History has witnessed the atomic bomb’s godlike potential to completely destroy first-hand, and there will be no threat the world will face that is greater than that of a total nuclear holocaust. The capability to annihilate an entire world – its people, its past, its progress – belongs solely to the atomic bomb. In view of their terrifying and awesome power, we have compiled a list of 18 lesser-known facts about atomic bombs that will astonish you.
1. Kokura, Japan was the original target of the atomic bomb that landed on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Kokura got lucky. Really lucky. On August 9, 1945, the B-29 bomber left for Kokura, Japan’s largest still-standing arsenal city. On arriving at the location, the plane was obscured by clouds and turned south to Nagasaki instead. According to some theorists, Japan did this intentionally (by creating enormous condensation clouds to mask the city) as a smokescreen to deflect the bombers.(source)
2. In 1961, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever built by man was detonated at Sukhoy Nos Peninsula, Russia. It was called the Tsar Bomba and its shockwaves travelled the earth three times.
The Tsar Bomba was built in a mere 15 weeks. The mushroom cloud that formed was 168 times taller than the Empire State Building and its power output was equivalent to 1.4% of the Sun’s. The heat from the explosion could have caused third-degree burns 100 kilometers away. It was so powerful, in fact, that it broke windows in Norway and Finland.(source)
3. 10% of the electricity in the United States came from disassembled Russian nuclear warheads, until 2013.
By the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States shook hands on an agreement that would successfully get rid of the 500 tons of weapons-grade Uranium by providing 7 trillion kilowatts of energy to the country. The program was called Megatons to Megawatts, which lasted from 1993 to 2013.(source)
4. Japan’s capital city Tokyo did not realize that a bomb was dropped on Hiroshima until three hours after it happened. Prior to the bombings, however, leaflets were dropped from the sky, warning the citizens to evacuate the cities if they wanted to save their lives.
In the days leading up to the bombings, the U.S. Air Force dropped over five million leaflets containing warnings about the bombing. The following message was also broadcast every fifteen minutes on the radio by an American controlled station.(source)
“These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America’s humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people.”
5. A hydrogen bomb that was 100 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima was detonated in space by the U.S in 1962. The high-altitude nuclear test was codenamed Starfish Prime.
When the Starfish Prime exploded, it created “rainbow skies”. The electrons that were released entered the earth’s atmosphere and energized oxygen and nitrogen atoms, causing them to glow in different colours. The bomb was so powerful, in fact, that it artificially extended the Van Allen belts (comprising of protons and neutrons held together by magnetic fields) which could be seen from Hawaii all the way up to New Zealand.(source)
6. During the 1950’s, atomic bomb testings were a major tourist attraction in Las Vegas. Nuclear testing took place 80 kilometers from the main city, so civilians would throw all-night atomic bomb parties with the mushroom clouds as backdrop.
So much so that Las Vegas was unofficially nicknamed “Atomic City”. These “Dawn Bomb Parties”, as they were called, happened whenever a bomb was dropped. Partygoers would stop and take in the sight of the mushroom clouds that formed. A drink called the “Atomic Cocktail” was also created, and sometimes people would pack “Atomic lunchboxes” to take with them to the desert.(source)