  Many people lived in tents as the Japanese had little in the way to help with the war going badly for them.

20.   The survivors made their way to tents and if they were luckily to family outside of town.

I hope helps and if you need any more information please fell free to ask.

Thank you  

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Paul Sutton


I can answer questions on World War Two weapons, tactics, and strategy. I can answer questions on Weapons systems and their development. I can answer guestions on Space exploration history. I am a World War 2 expert. I study Military Weapons Systems and the usage of those systems.


I work for Saint Petersburg College as a TRS or Technology resources specialist. I read 10 to 15 books a year on World War 2 and weapon systems. I also have a BA in History from USF.

I have a BA in history from USF.

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