HIROSHIMA BY THE SPLIT SECOND

8:15:15….75 years ago at this time in Japan on 6 August, the Enola Gay’s bomb bay doors open and Little Boy drops clear. The bombardier announces:”Bomb away.” Enola Gay rises ten feet as the 9,700 pound bomb is released. It is rush hour in Hirsohima 31,000 feet below.

For 44.4 more seconds, the Enola Gay flies north and then Little Boy explodes. Three consecutive shockwaves strike the Enola Gay and the fuselage groans “with the sound of crinkling aluminum foil.”

Far below, in Hiroshima, the first atomic bomb kills at unprecedented speed. According to one scientific report: “The superheated air above the ground glows. A woman sitting on steps on the bank of the Ota river, a half a mile away from ground zero, instantly vaporizes. 0.2-0.3 seconds: Intense infrared energy is released and instantly burns exposed skin for miles in every direction.”

Hell has arrived on earth. “Building roofing tiles fuse together. A bronze Buddha statue melts, and even granite stones. Roof tiles fuse together, wooden telephone poles carbonize and become charcoal-like. The soft internal organs (viscera) of humans and animals are evaporated.”

Tens of thousands of human beings die in less than a blink of an eye. “The blast wave propagates outward at two miles per second or 7,200 miles per hour. 1.0 second and beyond: The fireball reaches its maximum size, approximately 900 feet in diameter. The blast wave slows to approximately the speed of sound (768 miles per hour).”

The heat is greater than the surface of the sun. “The temperature at ground level directly beneath the blast (hypocenter) is at 7,000° F. The mushroom cloud begins to form. The blast wave spreads fire outward in all directions at 984 miles per hour and tears and scorches the clothing off every person in its path.”

People are literally turned to atomic shadows. “Nuclear shadows appear for the first time as a result of the extreme thermal radiation. These shadows are outlines of humans and objects that blocked the thermal radiation.”

8:16:01. At least eighty thousand civilians are by now dead 75 years ago in Hiroshima, less than were killed during a single night’s firebombing of Tokyo. Radiation will kill at least another 60,000 by year’s end. Japan surrenders in nine days’ time.

About alexkershaw

WRITER AND JOURNALIST AUTHOR OF NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS ABOUT WWII
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