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83 votes

Why were there no nuclear detonations in 1959?

Why were there no nuclear detonations in 1959? The reason there were no tests in 1959 was that the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States agreed to a moratorium on nuclear weapon tests in ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 2,407
77 votes

Why did the Soviet Union name their strongest bomb Tsar Bomba?

The official designation for that particular device was the RDS-220. The nickname Tsar Bomba was an appellation applied by the West, rather than the designers of the bomb (who - according to the site ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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74 votes

Did the leaflets from the US to Hiroshima/Nagasaki civilians on bombing cities reduce the civilian casualties of the two nuclear bombs in August 1945?

There is a 1946 book by John Hersey, Hiroshima, which is an excellent compilation of personal testimonies from Hiroshima residents following the atomic bombing. Although it doesn’t mention Allied ...
taylor swift's user avatar
59 votes

Why did the United States drop a uranium bomb instead of a plutonium bomb on Hiroshima?

Details below on why a U-235 bomb was used at all. As to why that was the first bomb; because it was ready first and departed the continental U.S. only hours after the Trinity test for Fat Man. The ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
54 votes
Accepted

Why did the United States not resort to nuclear weapons in Vietnam?

The US did not resort to using nuclear weapons in Vietnam for a variety of reasons: fear of the damage it would cause to the US's international reputation, domestic political considerations, a ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
46 votes

Why did the Soviet Union name their strongest bomb Tsar Bomba?

In Russian Language the word "Tsar" has also another, non-literal meaning. Examples are: "Tsar-pushka" (king of the guns), the largest (in caliber) existing gun, and "Tsar-kolokol" (king of the bells)...
Alex's user avatar
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43 votes
Accepted

Was there a contingency plan in place if Little Boy failed to detonate?

If the bomb failed to explode in any way (which was unlikely, see comments and Mark's answer), the USA still would not have to worry about it (too much). They would win the war anyway within a few ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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43 votes

Was there a contingency plan in place if Little Boy failed to detonate?

The primary contingency plan was the design of the bomb itself. Little Boy was not a safe design: any number of unplanned events could cause a detonation. Foremost among these is impact: a 500 g ...
Mark's user avatar
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38 votes

Historically, why did the US station their nuclear weapons in Germany for delivery through German pilots?

During the Cold War, there were always doubts if extended deterrence would hold. Would the US put Washington at risk to defend or avenge Bonn or Frankfurt? So NATO needed powerful signals that they ...
o.m.'s user avatar
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37 votes
Accepted

Is it true that Hitler led to the invention of the atomic bomb by the Americans?

The discovery of uranium fission by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann (German chemists) in the Jan 1939 issue of Die Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature) sparked great interest among physicists ...
Ravi's user avatar
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37 votes
Accepted

What was the plan for an abort of the Enola Gay's mission to drop the atomic bomb?

There was discussion of options. The "gadget" was an atomic bomb. From the minutes of the Target Committee for 10 May 1945: Gadget Jettisoning and Landing A. It was agreed that if ...
R Leonard's user avatar
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31 votes
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How much did J. Robert Oppenheimer get paid while overseeing the Manhattan Project?

On page 14 of FAS.org it indicates his salary was initially set at $10,000. Since that exceeded his previous UC professor’s salary he asked that it be reduced in line with others. Apparently the ...
Jon Custer's user avatar
  • 2,665
29 votes

How important were Einstein and Szilard and other scientists to the creation and ultimate success of the Manhattan Project?

In regards initiating the Manhattan Project, Einstein and Szilard were clearly critical. Without them the entire project would, at a minimum, undoubtedly have started significantly later in the war. ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

What were the reasons for Japan's surrender in WWII?

This question has been debated for a very long time, and I've never seen a conclusive answer one way or the other. I don't believe there is a single reason Japan surrendered. Rather there was a long ...
Schwern's user avatar
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27 votes

Did Truman really believe that Hiroshima was a military base?

I think we may be operating from a misconception, that the diary entry concerning that the 'target will be a purely military one' and that the statement that 'Hiroshima, a military base' imply Truman ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 40.6k
27 votes

Why did the United States not resort to nuclear weapons in Vietnam?

By the time of the Vietnam war, the US nuclear weapons policies had changed radically from the mid-1950s (when nuclear weapons were seen as the logical option for ALL conflicts), and were considered ...
jwenting's user avatar
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27 votes
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Were Soviets invited to the Marshall Islands to observe the first hydrogen bomb detonations?

The USA could be confident that the USSR would learn about the hydrogen bomb test from atmospheric sampling. It's possible to detect extremely low levels of radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere, ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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21 votes
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What happened to all the nuclear material being smuggled after the fall of the USSR?

A team of researchers at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University compiled the "Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft, and Orphan Radiation Sources" (DSTO) in 2002. At the time, ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.4k
19 votes

Why did the United States not resort to nuclear weapons in Vietnam?

At that time, the US was concerned that a repeat of the Korean war could happen, with China sending in masses of troops... North Vietnam shares a border with China, just like North Korea. China wasn't ...
tj1000's user avatar
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19 votes
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Where was Carl Sagan working on a plan to detonate a nuke on the Moon? Where was he applying when he leaked it?

The project that Scott Manley is referring to was known as Project A119, and was run at the Armour Research Foundation (ARF), which was based at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The ARF is now ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.4k
18 votes

Were US decision makers aware of the destructiveness of the Bomb of Nagasaki?

The unfortunate addition of the word "perfectly" before aware means no, and it really depends on who you define as "decision makers" and what you mean by "aware". First off, here is a great ...
Random Passerby's user avatar
18 votes

Did the leaflets from the US to Hiroshima/Nagasaki civilians on bombing cities reduce the civilian casualties of the two nuclear bombs in August 1945?

It doesn't seem that either city knew with certainty that it was going to be subject to attack (nuclear or otherwise) on those specific days. Japan in general was experiencing relentless bombing. ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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15 votes

Historically, why did the US station their nuclear weapons in Germany for delivery through German pilots?

As your article itself states: On the record, the Germany government only admits to being part of what is officially termed a "nuclear sharing agreement." In essence, the nuclear sharing ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
15 votes

Did the US really consider demonstrating the atomic bomb to the Japanese by "blowing the top" off of Mt. Fuji?

"US" and "consider" are rather broad terms. I can't find any evidence that the Manhattan Project targeting committee ever considered anything other than conventional military ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,541
14 votes

Why aren't ICBMs (and missiles in general) built using stealth technology?

Stealthy ICBMs are pointless Making the missiles radar-stealthy isn't useful, for quite a lot of reasons: The curvature of the earth puts all current ICBM launch sites well below the radar horizons ...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 31.5k
13 votes

What relief efforts did the Japanese attempt after the atomic bombings?

In this first paragraph I will discuss what occurred at Hiroshima, in the second paragraph I will discuss what occurred at Nagasaki. At Hiroshima, relief efforts began immediately after the bombing in ...
Benjamin's user avatar
  • 1,258
12 votes
Accepted

Is there any evidence that Mileva Marić (first wife of Albert Einstein) had the knowledge to build an atomic bomb herself?

according to the show, only the two of them know how to build the atomic bomb at this point This is historical nonsense. Several physicists realised that an atomic bomb might be possible shortly ...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 31.5k
12 votes
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1985 magazine cover about Strategic Defense Initiative - Who is Darth Vader?

A guess: This might be French minister of defence Charles Hernu: He is on record for being quite a vocal French critique of SDI, from a political as well as a technological viewpoint: ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.9k

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