Lincoln County residents had never heard of the atom bomb until Aug. 6, 1945. Even then, it is likely no one even knew what it was. A startling new weapon, what did that mean? No one had any inclining of the Atomic Age.
Aug. 6, 1945 was a Monday. The Pioche Record (forerunner of the Lincoln County Record) was published on Thursdays then, which was Aug. 9.
The Record carried the following headline story on the front page: “Hiroshima Burned Out by Explosion.”
As the readers had already heard by radio that Monday, but didn’t really know what it meant, President Harry Truman had addressed the nation, and the Record ran this story from newswire reports from Aug. 6.
“President Truman announced today that a newly developed atomic bomb so powerful it equals 20,000 tons of TNT and turns steel structures into gas, already has been dropped on Japan and will be used to speed the final victory in the Pacific….Mr. Truman revealed that Anglo-American scientists have performed the miracle of harnessing ‘the forces from which sun draws its power’ to produce a weapon 2,000 times more explosive than the biggest bomb ever dropped on Germany…harnessing the basic power of the universe.”
The President made the announcement from Potsdam, Germany, where he was attending a conference with other European Allied forces.
The Pioche Record carried virtually no comments from Lincoln County residents regarding the Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombs in its Aug. 16 issue, and their thoughts on the surprising events events that ended the Japanese war.
However, the paper did run a side story in which U.S. Secretary of War Stimson issued a statement on some of the facts of the bomb, probably most of which were just mind boggling and possibly incomprehensible to the average citizen in whatever state they lived in.
Stimson said the atomic bomb was 2,000 greater than the 11-ton bombs which had been used in the European theatre near the end of that war. “The single bomb was equal to 2,000 B29’s fully loaded with 10 tons of bombs each.”
On Aug. 6, 1945, Lincoln County residents knew the end of the war was near, but none had any idea of how or when.
What sort of a day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times.