Nathan H asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 9 months ago

Why did America bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not Tokyo?

7 Answers

  • 7 months ago

    There were four cities chosen as the targets and Truman gave the military the choice as to which ones. I don't remember which one it was, but one of the cities they were going to originally bomb was covered by thick clouds so they moved onto the next one which was either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    Besides Tokyo was already in ruins as it had sustained lots of bombs which included firebombs and considering the traditional way of building homes using wood, rice straw mats and paper doors made for good kindling.

  • 8 months ago

    Because Harry Truman was a terrorist they only used the bombs to scare the Russians, the Japanese tried to surrender before the first bomb hit Hiroshima 

  • Mrsjvb
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    they didn't need to.  Tokyo was already a major target of prior (conventional) bombing and by design, the Imperial Palace was never a target.  

  • Quinn
    Lv 6
    8 months ago

    Three main reasons:

    1) Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki had major industries and Japanese military installations. For example, Nagasaki was (and still is today) a major shipyard and port along with sites of several major heavy industry such as Mitsubishi's engineering, steel, electrical, and machinery. The 2 largest battleships (Musashi and Yamato) ever built in the history of the world were built in Nagasaki. Similarly, Hiroshima was the location of the largest Japanese naval base - Kure. And it was a major port, shipyard, arsenal, and since 1889 was responsible for several maritime first for the Japanese navy.

    2) The problem with bombing Tokyo was that if the head of state (the emperor) was killed, who is going to takeover? The Allies knew that within the Japanese government, there were 2 factions: one wanted to surrender and the other (Imperial Japanese Army headed by Tojo Hideki) wanted to fight to the last Japanese. It was no coincidence that the emperor announced the surrender of Japan; what many people do not know is that the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) tried to prevent him from making the announcement. The surrender speech was pre-recorded and smuggled out of the imperial residence to a radio station loyal to the emperor.  The IJA actually broke into the emperor's residence trying to confiscate the recording.

    3) The US only had enough fissionable material for 2 atomic bombs and if Tokyo was bombed, it would mean the major military installations at either Nagasaki or Hiroshima would still be functioning.  In reality, the US was bluffing the Japanese into thinking there was a 3rd atom bomb and Tokyo was next.  This prompted the emperor's faction to force the surrender through the broadcast of the emperor's speech.  And even after this announcement, fighting actually broke out among Japanese military forces that obeyed the emperor and those who refused and wanting to continue fighting. And the situation was very uncertain because even though Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, the last US serviceman (Sgt. Anthony Marchione) killed in the Pacific was on August the 18th (3 days later) when his aircraft monitoring the surrender was attacked by Japanese fighters.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 9 months ago

    The relatively intact cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because the USA wanted the damage caused by the atomic bombs to be clear. Tokyo had already been very badly damaged and the atomic bombs would have just made the rubble bounce. 

    Not killing the Emperor was also a factor since it was hoped a peace could be negotiated and that meant the Emperor needed to be alive. It turned out to be exactly true since even after the second atomic bomb was dropped the military wanted to continue the war.  The Emperor had to order them to surrender. 

    Note it was blatantly obvious by late 1944 that Japan had lost the war and the allies would also triumph in Europe. The militarists could have spared the Japanese people much pain had they done the sensible thing by ending the war before the USA's bombing campaign against Japan.  

  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    Tokyo was already destroyed by Fire Bombing.


    The President order the Military not to bomb the Royal Place.

  • 9 months ago

    In March 1945, the US air force flew north over Tokyo dropping kerosene, then they turned and flew south dropping incendiary bombs.  The resulting firestorm killed more people than the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. 

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.