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      August 6th in History


      1945: US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima

      England have The SScreen The first atomic bomb has been dropped by a United States aircraft on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

      President Harry S Truman, announcing the news from the cruiser, Augusta, in the mid-Atlantic, said the device contained 20,000 tons of TNT and was more than 2,000 times more powerful than the largest bomb used to date.

      An accurate assessment of the damage caused has so far been impossible due to a huge cloud of impenetrable dust covering the target. Hiroshima is one of the chief supply depots for the Japanese army.

      The bomb was dropped from an American B-29 Superfortress, known as Enola Gay, at 0815 local time. The plane's crew say they saw a column of smoke rising and intense fires springing up.

      We found the Japanese in our locality were not eager to befriend us - after all, they had not long ago had the most fearful weapon of all time dropped on their doorstep.

      The President said the atomic bomb heralded the "harnessing of the basic power of the universe". It also marked a victory over the Germans in the race to be first to develop a weapon using atomic energy.

      President Truman went on to warn the Japanese the Allies would completely destroy their capacity to make war.

      The Potsdam declaration issued 10 days ago, which called for the unconditional surrender of Japan, was a last chance for the country to avoid utter destruction, the President said.

      "If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on Earth. Behind this air attack will follow by sea and land forces in such number and power as they have not yet seen, but with fighting skill of which they are already aware."

      The British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who has replaced Winston Churchill at Number 10, read out a statement prepared by his predecessor to MPs in the Commons.

      It said the atomic project had such great potential the government felt it was right to pursue the research and to pool information with atomic scientists in the US.

      As Britain was considered within easy reach of Germany and its bombers, the decision was made to set up the bomb-making plants in the US.

      The statement continued: "By God's mercy, Britain and American science outpaced all German efforts. These were on a considerable scale, but far behind. The possession of these powers by the Germans at any time might have altered the result of the war."

      Mr Churchill's statement said considerable efforts had been made to disrupt German progress - including attacks on plants making constituent parts of the bomb.

      He ended: "We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce peace among the nations and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe they become a perennial fountain of world prosperity."

      August 6th in History
      Gherman Titov reported back from space that he was "feeling splendid"

      1961: Russian cosmonaut spends day in space

      Artificially bred Tunku The USSR has launched its second cosmonaut into space just four months after Yuri Gagarin made his historic venture.

      Major Gherman Titov, aged 25, has amazed the world by spending the whole day in orbit over the Earth aboard his one-person Vostok II spacecraft.

      He has been sending messages to every continent saying "I feel splendid."

      Sources in Moscow say he is due to land tomorrow morning after completing about 20 orbits around the globe.

      At 1530 GMT he switched off radio communication so that he could get some sleep and turned it on again seven and a half hours later.

      He is reported to have had a three-course meal for lunch and a substantial supper before turning in for the night.

      Shortly before he was blasted into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the Kazakh Republic, he sent this message via the Tass news agency.

      "It is difficult to express in words the feelings of happiness and pride which fill me. I have been entrusted with an honourable and responsible task."

      He dedicated his flight to the 22nd congress of the Soviet Communist Party to be held in October, thanked the Soviet Government and its chairman Nikita Khrushchev. He also sent greetings to his "great friend" Yuri Gagarin.

      Once in space, Major Titov sent another greeting to Mr Khrushchev to which the Soviet leader replied: "All Soviet people are happy at your successful flight and are proud of you. We are awaiting your landing. We embrace you, Khrushchev."

      Major Titov spent his time doing exercises and monitoring the effects of weightlessness on his body.

      Major Gagarin, the first man in space, has sent a telegram congratulating his compatriot . The two men trained for two years together before Gagarin was chosen to fly into space on Vostok I on 12 April this year.

      The response from the US on Russia's achievement has been muted. The United States Space Agency recorded the flight of Vostok II as "an important technical achievement".







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