The Development of Nuclear Weapons
   

The Development of Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War─A Stand-Off between the US and the USSR The Cold War started as soon as World War II ended. In a "hot war" people actually fight each other with guns and other weapons. The term "Cold War" was commonly used because the conflict was extremely intense but did not actually involve the physical weapons of war. The main antagonists in this conflict were the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States of America. These two countries tried to become more powerful than each other by having more nuclear weapons, and more powerful ones. Then, more countries got the bomb: England in 1952, France in 1960, and China in 1964.

Radiation Victims Exposed by a Hydrogen Bomb Test

The Soviet Union successfully conducted its first atomic bomb test in 1949. To counter this development, the US developed the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than the atomic bomb. In 1952, it successfully tested the world's first hydrogen bomb on an island in the South Pacific. In 1954, when the US conducted another hydrogen bomb test on the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, a Japanese fishing boat named the Fukuryu-maru V (Lucky Dragon) happened to be in the vicinity and was contaminated by radioactive fallout. By the time they got back to Japan, the ship's crew were becoming seriously ill. They were all hospitalized, and one of them died. The Japanese people already knew the horror of atomic bombs, but they were quite shocked to learn that people could be killed even by a test.
●The World's First Hydrogen Bomb Test (carried out by the US)
The hydrogen bomb uses the extremely high temperature and pressure created by an atomic explosion to start a nuclear fusion reaction. The destructive power of this hydrogen bomb was about 10 megatons, making it about 700 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean
November 1952