In an isolated spot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies the Bikini Atoll, a tranquil patch consisting of 23 small islands so minute that they barely merited mention prior to 1945. It was then, in the midst of the Second World War, that the United States marshaled their best scientists and directed their efforts in the creation of one of the most awe-inspiring and monstrous creations known to man: the atomic bomb. Over more than a decade, 23 nuclear devices were detonated on the small island chain as the United States sought to perfect their most horrible weapon. Nearly sixty years later, the impacts of those tests can still be felt. Here is a short history of the Bikini Atoll.
1. Truman’s Edict
In December of 1945, with the threat of atomic war so present, President Harry S. Truman declared that nuclear testing was a necessity of modern war. He instructed his highest ranking army and navy officials to find a secluded spot where the US could test the effects of atomic blasts on flora and fauna. Being an out-of-the-way spot in the Marshall Islands, the Bikini Atoll was chosen.