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The nuclear arsenal - Operation Crossroads

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    Posted 4 years ago

    (365 items)

    Operation Crossroads in 1946 was the first post-WWII test of an atomic bomb. It was also the first post-war nuclear disaster.

    Operation Crossroads was planned as a series of three detonations. Only two were carried out. The site selected for these tests was Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and the inhabitants were relocated. The stage was set with a fleet of 95 decommissioned and captured ships placed in the atoll lagoon. The first detonation (Able) was an aerial burst. Described as "self-cleaning", it sent radio-active plutonium into the stratosphere with little or no fallout. A slightly different scene on the surface, but because the drop missed the target by nearly a half mile, damage and contamination was less than expected. After a quick clean-up, the scene was reset for the second test.

    The next bomb (Baker) was detonated 90 feet below the surface of the water. It was a blast unlike anything expected and there was nothing self-cleaning about it. Of the 90 ships in the 3 1/2 mile radius target array, one was vaporized, ten sank, and only nine were successfully decontaminated enough to be cut up and sold for scrap. The rest were towed to deep water and scuttled. The sodium in the seawater in the lagoon was radio-actively ionized. The Bikini Atoll is still contaminated, uninhabited and rarely visited.

    The third detonation was cancelled.

    This book - OPERATION CROSSROADS, The Official Pictorial Record - was released through The Office of the Historian, Joint Task Force One and published by Wm. H. Wise & C0. in 1946. Its 224 pages are loaded with pictures, including this (pic 3) grim look at the future.

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    1. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
      GREAT history in these items!

    2. Caperkid, 4 years ago
      The facinating part to me was two of these were dropped on a defeated countries civilian population . Biggest war crime in history.
    3. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
      Don't get me wrong-- the results of the bomb were horrible and the outcome was already sealed; however, a US led invasion of Japan was expected to result in several hundred thousand US casualties AND several hundred thousand Japanese casualties.

      In the end lives were probably saved by using the bomb.

      Hardly a war crime!

      Interestingly, we (US Army) still had WW2 purple heart medals on hand that were awarded in OEF and OIF. We had those WW2 PH medals due to contracts placed in anticipation of an Invasion of Japan.

    4. Caperkid, 4 years ago
      You have your opinion I have mine we will keep it at that. The bomb was meant to keep the Russian advance on Asia at bay not to save lives.
    5. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
      I'll take the key players at their words (in memoirs and letters) -- casualties were certainly a key factor in the decision!

    6. artfoot artfoot, 4 years ago
      The two bombs dropped on Japan that ended WWII probably could have, in one of many possible futures, ultimately saved both American and Japanese lives. It's the post-war atmospheric tests and Cold War baloney that were no good for anyone. That's my opinion.
    7. Caperkid, 4 years ago
      The chief of staff, Admiral Leahy ,General MacArthur, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight Eisenhower all believe it was not necessary. Last I will say about this.
    8. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
      Casualties were a factor according to Truman:
      "It occurred to me that a quarter of a million of the flower of our young manhood was worth a couple of Japanese cities and I still think they were and are."
      - President Harry Truman, DEC 1945


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