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The Rush to Create An Earth Shattering Weapon Leads to Future Problems

By Frank Yin


Fat Man and Little Boy killed 214,000 people in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Fat Man and Little Boy are the nicknames of the first nuclear weapons ever used. Nuclear weapons threaten our existence on Earth and were used on Japan to end WW2. The process to create the first nuclear bomb was far from careful and there have been many consequences.


In 1945, the first successful nuclear bomb test occurred. The idea of the nuclear bomb originated from the discovery of splitting uranium atoms in Germany. Hitler and the Nazis had risen to power during this discovery, which started a race to create the first nuclear bomb. American and British physicists worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Trinity site to create a nuclear bomb. They worked hard to beat Hitler, so the Nazis would not unleash destruction on them. However, Nazi Germany surrendered before the creation of a successful nuclear bomb. The bomb was still created and eyes turned to Japan.


President Truman did not want to risk more American lives with an invasion of Japan, so he decided to drop nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. One week later, the emperor of Japan surrendered. The nuclear bombs had destroyed the architecture and population of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The dropping of the nuclear bombs definitely saved many Americans and possibly Japanese lives. With the surrender of Japan, WW2 was over, but tensions rose between the former allies, USA and Soviet Union.


The US had military dominance over the rest of the world, right? The US had dominance over nuclear weapons but not for long. The Soviet Union had spies getting information from some physicists from the US nuclear project. The Soviet Union quickly had a successful nuclear bomb test.


The US and British government made hasteful decisions while trying to create the nuclear bomb. For instance, Little Boy had a different design than the test, but they directly used it on Hiroshima. Although scientists confirmed it would work, it is risky to possibly hand a weapon to their enemy if the bomb failed. One of the physicists in the US nuclear project, Klaus Fuchs, had communist ties and passed information to the Soviet Union. The British government knew about Fuchs' past, but thought he would put it aside.

Months later, the Soviets created their nuclear bomb. The conflict between the US and Soviet Union, the Cold War, resulted in evolved nuclear weapons. Now, dropping a couple nuclear bombs can wipe the existence of human life off the Earth. An incident in the Soviet Union nearly did that. There was a false alarm in a Soviet base and the colonel decided to not contact authorities. The false alarm said the US launched nuclear weapons at them, and the Soviet plan would retaliate with their nuclear weapons. There have also been several other close incidents.


Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/03/science/trinity-site-atomic-fat-man.html


https://www.atomicheritage.org/article/manhattan-project-veterans-reflect-bomb

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