in the world is has the devastation power as the nuclear bomb also known as the
atomic bomb. Within a fraction of a second the fission or fusion chain reaction
create an explosion equivalent to 50 million tons of TNT. This technology has
shaped the history of war and has been the biggest show of force since the
first bomb was drop in Hiroshima Japan during World War II. This bomb has had
the ability to end World War II, be the driving force behind the Cold War and
even to this day strike fear into people’s hearts when politically unstable
countries threaten to use them as toys. The power that this weapon possess as
well as the political power it holds has had the biggest impact in diplomacy
between countries that has been unrivaled compared to any other weapon in
2nd 1939 would be the day that the Manhattan Project take off. A
letter from Leó Szilárd and Albert Einstein was sent to the United States
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stating “it may be possible to set up a nuclear
chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and
large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated.” (Einstein,
The letter contained information that Nazi German scientists were working on an
atomic weapon using uranium that would yield bombs beyond anything seen today.
The letter suggested that the United States start its own nuclear program. The
biggest military project to day would be launched, The Manhattan Project lead
by Nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer. After the potential for the atomic
bomb was learned nearly limitless resources would be used to guarantee the
Unites States would be the first to weaponized nuclear power.
6 years of development and 2 billion dollars (70 billion dollars today) the
first nuclear bomb test was conducted. At a testing site in the New Mexico
desert on July 16th 1945 the Trinity test was performed. At 5:29a.m
the bomb nicknamed “The Gadget” exploded with the force of 22 kilotons of TNT.
The design of the bomb was an implosion-design plutonium device, the same
design as the Fat Man bomb that would be detonated over Nagasaki Japan. The
true power of the nuclear bomb was realize. ” I became Death, the destroyer of
Worlds” (Oppenheimer, 1945)
Japan was selected as the primary target with Kokura and Nagasaki being
alternatives. The Enola Gay, a B-29 aircraft that had been modified to carry
the weapon took off late at night August 5th. At 8:15 local time the
Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy”. Little Boy was a uranium-based destination.
Little Boy containing 64kg of unrandium-235 took approximately 44 seconds to
its destination height of 1,900 feet. The detonation released the amount of
energy equivalent of 16 kilotons of TNT. With only 1.7% of its material being
used in the fission reaction, the weapon was considered very inefficient. The
blast radius was about one square miles with fire storms across 4 square miles.
After the bombing
President Truman put out a statement that warned
are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive
enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their
docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we
shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.” (Truman, 1945)
The following days after
the attack the United States waited for Japans surrender response. But with no
indication of a surrender the decision to drop another bomb was made. Nagasaki
was selected because it was one of Japans largest seaports. The bomb named Fat
Man, a plutonium detonation device similar to The Gadget of the Trinity test
was used on August 9th 1945. The B-29 Bomber called the Bockscar
would be the delivery weapon. At 11:01
local the Bockscar dropped Fat Man. The bomb exploded 1,650 feet above the
ground with the energy equivalent of 21 Kilotons on TNT. Although this bomb was
more powerful than Little Boy, it was less destructive because of the hilly
nature of the terrain. The blast radius was one mile squared with a 2 square
mile fire storm following.
the second nuclear bomb with an approximant 200,000 people killed by nuclear
bombs alone and the declaration of the Soviet Union declaring war on the Japanese.
Japan announced its surrender on August 15th. On September 2nd
1945 it was formally signed to bring an end to World War II. As the war came to
a close it would only be a short time till tensions started to rise among the
last remaining superpowers in the world The Soviet Union and The United States.
While there is a lot of circumstances that lead to the beginning of the Cold
War, it started to take a dangerous turn when the Soviet Union detonated its
first nuclear weapon on August 29th 1949.
tensions built and the fear of each country being the first to strike. A Speech
by Ronald Regan addressing the nation’s defense said.
the dawn of the atomic age, we’ve sought to reduce the risk of war by
maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control.
“Deterrence” means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks
about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interest,
concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains.” (Reagan, 1983)
The race was on to build
bigger and bigger nuclear weapons. The largest of these bombs to be made was
the Tsar Bomba built by the Soviet Union in 1961. With the energy equivalent of
50 million tons of TNT it was over 3,000 times more powerful than the bomb
dropped on Hiroshima. During the Cold War the United States build roughly
66,500 warheads and the Soviet Union built roughly 55,000 nuclear weapons. For
almost 50 years both countries lived at some level of fear on an immediate
nuclear war. While both countries did not participated in a direct war. Both countries
fought by providing supplies to smaller countries that were at war in “proxy
wars”. With the fall of Soviet Union in 1991 the Cold war was over leaving
behind thousands of unused warheads.
the world no longer under fear of a nuclear holocaust the United Nations agreed
for nuclear disarmament. This would leave the United States and Russian nuclear
stockpiles round 7,000 warheads each. As of today there are 8 countries with
confirmed nuclear bombs some sort of intercontinental delivery method. North
Korea has been confirmed to have the ability to make the warhead but does not
have the proven technology to deliver the warhead. In September of 2017 NORSAR
(Norwegian Seismic Array) detected an event magnitude of 5.8 in North Korea.
This was similar to five previous nuclear test conducted in North Korea. (The nuclear
explosion in North Korea on 3 September 2017: A revised magnitude assessment,
With a politically unstable country such as North Korea claiming to have
nuclear capable weapons. The world may once again be entering another Cold War.
Though this threat can
seem small at the size of North Koreas nuclear stockpile compared to the Unites
States and Russia. The real truth is that even one nuclear bomb has the ability
to cause total devastation and with today technology could cause casualties in
the millions from a single weapon. Even if the possibility of this threat is
minuscule the threat is there and has been shown to be devastation.
feeling of the Cold War is starting to come back 20 years after it had ended
with the Soviet Union but this time with North Korea. North Korea is unstable and
a threat, especially the threat about a nuclear war is very concerning. The
Atomic bomb has shown to be one of the most devastating weapons in war of all
time. First being used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States and the
standoff in the Cold War that led to the creation of the biggest made explosion
of all-time 3,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped in Hiroshima just
16 years later. The power of the atom was harnessed by man and the power of the
atom is the thing that could be the end of man.