Declassified photos show the US's final preparations for the only nuclear weapons attacks in history

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Obama Visits Hiroshima

On August 6th and 9th of 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing significant death and destruction in both places. To this day, the bombings remain history's only acts of nuclear warfare.

Nearly 71 years since US President Harry S. Truman's decision to unleash approximately 12,500 tons of TNT over Hiroshima, US President Barack Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the city.

The following declassified photos shed additional light on the procedures leading up to the nuclear attacks, giving a chilling glimpse into how and where the most destructive bombs ever used in warfare were prepped.

This post was originally written by Christian Storm.

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Declassified photos show US prep for nuclear attacks (BI)
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Declassified photos show the US's final preparations for the only nuclear weapons attacks in history

Soldiers check the casings on the "Fat Man" atomic bomb. Multiple test bombs were created on Tinian Island. All were roughly identical to an operational bomb, even though they lacked the necessary equipment to detonate.

(Photo via National Archives)

(Photo via National Archives)

A technician applies sealant and putty to the crevices of "Fat Man," a final preparation to make sure the environment inside the bomb would be stable enough to sustain a full impact once the bomb was detonated.

(Photo via National Archives)

Soldiers and workers sign their names and other messages on the nose of "Fat Man."

(Photo via National Archives)

Here's a closer look.

(Photo via National Archives)

"Fat Man" is loaded onto a transport trailer and given a final once-over.

(Photo via National Archives)

The bomb is then escorted to the nearby North Field airbase on Tinian, shrouded in tarp.

(Photo via National Archives)

At the airfield, "Fat Man" is lined up over a pit specifically constructed for it, from which it is then loaded into the plane that dropped it over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

(Photo via National Archives)

Both pits for "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," each roughly 8 feet by 12 feet, still exist today on the island and now serve as a memorial.

(Photo via National Archives)

The bomb and its trailer are lowered down into the pit using a hydraulic lift.

(Photo via National Archives)

Workers check "Little Boy" one last time, keeping the tarp on for security reasons. They used a similar lowering procedure for "Fat Man" three days later.

(Photo via National Archives)

Once "Little Boy" is ready, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is reversed and positioned over the trench.

(Photo via National Archives)

The tarp is removed and the bomb is readied for loading.

(Photo via National Archives)

Using the hydraulic lift, "Little Boy" is carefully raised and loaded into the belly of the Enola Gay.

(Photo via National Archives)

Once inside the plane, the bomb is secured and all connections and equipment are checked again.

(Photo via National Archives)

From there, both "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" were flown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, and detonated. World War II ended shortly afterwards, but at a cost: an estimated 250,000 people were killed or injured in the attacks, most of them civilians.

(Photos via AP)

Video of the preparation and loading also exists.

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