Trinity, the first test of an atomic bomb, forever changed our world at Alamogordo, New Mexico, at 0530 local time 75 years ago today, July 16. Although the first to be detonated, yielding 18.6 kilotons, Trinity was not the first atomic bomb. That bomb, Little Boy, was secured aboard the cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis which departed San Francisco four hours later that morning at the start of a voyage across the Pacific to the island of Tinian. Of a simpler design, deemed by the scientists not even to require a test, Little Boy was loaded aboard a B-29 at Tinian and detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 9, 1945. Prompt deaths from the bomb’s blast and fire, including to my personal knowledge two United States citizens, and lingering deaths from radiation over the next several months in Hiroshima are estimated to be between 90.000 and 146,000. Three quarters of a century later, we continue to live in the shadow of vastly more powerful thermonuclear weapons while decades of hard-won progress in nuclear arms control are being undone by dangerously flawed logic and a U.S. president’s jingoism.
Philip Padgett examines history by applying skills developed during 40 years of national security and preparedness research and analysis in the military, government, and the private sector. As Deputy Intelligence Adviser at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, he supported from Washington teams negotiating five international treaties and agreements. Read more >>