During his latest bout of apocalyptic sabre rattling, Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear that he could use nuclear weapons to devastate the US. It’s a risk that’s never been more real, especially now that Sweden and Finland are expected to join NATO.
To understand the dangers, we put together a simulation of what would happen to six American cities if they were hit by a 15-kiloton bomb.
A full trailer has been released for Christopher Nolan’s next project, Oppenheimer. The film stars Cillian Murphy as the physicist who was responsible for the development of the atomic bomb and is due to hit cinemas on July 21, 2023.
He’s been described as the founder of the American school of theoretical physics, and his work contributed to many key areas including astrophysics, nuclear physics, spectroscopy, and quantum field theory. He also played an important role in the discovery of cosmic ray showers and black holes and was the first to describe quantum tunneling.
He was a renowned physicist who studied with Nobel Laureate Max Born in Europe, as well as at the University of California and Caltech. He eventually returned to the United States and joined a prominent research institute in Princeton, New Jersey.
2. “The Day After”
“The Day After” was one of the first American made-for-television movies to portray a nuclear war. It was directed by Edward Hume and aired in 1983.
This was a controversial film that drew attention to the effects of nuclear war. It also stirred up a controversy over President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy and the role of nuclear weapons in American society.
The film’s strong pacifist message was a concern to conservatives, who saw it as a partisan attack against Reagan’s strong defense posture. It also sparked a public debate about the dangers of nuclear war, which remains an important topic to this day.
3. “The Day After Hiroshima”
On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in history was dropped on Hiroshima. The resulting devastation was unprecedented, and it killed tens of thousands of civilians instantly.
What happened to the survivors was hardly less dramatic. They suffered radiation sickness, keloid scars and other maladies that afflicted their bodies for the rest of their lives.
But the most profound and lasting effects of this disaster were emotional. The dread of a nuclear war, and the shame that came with it, shaped American society for decades.
4. “The Day After Nagasaki”
The Day After Nagasaki is an interesting addition to the b-movie genre. It is not a radically new take on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nor is it a particularly nuanced or critical film.
It is one of countless historical documentaries that have been shown repeatedly on basic cable, and it is interesting as such. The filmmakers have included powerful statements from a variety of scholars who address the morality and impact of the bombings, framing their legacy in terms that will be familiar to most Americans.
The documentary also includes a compelling account of how atomic bombing survivors are still affected by radiation in their bodies and psyches. These survivors have suffered from the trauma of exposure to radiation for their entire lives, separate from their experience of the bombings. These experiences have influenced their psyches and their relationships in the present.
5. “The Day After Chernobyl”
It’s impossible to overstate how much Chernobyl changed the world. It not only opened up debates about nuclear power, but it also revealed a lot about the corruption of certain countries and how they prioritize their power over people.
Fortunately, there is still hope. There are people living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone today who have moved back to their former homes and have tried to restore a sense of normalcy.
However, despite the lack of human presence in the area, there are also animals living there, and they have a strong need to survive. Animals like bears, beavers, and catfish have all found refuge in the radioactive environment.
6. “The Day After Hiroshima”
The day after Hiroshima was a momentous occasion for both America and Japan. It marked the climax of the Manhattan Project, the birth of the nuclear age, and sped the war with Japan to its endgame.
The American president, Harry Truman, was charged with telling the world that a revolutionary new weapon of extraordinary destructive power had been dropped on Japan. He crafted an ominous four-page statement that sounded both legitimate and respectful of the Japanese people.
But there was something missing from the official story. It was the most lethal of the atomic bomb’s new features: radiation.
For decades, that aspect of the bomb’s impact was censored and suppressed. Newspapers and TV stations pushed the imagery of just a bigger bomb, without considering the full range of its potential ramifications.
7. “The Day After Chernobyl”
On April 26, 1986, a team of engineers at the Chernobyl power station decided to run one of the plant’s nuclear reactors on very low electricity. They were testing the plant’s ability to cool down, which would help them better understand how it worked.
But what they didn’t realize was that running the reactor on such little power would cause it to heat up so much that it could eventually explode. The explosion instantly killed two of the engineers.
But there were others who didn’t die as quickly, and they had their lives completely changed forever. Their actions paved the way for what would become known as the Chernobyl disaster.
8. “The Day After Hiroshima”
In the days following Hiroshima, the United States began a massive propaganda campaign. Hundreds of leaflets were distributed to Japanese cities, and radio broadcasts described the bombing to audiences around the world.
The Americans hoped to discredit Japan and give a clear signal to the Soviet Union that they were in control. They also wanted to make the bombings a symbol of American power and decency.
Moreover, they wanted to know how the bomb would affect a densely populated city that had not been hit before. This was especially true in Hiroshima, which was considered the most vulnerable to nuclear destruction because it was so densely packed.
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed thousands of Japanese citizens and left their homes in ruins. It also caused extensive burns and radiation sickness. Many survivors were left disabled or dead.
9. “The Day After Chernobyl”
The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 sparked massive radiation poisoning that contaminated people across Europe and Russia. Many died from cancer, and children were born with severe congenital disabilities.
That wasn’t the end of it; however. For over three decades, the area around Chornobyl has been uninhabitable because of the high levels of radiation that remain in the ground.
Fortunately, there are animal charities and volunteer veterinarians who help care for the dogs that live in the area. These charity workers vaccinate, spay, and neuter the dogs, and feed them.
10. “The Day After Hiroshima”
Today, August 7, is the 64th anniversary of the day Hiroshima was obliterated by an atomic bomb. The day when the United States used the most powerful weapon in its arsenal and the world was forever changed.
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed everything: America’s relationship with Japan, the world at large, and even its own domestic political culture. The nuclear arms race had begun.
For decades, American officials censored footage of the bombings and their aftermath. They lied about the full effects of radiation poisoning and denied that people suffered any health problems as a result.