Tokyo Firebombing Before And After Pictures Show How City Rose From The Ashes Of World War 2


This week marks the 70th anniversary of the single most devastating bombing raid in history.

Over 100,000 people perished when 330 American B-29s dropped 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo in the final year of World War 2.

White phosphorus and the newly invented napalm caused a firestorm in the Japanese capital that reached nearly 1,000 degrees celsius in some areas.

'Dauntless Dottie,' one of America's B29 Superfortress bombers, is made ready for a bombing run on Tokyo

Such was the human devastation of the raid that aircrew in planes bringing up the rear of the raid reported smelling burning flesh as they flew over.

Japan was particularly vulnerable to incendiary bombs as many of its buildings were made of wood and paper.

Around 267,000 buildings burnt to the ground cutting industrial output by half.

The city was practically defenceless against such an onslaught and only 14 US aircraft were lost.

The raid was a pre-cursor to the previously-unimaginable horror of the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.

All images via AP Photo/The Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage, Eugene Hoshiko

This combo of two photos shows initial destruction and reconstruction after the March 10, 1945 firebombing.

BEFORE: March 19, 1945 shows survivors commute through destroyed Nakamise shopping street after Tokyo firebombing.

AFTER: 70 years later on March 7, 2015 showing a visitor praying towards Sensoji Temple at the start of the Nakamise shopping street in Asakusa district in Tokyo.

BEFORE: March 19, 1945 shows an incendiary bomb-devastated area and Sumida-gawa Bridge after the firebombing.

AFTER: Trains over Sumida-gawa Bridge with Japan's tallest building "Tokyo Skytree" in the distance.

BEFORE: Taken on March 19, 1945 shows an incendiary bombed Matsuya Asakusa department store.

AFTER: Taken March 7, 2015, shows still-in-use Matsuya department store in Asakusa district in Tokyo.

BEFORE: Bomb-devastated Matsuya Asakusa department store, seen from Azuma Bridge.

AFTER: Matsuya department store partially is seen among newer buildings in Tokyo.

BEFORE: March 19, 1945 Devastated area of Kameido district

AFTER: People walk at Kameido District seen from the bridge in Tokyo on March 7, 2015

BEFORE: March 10, 1945 Azuma Bridge

AFTER: A man walks near Azuma Bridge in Tokyo

BEFORE: March 10, 1945 Damaged Matsuya department store

AFTER: Feb. 27, 2015, shows the structure still in use as train station and shopping mall complex in Asakusa district

BEFORE: Shows initial destruction ON March 10, 1945.

AFTER: The Reconstruction 70 years later on March 7, 2015

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