In 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the eve of Japan's defeat in the Pacific War. The first atomic bomb ever used fell on Hiroshima on August 6, destroying 90% of the city and killing an estimated 200,000. Three days later on August 9, an even more powerful plutonium bomb fell on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 90,000. These events powerfully affected Japan's postwar history, inaugurated the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, and marked the beginning of the atomic age.
This exhibit brings together photographs of the aftermath of the bombings to suggest visually what cannot be adequately explained by facts, graphs, and numbers: the human toll, the physical devastation, and the unimaginable scale of destruction wrought by the dropping of two bombs in two cities.