The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb

On August 6 and 9, 1945, US B-29 bombers, dropped their nuclear bombs on the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands and consigning millions to disease and genetic defects. The accepted wisdom in the U.S. since has been that dropping the bombs on these Japanese cities was the only way to end World War II without an invasion of Japan that would have cost hundreds of thousands of American and perhaps millions of Japanese lives.

Gar Alperovitz is a historian, political economist, activist and writer. A critic of the bombings, Gar joins Dan on the podcast to discuss how the decision to use the atomic bomb was wrapped up in atomic diplomacy: that the U.S. used nuclear weapons to intimidate the Soviet Union in the early stages of the Cold War. To mark the anniversary, we also dug back into the archives to bring you the human story at the heart of the tragedy - Hirata San, a survivor of the Hiroshima attacks, shares his experiences of the bombing.

Produced by Hannah Ward

Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore

If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!

To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.