After six months of intense strategic firebombing of 67 cities, the Hirohito regime ignored an ultimatum given by the Potsdam Declaration. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9th. These are the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.
The 20th Air Force was secretly chosen to be the operational component of the Manhattan Project in 1944, and performed the atomic attacks on Japan in August 1945. Perhaps the most famous B-29 is the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. The B-29 was named after Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot, Paul Tibbets. The Enola Gay was assigned to the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group. Bockscar, another B-29, dropped “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. Six days after the detonation on Nagasaki, Japan surrendered.
On August 11, 1945 John wrote: “Things have sure been happening rapidly the last few days. Last week we were the big heavies dropping tons of bombs on Japanese cities - the deciding factor of the war. Then one day comes an atomic bomb and with two bombs, two Japanese cities disappear. Next day our big raid to Yawata was described as an “old fashioned” raid. Then, Russia declares war on Japan and in two days she is 110 miles into Manchuria. This is good news indeed. Then, having a bad headache, I hit the sack at 9:30 last night. Was just dozing off when I hear the screams of wild men, yips and whoops. Being alone in the barracks and half asleep, I decided the long awaited parachutist attack is underway. We’ve been “red alerted” for 4 consecutive nights. The Navy had been jittery for a week. I huddle in my cover by the window with my .45 caliber “John Roscoe” in hand, awaiting the descent of a parachutist. The cries came closer and eventually I heard “The war is over - Japan surrenders!” So, all hands drift into the quonset and huddle around the radio for the news.”