The closest I ever got to an Atom Bomb was in 1995, when, on a visit to my Son in the US I went to the wonderful National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC to see again the ‘Spirit of St. Lewis’, the single engine aircraft which Lindberg first flew across the Atlantic Ocean all those years ago. As the Bus stopped and the door was flung open, I was confronted by a very large building which had the Wing of a large aircraft poking through the building’s Stonework side! I walked to the corner of the building and turned to walk under the tail of the aircraft which was poking through the side next to the Museum Entrance. I followed a queue which eventually took me under the aircraft’s ‘belly, where a megaphone speaker informed us that this aircraft was the Enola Gay, and fifty years ago before the day of my visit she had dropped the first Atom Bomb onto the unsuspecting 80,000 people who lived in this small Town and were to meet their Maker in the ‘flicker of an eyelid‘. We were informed that the huge ‘egg shaped Bomb laying on the ground under the open Bomb Bay Doors, was the reserve weapon which they had brought back from Hiroshima.
Harry Truman (the man who coined the phrase The Buck Stops Here), telephoned Col. Paul Tibbets who was the pilot of the Enola Gay (he had named the Aircraft after his Mother), “If you get any flak from the (q@imdzoe) do-gooders, tell them to give me a call, It was I who sent you!” Truman was a man known for use of basic words. (Soldier’s language, as my Mother called it). Tibbets, speaking at age 83 years, made it clear: “There is no morality in Warfare, you kill children, you kill women, you kill old men. You don’t seek them out, but they die!"
As the Boeing B 29 Super-Fortress Bomber stood on the concrete runway at the Tinian Air Base in the Pacific, the Medical Officer walked from his car to the Aircraft, shook the Pilot’s hand, wished them luck and handed the Colonel a small box containing 12 Cyanide Capsules (just in case of capture). It was the Japanese tradition to be-head all captured Officers as a mark of respect and distinction for the Officer Class. On the Plus Side, each of the 12 members of the crew had a Silk Handkerchief sewn into the lapel of his flying jacket, the crew were divided into 7 officers, 4 Sergeants and one enlisted man (Radio op. ) The hanky had printed on it, all of the information needed for the crew to escape from the region in the event of a forced landing. Including the map of Hiroshima. I now have one of those Silk Handkerchiefs, with the date and the Target clearly shown.
As the Americans fought on in 1945, more and more ‘of their boys’ did not come home, the Japanese were a fearsome foe who would (and did) fight to the last man, if Truman had any doubts about using the Atom Bomb, they were quickly dispelled by the ‘losses’ at Okinawa, forty eight thousand men fought their way inland from the beaches, twelve thousand of them came home in coffins.
At 2.41am on the 7th May 1945 US General Bedell-Smith and British General Montgomery accepted Germany’s Final Surrender. But The Japanese Surrender was nowhere in sight and thousands of American Troops were being killed by the solid Japanese resistance. The proposed invasion of the mainland of Japan would end in massive slaughter on both sides. Truman needed to have everything in place for an Immediate Strike, so the US Heavy Cruiser Indianapolis was despatched and carried her secret cargo to Tinian Island in the Western Pacific. That done, she was almost immediately torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese Submarine I-58. Indianapolis lost 1,196 men from a crew of 1,512, making this the worst Maritime disaster for the American people in WW2. A Huge Price to Pay for the delivery of one Atomic Bomb encased in a lead cylinder weighing several hundred pounds. read Abandon Ship by Richard Newcome.
President Harry S. Truman, (with the backing of Churchill and Stalin) was ready with the Atomic Bombs in place, but made one last attempt at bringing the Leadership in Japan to their senses, he sent one Final Note to Baron K. Sozufi to Surrender and bring the War in the Pacific to a conclusion. The Baron Refused and gave an undertaking to fight on to the end.
Henry Stinson, Secretary of War wrote, "The least abhorrent choice was The use of the Atom Bomb."
Winston Churchill gave his verdict. "To avoid a vast Indefinite Butchery; To bring the War in the Pacific to an end; To give Peace to The World; To lay Healing Hands upon its Tortured Peoples;
The awful Atom Bomb is a Miracle of Deliverance!"