Nagasaki, before and after


On August 9, 1945, when a plutonium bomb was detonated over the city of Nagasaki, between 39,000 and 80,000 people were killed. The photograph above shows the absolute devastation wreaked by the bomb. The bomb itself was more powerful than that used to destroy Hiroshima, but Nagasaki’s topography resulted in less net damage. While the nuclear detonation above Nagasaki is a well-known chapter in history, it is less well known that the nuke was preceded by a full year of smaller-scale bombing of the city.

Bombing of Kobe, Japan

The Bombing of Kobe in World War II on March 16 and 17, 1945 was part of the strategic bombing campaign waged by the United States of America against military and civilian targets and population centers during the Japan home islands campaign in the closing stages of World War II. During later months of the war, the city was bombed for a second time. It was targeted because at the time, it was the sixth largest population center in Japan, with a population of about a million people. Most structures in the city were made of wood, making them vulnerable targets for firebombing. Conservative estimates claim 333,000 killed and 473,000 wounded, though other estimates place the fatalities at up to 900,000 people.