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Chilling leaflet that was dropped on Nagasaki by USA before the nuke

Tom Wood

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Chilling leaflet that was dropped on Nagasaki by USA before the nuke

Featured Image Credit: National WWII Museum/GL Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

The atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 killed an estimated 214,000 people and are the only nuclear weapons ever dropped in conflict, but before they were dropped the Allied forces dropped some terrifying leaflets warning the population of what was coming.

If there’s ever been a good argument against anyone having or using nuclear weapons, it’s the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While it did bring about Japan’s surrender in the days following August 6 and August 9, the civilian cost – and the cost to humanity in general – was a huge price to pay.

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However, you might not know that there were warnings given to people before the bombings took place, telling Japanese civilians to get the hell out of their cities before it happened.

The aftermath of the bomb on Hiroshima. Credit: Glasshouse Images/Alamy Stock Photo
The aftermath of the bomb on Hiroshima. Credit: Glasshouse Images/Alamy Stock Photo

The first round of leaflets – written in Japanese and English - warned that cities were to be targeted and destroyed, telling citizens to ‘evacuate these cities immediately’.

The leaflets distributed over several cities, including Hiroshima, and warned that the ‘most destructive explosive ever devised by man’ was to be brought to Japan.

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In full, the leaflets dropped before that fateful day in August 1945 read: “TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE:

“America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet.

“We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.

“We have just begun to use this weapon against your homeland. If you still have any doubt, make inquiry as to what happened to Hiroshima when just one atomic bomb fell on that city.

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“Before using this bomb to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, we ask that you now petition the Emperor to end the war.

"Our president has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender. We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better and peace-loving Japan.

“You should take steps now to cease military resistance. Otherwise, we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war.”

The leaflet dropped on Hiroshima. Credit: wonderlandstock/Alamy Stock Photo
The leaflet dropped on Hiroshima. Credit: wonderlandstock/Alamy Stock Photo
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They then dropped a similar leaflet on Nagasaki days later, which read: “EVACUATE YOUR CITIES.

“ATTENTION JAPANESE PEOPLE. EVACUATE YOUR CITIES.

“Because your military leaders have rejected the thirteen part surrender declaration, two momentous events have occurred in the last few days.

“The Soviet Union, because of this rejection on the part of the military has notified your Ambassador Sato that it has declared war on your nation.

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“Thus, all powerful countries of the world are now at war with you.

“Also, because of your leaders’ refusal to accept the surrender declaration that would enable Japan to honorably end this useless war, we have employed our atomic bomb.

“A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s could have carried on a single mission.

“Radio Tokyo has told you that with the first use of this weapon of total destruction, Hiroshima was virtually destroyed.

“Before we use this bomb again and again to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, petition the emperor now to end the war.

“Our president has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender.

“We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better, and peace-loving Japan.

“Act at once or we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war.

It concluded simply: “EVACUATE YOUR CITIES.”

The leaflet dropped on Nagasaki. Credit: Nuclear Museum via Alex Wellerstein
The leaflet dropped on Nagasaki. Credit: Nuclear Museum via Alex Wellerstein

Most of those who died in the blasts were civilians, thousands killed instantly, with the death toll rising significantly over the following months.

These leaflets should stand as a chilling reminder of what happened that day, and compel us to hope for a world in which something like this never happens again.

Topics: News, US News, World News, World War 2

Tom Wood
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