More than seventy years ago, the world changed forever when an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped the first atomic bomb, "Little Boy," over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, during World War II, on August 6, 1945. The bomb wiped out 90 percent of the city and instantly killed an estimated 80,000 people.
Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb, "Fat Boy," on Nagasaki killing an estimated 40,000 on August 9. Tens of thousands died later in both cities from the effects of the nuclear bombs. Their destructive power was unprecedented, incinerating buildings and people, and leaving lifelong scars on survivors, both physical and psychological, and on the cities themselves.
Days later, World War II was over. Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced his country's unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945, describing the devastating power of "a new and most cruel bomb."
These two photographs show the Atomic mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and aim point.
By CBSNews.com Senior Photo Editor Radhika Chalasani
An atomic cloud billows 20,000 feet above Hiroshima following the explosion of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare in Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945.
A tall column of smoke billows 20,000 feet above Hiroshima after the first atomic bomb strike by American forces on Aug. 6, 1945.
Enola Gay crew
American bomber pilot Paul W. Tibbets Jr., center, stands with the ground crew of the bomber Enola Gay, which Tibbets flew in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945.
Ground crew includes, left to right, engine mechanic Private Harold Olsen, Corporal John Jackson, crew chief Staff Sergeant Walter McCaleb, Tibbets, engine mechanic Sergeant Leonard Markley, engine mechanic Sergeant Jean Cooper and engine mechanic Private John Lesnieski.
Operations order - Enola Gay
The operations order was carried on the Enola Gay in the flight log of Jacob Beser, the radar and electronics specialist trained to intercept any Japanese radar impulses that could trigger the special radar-operated fusing switch built into the atomic bomb. Beser was the only crew member to fly both atomic-bomb missions.
The document lists details such as timing for weather ships and meals.
Operations order - Enola Gay
Bombs are listed as "special" on the operations order for the Enola Gay. Religious services for Catholics was at 2200 and for Protestants at 2230.
Recon photo of Hiroshima before and after the atomic bomb was dropped.
An aerial leaflet in Japanese with photo of President Truman reassuring the Japanese people they would not be harmed if their country surrenders.
Translation of aerial leaflet:
"PURPOSE: To inform the Japanese of our interpretation of surrender, and what it will mean for the Japanese.
COMMENT: President Truman's statement is used to assure the Japanese people that if the military clique is taken from power and the nation surrenders, they will not be enslaved.
FORMAT: A picture of President Truman appears on one side of the leaflet which is otherwise devoted completely to the President's statement..."
Hiroshima bombing - aerial leaflet
Translation of aerial leaflet:
"If your political and military leaders continue the war, our forces will overwhelm your's more and more, expanding our movements and increasing our attacks.
The production of munitions which support Japanese operations, transportation, and manpower is obviously declining, and continuing the war not only increases the hardships of the people of Japan tremendously, but also is of no avail. Our forces demand unconditional surrender from your military; abandoning of hostilities; and laying down of weapons. This unconditional surrender includes Japanese civilians too. In short, it means the ending of the war.
The power of the military group which has resulted in the present chaos will be destroyed. Families who love their sons who are fighting uselessly in the front lines will see them return quickly to their old jobs. Present hardships and sickness will be stopped forever. There is no reason to fear that unconditional surrender means obliteration of the Japanese people or bondage."
Enola Gay B-29
Enola Gay B-29 Superfortress lands at Tinian Base in the Pacific after dropping the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought about Japan's unconditional surrender. The war ended officially when the papers of surrender were accepted aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945.
The New York Times front page for August 7, 1945, the day after the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
A general panoramic view of Hiroshima showing the devastation after the bomb was dropped in 1945.
The most terrifying engine of destruction
Teletype of first news flash stating:
"The most terrifying engine of destruction ever devised by man -- an atomic bomb carrying the explosive force of more than 20,000 tons of TNT -- was turned loose against Japan sunday as American Airmen opened a "surrender or else--" assault agains the enemy homeland.
President Truman, revealing the biggest and best kept military secretary [secret] of the war --the long dreamed-of release of atomic energy--said today that the awesome weapon was America's answer to Japanese rejection of the Potsdam surrender ultimatum.
In wat amounted to a new ultimatum, he warned: 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."
Teletype of first news flash
"So mighty is this super bomb, he said in a special statement, that is packs 2000 times more wallop than the 22,000-pound British 'Grand Slam' blockbuster, heretofore the most destructive weapon known to mankind.
The first of the bombs went smashing down on Hiroshima, highly important Japanese army base on the home island of Honshu. The devastation wrought is not yet known but military men said the bomb's potentialities stagger the imagination.
Details of the weapon must remain a military secret but the War Department disclosed that one of its chief components is radio-active uranium, a rare element in the chromium group found in a combination of pitchblende and certain other rare minerals..."
President Harry S. Truman smiles over a battery of microphones in Washington, D.C., August 9, 1945, following his nationwide radio report on the Potsdam conference and the war in the Pacific.
President Truman warned the Hiroshima attack was only the beginning of things to come unless the Japanese surrendered.
The devastated city of Hiroshima after the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945.
The bombing of Nagasaki happened three days after the first bomb was released on Hiroshima.
Two brothers who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima four days earlier, August 10, 1945.
The U.S. atomic attacks killed an estimated 140,000 people in Hiroshima and more than 70,000 in Nagasaki, either instantly or later through the horrific effects of burns from the white-hot nuclear blast and radiation sickness.
The devastated city of Hiroshima days after the first atomic bomb was dropped by a U.S. Air Force B-29 in 1945.
Though Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced his country's unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945, the official surrender to Allied forces did not happen till September 2, 1945, putting an end to a devastating second world war.
"Fat Man" atomic bomb
The plutonium"Fat Man" atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. It was more powerful than the unleashed on Hiroshima, weighing nearly 10,000 pounds and built to create a 22-kiloton blast.
Nagasaki atomic bomb
A mushroom cloud rises 20,000 feet over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, moments after the atomic bomb was dropped by U.S. forces.
The topography of Nagasaki, nestled between mountains, shielded the city to a large extent, limiting the damage to 2.6 square miles. Within those 2.6 square miles there were devastating consequences.
A Japanese woman and child in traditional clothing, survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, are seen here, August 9, 1945.
Their faces are marked with burns by the heat of the explosion. Scanty food rations were given out to the suffering public.
Some of the tunnel shelters very close to ground zero in Nagasaki are visible. The few people who were able to get to the shelters survived the atomic blast and thermonuclear radiation.
Nagasaki atomic bomb
This photo from the U.S. Signal Corps shows the devastation after an atom bomb exploded over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Site of Hiroshima Peace Memorial
The gutted Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall is seen after the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Nov. 1945.
The building was later preserved as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (known as the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dome).
Hiroshima bombing victim
A victim of the first A-bomb ever used in warfare is seen in September 1945, at the Ujina Branch of the First Army Hospital in Hiroshima.
The thermal rays emitted by the explosion burned the pattern of this woman's kimono upon her back.
An allied correspondent stands in a sea of rubble in front of the shell of a building that once was a movie theater in Hiroshima on September 8, 1945.
The world's first atomic bomb instantly destroyed almost all of the houses and buildings in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
People walk over Aioi Bridge as the gutted Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (L), currently known as Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome, is seen in the background after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945.
The landscape of Hiroshima shows widespread rubble and debris in an aerial view September 5, 1945, one month after the atomic bomb was dropped.
Victims of Hiroshima bombing
Victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 are seen at an emergency relief station in the Otagawa River embankment in Hiroshima on August 9, 1945.
Victim of Hiroshima bombing
A 21-year-old soldier, who was exposed to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and has purple subcutaneous hemorrhage spots on his body, is treated at the Ujina Branch of the Hiroshima First Army Hospital in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan on September 3, 1945.
An arrow marks the spot where the A-bomb struck Nagasaki.
Much of the bombed is desolate, the trees on the hills in the background remained charred and dwarfed from the blast and there's little reconstruction, except for wooden shacks as homes.
People walk past the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital after the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the city, November, 1945.
Nagasaki A-bomb victim
In Nagasaki, a victim of the second atomic bomb ever used in warfare is seen lying sick on a mat in late 1945.
Tens of thousands died after the release of the bombs from effects of the radioactive fallout.
A sacred Torii Gate stands erect over the completely destroyed area of a Shinto shrine in Nagasaki on October 1945, after the second atomic bomb ever used in warfare was dropped by the U.S. over the Japanese industrial center.
Due to its structure, the blast of the explosion could go around it, therefore leaving the arch intact.
Nagarekawa Protestant Church
Church services continued in the Nagarekawa Protestant Church in 1945, after the atomic bomb destroyed the church in Hiroshima.
The devastated city of Hiroshima in 1948, three years after the the atomic bomb was dropped on the city.
After effects of atomic bomb
Children wear masks to protect themselves from radiation in the devastated city of Hiroshima in 1948, nearly three years after the U.S. August 6, 1945 bombing of the city.
All told, around 200,000 died as a result of the two bombings. It's likely the estimates of the death toll are conservative since official records were minimal.
Japan's formal surrender was signed September 2, 1945 aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, ending World War II.