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ON THIS DAY

06 August 1945. US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The first atomic bomb has been dropped by a United States aircraft on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. President Harry S Truman, announcing the news from the cruiser, USS Augusta, in the mid-Atlantic, said the device was more than 2,000 times more powerful than the largest bomb used to date. An accurate assessment of the damage caused has so far been impossible due to a huge cloud of impenetrable dust covering the target. Hiroshima is one of the chief supply depots for the Japanese army. The bomb was dropped from an American B-29 Superfortress, known as Enola Gay, at 0815 local time. The plane’s crew say they saw a column of smoke rising and intense fires springing up. “We found the Japanese in our locality were not eager to befriend us – after all, they had not long ago had the most fearful weapon of all time dropped on their doorstep.” The President said the atomic bomb heralded the “harnessing of the basic power of the universe”. It also marked a victory over the Germans in the race to be first to develop a weapon using atomic energy. President Truman went on to warn the Japanese the Allies would completely destroy their capacity to make war. The Potsdam declaration issued 10 days ago, which called for the unconditional surrender of Japan, was a last chance for the country to avoid utter destruction, the President said. “If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on Earth. Behind this air attack will follow by sea and land forces in such number and power as they have not yet seen, but with fighting skill of which they are already aware.” (Source: BBC)
9 August 1945: Atom bomb hits Nagasaki. American forces have dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki – the second such attack on Japan in three days. The bomb was dropped by parachute from an American B29 Bomber at 1102 local time. It exploded about 1,625 ft (500m) above the ground and is believed to have completely destroyed the city, which is situated on the western side of the Japanese island of Kyushu. “Ignorant of the contamination risks they were taking, they were bussed to Nagasaki for transfer to Okinawa.” In a statement issued from Guam, General Carl A Spaatz, Commander of the US Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, said: “The second use of the atomic bomb occurred at noon, August 9, at Nagasaki. “Crew members report good results. No further details will be available until the mission returns.” American airmen flying many miles from Nagasaki have said smoke from fires in the city was rising 50,000ft (15,240m). Nagasaki is one of Japan’s most important ports providing vital access to and from Shanghai. Three days ago a similar device was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Japan’s largest island, Honshu. The extent of the damage caused to Hiroshima is not yet known but Japanese broadcasts indicate that “enormous devastation” has been done. No reaction to the Nagasaki attack has yet been given by Japan but pressure is growing on the country to surrender. Yesterday the USSR joined forces with the allies and declared war on Japan. (Source: BBC)

09 August 1971: NI activates internment law. The Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, has introduced a new law giving the authorities the power to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists without trial. The decision by Stormont, the government in Northern Ireland, to implement the new measures was made in the wake of escalating violence and increased bombings in the province and the threat to Northern Ireland’s economy. The move has been welcomed by Unionist MPs but has been fiercely condemned by Republicans. More than 300 suspects have already been detained in a series of dawn raids today. The decision to bring back the internment law for the first time in 10 years, under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act, was made last week following consultation with British prime minister, Ted Heath

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