Impressive, unedited footage shows preparation and nuking of Nagasaki

Feb 20 2014 - 10 Comments

Raw video shows the final preparation and loading of the bomb, and the subsequent explosion on Nagasaki.

This footage comes from Los Alamos National Laboratory. It was edited by Alex Wellerstein just to add some interesting notes on the bomb and what can be seen in the video.

It’s pretty long but it is the first film to show the final preparation and loading of the “Fat Man” bomb into “Bockscar,” the B-29 Superfortress bomber which dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.

It also shows the Nagasaki explosion from the window of an observation plane.

But, read the notes, as they are really interesting.

H/T to Bjorn Broten for the heads-up


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  • R.Lopaka

    Interesting. I’ve seen some of this over the years. Check out the guy at 20 seconds casually leaning against the door. I was in Osaka on the 50th anniversary of both bombs.

  • FoilHatWearer

    For the question at 1:18: the plutonium core gives off plenty of radiation–but it’s alpha particles, which can be stopped by 2 inches of air, the outer dead layer of your skin, or a single piece of paper. If you eat it or inhale it, that’s when you’ll have real problems.

  • FoilHatWearer

    The comments on the video were very well done. I find it interesting that there were plans for a 3rd atomic bomb to be dropped. That’s something you don’t read in the history books, it’s typically implied that nuclear material for two bombs is all we had.

  • nik palmer

    i enjoy reading about military stuff, but i have a hard time with this described with the word “impressive”. Thousands of largely unaware citizens dying is “impressive”? Whether at war or not the point never has been to be “impressed” by death. A jet fighter ripping over the landscape at 100 foot….that’s impressive, standing on the lift of the USS Midway that too is impressive. This…not so much.

    • Felican

      Hey Nik!

      Totally agree…

  • Anas Ali

    this so sad and it is nothing far away from being Impressive or interesting

  • R.Lopaka

    Impressive that they SAVED a million or so civilians. Also, my uncle in the 101st 506th E Co. Screaming Eagles & his fellow troops/sailors that were planning to move to the Pacific for the Japan invasion…….”A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s staff by William Shockley estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7–4 million American casualties, including 400,000–800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities. The key assumption was large-scale participation by civilians in the defense of Japan.” Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. “largely unaware citizens” I believe most civilians in Japan knew Japan was at war since the early 1930s.

  • TheHeeNow

    A very well commented video. It is difficult to see it as matter-of-fact, but that’s what is was in 1945. I lived in Japan for two years from 1969 to 1971, and they were not over WWII, but they knew what they did to expect this level of horror. Still, the horror cannot be diminished by this generation of Americans. We must work as a global unit to eliminate these weapons.

  • R.Lopaka

    You reap what you sow. BTW…I lived a few miles from Pearl Harbor and drove past the USS Arizona Memorial every day to work for 20 years.