IntroductionThe development and usage of the first atomic bombs has caused a change in military, political, and public functionality of the world today. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki revolutionized warfare by killing large masses of civilian population with a single strike. The bombs’ effects from the blast, extreme heat, and radiation left an estimated 140,000 people dead. The bombs created a temporary resolution that lead to another conflict.
The Cold War was a political standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States that again created a new worldwide nuclear threat. The destructive potential of nuclear weapons had created a global sweep of fear as to what might happen if these terrible forces where unleashed again. The technology involved in building the first atomic bombs has grown into the creation of nuclear weapons that are potentially 40 times more powerful than the original bombs used. However, a military change in strategy has came to promote nuclear disarmament and prevent the usage of nuclear weapons.
The technology of building the atomic bomb has spurred some useful innovations that can be applied through the use of nuclear power. The fear of a potential nuclear attack had been heightened by the media and its release of movies impacting on public opinion and fear of nuclear devastation. The lives lost after the detonation of the atomic bombs have become warning signs that changed global thinking and caused preventative actions. The Atomic BombThe devastation brought about by the atomic bomb has caused fear among all the people that have realized the potential destructive power of its invention. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 completely obliterated both cities (Lanouette 30). “Little Boy,” the bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 70,000 people with an additional 66,000 injured (30-39).
“Fat Man,” the bomb dropped on Nagasaki also carried its “share of America’s duty” by killing 40,000 people and injuring another 25,000 (30-39). The bombs also killed an estimated 230,000 more people from the after effects of the two explosions (30). The two bombings had opened the world’s eyes to the destructive power that could be unleashed by man. The bombs had raised hell on earth for those few minutes and produced a tremendous amount of casualties. The way people had died was shocking.
More than 75% of the people killed died from the instantaneous heat and light at the moment of explosion called “flash burns” (“Summary of Damages and Injuries” 3, 25). During the first minute of the explosion many injuries where caused by the instantaneous penetrating radiation from the nuclear explosion (3). Other casualties came from burning fires that had ignited throughout the cities from the tremendous heat of the blast (3). The pressure of the blast waves created flying debris, collapsed buildings, and forcibly hurled people to their death (3). Undoubtedly those who survived the initial effects of the blast were very lucky. The amount of deaths caused by the blast itself was incomparable to the number of lives lost to the other effects after the initial explosion (“Summary of Damages and Injuries” 3).
The inferno created by the bomb wasn’t from the explosion itself, but the after effects of fires, collapsed buildings, and flying debris (3). “In Hiroshima fires sprang up simultaneously all over the wide flat central area of the city;” these fires combined to form immense fire storms which continued to destroy anything that had not already been destroyed by the blast. Buildings that had encountered considerable structure damage collapsed and continued to take even more lives (13). In the end both cities were left totally obliterated with nearly all of their residential districts and businesses flattened and most of their citizens dead (14).
The technology that had built the atomic bomb helped the “world get a glimpse of its own mortality” (Lanouette 28). The power of mass destruction had been taken out of nature’s hands and was now controlled by people. This created a worldwide anxiety of how this newly cast power could be used and changed how the world functions today. The atomic bombs may have resolved one conflict, but with that resolution arose many more. The controversy over nuclear weapons would soon take .