Did Japan have an Atomic Bomb?

In our group on Facebook (Association of Air Force Missileers) we have been discussing whether Japan had ever developed and tested an Atomic bomb. Two years ago, on the History Channel they did an hour long episode on Japan’s Atomic Bomb and had witnesses to seeing it developed and tested off the coast of Korea. However, most major historians pooh-pooh this as they did not have enough fissionable material on hand.

What say you and why?

They had two, for certain values of “had”. Though they didn’t keep either very long, though.

That would be the same value as the Israeli “has,” right?

No, more like the same value that the Trinity test site in New Mexico “had” in 1945.

<golf clap>

There is a book on the topic. It seems they were working on one.

They actually detonated two?

I think they mean that two bombs were detonated on Japanese soil in 1945…

I believe it was just the one. The plutonium implosion type they used over Nagasaki.

Why, did the Israeli detonate two?

Utter nonsense. The Japanese made a few desultory attempts to investigate the feasibility of atomic weapons, but there is no evidence that they ever had the sort of focused research program required to actually come up with a workable design. And there is absolutely no evidence of the massive refining operations that would have been required to produce weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

Hell, detonate it just after the Soviet army closes in. :rolleyes:

Heisenberg found it difficult to believe the Americans had built nuclear weapons. I vaguely recall reading of him retreating with his nuclear project in a truck.
Was something as massive as the Manhattan project required to build nuclear weapons?

To build them at all? Probably not.

But it was probably needed to guarantee development of nuclear weapons as quickly as possible (there was a war on, you know :wink: ). Especially to do so the first time, since everybody after you could pick up at least some clues.

One could leave it in the bushes in front of those oncoming Soviets with an alarm clock, or put it in Kamikaze aircraft and fly out to the American carriers.

Since the entire massive project, which cost an unthinkable amount of money and resources, produced exactly three bombs, I would say yes.

Yes, but there are such things as ‘dirty bombs’.

I thought the US army expected more to be on the way.

Ah, here: “Groves expected to have another atomic bomb ready for use on August 19, with three more in September and a further three in October.[83] On August 10, he sent a memorandum to Marshall in which he wrote that “the next bomb … should be ready for delivery on the first suitable weather after 17 or 18 August.” On the same day, Marshall endorsed the memo with the comment, “It is not to be released over Japan without express authority from the President.”[83]”

So I’m thinking the Manhattan Project was necessary to make many nuclear weapons, but the guys on the losing side might manage a couple for carriers and Soviet armies.

Oh, so that’s what he had in that black plastic Home Depot barrel.

So how close were the Germans? When I first saw The City on the Edge of Forever, I asked my eighth-grade history teacher if they really were just a couple of months behind us. He didn’t know, and I’ve since asked lots of other people, including college history professors, and have only gotten vague, noncommittal answers. If they had developed one, is there any way they could have delivered it to any point on the Eastern Seaboard? If not, what if they had instead deployed one over London, and effectively said “we’re not giving up just yet, bitches.” Would we have had the capability to ramp up production and built enough additional units to just blast them straight out of the picture?

ETA: I see the answer to the last sentence has been partially addressed while I was still typing.

One of my textbooks in graduate school was written by Heisenberg.
His work an an atom bomb was written about in a book, “The German Atomic Bomb”.
They had so little nuclear material that they were trying to obtain radium that was to be used in aircraft instruments.