Image Second atomic bombing of Japan at Nagasaki, 1945

TLF ID M008794

This is a black-and-white photograph showing the mushroom cloud rising from the explosion of an atomic bomb with an estimated force of 20,000 tonnes of TNT, 560 m above Nagasaki, Japan, on 9 August 1945. Part of the wing of the camera plane that accompanied the bomb-carrying plane can be seen at bottom right. The image is an official US Army Air Forces (USAAF) photograph, and was probably taken by Major James Hopkins of the USAAF.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This photograph is a valuable primary source for studies of modern history in years 11 and 12 and for the World War II depth study in year 10 history that calls for an examination of significant events of the war, including the use of the atomic bomb. The Nagasaki blast convinced Japan that the earlier Hiroshima bomb was only the first of a series that the USA was prepared to drop. On Emperor Hirohito's instructions, Japan surrendered on 15 August.
  • The casualties of this bomb were horrific. The Japanese official estimate was 23,753 killed, 1,927 missing, and 23,345 injured. The US Strategic Bombing Survey figures were much higher. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people are estimated to have died in the first two to four months, about half on the first day. There were fewer casualties than in the Hiroshima blast. The hills around Nagasaki concentrated the force of the explosion but confined its area of impact.
  • The Nagasaki blast was only the second detonation of an implosion-type atomic bomb and its complexity indicated the depth of atomic weapons research in the Manhattan Project. Known as 'Fat Man', this type of bomb was a more powerful and complicated plutonium bomb than the one detonated at Hiroshima. Its complexity was such that scientists believed it needed to be tested before military use and a test prototype had been detonated in New Mexico on 16 July 1945.
Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, communicate and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.