Most people will have heard of the “Manhattan Project” it was a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada.
Despite the data gathered from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, the nuclear testing were still conducted in an extremely reckless manner far in to the 1950s and 1960s.
The picture on the top shows five air force officers standing directly below ground zero for an atmospheric nuclear test. 18,500 feet above their heads, a two-kiloton atomic bomb is about to go off.
Their goal is to prove that these nuclear tests are safe. When an NPR reporter tried to look into these men’s fate, the photographer told them, “Quite a few have died from cancer. No doubt it was related to the testing.”
A pig is placed into an aluminum barrel before a nuclear test.
This pig, and others like it, were placed in barrels in various places around ground zero for various nuclear tests so that researchers could study the effects of radiation on living things.
San Antonio, Texas. 1957
Just after a nuclear bomb was detonated, two soldiers use their hands to frame the mushroom cloud for the camera.
Nye County, Nevada. May 1, 1952.
An “atomic pin-up girl” at a Las Vegas party dances for the camera while a nuclear bomb explodes behind her.
Nevada. April 6, 1953.
Military men watch as the mushroom cloud from a nuclear blast drifts up overhead.
Nye County, Nevada. April 22, 1952
The U.S. Army 11th Airborne Division sit and watch the mushroom cloud rise.
Yucca Flats, Nevada. November 1, 1951.
From a parking lot in Nevada, miles away from the test site, a mushroom cloud is still visible. Radioactive particles can be seen drifting through the air, toward the neighboring towns.
Frenchman Flat, Nevada. June 24, 1957.
After the first nuclear test in Bikini Atoll, a man is put through a medical examination to see how being exposed to radiation has affected him.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands.
A mushroom cloud erupts over Bikini Atoll during a nuclear test. July 25, 1946.
The people of Bikini Atoll are relocated to the nearby island of Rognerik Atoll so that the U.S. Government can continue nuclear testing.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. March 7, 1946.
A crowd, mostly news correspondents, lines up to hop on the bus so they can watch an “Open Shot” nuclear test.
“Open Shot” tests were open to the public. Reporters and dignitaries were invited to come out to the Nevada desert and watch a nuclear bomb explode.
Las Vegas, Nevada. March 16, 1953.
“Explosives,” reads a warning sign, one of the only lines of defense keeping civilians from wandering onto the site of an underground nuclear test.
Lamar County, Mississippi. September 1964.
Photographers set up their camera to film the first ever nuclear test to appear on national television.
Nye County, Nevada. April 1952.
An audience at an “Open Shot” nuclear test gaze up in excitement to watch a nuclear bomb explode.
Nye County, Nevada. April 6, 1955
Marines participating in a nuclear test run their morning exercises around the Nevada Proving Grounds.
Nye County, Nevada. June 22, 1957.
A Goodyear Blimp, flying five miles away from ground zero, crashes into the ground, torn down by the heat of the blast.
Nye County, Nevada. August 7, 1957.
The USS Independence after being stationed too close to a nuclear test.
Navy officers are on the ship, trying to study its remains and salvage what’s left of it.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. July 23, 1946.