Onset of the Nuclear Age

  • Samuel R. WilliamsonJr.
  • Steven L. Rearden
Part of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomatic and Economic History book series (WOOROO)


On August 6, 1945, the world entered the age of nuclear warfare when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese industrial city of Hiroshima. Three days later the United States followed up with a second atomic attack, this time against Nagasaki. The immediate effects—over 100,000 people killed, six square miles and over 50 percent of the built-up areas of the two cities destroyed—were indeed stunning. But compared with the incendiary raids against Tokyo and other Japanese cities a few months earlier, the damage was in fact no more devastating.1 What was different about the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the power compressed into them, the swiftness of the destruction they caused, and, of course, their unique, unprecedented source of energy. As a shocked world absorbed the news that the secret of the atom had at last been broken, there also came the sobering reality that the ultimate weapon might well have been discovered. Armageddon, it seemed, had taken another fateful step closer.


Atomic Energy Atomic Bomb Diary Entry Manhattan Project Exploratory Talk 
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Copyright information

© Samuel R. Williamson, Jr. and Steven L. Rearden 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel R. WilliamsonJr.
    • 1
  • Steven L. Rearden
    • 2
  1. 1.SewaneeUSA
  2. 2.USA

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