Hiroshima History

History of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

On August 6, 1945, at approximately 8:15 in the morning, during World War II, an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The blinding explosion immediately killed an estimated 80,000 people; those who survived the initial blast were hit with a powerful shockwave that leveled nearly every structure within a mile of the impact. It was followed by intense heat that created a firestorm that engulfed the city and claimed even more lives. Tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender in World War II in a radio address on August 15, citing the devastating power of “a new and most cruel bomb.”
Because of the extent of the devastation and chaos, the exact number of deaths from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain unknown. However, it’s estimated roughly 70,000 to 135,000 people died in Hiroshima and 60,000 to 80,000 people died in Nagasaki, both from acute exposure to the blasts and from long-term side effects of radiation.


Thousands of atomic bomb survivors have been suffering from late effects of radiation, including some of our own Seattle Hiroshima Club members. Thus, the club is dedicated to educating the public on the devastating and destructive effects of atomic bombs.
Every year on August 6, the Japanese city of Hiroshima comes together to remember its destruction and honor those killed by the bomb at the peace memorial and lantern floating ceremonies. A similar ceremony happens each year on August 9 in Nagasaki to honor those who were lost.
Here in Seattle, we jointly host a special memorial service at the Seattle Betsuin, to remember those who lost their lives in the bombing and its aftermath. We also support From Hiroshima to Hope, an annual lantern floating ceremony, honoring the victims of the bombing and promotion of peace.
The Seattle Hiroshima Club also supports visits by doctors from the Hiroshima Prefecture who specialize in the effects of radiation. These physicians provide an opportunity to help those survivors living in the United States, by alleviating concerns due to their exposure to radiation in the 1945 bombings and to promote overall health, in their native dialects.