Atomic Republic: Vintage Images From US Nuclear Tests

Ah, America: the land where conflating violence and freedom are a way of life. In addition to being the home of baseball, junk food, and some damn good music, America holds the distinction for being the only country in the world to have wiped out hundreds of thousands of people by using nuclear weapons in war times, allegedly to fight evil, but realistically because Harry Truman wanted to see what all the hype was about. In any case, as always, the good white dudes in ‘Murica beat those damn Japanese and Nazis and the whole world loves us for it.

Regardless of my personal opinions and the historical half-truths surrounding the end of World War II, I have always been fascinated with the elephant in the room anytime the subject of nuclear weapons comes up; namely questions of ethics and our collective responsibility when it comes to the use of such weapons. This recently led me to do a little bit of research and I stumbled upon a gallery depicting images of nuclear weapon tests on US soil. For now, I’ll let the images do the talking and defer to you the reader to ponder the big questions in the comment section below.

1Mt, Christmas Island, 10.Jun.1962

20kt-1Mt, Christmas Island, 9.Jun.1962

17kt, Nevada Test Site, 18.Aug.1957

13.7kt, Eniwetok, 6.Jun.1956

8.9Mt, Eniwetok, 28.Jun.1958

10.4Mt, Eniwetok, 31.Oct.1952

10.4Mt, Eniwetok, 31.Oct.1952

<1Mt, Johnston Island, 1.Nov.1962

15kt, Nevada Test Site, 25.May.1953

Eniwetok, 1951

225kt, Nevada Test Site, 8.May, 1951

11kt, Nevada Test Site, 14.Sep.1957

“Buster Dog,” 21kt, Nevada Test Site, 1.Nov.1951

14kt, Nevada Test Site, 30.Oct.1951

1Mt, Johnston Island, 18.Oct.1962

“Buster Charlie”, 14kt, Nevada Test Site, 30.Oct.1951

1Mt, Christmas Island, 30.Jun.1962

<1Mt, Johnston Island, 26.Oct.1962

1M, Christmas Island, 27.Jun.1962

21kt, Bikini, 24.Jul.1946


* All photos (and more) from Trinity Atomic Web Site.

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I appreciate what this site is doing, I don’t agree with your bias but you were willing to show the horrors of the Gulags so I do think that ultimately your commitment is to the truth, but this article is antithetical to what I hope is your goal. Casualty projections were 1.7 – 4 million (400,000 – 800,000 projected fatalities) for the American Invasion force and 5-10 million Japanese fatalities defending their homeland. Your self described “little bit of research” seems woefully inadequate to make such harsh judgement of military decisions that saved millions of lives on both sides.