Global Politics

Experience Hiroshima — What if the atomic bomb hit your hometown?

Hiroshima atomic bomb app screen capture lead image

Try our updated application below.

While President Obama is preparing to be the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima on Friday, how can the world honor the victims and survivors of the two horrifying atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 71 years ago?

Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima on that fateful morning of August 6, 1945, ultimately killed over 100,000 people while Fat Man, another atomic bomb dropped over Nagasaki three days later, took another 70,000 lives. In both cities, most of the victims were civilians.

Debates on whether the US should use nuclear weapons on civilian populations will not stop and more Americans have become less supportive of the attacks, but perhaps the first step to examine the issue is to put ourselves in the shoes of the victims.

On Obama's historic visit to Japan, we're republishing our Hiroshima atomic bomb application that allows you to visualize the damage of the same Hiroshima atomic bomb on another location in today's world, such as your hometown. And we've added new features.

This latest version also compares the damage generated by the Hiroshima bomb with the potential damage of modern atomic bombs currently being deployed by the US, Russia and China.

The estimated damage and fatalities were made based on several reports: The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prepared by the Manhattan Engineer District, a part of the Manhattan Project that created the atomic bomb, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagaski prepared by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, and computed data in Medical Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan by A. W. Oughterson and S. Warren. The estimation does not take into account the differences in geography and weather.

If you prefer a more scientific estimation of the damage and the options to choose different atomic bombs, Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology, has created a simulator called Nukemap.

If you wonder what was the damage done to Hiroshima then, the interactive image below shows the aerial photos of Hiroshima before and after the attack. Move the slider to see full images. The bottom image is a Google satellite image of today's Hiroshima.

Google Satellite image showing today's Hiroshima, 70 years after the atomic bomb attack.

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