Nuclear weapons have been an integral part of American offensive and defensive capabilities since their very inception. Ever since J. Robert Oppenheimer uttered the famous words, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” in awe and terror while witnessing the destructive power of splitting the atom, the United States has done everything it could to better harness the process’s weaponized potential – and that means lots and lots of testing.
Prior to 1963, when above ground nuclear tests were banned by the U.S. government, hundreds of mushroom clouds littered the American southwest and certain Pacific islands as we re-tooled and re-tested every possible combination in an effort to make a more efficient and destructive bomb. The government usually filmed these tests, not just for posterity, but in order to study the footage for further understanding of the weapon’s process. While some of these videos have been released to the public and since become famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective, the vast majority of this footage has been kept classified. That is, until now.
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