Posts Tagged ‘Atom Bomb

03
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-3-2008: The Atomic Club

October 3, 1952

Britain successfully tests A-bomb

Britain successfully tests its first atomic bomb at the Monte Bello Islands, off the northwest coast of Australia.

During World War II, 50 British scientists and engineers worked on the successful U.S. atomic bomb program at Los Alamos, New Mexico. After the war, many of these scientists were enlisted into the secret effort to build an atomic bomb for Britain. Work on the British A-bomb officially began in 1947, and Los Alamos veteran William Penney served as the program head. In February 1952, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill publicly announced the plans to test a British nuclear weapon, and on October 3 a 25-kiloton device–similar to the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan–was successfully detonated in the hull of the frigate HMS Plym anchored off the Monte Bello Islands. The test made Britain the world’s third atomic power after the United States and the Soviet Union.

“Britain successfully tests A-bomb.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 Oct 2008, 03:29 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5396.

See also:  Fatman

On This Day

1226 – St. Francis of Assisi died. He was the founder of the Franciscan order.

1863 – U.S. President Lincoln declared that the last Thursday of November would be recognized as Thanksgiving Day.

1922 – Rebecca L. Felton became the first female to hold office of U.S. Senator. She was appointed by Governor Thomas W. Hardwick of Georgia to fill a vacancy.

1935 – Italian forces invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).

1941 – Adolf Hitler stated in a speech that Russia was “broken” and they “would never rise again.”

1942 – The Office of Economic Stabilization was established by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also authorized controls on rents, wages, salaries and farm prices.

1981 – Irish Nationalist in Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland called off their hunger strike. The strike had lasted 7 months and ten people had died.

1989 – Art Shell became the first African-American head coach in the modern NFL when he took over the Los Angeles Raiders.

2006 – North Korea announced that it would conduct a nuclear test as a key step in the manufacture of atomic bombs that it viewed as a deterrent against a U.S. attack. A date for the test was not announced.

October 3, 1781

French and Americans cut off British supplies at Gloucester

On this day in 1781, British Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dundas of the 80th Foot, leading 1,000 British troops, encounters French Brigadier General Marquis de Choisy, leading French troops and a battalion of the Virginia militia totaling 800 men. The action takes place in Gloucester, Virginia, across the York River from British-occupied Yorktown, which was under Patriot siege.

On September 28, 17,000 combined Continental and French forces commanded jointly on land by General George Washington and French Lieutenant General Count de Rochambeau and at sea by French Admiral Count de Grasse had arrived to encircle British General Charles Cornwallis’ camp at Yorktown and began the siege. Prior to the encounter as Gloucester, Dundas and the British had enjoyed complete control of a strategic countryside position on the Gloucester side of the York River. The control of this area allowed the British to forage for nearly unlimited food and supplies, not only for themselves, but for Cornwallis and his British troops located across the river in Yorktown, which limited the success of the Patriot siege.

While returning to camp on the evening of October 3, 1781, Dundas and the British were engaged in battle by General de Choisy. Although the ensuing battle between British and Patriot-allied forces was relatively small, it was nonetheless important, because it cut off supplies to General Cornwallis and the British troops across the river in Yorktown. The capture of Gloucester, Virginia, was one of the final steps toward the eventual Patriot victory at Yorktown just 16 days later.

“French and Americans cut off British supplies at Gloucester.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 Oct 2008, 03:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=51305.

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09
Aug
08

American Bomber: B-29 Superfortress Bockscar

Stored in the Arizona desert at the end of World War II and flown to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1961, the B-29 Bockscar went on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  Piloted by Major Charles Sweeney, Bockscar was the B-29 that committed the second atomic attack on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.

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Restored to original condition the plane appears as it did on the morning it carried out the second atomic attack on Nagasaki, Japan.

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The tail towers nearly thirty feet above ground.

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The streamlined fuselage set the standard for future bombers, which would not bristle with machine guns like the bombers before the B-29.

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The nose-art of World War II planes usually reflected something about the pilot.  This B-29 is named after its pilot Frederick Bock.  However, Bock would not pilot the bombing mission on August 9, instead he piloted Major Sweeney’s bomber the Great Artiste carrying instruments to measure the bombs effects, while Major Sweeney piloted Bockscar.

For more information follow this link: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=527

06
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-6-08: Atom Bomb

On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world’s first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender, made the decision to use the atom bomb to end the war in order to prevent what he predicted would be a much greater loss of life were the United States to invade the Japanese mainland. And so on August 5, while a “conventional” bombing of Japan was underway, “Little Boy,” (the nickname for one of two atom bombs available for use against Japan), was loaded onto Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets’ plane on Tinian Island in the Marianas. Tibbets’ B-29, named the Enola Gay after his mother, left the island at 2:45 a.m. on August 6. Five and a half hours later, “Little Boy” was dropped, exploding 1,900 feet over a hospital and unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT. The bomb had several inscriptions scribbled on its shell, one of which read “Greetings to the Emperor from the men of the Indianapolis” (the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas).

There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city’s 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before-only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.

According to John Hersey’s classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.

There were so many spontaneous fires set as a result of the bomb that a crewman of the Enola Gay stopped trying to count them. Another crewman remarked, “It’s pretty terrific. What a relief it worked.”

“Atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Aug 2008, 11:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6542.

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Here is a picture of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on august 6, 1945.  This recreated version of the atomic bomb can be found at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

25
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-25-08: Louise Joy Brown

World’s first “test tube baby” born

On this day in 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.

“World’s first “test tube baby” born .” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:35 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=59456.

 

On This Day

0326 – Constantine refused to carry out the traditional pagan sacrifices.

1394 – Charles VI of France issued a decree for the general expulsion of Jews from France.

1587 – Japanese strong-man Hideyoshi banned Christianity in Japan and ordered all Christians to leave.

1593 – France’s King Henry IV converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.

1805 – Aaron Burr visited New Orleans with plans to establish a new country, with New Orleans as the capital city.

1845 – China granted Belgium equal trading rights with Britain, France and the United States.

1850 – In Worcester, MA, Harvard and Yale University freshmen met in the first intercollegiate billiards match.

1850 – Gold was discovered in the Rogue River in Oregon.

1866 – Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army. He was the first American officer to hold the rank.

1909 – French aviator Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel in a monoplane. He traveled from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes. He was the first man to fly across the channel.

1914 – Russia declared that it would act to protect Serbian sovereignty.

1934 – Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss was shot and killed by Nazis.

1941 – The U.S. government froze all Japanese and Chinese assets.

1946 – The U.S. detonated an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. It was the first underwater test of the device.

1946 – Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a team at Club 500 in Atlantic City, NJ.

1952 – Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S.

1956 – The Italian liner Andrea Doria sank after colliding with the Swedish ship Stockholm off the New England coast. 51 people were killed.

1984 – Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. She was aboard the orbiting space station Salyut 7.

1994 – Israel and Jordan formally ended the state of war that had existed between them since 1948.

 

Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution

The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution passes, declaring that the war is being waged for the reunion of the states and not to interfere with the institutions of the South, namely slavery. The measure was important in keeping the pivotal states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland in the Union.

This resolution should not be confused with the Crittenden Compromise—a plan circulated after the Southern states began seceding from the Union that proposed to protect slavery as an enticement to keep the Southern states from leaving—which was defeated in Congress. At the beginning of the war, many Northerners supported a war for to keep the Union together, but had no interest in advancing the cause of abolition. The Crittenden-Johnson plan was passed in 1861 to distinguish the issue of emancipation from the war’s purpose.

The common denominator of the two plans was Senator John Crittenden from Kentucky. Crittenden carried the torch of compromise borne so ably by another Kentucky senator, Henry Clay, who brokered such important deals as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 to keep the nation together. Clay died in 1852, but Crittenden carried on the spirit befitting the representative of a state deeply divided over the issue of slavery.

Although the measure was passed in Congress, it meant little when, just two weeks later, President Lincoln signed a confiscation act, allowing for the seizure of property—including slaves—from rebellious citizens. Still, for the first year and a half of the Civil War, reunification of the United States was the official goal of the North. It was not until Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862 that slavery became a goal.

“Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:33 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2258.

Mussolini falls from power

On this day in 1943, Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost. Mussolini responded to it all with an uncharacteristic meekness.

“Mussolini falls from power.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6530.

16
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-16-08: The Manhattan Project — Alamogordo

Atom bomb successfully tested

On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939, when Italian emigre physicist Enrico Fermi met with U.S. Navy department officials at Columbia University to discuss the use of fissionable materials for military purposes. That same year, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt supporting the theory that an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction had great potential as a basis for a weapon of mass destruction. In February 1940, the federal government granted a total of $6,000 for research. But in early 1942, with the United States now at war with the Axis powers, and fear mounting that Germany was working on its own uranium bomb, the War Department took a more active interest, and limits on resources for the project were removed.

Brigadier-General Leslie R. Groves, himself an engineer, was now in complete charge of a project to assemble the greatest minds in science and discover how to harness the power of the atom as a means of bringing the war to a decisive end. The Manhattan Project (so-called because of where the research began) would wind its way through many locations during the early period of theoretical exploration, most importantly, the University of Chicago, where Enrico Fermi successfully set off the first fission chain reaction. But the Project took final form in the desert of New Mexico, where, in 1943, Robert J. Oppenheimer began directing Project Y at a laboratory at Los Alamos, along with such minds as Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, and Fermi. Here theory and practice came together, as the problems of achieving critical mass-a nuclear explosion-and the construction of a deliverable bomb were worked out.

Finally, on the morning of July 16, in the New Mexico desert 120 miles south of Santa Fe, the first atomic bomb was detonated. The scientists and a few dignitaries had removed themselves 10,000 yards away to observe as the first mushroom cloud of searing light stretched 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb sat when detonated was vaporized.

The question now became-on whom was the bomb to be dropped? Germany was the original target, but the Germans had already surrendered. The only belligerent remaining was Japan.

A footnote: The original $6,000 budget for the Manhattan Project finally ballooned to a total cost of $2 billion.

“Atom bomb successfully tested.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6521.

 

On This Day

1779 – American troops under General Anthony Wayne capture Stony Point, NY.

1791 – Louis XVI was suspended from office until he agreed to ratify the constitution.

1862 – Two Union soldiers and their servant ransacked a house and raped a slave in Sperryville, VA.

1862 – David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

1912 – Bradley A. Fiske patented the airplane torpedo.

1918 – Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg, Russia.

1926 – The first underwater color photographs appeared in “National Geographic” magazine. The pictures had been taken near the Florida Keys.

1942 – French police officers rounded up 13,000 Jews and held them in the Winter Velodrome. The round-up was part of an agreement between Pierre Laval and the Nazis. Germany had agreed to not deport French Jews if France arrested foreign Jews.

1944 – Soviet troops occupied Vilna, Lithuania, in their drive toward Germany.

1951 – J.D. Salinger’s novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” was first published.

1969 – Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, FL, and began the first manned mission to land on the moon.

1979 – Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq after forcing Hasan al-Bakr to resign.

1999 – The plane of John F. Kennedy Jr. crashed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. His wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, were also on board the plane. The body of John Kennedy was found on July 21, 1999.

 

Congress declares Washington, D.C. new capital

On this day in 1790, the young American Congress declares that a swampy, humid, muddy and mosquito-infested site on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia will be the nation’s permanent capital. “Washington,” in the newly designated federal “District of Columbia,” was named after the leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president: George Washington. It was Washington who saw the area’s potential economic and accessibility benefits due to the proximity of navigable rivers.

George Washington, who had been in office just over a year when the capital site was determined, asked a French architect and city planner named Pierre L’Enfant to design the capital. In 1793, the first cornerstones of the president’s mansion, which was eventually renamed the “White House,” were laid. George Washington, however, never lived in the mansion as it was not inhabitable until 1800. Instead, President John Adams and his wife Abigail were the White House’s first residents. They lived there less than a year; Thomas Jefferson moved in in 1801.

“Congress declares Washington, D.C. new capital.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=784.

Senate begins investigations into secret bombing of Cambodia

The Senate Armed Services Committee begins a probe into allegations that the U.S. Air Force made thousands of secret B-52 raids into Cambodia in 1969 and 1970 at a time when the United States recognized the neutrality of the Prince Norodom Sihanouk regime in Cambodia. The Pentagon acknowledged that President Richard Nixon and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird had authorized the raids against Cambodia, but Sihanouk denied the State Department claim that he had requested or authorized the bombing. Though it was established that the bombing records had been falsified, Laird and Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, denied any knowledge of the falsification. The Senate hearings eventually exposed the extent of the secrecy involved in the bombing campaign and seriously damaged the credibility of the Nixon administration.

“Senate begins investigations into secret bombing of Cambodia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1971.




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