National Archives News

The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945

Hiroshima after the atomic bomb

Photograph of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. (National Archives Identifier 22345671)

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the United States bombing the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The events of August 6 and August 9 were the first instances of atomic bombs used against humans, killing tens of thousands of people, obliterating the cities, and contributing to the end of World War II. The National Archives and Records Administrations maintains the documents that trace the evolution of the project to develop the bombs, to their use in 1945 and the aftermath. Researchers across the agency have compiled many of the resources available online for the public to explore.

Online Exhibits

Atomic bomb cloud over Nagasaki

The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki features a letter written by Luis Alvarez, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, on August 6, 1945, after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

[Photograph: The atomic cloud rising over Nagasaki, Japan, August 9, 1945. National Archives Identifier 535795]

 

A People at War looks at the 509 Composite Group, the unit selected to carry the atomic bomb to Hiroshima.

[Photograph: Col. Paul Tibbets, Jr., waves from the cockpit of the Enola Gay before departing for Hiroshima, August 6, 1945. National Archives Identifier 535737]

 


Photograph Gallery

 

Additional Photographs

Atomic Bomb Preparations at Tinian Island, 1945

Photographs used in the report Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan

Manhattan Project Notebook

Atomic bomb/Enola Gay preparations for the bombing missions

Post-bombing aerial and on-the-ground images of Hiroshima

Empty bottle of Chianti Bertolli wine signed by scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project


Archival Film

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Effects, 1945

The Last Bomb, a 1945 film, done in Technicolor, by the Army Air Forces Combat Camera Units and Motion Picture Units covering the B-29 bombing raids on Japan

Effects on the human body of radiation from the atomic bomb


Additional Records

New for 75th (newly scanned online): Photos: Atomic Bomb Preparations at Tinian Island, 1945

Photographs used in the report Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan

Manhattan Project Notebook

Atomic bomb/Enola Gay preparations for the bombing missions

Post-Hiroshima bombing aerial and on-the-ground images

Color image of Hiroshima after bombing


Blogs and Social Media Posts

Unwritten Record: Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Unwritten Record: Witness to Destruction: Photographs and Sound Recordings Documenting the Hiroshima Bombing

Forward with Roosevelt: Found in the Archives: The Einstein Letter

Pieces of History: Little Boy: The First Atomic Bomb

Pieces of History: Harry Truman and the Bomb

Pieces of History: Morgantown Ordnance Works (part of the Manhattan Project) Panoramas, 1940–1942

Today's Document: Petition from Manhattan Project Scientists to President Truman


For Educators

Docs Teach resources on the atomic bomb

Teaching with Documents: Photographs and Pamphlet about Nuclear Fallout

Kennedy Library: “The Presidency in the Nuclear Age”


At the Presidential Libraries

Roosevelt Library: Albert Einstein’s letter to FDR regarding the atomic bomb

Truman Library: “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

Truman Library: Additional records on the bombing of Hiroshima

Truman Library: President Truman's Diary Entry for July 17, 1945 (the day before Truman learned that the United States had successfully tested the world's first atomic bomb)

Truman Library: Memo for the Record, Manhattan Project, July 20, 1945

Truman Library: Petition from Leo Szilard and other scientists to President Truman

Eisenhower Library: Atoms for Peace

Kennedy Library: “The Presidency in the Nuclear Age: The Race to Build the Bomb and the Decision to Use It”

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