The story of nuclear weapons is a strange one. If you didn’t know much about the topic, this article will explore some not so often recognized details of their history.
Officially, 2,120 nuclear tests have been performed on planet Earth. They were:
1,032 from the US
727 from the USSR
88 from the UK
217 from France
47 from China
3 from India
2 from Pakistan
5 from North Korea
Officially there were 520 atmospheric nuclear explosions worldwide, and 1,352 underground nuclear explosions.
This is a visual to explain just how many nuclear bombs have been detonated on Earth, that produces a slightly different number.
The US allowed soldiers and journalists to become poisoned with radiation.
LA Times writer Gene Sherman witnessed a nuclear blast just 2 miles away on March 17, 1953, alongside soldiers in trenches. According to his account:
“He told us what to do and as the public-address system marked H-minus-3 we did it. We knelt down in the fine dust in the bottom of the trench. We put our helmeted heads low. We leaned hard against the forward wall to brace ourselves for the shock. …
Then instantaneously it came as the countdown reached zero. The murky dawn light was suddenly gone from our trench, washed out by the indefinable, unbelievable grievance of the atomic flash.
Under my nose the dull powered sand of the trench turned an unworldly white that seemed to typify the total absence of all life.
Simultaneously the earth we embraced so dependently convulsed in violent paroxysm. We were shaken like dice in a cup for brief, fleeting moments of terror.
Still hugging the protective earth we heard what seemed like the crack of a gargantuan whip above us, then the angry, protesting echoes of dying fission.”
But why do people rarely recognize the radioactive toxicity of sites all over the planet?
Aside from nuclear weapons testing, radioactive chromium-6 is in the water supply of cities all over America. In my city, North Highlands California, the McClellan Airforce Base contaminated my neighborhood’s water supply with chromium-6. In nearby Rio Linda, people have reported “everyone on their block getting cancer.”
The story of St. George Utah, the “Dirty Harry” bomb that poisoned thousands of people and killed thousands of animals in the Southwestern United States in the 1950’s, is essential to understanding the history of nuclear weapons.
One of the largest nukes detonated in the US was “Dirty Harry,” detonated on May 19, 1953 at the Nevada Test Site in Yucca Flat. Fallout from the bomb landed on 3046 counties in the US, particularly damaging Utah. The test released the highest amount of toxic fallout of any test in the continental US.
According to a firsthand account of a man who knew countless people who died of cancer after the test, the military told residents of his Utah town to observe the blast, as some kind of harmless spectacle, kind of like how NASA is encouraging people to watch them spray colorful toxic metals in the stratosphere right now to promote geoengineering. He said:
“The men from the Atomic Energy Commission notified us when the above-ground tests were planned. We were watching history being made, they told us.” He shook his head. “For some, it was not history they watched, but the beginning of their cycle of death.
We watched from the Sugar Loaf (a red sandstone cake-like rock projection north of St. George), the hill where the airport sits, from the top of Utah Hill, all kinds of high places. Some people drove to the top of Utah Hill and down the flat toward Mesquite, about 15 miles or 20 miles west of St. George.
Long before daylight the entire western sky would light up, followed by what felt like a small earthquake. Later in the day, a huge, rolling, red cloud would drift over us. At first no one paid any attention. People went about their business. Many of those who were outside during this time lost their hair. Sometimes, it came back, sometimes it didn’t.
My late wife, Viola, loved to work in her flower garden. She died in 1960 of leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease.”
There isn’t much to conclude from this but that the US government and other govts who tested nuclear weapons destroyed a lot of life, land, and could have destroyed a lot more. But I researched this trying to figure out something much less tangible: could nuclear blasts do something to the Earth, or even to time and space that we can’t fathom? That’s what I want to know, but the answer is elusive.
(Image credit: RDR)