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34.359N) was founded in 1594 on the delta of the Ota River.
The city sits on six islands connected by numerous bridges. It is
important manufacturing center and the communications hub of a
agricultural region. The population in 1940 was 344,000 persons.
Hiroshima was an important port and major military
center in 1941. It was headquarters for 59 Army, and nearby was
U.S. Air Force.
By August 1945, Hiroshima was the headquarters of 2 General Army and the military
population stood at about 43,000 soldiers. The city had been spared
from fire bombing prior to 3 July 1945, largely because it had almost no aircraft industry. On
that date, the Joint
Chiefs of Staff ordered that there be no
conventional air attack on the city, which had been identified as a
target for nuclear attack.
On 8:16 on the morning of 6 August 1945, at least 60% of Hiroshima was
by a 12.5-kiloton nuclear weapon, "Little Boy,"
dropped from the B-29
Superfortress Enola Gay.
Authorities had sounded an air raid alert at 7:09 when a weather reconnaissance B-29 flew over
the city, but the all clear sounded shortly thereafter, and no new
alert was sounded as the Enola Gay
approached. As a result, much of the city's population were outdoors
and fully exposed to the flash and shock (Pikadon in Japanese) of the nuclear
explosion. The bomb run was almost flawlessly executed and the bomb
exploded 550 feet (170m) southeast of the aiming point (Aioi Bridge.)
The immediate death toll of the Hiroshima attack was about 80,000, and additional delayed deaths from radiation sickness are thought to have pushed the death toll well above 100,000.
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