August 9 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the day on which Nagasaki was devastated by an Atomic bomb, Fat Man, which was dropped by the United States B-29 Bockscar during World War II on August 9 1945. 35,000 people were killed outright, including 23,200-28,200 Japanese war workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers. For 12 months prior to the nuclear attack, Nagasaki had experienced five small-scale air attacks by an aggregate of 136 planes which dropped a total of 270 tons of high explosive, 53 tons of incendiary, and 20 tons of fragmentation bombs. Of these, a raid of August 1, 1945, was most effective, with few of the bombs hitting the shipyards and dock areas in in the southwest portion of the city, several hitting the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, and six bombs landing at the Nagasaki Medical School and Hospital, with three direct hits on buildings there. While the damage from these few bombs was relatively small, it created considerable concern in Nagasaki and a number of people, principally school children, were evacuated to rural areas for safety, thus reducing the population in the city at the time of the atomic attack.
On the day of the nuclear strike on Thursday, August 9, 1945, the population in Nagasaki was estimated to be 263,000, which consisted of 240,000 Japanese residents, 10,000 Korean residents, 2,500 conscripted Korean workers, 9,000 Japanese soldiers, 600 conscripted Chinese workers, and 400 Allied POWs. That day, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar, commanded by Major Charles Sweeney, departed from Tinian’s North Field just before dawn, this time carrying a plutonium bomb code named “Fat Man”. The primary target for the bomb was Kokura, with the secondary target, Nagasaki, if the primary target was too cloudy to make a visual sighting. When the plane reached Kokura at 9:44 a.m. (10:44 a.m. Tinian Time), the city was obscured by clouds and smoke, as the nearby city of Yawata had been firebombed on the previous day. Unable to make a bombing attack on visual due to the clouds and smoke and with limited fuel, the plane left the city at 10:30 a.m. for the secondary target. After 20 minutes, the plane arrived at 10:50 a.m. over Nagasaki, but the city was also concealed by clouds. Desperately short of fuel and after making a couple of bombing runs without obtaining any visual target, the crew was forced to use radar in order to drop the bomb. At the last minute, the opening of the clouds allowed them to make visual contact with a racetrack in Nagasaki, and they dropped the bomb on the city’s Urakami Valley midway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works in the north. After 53 seconds of its release, the bomb exploded at 11:02 a.m. at an approximate altitude of 1,800 feet. This was the second and, to date, the last use of nuclear weaponry in combat, and also the second detonation of a plutonium bomb. The first was tested in central New Mexico, USA.
Within less than a second after the detonation, the north of the city was destroyed. Roughly 39,000–80,000 people were killed. About half of these died immediately, while the other half suffered lingering deaths .Among the deaths were 6,200 out of the 7,500 employees of the Mitsubishi Munitions plant, and thousands of others (including 2,000 Koreans) who worked in other war plants and factories in the city, as well as 150 Japanese soldiers. The industrial damage in Nagasaki was high, partly owing to the advertent targeting of the industrial zone, leaving 68–80 percent of the non-dock industrial production destroyed. The bomb was somewhat more powerful than the “Little Boy” bomb dropped over Hiroshima, but because of Nagasaki’s more uneven terrain, there was less damage.
After the war, the city was rebuilt albeit dramatically changed. The pace of reconstruction was slow. The first simple emergency dwellings were not provided until 1946. The focus on redevelopment was the replacement of war industries with foreign trade, shipbuilding and fishing. This was formally declared when the Nagasaki International Culture City Reconstruction Law was passed in May 1949. New temples were built, as well as new churches owing to an increase in the presence of Christianity. Some of the rubble was left as a memorial, such as a one-legged torii at Sannō Shrine and an arch near ground zero. New structures were also raised as memorials, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki remains first and foremost a port city, supporting a rich ship building industry and setting a strong example of perseverance and peace. On January 4, 2005, the towns of Iōjima, Kōyagi, Nomozaki, Sanwa, Sotome and Takashima (all from Nishisonogi District) were merged into Nagasaki.