On 6 August 1945, a US bomber dropped the uranium bomb above the city, killing around 140,000 people.
Three days later a second nuclear weapon was dropped on Nagasaki. Two weeks later Japan surrendered, ending World War Two.
Germany surrendered to Allied forces in May 1945, but World War Two continued in Asia as the Allies fought imperial Japan.
The United States believed that dropping a nuclear bomb – after Tokyo rejected an earlier ultimatum for peace – would force a quick surrender without risking US casualties on the ground.
Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. (23 February 1915 – 1 November 2007) was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the pilot who flew the B-29 Superfortress known as the Enola Gay (named after his mother) when it dropped Little Boy , the first of two atomic bombs used in warfare, on the Japanese city of
Tibbets, who maintained that he didn’t have any regrets about the World War II mission, had been in decline for months.
Tibbets’ wishes were not to have a funeral or a headstone. His confidant Gerry Newhouse explained that Tibbets had concerns that his detractors would protest at his gravesite.
On that first mission, Tibbets saw in real time that his bombs were falling on innocent civilians. At the time, he thought to himself, “People are getting killed down there that don’t have any business getting killed. Those are not soldiers.”
But then he thought back to a lesson he had learned during his time at medical school from his roommate who was a doctor. This doctor explained to him about his former classmates who failed the program and ended up in drug sales.
The reason why they had failed the program was because “they had too much sympathy for their patients”, which “destroyed their ability to render the medical necessities”.
Paul Tibbets, who piloted the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb, died at age 92.