In pictures: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On 6 August 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan that killed some 135,000 people. Three days later, on 9 August, a second bomb targeting Nagasaki killed at least 50,000 people, although according to some estimates as many as 74,000 died

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN:  END OF THE WAR/HIROSHIMA PHOTO PACKAGE  (FILES) This file photo dated 1948 shows the devastated city of Hiroshima some three years after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city, 06 August 1945, at the end of World War II.  Around 140,000 people, or more than half of Hiroshima's population at the time, died in the first atomic bombing 06 August 1945, with another 70,000 people perishing in the bomb dropped over Nagasaki 09 August 1945.  Following the bombings, Japan surrendered 02 September 1945 to Allied forces, officially ending World War II, bringing down the curtain on the costliest conflict in history. The 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima will take place with ceremonies in the Japanese city on 06 August 2005.    AFP PHOTO/FILES  (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

For years debate has raged over whether the US was right to drop the two atomic bombs on Japan during the final weeks of the Second World War.


Here, we look back at some of the photos taken in the aftermath…


Atomic bomb damage in Hiroshima, 1945. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


A view of the devastation caused by the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan on 6 August 1945. Pictured at the forefront is the Ministry of Home Defence (Scientific Advisers’ Branch). (Photo by IWM via Getty Images)


A mother and child, dressed in traditional clothing, sit on the ground amid rubble and burnt trees, Hiroshima, Japan, December 1945, some four months after the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on the city. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


September 1945: Hiroshima survivors wearing gas masks, a month after the catastrophe. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)


Aerial view of the mushroom cloud of smoke as it billows 20,000 ft in the air, following the United States Air Force’s detonation of an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 1945. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/US Army Air Force/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


Hiroshima victims take refuge in the rubble of a bank. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

You can read more about the radiation sickness and severe burns suffered by survivors here.


The reverse of a memorial stone commemorating the destruction inflicted on Hiroshima by the American atomic bomb. (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)


A destroyed Nagasaki temple after the atomic bombing of 1945. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)


The aftermath of the bombing at Nagasaki. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)


10 August 1945: An unidentified and injured mother and son pose with boiled rice balls provided by emergency services the day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. The pair stand one mile southeast of ‘ground zero’. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

The Nagasaki Medical School, which was located around one kilometre from where the American atomic bomb was dropped. The structure of the buildings survived. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

An atomic bomb victim reveals her wounds in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, 1945. (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)


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