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When the nuclear age began, there was no mistaking it. The decision by the United States to drop the world’s first atomic weapons on two Japanese cities—Hiroshima first, on Aug. 6, 1945, and Nagasaki three days later—was that rare historical moment that requires little hindsight to gain its significance. World War II would end, and the Cold War soon begin. New frontiers of science were opening, along with new and frightening moral questions. As TIME noted in the week following the bombings, the men aboard the Enola Gay could only summon two words: “My God!”/.../