Race for Nuclear Arms and Power

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Race for Nuclear Arms and Power

Harry Truman (1884-1972) was the most influential person in the race for the super bomb. As President Roosevelt’s Vice President, he knew nothing about the development of the atomic bomb. But within months of assuming the office of President of the United States on April 12, 1945, he became the first and only American leader to authorize the use of atomic weapons against an enemy target. Truman’s era only marked the beginning of the race for nuclear weapons. The development of nuclear weapons is still an issue today, decades after Truman left office.

Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) succeeded in splitting the uranium atom and the Nobel Committee later awarded him the 1938 prize for physics. At Columbia
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The scientists underestimated the size of the explosion because they thought it would yield the equivalent of 5 million tons of TNT, but in fact, "Bravo" yielded 15 megatons making it more than a thousand times bigger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.(9) The blast gouged a crater about a mile wide in the reef. Within seconds the fireball was nearly three miles in diameter and was visible for almost one minute on Rongerik, an island 135 miles east of the burst.

About an hour-and-a-half later a gritty, snow-like substance began raining down on a Japanese fishing vessel called the Lucky Dragon that was about 80 miles east of Bikini. When the 23 fishermen returned to port two weeks later they were all suffering severe radiation sickness and their radio operator later died. In 1955, the United States paid two million dollars as restitution for damage to the Lucky Dragon, its 23 members and its cargo after negotiations with Japanese officials. Marshall Islanders were also exposed to the fallout considering that a few hours after the explosion, radioactive fallout began to drop on the people, into the drinking water, on the food, and into the hands of children who were playing with it.(10) As of December 31, 1997, $63,127,000 has been awarded to or on behalf of 1,549 people of the Marshall Islands, with personal injury claims and several class action suits pending.(11)

On May 10, 1955, the Soviet Union unexpectedly accepted a UN proposal for nuclear
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