Seventy years ago, on the morning of July 16, 1945, the U.S. conducted its first atomic bomb test. Code named “Trinity”, the plutonium bomb test took place at a U.S. Air Force base in the state of New Mexico.
Atomic bomb first tested 70 years agoSeventy years ago, in the morning of July 16, 1945, the U.S. conducted its first atomic bomb test. Code named "Trinity", the plutonium bomb test took place at a U.S. Air Force base in the state of of New Mexico.
It was the culmination of the “Manhattan Project” a research and development initiative that produced the first nuclear weapons of World War II. The head of the project was Robert Oppenheimer. He later described the scene as the bomb detonated into a fireball, 12,000 meters (7.4 miles) high. “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed. A few people cried. Most people were silent.”
Just a month after successfully testing the bomb, the United States announced it had dropped the weapon over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Within several kilometers of the drop site, virtually everything was destroyed or damaged. More than 70,000 people died instantly. At least another 100,000 are estimated to have died from the effects of radiation poisoning in the following years.
A few days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki. The Japanese announced surrendered in August of 1945 and the war ended not long after.
Over the years that followed, the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and China would be among the nations which tested atomic bombs. China’s “People’s Daily” published an article in October 1964, confirming the country’s first successful test.
Alex Wellerstein, assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, has created an interactive map site, NUKEMAP, to illustrate the capabilities of different size nuclear weapons. The examples below show how developments over the years have created weapons capable of increasing levels of destruction. We based the comparisons on the original Trinity test site. If you slide the images you can see the amount of destruction the larger bomb can create.
Range of “Davy Crockett”, smallest bomb produced by the U.S. versus “Little Boy”, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
B-83 at 1.2 megatons is the largest bomb currently in service in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
A megaton is a unit of explosive power chiefly used for nuclear weapons, equivalent to one million tons of TNT.
Russia’s largest tested bomb is the Tsar Bomba at 50 megatons.
For more details: visit NUKEMAP.
Greg Thielmann on atomic bombs
The effort to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world is something that every nuclear power has signed on to. However, more countries are trying to obtain atomic bombs. For the reasons behind that and will these strong weapons always be around, CCTV’s Mike Walter talked to Greg Thielmann, a Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association.
Follow Mike Walter on Twitter @mikewaltercctv