Weird History

21 Unbelievable Photos From The Detonation Of The First Atomic Bomb

At 5:30 AM on the morning of July 16, 1945, the world's first atomic explosive was detonated in the isolated desert outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico. What began as a nuclear research effort during WWII quickly became an assertion of US military power and global dominance, eventually paving the way for a global nuclear conflict dominated by the desire of the world's most powerful nations to attain nuclear capabilities.

In its entirety, the Manhattan Project cost well over $2 billion (the equivalent of nearly $28 billion in 2018), and originally involved a partnership between the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Over the span of the project, multiple detonation sites were used – both on land and in water – with the most well-known being the Trinity test site. At the Los Alamos Laboratory (also known as "Project Y"), a team of scientists developed and tested an implosion-type device composed of plutonium, nicknamed "the Gadget," on American soil before it was unleashed upon the world.

Only one month after the detonation of the first explosive at the Trinity test site, the US proceeded to launch attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the notorious "Fat Man" explosive, a device nearly identical to the Gadget.

If the tensions from this period in history have taught anything, it is that harnessing nuclear energy not only measures the human capacity for knowledge but also destruction.