Timeline: A Nuclear World Essay

1660 words - 7 pages

Timeline: A Nuclear World
1939 - 1963

Einstein proposes developing an atomic bomb United States drops atomic bombs on Japan U.S.S. Nautilus travels under the polar ice cap
1939 1945, August 1958

1945, July 1954 1963
United States tests an atomic bomb First civilian nuclear electric plant Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed

1939, Einstein proposes developing an atomic bomb
In July of 1939, Albert Einstein was contacted by Leó Szilárd, a Hungarian born physicist, regarding recent breakthroughs in nuclear chain reactions. Leó concluded that this new technology could serve as a fuel for a new and powerful type of weaponry called the nuclear bomb. Szilárd ...view middle of the document...

The test weapon was scheduled for detonation at 4:00 a.m. but postponed because of weather complications. Scientists and military officials feared that lightning would accidentally trigger the devise. Soon after the storm rolled through, a twenty minute countdown started at 5:10 a.m. About 260 people on hand reported to safety bunkers spread out about five and a half to ten miles from the blast site. Then, it happened. Military technology would be changed forever. At approximately 5:30 a.m., the desert of New Mexico was rocked by a colossal explosion. Although it was dark out, the desert glowed as if it were daytime for a few seconds. Onlookers ten miles away described the heat to be immense. The sky changed to purple, green, and eventually white. A mushroom cloud seven miles high was observed. The explosion was estimated to be equal to twenty kilotons of TNT. Although the devise was suspended one hundred feet above ground, the enormous blast left a crater ten feet deep and 2,400 feet wide. The sand at ground zero was so hot that it turned into radioactive glass named trinitite. Civilians 200 miles away reportedly heard the explosion, but had no idea they witnessed a top secret experiment. The information was later made public after nearly a month following the explosion.

1945, August: United States drops atomic bombs on Japan
President Harry S. Truman made the decision to use nuclear weapons in July of 1945. He had given orders to the 509 Composite Group to begin bombing after August 3, weather permitting. The orders specified to bomb one of four targets – Hiroshima, Kokura, Nugata or Nagasaki. On the morning of August 6, a B-29 bomber named “Enola Gay” was equipped with the first nuclear weapon ever to be used in an attack. At about 8:15 in the morning, the plane reached its target. 31,000 feet below, Japanese soldiers were said to be doing their morning exercises. Many people were out walking, riding bikes, and working due to a recent air raid alert being lifted. Not a single person on the ground had a chance to prepare for what was about to happen. About forty seconds after the bomb was released, the 9,700 pound devise exploded almost 2,000 feet above Hiroshima. Ninety percent of the people and animals within a half mile radius were killed within ten minutes. Every building within a one mile radius was completely devastated, and nearly every building within three miles was damaged. Less than ten percent of the city’s buildings survived the attack. Small fires ravaged through the remaining city and eventually converged into an enormous fire storm that swallowed more than 4 miles of the city. Glass shattered on buildings as far away as twelve miles away because of the immense shock wave. Relief efforts were nearly nonexistent. Half of the city’s population was dead or injured and communications were cut following the blast. The Japanese officials had no clue about the bombing for hours.
It is estimated that 70,000...

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