Bomb production was centered in Los Alamos, NM (Oppenheimer), Oak Ridge, TN, and Hanford, WA. The first atomic bomb was successfully tested July 16, 1945. An ultimatum was given to Japan that was timed to the first availability of a bomb on July 31. Japan did not respond to the ultimatum and the threat was delayed by weather until Aug 6 before it was delivered on Hiroshima. Although the atomic bomb was a powerful and efficient weapon, the 66,000 people killed was on the progression of the numbers killed by conventional weapons: London (3,600, Dec 29, 1940, 224 bombers) , (1,436, May 10-11, 1941, 541 bombers) ; Pearl Harbor (2,403, Dec 7, 1941, 384 planes) ; and on Cologne (470 May 31, 1942, 1,047 RAF planes) ; Hamburg (40,000, July 1943, 1,500 planes) ; and Dresden (135,000, Feb 13-14, 1945, 1,200 allied planes) in Germany and those that increasingly descended on Tokyo, starting with 97,000 killed on March 9, 1945 from 334 B-29's, and rained on other industrial cities. [About 55,000,000 people died in WW2. The overlapping Sino-Japanese War (1936-45) may have taken 50,000,000 lives.]
A third bomb was assembled on Tinian with payload to be shipped from New Mexico, estimated to arrival 24Aug, target probably either Kokura or Niigata, when the war ended.
Others would arrive every two weeks with production to reach seven per month with an expectation that 50 bombs
would be required to assure that an invasion would not be required. Release of radiation from
the untested Hiroshima bomb, designed as the original gun-type and made of uranium,
was a surprise. The radiation range was expected to be within the
blast radius, that is, a lethal dose of radiation would only kill
those already dead from concussion. The Alamogordo bomb test and all later
production were of the more complicated plutonium, yet cleaner, implosion device.
A number of deaths after Nagasaki were contributed to disease and reclassified as caused by radiation in an act of revisionism. Life expectancy of survivors of Nagasaki exceed that of the general public. It was the weakest of a starving population who died from the trauma and lack of shelter after the city was destroyed followed by a typhoon.
Japan did not surrender to the escalation in bombings alone. The condition of Japan in mid-1945 was hopeless. The war had ended in Europe. Allied divisions, air forces, and fleets were being transferred to the Pacific. US industry and shipping of material was now devoted to war with Japan. The islands were strangled; the fleet destroyed; the air force, the army and industry had been mauled. Yet Japan gave no indication it was to give up and had an army of over 2.5 million men, many recalled from China, and ten thousand suicide planes and boats held in reserve. The civilian population was being armed and a newly created armed militia numbering 25 million and taught how to use hand grenades. Teenaged girls were trained with sharpened poles to use as bayonets. The US troops' hopeful slogan was: The Golden Gate in `48.
Japan attempted negotiations with Russia with whom Japan had a treaty throughout the war until this time and was rebuffed. By agreement with the Allies in Europe, the USSR declared war on the Empire Aug 8 and Emperor Hirohito finally accepted "to bear the unbearable" on Aug 10. Japan capitulated on Aug 15. Dissident attacks continued on the following days on the US fleet off the Japanese coast (American pilots were instructed to shoot them down in a friendly manner) until senior command ordered propellers removed. (Aug 18, B-32 photo reconnaissance flight of "Hobo Queen II", 1 killed) (Aug 22, Japanese antiaircraft batteries near Hong Kong fire upon navy patrol planes over China Coast.) Conflict continued for months in the case of some guerrillas isolated in the island campaigns.
That the Japanese would attack was well known to the US government by November 1941. Japan had a tradition of surprise attack. The US had correctly identified the Japanese targets of British Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. It was assumed there would also be a sneak attack on the Philippines in support of the Japanese occupancy of these and other areas of the western Pacific, also true. An air attack on Pearl Harbor was regularly considered in war games, but the audacity to sail 2000 miles across the North Pacific to attack the USN fleet headquarters was not seriously considered. At Pearl Harbor, attention was focused on getting aid to the Philippines and to our outlying islands.
After Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Navy had ten battleships and
ten carriers. The US had in the Pacific: 3 damaged battleships, 3 sunken, and
2 unsalvageable (Arizona and Oklahoma) and three carriers, Lexington and
Enterprise at Pearl Harbor and Saratoga on the West Coast.
The Pearl Harbor attack force returned to Hiroshima to rearm, Dec 23, 1941. The Japanese fleet was free to rampage, taking Pacific Islands, occupying the East Indies (Jan-March, 1942), raiding Ceylon and India (April 5-9, 1942) and Darwin, Australia (April 20, 1942).
They quickly annihilated the combined Dutch, British, Australian, and U.S. surface ships in the western Pacific, starting with the sinking of the British presence, the battleship Price of Wales and battle cruiser Repulse, Dec 10, 1941 off Malaya and followed with successes in the battles off Java, February, 1942.
The Japanese goals of conquest of the resources of IndoChina and East Indies and use of Pacific islands for defense had been achieved within the first six months.
Success was so easy that the protective ring was expanded until blocked at the Battle of Coral Sea on May 7, 1942, with an exchange of aircraft carriers, and the the Battle of Midway, June 5, 1942 with the Japanese fleet seriously damaged by the loss of four fleet carriers.
The ultimate Japanese war goal was to complete the conquest of China by capturing the resource rich East Indies islands, Malaya, Java, et al. The attacks on the US, India, and Australia were to weaken reprisals and establish an aural of invincibility. After attaining her goals of suzerainty of the Western Pacific, Japan planned to negotiate a peace from a position of strength over the intimidated Allies, who were already under pressure in a European conflict, while retaining her newly expanded Pacific Empire and to return the Pacific invasion troops to continue with her war to control China.
Three Kawanishi H8K2 "Emily" long range, flying boats attempted to bomb Pearl Harbor on March 5, 1942. Weather was bad and they dumped their bombs west of Honolulu, Oahu. The flying boats flew from Wotje, Marshalls and refueled from submarines at French Frigate Shoals on the northwestern end of Hawaian Islands. The seaplane tender Ballard (AVD-10), a converted destroyer, was sent to patrol the area until it was adequately mined.
The initial invasion of Wake Island on Dec 11 was fought off by 447 US Marines.
One Japanese destroyer was sunk with artillery fire and another
sunk by a Marine Wildcat, along with damage to a cruiser, a transport, and two more
Two Japanese aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers were dispatched from the departing
Pearl Harbor task force and the island was taken by 2,000 Imperial marines on Dec 23, 1941.
The construction crew was shipped to Japan. Five men were beheaded to assure good behavior on the trip.
Wake Island was bypassed by later events and was not restored to U.S. control until the end of the war.
U.S. troops retook Attu in furious fighting, May 11-30, 1943.
Thirty-four thousand U.S. and Canadian troops landed to retake Kiska on Aug 15, but found the island had been evacuated.
Both sides had discovered that bad weather prevented further major attacks on the other's mainland from a northern route.
Dec 7, 1941. On its way to the U.S. west coast, I-26
tracks a US freighter. Precisely at 8:00 a.m., Dec 7, Pearl Harbor time,
she surfaces and sinks Cynthia Olson with gunfire.
Dec 15, 1941. Japanese submarine shelled Kahului, Maui, Hawaii.
Dec 20. Unarmed U.S. tanker sunk by Japanese submarine I-17 off Cape Mendocino, California. 31 survivors rescued by Coast Guard from Blunt's Reef Lightship.
Dec 20. Unarmed U.S. tanker shelled by Japanese submarine I-23 of the coast of California
Dec 22. Unarmed U.S. tanker sunk by Japanese submarine I-21 about four miles south of Piedras Blancas light, California, I-21 machine-guns the lifeboats, but inflicts no casualties. I-21 later shells unarmed U.S. tanker Idaho near the same location.
Dec 23. Japanese submarine I-17 shells unarmed tanker southwest of Cape Mendocino, California.
Dec 27. Unarmed U.S. tanker shelled by Japanese submarine I-23 10 miles from mouth of Columbia River.
Dec 30, 1941. Submarine I-1 shells, Hilo, Hawaii.
Dec 31, 1941. Submarines shell Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii.
Feb 23, 1942. I-17, shelled Ellwood oil refinery at Geleta on the Californian coast. The skipper had fueled there many times before the war.
June 20, 1942, the radio station on Estevan Point, Vancouver Island, was fired on by a Japanese submarine I-26.
June 21. I-25 shells Fort Stevens, Oregon.
Sept 9 . Phosphorus bombs were dropped on Mt. Emily, ten miles northeast of Brookings, Oregon, to start forest fires. A Yokosuka E14Y1 "Glen" reconnaissance seaplane piloted by Lt. Nubuo Fujita was been catapulted from submarine I-25.
Sep 29. Phosphorus bombings were repeated on the southern coast of Oregon.
Japanese submarines were generally assigned as screening forces ahead of fleet movements. Many were converted for resupply of isolated island bases ; few operated independently. The U.S. generally had submarines assigned to individual action where they methodically destroyed 1,314 ships of the Japanese merchant marine fleet, isolating that island nation. However, the giant I-400 class of submarine seaplane carrier was capable of attacking San Francisco or New York, but was built specifically to target the Panama Canal before being diverted as the war ended.
Hawaii. The U.S. did not close the Japanese consulates as was done with the German and Italians. Spies and agent handlers were free to continue under diplomatic immunity to photograph and report naval and air force placement and both military and cargo movements. Military intelligence officers were sent in civilian attire on passenger liners to assure the needed information was gathered correctly. A Japanese pilot whose Zero fighter was shot down at Pearl Harbor was aided and armed by an enemy alien ; both were killed while taking hostages.
California. We were losing the war, which lead to great fear of anti-U.S. activity by enemy aliens. Atrocities against English in Hong Kong and Singapore were well known. The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and new reports of mass murders of white people in the western Pacific seemed to confirm the correctness of that opinion. There were the usual scares : a falling star reported as a signal flare ; a strange pattern found in a field reported as a possible targeting signal ; a report of a surfaced submarine is later reported to have flown away.
Decoded "diplomatic information" about the spy network was available at the highest levels of Washington and contributed to the decision to relocation enemy aliens away from the West Coast war zone, to 40 miles inland.
When war was declared after the attack on Pearl Harbor, no U.S. battle fleet existed, the USAAF had few fighter aircraft assigned to the whole West Coast, even fewer anti-aircraft batteries, and the area was in a panic. The Japanese intent was to cause diversion of defensive activity to the U.S. coast, thereby taking away from military efforts in the Pacific. It worked better than expected. When combined with reports of murdered civilians in the western Pacific, the stage was set for a massive relocation of the enemy citizens (issei) and their children (nisei) from a war zone within the United States. Note: Children (nisei) obviously relocated with their parents who were enemy aliens in a war zone. Note : children hold dual citizenship until of age. Japanese law is even more lenient, witness Fugimoro, born in and president of Peru, still being a Japanese citizen when he fled there to escape trial for his crimes. It is disingenuous to imply that Japanese-Americans were targeted for relocation.
With the Pacific Coast considered a battle zone, the voluntary relocation of Japanese from coastal areas was sought on 27 Feb 1942. Eight thousand had relocated by 27 March when all remaining Japanese citizens in the coast defense zone were given 48 hours to report for relocation to the interior. 110,000 people were send to former CCC camps run by the War Relocation Authority. Camps established under emergency conditions sometimes had limited facilities until the permanent camps could be completed. Camp members who helped build more permanent housing were paid token wages of $12 as laborers and $19/month for professionals. Resettlement to communities that would accept Japanese was started when the fear of invasion had eased one year later, April 1943 ; 55,000 had been resettled by war end. The West Coast was reopened in January 1945.
I have met Iowans of German ancestry who were interrogated monthly.
About 4,000 enemy citizens were "interred" as security risks by the Department of Justice : 50% Japanese, 40% German, 10% Italian. Internment is a detention for crime as different from simple relocation from a war zone..
This section became so large that a separate web page has been created to
record belligerent acts by U.S. against Germany and Japan and their belligerent
acts against the U.S.
Britain even performed unfriendly acts against the neutrals, including the U.S.
See: Belligerent Acts
By the time the U.S. entered WW2, the war had been going on for over two years in Europe,
four years in Africa, and ten years in China.
See: Pre-US entry actions.