On August 6, 1945, at 8:16 am, Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped the world’s first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people were killed as a direct result of the blast.
Three days later, a second atom bomb was dropped on Japan by the United States, at Nagasaki, killing around 120,000 people and resulting finally in Japan’s unconditional surrender.
Now whether Japan would have surrendered even if the US had not nuked it, is a matter that's still hotly disputed up until this day, but what is beyond debate is the historical fact that Japan did not surrender to the US before the US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, but only after Nagasaki was nuked as well on August 9.
Archive footage of Hiroshima bombing.
The people who argue that Japan would've surrendered even if it wasn't nuked base their assumptions on reports and statement issued by US intelligence and army officials in 1944-1945 that argued that in their opinion Japan would surrender and nuking it was unnecessary.
The problem was that these US intelligence and army officials had zero knowledge or understanding of what went on in Japan at that time and how the Japanese high command, government and of course emperor Hirohito had no intention of surrendering.
The Japanese military, government and emperor wanted to continue the war with the US at all costs. Japan not only had no intention of surrendering, but was determined to carry out the war to the bitter end.
It had husbanded over 8,000 aircraft, many of them Kamikazes, hundreds of explosive-packed suicide boats, and over two million well equipped regular soldiers on the Japanese mainland, backed by a huge citizen’s militia.
When the Americans landed, the Japanese intended to hit them with everything they had, to impose on them such casualties that might break their will to continue with the invasion.
If this did not do it, then the remnants of the army and the militias would fight on as guerrillas, protected by the mountains and by the civilian population, emulating how Japanese soldiers had been fighting throughout the pacific campaign during WW2, by preferring to die in a hopeless battle rather than surrender to US forces.
Japanese Kamikaze pilots.
What most people are not aware is thet Japan refused to surrender even after the US nuked Hiroshima on August 6.
On August 9, three days after Hiroshima was nuked, Japan learned that the Soviet Union had invaded Manchuria and attacked Japanese forces there. Still, this would not convince Japan and the Japanese leadership to delcare its surrender and the army and the Minister of War prepared to impose martial law to prevent any peacemaking.
Then, the Japanese government learned that another bomb had exploded at Nagasaki.
Following the bombing of Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito intervened and on August 10 ordered the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, which was deadlocked and would not consent to surrender up until that point, to accept the terms the Allies had set down in the Potsdam Declaration for ending the war.
Nagasaki being nuked on August 9.
Incidentally, a captured B-29 pilot who was shot down on August 8 and was brutally interrogated about the atomic bombs, saved his life by lying under torture that the US had 100 bombs, convincing the Japanese that destruction was inevitable.
The pilot, Marcus McDilda, was lying. He knew nothing of the Manhattan Project, and simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear to end the torture. The lie, which caused him to be classified as a high-priority prisoner, probably saved him from beheading, and might have been on of the factors that pushed the Japanese to finally declare their surrender.
In reality, the United States would have had the third bomb ready for use around August 19, and a fourth in September 1945. The third bomb probably would have been used against Tokyo.
On August 10, after agonized meetings overnight, Japan informed the Allies via the Swiss that Japan would accept the Potsdam Declaration terms as long as the emperor was retained.
However even after 10 of August there was an attempted coup by a segment of the military leadership, which invaded the imperial palace and nearly killed the Prime Minister, as well as other senior officials.
After several more days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and the failed military coup d'état, Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address across the Empire on August 15.
In the radio address, which signaled the surrender of Japan to the Allies, and officialy ended WW2, Hirohito's acknowledged that Japan surrendered not because it lost the war, but only because they were afraid that the US would wipe them of the map.
Read about how the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is used to whitewash Japan's monstrous WW2 history.
Read about Emperor Hirohito, history's greatest unacknowledged war criminal.
Duncan Anderson, "Nuclear Power: The End of the War Against Japan."
Robert Harvey, " The Undefeated: Rise, Fall and Rise of Modern Japan."
Theodore Harold White, "In Search of History."
Surrender Rescript of Emperor Hirohito