The history of nuclear weapons chronicles the development of nuclear weapons—devices of enormous destructive potential which derive their energy from. Nuclear weapons technology was developed during the s and s. The first nuclear weapons were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. A Brief History of Nuclear Weapons States. The world's first nuclear weapons explosion on July 16, , in New Mexico, when the United States tested its first nuclear bomb. Not three weeks later, the world changed. On August 6, , the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.


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After the atomic bombings of Japan, many scientists at Los Alamos rebelled against the notion of creating a weapon thousands of times more powerful than the first atomic bombs. For the scientists the question was in part technical—the weapon design was still quite uncertain and unworkable—and in part moral: Many scientists, such as Bethe, urged that the History of nuclear weapons States should not develop such weapons and set an example towards the Soviet Union.


Promoters of the weapon, history of nuclear weapons Teller, Ernest Lawrenceand Luis Alvarezargued that such a development was inevitable, and to deny such protection to the people of the United States—especially when the Soviet Union was likely to create such a weapon themselves—was itself an immoral and unwise act.

Oppenheimer, who was now head of the General Advisory Committee of the successor to the Manhattan Project, the Atomic Energy Commission, presided over a recommendation against the development of the weapon.

Nuclear Bombs

The reasons were in part because the success of the technology seemed limited at history of nuclear weapons time and not worth the investment of resources to confirm whether this was soand because Oppenheimer believed that the atomic forces of the United States history of nuclear weapons be more effective if they consisted of many large fission weapons of which multiple bombs could be dropped on the same targets rather than the large and unwieldy super bombs, for which there was a relatively limited number of targets of sufficient size to warrant such a development.

What is more, if such weapons were developed by both superpowers, they would be more effective against the U.

The " Mike " shot in inaugurated the age of fusion weapons. In the end, President Truman made the final decision, looking for a proper response to the first Soviet atomic bomb test in On January 31,Truman announced a crash program to develop the hydrogen fusion bomb.

At this point, however, the exact mechanism was still not known: However, an insight by Los Alamos mathematician Stanislaw Ulam showed that the fission bomb and the fusion fuel could be in separate parts of the bomb, and that history of nuclear weapons of the fission bomb could first work in a way to compress the fusion material before igniting it.

Teller pushed the notion further, and used the results of the boosted-fission " George " test a boosted-fission device using a small amount of fusion fuel history of nuclear weapons boost the yield of a fission bomb to confirm the fusion of heavy hydrogen elements before preparing for their first true multi-stage, Teller-Ulam hydrogen bomb test.

Many scientists, initially against the weapon, such as Oppenheimer and Bethe, changed their previous opinions, seeing the development as being unstoppable.

History of nuclear weapons

The device was a prototype design and history of nuclear weapons a deliverable weapon: Its explosion yielded energy equivalent to Truman had initially tried to create a media blackout about the test—hoping it would not become an issue in the upcoming presidential election—but on January 7,Truman announced the development of the hydrogen bomb to the world as hints and speculations of it were already beginning to emerge in the press.

Not to be outdone, the Soviet Union exploded its first thermonuclear device, designed by the physicist Andrei Sakharovon August 12,labeled " Joe-4 history of nuclear weapons by the West. This created concern within the U.

This first device though was arguably history of nuclear weapons a true hydrogen bomb, and could only reach explosive yields in the hundreds of kilotons never reaching the megaton range of a staged weapon. Still, it was a powerful propaganda tool for the Soviet Union, and the technical differences were fairly oblique to the History of nuclear weapons public and politicians.

Following the Mike blast by less than a year, Joe-4 seemed to validate claims that the bombs were inevitable and vindicate those who had supported the development of the fusion program. Coming during the height of McCarthyismthe effect was pronounced on the security hearings in earlywhich revoked former Los Alamos director Robert Oppenheimer's security clearance on the grounds that he was unreliable, had not supported the American hydrogen bomb program, and had made long-standing left-wing ties in the s.


Edward Teller participated in the hearing as the only major scientist to testify against Oppenheimer, resulting in his virtual expulsion from the physics community.

On March 1,the U. The device yielded 15 megatons, more than twice its expected yield, and became the worst radiological disaster in U. Efforts were made to recover the cargo history of nuclear weapons contaminated fish but at least two large tuna were probably sold and eaten. A further 75 tons of tuna caught between March and December were found to be unfit for human consumption.

History of nuclear weapons the crew member died and the full results of the contamination were made public by the U.

Nuclear weapons: a history | New Internationalist

With only fission bombs, nuclear war history of nuclear weapons something that possibly could be limited. Dropped by planes and only able to destroy the most built up areas of major cities, it was possible for many to look at fission bombs as a technological extension of large-scale conventional bombing—such as the extensive firebombing of German and Japanese cities during World War II.

Proponents brushed aside as grave exaggeration claims that such weapons could lead to worldwide death or harm. history of nuclear weapons