1945, Air and Space Museum
The B-29 Superfortress carried an atomic weapon into combat
It was a bit past 8 a.m. in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Survivors would recall the singing of cicadas being overtaken by the sound of an airplane. After the Enola Gay (named by Col. Paul Tibbets, its pilot, for his mother) dropped a five-ton atomic bomb on their city, very few would recall anything like an explosion, only a blinding flash or a sudden wave of pressure. Yet the blast and aftermath would leave 70,000 to 100,000 people dead. “It was devastating to take a look at it,” Tibbets would say. Japan, which had previously rejected a call to surrender, would do so soon after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9.