Following a firebombing campaign that destroyed many Japanese cities, the Allies prepared for a costly invasion of Japan. The war in Europe ended when Nazi Germany signed its instrument of surrender on May 8, 1945, but the Pacific War continued. Together with the United Kingdom and the Republic of China, the United States called on Japan to surrender in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945, threatening "prompt and utter destruction". The Japanese government ignored this ultimatum.
By August 1945, the Allied Manhattan Project had developed and tested atomic bombs, and the United States Army Air Forces 509th Composite Group was equipped with Silverplate Boeing B-29 Superfortress that could deliver them from Tinian in the Mariana Islands. With no response from the Japanese, the bombs were dropped with the approval of President Harry S. Truman. A Little Boy atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by a Fat Man bomb on the city of Nagasaki on August 9. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizeable garrison.
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