Today marks the 70th anniversary of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a Japanese city of 350,000 with a large industrial and military presence. The unprecedented devastation did not immediately end World War II. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, with similar deadly results. On August 15, 1945, the Japanese surrendered.
Some believe the use of nuclear weapons ushered in what English poet W.H. Auden called "The Age of Anxiety," an era marked by the ominous buildup of vast nuclear weapon stockpiles that, if used, would result in the end of civilization.
This gallery shows the spellbinding start of the nuclear age and how the threat of nuclear war and contamination have become the new - and terrible - normal.