"The Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States: A Strategic Partnership"
The History of the RMI's Bilateral Relationship with the United States
The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Testing Program
Because of its geographical isolation from world powers and political areas, the United States government used its strategic Trust Territory to conduct atomic and thermonuclear weapons tests. From 1946-1958, the United States tested 67 weapons on land, in the air, and in the seas surrounding the Marshall Islands. Four decades later, the Marshallese people still confront medical problems, environmental contamination, displacement and social upheaval resulting from the testing program.
|June 1946. Two Air Force draftsmen make last minute corrections on a route-map panel in the task force briefing room.|
|July, 1946. Brigadier General Roger M. Ramsey, commander of Task Group 1.5, congratulates Major Harold Wood (left), bombardier, and Major Woodrow P. Swancutt (center) after they are chosen to fly the able test mission.|
|To better understand the effects of radioactive fallout on animals, goats and pigs were placed on Navy ships situated in Bikini's lagoon during the weapons test.|
|The U.S. government anchored Navy ships around the test site to see how military craft would withstand the detonations.|
|The Baker shot on July 25, 1946, an underwater test, contaminated the target fleet of WWII ships in Bikini lagoon.|
|1946. Admiral and Mrs. Blandy celebrate operation crossroads with an atomic cake. This frequently reproduced photograph captures an uncanny resemblance between Mrs. Blandy's hat and the mushroom cloud.|
|The observed destruction from the weapons test in the Marshall Islands was often used to construct scenarios for a nuclear war involving the United States. Here, the U.S. government calculated how many Pentagons could fit into the crater left by the Mike shot on Enewetak Atoll.|
|December, 1947. Aomon Island, Enewetak Atoll prior to the testing program. Enewetak was the ground-zero atoll for 43 weapons tests.|
|Weapons tested in the Marshall Islands were usually compared to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WWII. The Bravo shot alone, for example, was the equivalent of more than 1,000 Hiroshima bombs.|
|U.S. military personnel involved in the testing and clean-up activities were also exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation.|
|The Bravo shot, detonated on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1946, was the largest thermonuclear device ever tested by the United States. The Bravo test exposed Marshallese people to near-fatal amounts of radiation, and resulted in widespread radiological contamination of people and the environment.|