Paul Tibbets (1915-2007), the pilot of the adapted B29 called the “Enola Gay”:
“In one micro-second, the city of Hiroshima didn’t exist.”
Today is Hiroshima Day, the 75th anniversary of the first use of a bomb named “Little Boy”; a bomb so powerful that it threatened the existence of the human race. Only two such devices have ever been used, but now, 75 years later, the world faces new dangers of nuclear attack from North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Iraq, al-Qaida, or even the good old USA.
It has been estimated that over the years around 200,000 people have died as a result of this bomb being dropped. Japan did not surrender immediately, and a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. On August 10, the Japanese surrendered, and World War II was over.
In Hiroshima almost everything within a mile of the point directly under the explosion was destroyed, except for about 50 heavily reinforced, earthquake-resistant concrete buildings, only the shells of which remained standing completely gutted, with their windows, doors, and frames ripped out. Ordinary urban buildings were crushed, toppled, or gutted by the force of air pressure.
It created fuel for fires that were started simultaneously throughout the severe destruction region. The first effect of the explosion was blinding light, accompanied by radiant heat from the fireball with a surface temperature of 10,830 °F. Near ground zero, everything flammable burst into flame. One anonymous Hiroshima victim, sitting on stone steps 850 feet from the hypocenter, left only a shadow, having absorbed the fireball heat that permanently bleached the surrounding stone. 20 minutes after the detonation, these fires merged into a firestorm, pulling in surface air from all directions to feed an inferno which consumed everything flammable.
On the way to the target I was thinking: I can’t think of any mistakes I’ve made. Maybe I did make a mistake: maybe I was too damned assured. At 29 years of age I was so shot in the ass with confidence I didn’t think there was anything I couldn’t do. Of course, that applied to airplanes and people. So, no, I had no problem with it. I knew we did the right thing because when I knew we’d be doing that I thought, yes, we’re going to kill a lot of people, but by God we’re going to save a lot of lives. We won’t have to invade Japan.
Barry Nelson played Tibbets in the film The Beginning Or The End (1947), and Robert Taylor plays him in Above And Beyond (1952), with Eleanor Parker as his wife. Tibbets was also thinly disguised as the character “Major Joe Cobb” in the film Twelve O’Clock High (1949). Enola Gay: The Men, The Mission, The Atomic Bomb (1980) is made-for-television movie with Patrick Duffy as Tibbets and Kim Darby as his wife.
Can our sniffling president use his stubby baby fingers to push that button for pre-emptive nuclear strike? I am afraid the answer is yes. There is no one to stop him, except maybe Ivanka. She hates what radiation does to her hair. Not the Congress, not his Secretary of Defense, whoever that is now, and by design, not the military officers who would be duty-bound to execute the order. The protocol for ordering the use of nuclear weapons endows every president with civilization-ending power. There is no way to reverse the order. There would be no recalling A-bomb missiles once launched. Maybe that’s this election’s “October Surprise”.
As former veep Dick Cheney explained in 2008:
”…the president could launch a kind of devastating attack like the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.”