The Allies of World War II called for the unconditional surrender of the Empire of Japan with the Potsdam Declaration on 26 July 1945 or face “prompt and utter destruction”. Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki responded to the declaration with Mokusatsu, a Japanese term that has no direct translation in any European language and is even ambiguous in Japanese. The word can translate innocuously as “to refrain from comment” or offensively as “to treat with silent contempt” and many similar meanings in-between. The Domei News Agency, unsure of which meaning Suzuki meant, chose the more offensive meaning when translating the statement into English for transmittal on the 28th of July.
The first atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”, detonated over Japan was dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” on the manufacturing city of Hiroshima 6 August 1945, at approximately 08:16. With a flash of electromagnetic radiation, an overpressure shockwave of 34 kPa (5 psi), and temperatures in excess of 6,000 C (10,830 F), the bomb decimated everything within a 1.75km (1.1mi) radius of the blast center. The shells of approximately 50 heavily reinforced, earthquake-resistant concrete structures were all that remained standing in the aftermath of the explosion.
Hiroshima’s devastation failed to elicit immediate Japanese surrender therefore three days later the second atomic bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man”, was detonated over Japan. Dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Bockscar” on the industrial city of Nagasaki 9 August 1945, at approximately 11:02.
At noon on 15 August 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced his county’s unconditional surrender. [Fan generated content by: Joe Arino]