First Atomic Bomb (20,000-Ton TNT Power) Hits Japan

7 August 1945 The Daily News (Perth, WA)

Washington, Mon -The first atomic bomb ever used in warfare, with a blasting power greater than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. and 2000 times greater than that of the largest bomb used up to now, has been dropped on Japan. 

Target chosen was the port and ordnance centre of Hiroshima, which had a population of 318,000.

After the bomb fell, an impenetrable pall of dust and smoke cloaked the city.

Until this clears, the world will not know what shattered devastation and ruin this frightful new weapon wrought at what was Hiroshima.   

But when a test was made last month in the New Mexico desert, the terrific force of the explosion    jarred windows in homes as far distant as southern Arizona, the next State.          

At Albuqerque, 120 miles away, when the flash from the test explosion lit the sky, a blind girl, before the explosion could be heard, asked "What was that?"   Said President Truman, who last night announced the use of the bomb: "The Japanese may now expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on earth." 

"We are now prepared to obliterate completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city.

We shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war." 

President Truman said that the discovery of the atomic bomb might open the way for an entirely new concept of force and power.

He forecast that sea and land forces would follow up this attack in numbers and power which the Japanese had never be- fore seen. 

Office of War Information has already begun broadcasting President Truman's statement to Japan from San Francisco, Hawaii and Saipan.

Statement will also be included in leaflets dropped over Japan. 

Correspondents predict that the Allies will now give Japan another ultimatum of surrender or be destroyed. 

Scientists have been working since 1939, at a cost of more than 650, 000,000, in both Britain and America in what President Truman called the greatest scientific gamble in history. 

Race With Nazis It was a race with German scientists, who also were working feverishly to discover a way to use atomic energy.   

Said Winston Churchill: ''By God's mercy British and American science outpaced all German efforts.

Possession of these powers by the Germans might at any time have altered the result of the war." 

In his statement, which was writ ten while he was Prime Minister and which was released by Prime Minister Attlee last night, Mr Churchill said that every effort was made by the Intelligence and air force to locate in German-occupied Europe anything resembling the atom-bomb plants which the Allies were building in America.  

 In the winter of 1942-43, gallant attacks were made by British commandos and Norwegian forces upon stores of what was called "heavy water" - an element in one of the possible atom-bomb processes.

The second of these attacks, which were made at heavy cost of life, was completely successful.     

Allied plants were established in America as Britain could not afford interference with her current munitions programme and because Britain was within easy range of enemy bombers.     

Up to that time parallel progress had been made in experiments by British and American scientists working in cooperation.   

Canadian Government provided an indispensable raw material and the facilities for a section of the work which was carried out in Canada.   

'Manhattan Project' 

"Manhattan project" was the name under which the atomic bomb was produced.   

Those two words magically conjured up needed materials, however scarce, as well as the manpower to carry out the vast research.

"Manhattan project" whispered into the right ears meant the highest priorities for materials and manpower. 

Thousands knew of the "Manhattan project" but few knew more than that it was a super-secret.   

Scores of universities and scientific laboratories had a part in the work.

They were assigned to one problem at a time, providing the answers without knowing where their work was ultimately leading. 

Army officers who carried even the smallest bits of information about the "Manhattan project" moved with the briefcases chained to their wrists and often with a guard of ten. 

Releasing details of the years of work, War Secretary Stimson said   that a group of British scientists transferred to America in 1943.   

In addition, one of Denmark's great scientists, Dr Neils Bohr, was whisked from the grasp of the Nazis in Denmark and later helped in the bomb's development.

A vast excluded area was established at Richland in Washington State comprising 15 townships and half a million, acres, every acre of which was purchased by the Government. 

Richland chemical plants are the most remarkable ever designed.   

Enormous quantities of materials are handled through many successive processes with no human eye ever seeing what actually goes on except through a complicated series of dials and panels enabling the operators to   maintain perfect control of every single operation at all times.     

Operations are performed in remote cells and when each is completed the treated material invisibly moves on to the next cell until the process ends, when the material Desert Experiment emerges ready for the next stage at other plants. 

Age of atomic force was ushered in when a group of renowned scientists and military leaders assembled in New Mexico Desert to witness experiments. 

The test took place on July 17 at Alamogordo air base where a small amount of the matter which was the product of a chain of plants was made to release the energy which has been locked up within the atom from time's beginning. 

Final assembly of the atomic bomb began on July 12 in an old ranch house where the various components were put together. 

One false move would have blasted the scientists and their efforts into eternity.   

On July 14 the unit which was to determine the success or failure of the entire project was elevated to the top of a steel tower.   

All that day and the next preparations went on. Nearest look-out point was established 10,000 yards from the steel tower and key figures in the experiment took up positions ten miles away.

They were instructed to lie down with their heads away from the blast. 

At the appointed time there was a blinding flash which lit up the whole area brighter than the brightest daylight.

 A mountain range three miles from the observation point stood out in bold relief. 

Then came a tremendous sustained roar and a heavy pressure wave which knocked down two men outside the control centre. 

Immediately after that a huge multi-coloured surging cloud boiled to an altitude exceeding 40,000 feet.

The test was over. "Manhattan project" was a success.

The steel tower had been entirely vaporised.

Where the tower had stood there was a huge sloping crater.   

Scientists, dazed but relieved, promptly marshalled their forces to estimate the strength of the new weapon. 

Major-General Leslie Groves, head of atomic bomb project, said: "First came a burst of light of a brilliance beyond any comparison.

We all rolled over and looked through dark glasses at the ball of fire.   

"About 40 seconds later came the shock wave, followed by the sound."  

Sixty-five thousand people are now working in plants for producing atomic power. 

British Research Mr Churchill's statement says that the early (1939) British research into the possibilities of an atomic bomb was carried out mainly at Oxford, Cambridge, London, Liverpool and Birmingham Universities.  

Ministry of Aircraft Production was   advised on it by a scientific committee headed by Sir George Thomson.

By the summer of 1941 the committee was able to report that there was a reasonable chance of the atomic bomb being produced before the end of the war. 

General responsibility for directing the research was later given to then Lord President of the Council Sir John Anderson.

In 1942 it was decided to proceed with the construction of large-scale production plants in America and a number of British scientists went there to assist.

"It is now for Japan to realise in the glare of the first atomic bomb which has smitten her what the consequences will be of indefinite continuance of this terrible means of maintaining the rule of law in the world," Mr Churchill said.     

"This revelation of the secrets of nature, long mercifully withheld from man, should arouse the most solemn reflections in the minds and consciences of every human being capable of comprehension. 

"We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will conduce to peace among nations and that, instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe, they may become a perennial fountain of world prosperity.