Before Aug. 9, 1945, Nagasaki was best known for its churches, Chinatown and a tasty noodle dish called champon, and but for heavy cloud cover that day over the nearby city of Kokura — which was slated to be the world’s second atom-bombed city — it would still likely be that way. However, moments after the U.S. bomber “Bock’s Car” dropped its payload over its backup target, Nagasaki, this city was branded indelibly by its instant devastation.

It’s a sad irony that Japan’s historically most open, international city should have been singled out to suffer the horror of a nuclear attack, but its location on the west coast of Kyushu, making it an ideal harbor for foreign trade, also meant it was a prime spot for a military shipyard, and therefore an attractive target.

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