Paul Tibbets: The Man Who Dropped The Atomic Bomb In Hiroshima

What was Paul Tibbets thinking when he dropped the "Little Boy" the atomic bomb over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945?

Image credit: Atomic Heritage Foundation


Colonel (later General) Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29, took a flight on August 6, 1945, that changed the course of history forever. Paul flew Enola Gay from Tinian Island in the Pacific Ocean at 3 in the morning. In six hours, the flight reached its target: Hiroshima, Japan. Flying at a height of 32000 feet, Paul informed his colleagues they are about to drop the first atomic bomb in the world. In an instant, approximately 90,000 people died spanning over four square miles.


It is often speculated what would the man be thinking whose one-act will kill thousands of innocent lives? This and many more questions Paul Tibbets answered in the documentary, "Reflections of Hiroshima" which he co-produced with the Buckeye Aviation Book Company.

Paul named the flight after her mother, Enola Gay, who taught him to never give up. His mother's unwavering faith made him believe he can do anything in life. The strength he received from his mother's words motivated him to name the flight after her.


The 6-hour journey from Tinian Island to Hiroshima, Paul was gripped with multiple thoughts, but he fought them all by reminding himself: 'it's his duty to drop the bomb'. Questions of morality have no place in war. His only objective was to complete the mission successfully. He was doing what he was ordered to do. Had it been a simple bomb, or a grenade, his task was to follow the orders. Whenever the thought of killing innocent lives came to his mind, he recalled his stay at Cincinnati. The place where he studied medicine for one year and left to pursue his passion for flying. During a year of the medical journey, his roommate who was a doctor used to narrate stories of how his colleagues left medicine and became drug sellers because they sympathised with their patients. This kept Paul's focus intact. His duty was to drop the bomb at the right target, on time, with precision and success. This and only this was his objective to be achieved.


Orders devoid of morality was Paul Tibbets centre of attention as he completed the deadliest task in the history of mankind.


Like many other officers, Paul too was just following the orders.

By Team RSP

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