This Week in History

Listen to and learn about events that happened this week in history—including politics, war, crime, inventions, entertainment and fashion. Archive of events that have shaped history. For learners and teachers of English, with audio recording, vocabulary and quick quizzes.

8 August 1945

USA Drops Nuclear Bombs On Japan

The USA drops atomic bombs on two Japanese cities at the end of World War II.

In 1945, the USA dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, one on the city of Hiroshima and another, three days later, on the city of Nagasaki. The bombs instantly killed at least 120,000 men, women and children and caused severe injuries in tens of thousands more. Over time, the total death toll rose to perhaps 240,000. The USA excused their use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on civilians as necessary to force Japan's unconditional surrender at the end of World War II.

atomic (adjective): using nuclear energy
severe (adjective): very strong or bad
weapons of mass destruction (noun): bombs etc that kill hundreds/thousands of people
civilians (noun): people who are not part of the military
unconditional (adjective): without any conditions
surrender (noun): the giving up of a fight; acceptance of defeat

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Quick Quiz:

How many men, women and children are believed to have died as a result of nuclear bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

  1. under 200,000
  2. over 200,000
  3. approximately 120,000

The U.S. claimed the nuclear attacks on two cities heavily-populated with civilians were necessary in order to

  1. force Japan to surrender
  2. test some new nuclear weapons
  3. punish the Japanese people

Men, women and children who are not members of a military force, and therefore never targetted by legal military operations, are called

  1. civilians
  2. soft targets
  3. collateral damage

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Contributor: Matt Errey