The Atlantic has published three posts featuring footage and images of early U.S. nuclear weapons testing.
Can We Unlearn the Bomb? by Michael Freedman (The Atlantic)
Excerpt: As we drove north, the valley gave way to the open expanse of Frenchman’s Flat, the dry lake bed that served as the site of the first atmospheric test, a one-kiloton device dropped from a B-50 Bomber flying overhead. Within the next decade, they would drop 99 more bombs there and in the surrounding areas.
When We Tested Nuclear Bombs, by Alan Taylor (The Atlantic)
Excerpt: Since the time of Trinity — the first nuclear explosion in 1945 — nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed, with the majority taking place during the 1960s and 1970s. When the technology was new, tests were frequent and often spectacular, and led to the development of newer, more deadly weapons. But starting in the 1990s, there have been efforts to limit the future testing of nuclear weapons, including a U.S. moratorium and a U.N. comprehensive test ban treaty.
Video Gallery: Nuclear Bomb Tests, by Michael Freedman (The Atlantic)
Excerpt: For 40 years, beginning in 1951, scientists and engineers working on behalf of or contracted to the U.S. government exploded nearly 1,000 nuclear devices at the Nevada Test Site in the desert outside Las Vegas. They wanted to test the properties and effects of this exceedingly complex weapon, and prove its strength to the world in a sublime pyrotechnic display. They conducted all sorts of tests: to animals, to houses, bridges, clothing and shelters.