Pilot who dropped first atomic bomb wanted to do ‘best job’ to ‘end killing’

The pilot responsible for dropping the first-ever atomic bomb in active combat claimed he wanted to do the "best job" he could to "end killing".

Brigadier General Paul Warfield Tibbets was part of the crew that flew over Hiroshima during the Second World War and dropped the five-tonne Little Boy atomic bomb.

The use of the bomb marked the first of two atomic attacks on Japanese, with the war plane Enola Gay responsible for the first drop.

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But it would seem that General Tibbets didn't regret the attack which saw 140,000 people killed, saying that his part in the war was to "end the killing as quickly as possible."

Speaking of his participation in the "assignment", Tibbets recalled the drop of the nuclear warhead on Japan, saying he can "sleep clearly every night" following the world-first nuclear bomb.

In an interview dated to 1975, Tibbets, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 92, said: "I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did… I sleep clearly every night."

Following up his comments on the horrors of the atomic bomb, Tibbets gave a second interview where he spoke of the "emotional" turmoil it caused him.

The General said that he "knew it was going to kill" but that he wanted to make sure it was over "as quickly as possible".

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Speaking in 2005, General Tibbets said: "I knew when I got the assignment that it was going to be an emotional thing.

"We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible."

General Tibbets was outspoken on that of the Enola Gay anniversary, calling it a "damn big insult" for the Smithsonian Museum to put into context the suffering the bombing had caused.

According to Richard Rhodes' book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Tibbets is said to have "rarely thought of what might happen" in his flights, and the dropping of the Little Bomb was no different.

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