July 16, 1945, 5:29:45am: Trinity, the 1st Atomic Detonation
[laptop-built, view on narrow browser window]
Baker Shot, Operation Crossroads, Underwater Burst, 21 Kilotons, Bikini Atoll, July 26, 1946.
"At its greatest extent, the water column was 2000 feet (600 m) across, with walls 300 feet (100 m) thick, and 6000 feet (2 km) tall, holding a million tons of water."

"Beginning 4 milliseconds after the [underwater] explosion, the shock wave reaching the surface throws up a 'spray dome', rising at an initial speed of 2500 ft/sec (mach 2.5)..."

"[1,000 feet from the detonation the] first wave [was] 94 feet high... Waves 6 feet high were seen 22,000 feet (7 km) from the explosion." [italics added]

"Grahlfs remembers the Baker shot: "Several-hundred-foot column of water, up in the air with literally ships standing up on end. It was mind bending."

Almost a quarter of a thousand US Navy and captured foreign ships contributed to Operation Crossroads, not including 90 target ships for the test.

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Oct. 14, 2018

The above jpg is of the Baker Shot, a more accurate impression of the actual scale of the firepower of early U.S. atomic detonations.

Trinity detonation (right):
Eyewitness accounts, from 10,000 feet away:

"It was a sunrise such as the world had never seen, a great green supersun climbing in a fraction of a second to a height of more than 8,000 feet, rising ever higher until it touched the clouds, lighting up earth and sky all around with a dazzling luminosity. "Up it went, a great ball of fire about a mile in diameter, changing colors as it kept shooting upward, from deep purple to orange, expanding, growing bigger, rising as it was expanding, an elemental force freed from its bonds after being chained for billions of years.

"For a fleeting instant the color was unearthly green, such as one sees only in the corona of the sun during a total eclipse.

"It was as though the earth had opened and the skies had split. One felt as though he had been privileged to witness the Birth of the World - to be present at the moment of Creation when the Lord said: Let There be Light."
William L. Laurence, War Department historian

"If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky,
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...
I am become Death,
The Destroyer of Worlds.'(The Bhagavad-Gita)[italics added]
J. Robert Oppenheimer, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, U.S.A.

"The effects could well be called unprecedented, magnificent, beautiful, stupendous and terrifying. No man-made phenomenon of such tremendous power had ever occurred before." [italics added]
General Thomas Farrell, Deputy to Gen. Leslie Groves

   Licorne, 914 Kilotons, Thermonuclear Detonation, Mururoa Atoll, French Polynesia, July 3, 1970.
Effects of Nuclear Explosions:

The Early Fireball:

"The intensity of thermal radiation increases very rapidly - as the fourth power of the temperature. Thus at the 60-100 million degrees C of a nuclear explosion, which is some 10,000 times hotter than the surface of the sun, the brightness (per unit area) is some 10 quadrillion (10^16) times greater!... Due to the still enormous temperatures, it is incredibly brilliant (surface brightness trillions of times more intense than the sun)..."

"The shock wave initially moves at some 30 km/sec, a hundred times the speed of sound in normal air. This compresses and heats the air enormously, up to 30,000 degrees C (some five times the sun's surface temperature)." [italics added]

   Licorne, 914 Kilotons, Thermonuclear Detonation

As per the Homepage, WWI and the "Armistice of Versailles" set the stage: only 22 years after British Foreign Secretary E. Grey's inane 1919 birdwatching speech at Harvard, yet another World War broke out in Europe/Britain. It was even more catastrophic than WWI.

On July 16, 1945 The USA successfully detonated the first atomic bomb, a.k.a., Trinity, at Alamogordo, New Mexico. By placing such devices on long-range bombers the USA reinvented itself as the de facto pre-eminent atomic-armed airpower on Earth.

    Stokes, 19 Kilotons, August 7, 1957, Nevada, USA

America's capacity to over-fly other countries with atomic weapons disintegrated the natural territorial sovereignty of all gunpowder-armed nation-states, including former allies in Europe, and the former Great Britain, relegating them to de facto (but not de jure) security vassal states. It was like an elephant stepping on an aluminum beer can. As for the former British Empire, the Sun had not just set on the island-kingdom, the 1,000-year-old Imperial Maritime Empire vanished without a trace in the Los Alamos desert, in the face of "a thousand Suns."

    Castle Bravo, 15 Megaton Thermonuclear Detonation, Bikini Atoll, 6:45am, March 1, 1954.
    (About 1000X stronger than the atomic detonation at Hiroshima).

Lincorne and Castle Bravo were thermonuclear detonations. There is a vast difference in firepower between a thermonuclear detonation and atomic detonations (such as the Baker Shot, pictured at top of the page). It's roughly 1,000X to 1:
"Those were tiny bombs compared to what is around today. The bomb that hit Hiroshima is only about 15 kilotons, and the one that hit Nagasaki is only about 20 kilotons. These are just peanuts compared to the thermonuclear bombs, which are in the hundreds of kilotons, megatons, a million ton of TNT." [italics added]
-Robert S. Norris, 2018.

When considering the scale of thermonuclear detonations, it is very important to remember that Hans Bethe, Head of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos for the Trinity test, and debatably one of, if not the then-smartest man on the subject, emphasized in U.S Congressional Hearings that there are "no limits" to the destructiveness to which thermonuclear weapons can be built.

Castle Bravo:

"The Bravo crater in the atoll reef had a diameter of 6510 ft, with a depth of 250 ft. "Within one minute the mushroom cloud had reached 50,000 feet (15 km), breaking 100,000 feet (30 km) two minutes later. The cloud top rose and peaked at 130,000 feet (almost 40 km) after only six minutes. Eight minutes after the test the cloud had reached its full dimensions with a diameter of 100 km, a stem 7 km thick..."

"After this test the exclusion zone around the Castle tests was increased to 570,000 square miles, a circle 850 miles across (for comparison this is equal to about 1% of the entire Earth's land area)."

Castle Bravo was a particularily "dirty" test, in that there was much more radioactive fallout than expected. 570,000 square miles is greater than all of Germany, France, Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland & Austria (about 1/3 the EU).

For scaling purposes, a single Castle Bravo test would barely fit inside a circle encompassing much of Western Europe, with a diameter from London to Rome (890Km). At 15 megatons, Castle Bravo is 10 megatons short of the Mk-41 "...the largest yield nuclear weapon ever developed or deployed by the U.S. (25 megatons).")

    Castle Romeo, 11 Megaton Themonuclear Detonation, Bikini Atoll, 1954

   Yeso, 3000 Kilotons, B-52 Airburst, off Christmas Island, June 1962.

   Canopus 2.6 megaton thermonuclear detonation, Fangataufa Atoll, 1968

    Seminole, 13.7 Kilotons, June 6, 1956

    Ivy King, 500 Kilotons, Airburst, November 15, 1952 (GMT), Enewetak Atoll

    Mike Shot, 10.4 Megaton Thermonuclear detonation (about 500 times the power of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki).

"The mushroom cloud climbed to 57,000 feet in only 90 seconds, entering the stratosphere. One minute later it reached 108,000 feet, eventually stabilizing at a ceiling of 120,000 feet. Half an hour after the test the mushroom stretched 60 miles across, with the base of the mushroom head joining the stem at 45,000 feet."
-Carey Sublette
This website suggests that in 1914 Britain was the most stable gov't in Europe, and as such, it was in a unique and vital position to arbitrate misunderstandings between the Great Powers of Europe. While US atomic weapons has helped end the war in the Pacific in 1945 and deterred the Soviet Union thereafter, their ruinious effects on the former British Empire have been overlooked.

For the 13 colonies in North America in 1787, Great Britain was seen as the mother country, with the strongest, most stable government on earth. Britain was the home of the Magna Charta, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, Coke on Littleton, John Locke and much more. No other country on earth had such indispensible assets for booting up and maintaining a civil governement.

Scroll forward to 1914-1945 & the rise of American atomic-armed airpower, and the comparatively primitive, gunpowder-armed British Empire's geographical sovereignty fell straight off a cliff. This was a disaster. This website holds the position that for the future stability of Europe, the 1914-1945 collapse of the British Imperial Maritime Empire was a catastrophe beyond measure.

The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had grown up when the British military was still defending the island kingdom with horses and wooden sailing ship's and using gunpowder, literally a 9th-century discovery.

The Americans, fresh out of the box, that is, not an archaic island with a population carrying a thousand years of bizarre superstitions, religious battles, plagues (Black Death) and endless territorial & commercial wars with neighboring countries, revolutionized all land/sea warfare starting with Wilbur and Oroville Wright's stupendous December 17, 1903 [at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina] invention of "...the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard."

America's discovery of airborne human flight had ominous implications for the stability of Europe and Britain, both of whom were 100% dependent upon land-based armies and sea-based navies.

A few decades later, the brilliant mathematician Stanislaw Ulam and Edward Teller worked out the theory of thermonuclear weapons (Contrary to popular opinion, Mr. Teller was not the Father of the Thermonuclear weapon. Stanislaw Ulam was the Father. America's atomic scientists thought Teller the Mother because he carried the project for so long).

After the announcement of Ulam-Teller's staggering invention of thermonuclear weapons, it's safe to say the rotund former British horseback rider and sailing ship captain Winston Churchill, upon receipt of the news - and the astronomical implications for his British Isles - quite lost his balance and never recovered:

"There is an immense gulf between the atomic and the hydrogen bomb. The atomic bomb, with all its terrors, did not carry us outside the scope of human control or manageable events in thought or action, in peace or war. But when Mr. Sterling Cole, the Chairman of the United States Congressional Committee, gave out a year ago-17th February, 1954-the first comprehensive review of the hydrogen bomb, the entire foundation of human affairs was revolutionized, and mankind placed in a situation both measureless and laden with doom."
Winston Churchill: Hansard: Defence Through Deterrents, 1 March 1955 [italics added]
Churchill seriously under-estimated the power of even atomic weapons. If in WWI Germany had atomic weapons, the London bombing would have been decisive and very likely knocked Britain out of the war. Even if thermonuclear devices had never been invented, considering the minature size of England, European countries stockpiling even modest numbers of atomic bombs would almost certainly have crushed the "splendid isolation" of the British Isles, as well as ruining the geographical security of every country in Europe.

For many centuries, Britain had been a maritime power. So was the Netherlands. Spain and France were also partly maritime powers. Russia was a land power. Germany was a land power. But America is an air power. Since for the last 1,000 years Britain and Europe had been fighting on the land and in the oceans, they were used to seeing major challenges to their pre-eminence come by land or by sea.

Never from the air.

 United States Strategic Air Command Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Thermonuclear-armed High-Altitude Long-Range Heavy Bomber

Britain had taken its famous navy across the Atlantic to make war on America twice and lost both times. To say the sudden rise of high-altitude American atomic-armed airpower across the globe took the land and sea empires of gunpowder-defended Europe/Britain by surprise would perhaps be the most formidable understatement in the history of Europe/Britain. 60 years later European and British leaders must still be struggling to process this impossible event.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reportedly said,"The British nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst...".

Boasting is a net out of which there is no retreat. Churchill really should have known by then that the last word on that is the British philosopher Herbert Spencer: "The greatest of all infidelities is the fear that the truth will be bad." Leaving aside thermonuclear for the moment, here are some of the effects of atomic detonations.

Perhaps Mr Churchill meant all news except the news that his centuries-old colonial British Maritime Empire had vanished without a trace into the history books.

Mr Churchill could take out his German Zeiss field binoculars and gape in disbelief as high-altitude U.S. Strategic Air Command Boeing B-52 Stratofortress long-range heavy bombers, flying at 50,000 feet overhead, weighing 488,000 pounds (300,000 pounds of that in fuel), powered by 8 water-injected Pratt & Whitney jet engines, and carrying unannounced numbers of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons continued on around-the-clock patrols over Western Europe, Greenland & North America.

All the above unprecedented events are a direct consequence of Europe/Britain's unequalled 1,000 years of successful competition in Empire-building that had also created a poisonous colonial vanity, haughtiness and brazen indifference to each other such that from 1914-1945 their leaders had unanimously refused to come to the table and settle their differences peaceably.


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See esp: Cary Sublette's Nuclear Weapon Archive
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2018