The period in history usually considered to have begun with the first use of the atomic bomb (1945). It is characterized by nuclear energy as a military, industrial, and sociopolitical factor.Also called atomic age. The Nuclear Age Began When The US Detonated The First Atomic Bomb
On June 16, 1945, America detonated the first atomic bomb, starting the atomic age and the biggest arms race in the world. Although the first attempts to make atomic bomb initiated in Nazi Germany they weren’t successful until the US president Franklin D. Roosevelt in cooperation with the British government authorized the “Manhattan Project” in order to research about production of atomic bomb. A group of top scientists of the time worked for the project with the distinguished physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer being the head of the group. They succeeded to make the first atomic bomb in the US which was detonated in what is now called Trinity in New Mexico. Perhaps at first it was believed that the US would not use that lethal weapon against the mankind but soon people of two big cities in Japan fell victim to America’s atomic bombs.
On August 6, 1945, a bomber in US Air Force 509th Bomb Squadron called Enola Gay- which is now kept in a museum in Washington- left a US base in the south of Pacific Ocean and detonated an atomic bomb named “Little Boy” over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The direct and the indirect death toll caused by this bombardment are estimated to exceed 140,000. This however was not the end as three days after Hiroshima bombing, another atomic bomb, called the “Fat Man” killed 73,000 and injured 74,000 people in Nagasaki, Japan, not including those who later were found to be the victims of the bombing. Of course there was another bomb made in the Manhattan Project which was never used. Oppenheimer regretted his participation in the Manhattan project after a while and began to speak against nuclear arms, and thus was removed from the project. His regret was of no use though. The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949, with the help of Oppenheimer’s friend, Klaus Fuchs.
To keep its superiority in the arms race, the US began the research for making hydrogen bombs and could successfully detonate it in November, 1952. No country has so far used nuclear arms for military purposes except for the US. There is however concerns over some countries possessing nuclear arms, especially as some of them have refused to sign the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT). “[Until September 9, 2009] there are over 20,000 nuclear weapons around the world. Many of them are still on hair-trigger alert, threatening our own survival,” said Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in the Annual DPI/NGO Conference. 18,500 of these bombs were made by the US and Russia. All five permanent members of the UN Security Council –America, France, Russia, China, and Britain- have atomic bombs and have been recognized as nuclear powers in the NPT. The NPT recognizes the countries that owned or detonated nuclear bombs or arms before January 1, 1967 on the condition that they would gradually be disarmed and destroy all their atomic bombs.
The museum sketches the history of the nuclear age, which started with the first atomic bomb test in the New Mexico desert in 1945. For a hundred years of war, culminating in the nuclear age, military technology was designed and deployed to inflict casualties on an ever-growing scale.