Operation Crossroads

Series of photos taken by German-born photographer Fritz Goro in July 1946 at Bikini Atoll (aka  coconut place) in the Pacific, when the United States conducted two atomic tests.

Able (an atmospheric explosion) and Baker (underwater), were among the very first of the more than 1,000 tests that the U.S. would eventually conduct in Nevada and the South Pacific over the next five decades.

A machine graphing the radioactivity broadcast by one of the nuclear explosions in the S. Pacific & Sailors shield their eyes during a nuclear test (photos above)

Among the sailors and other military personnel, scientists and hundreds of civilian observers, primarily members of the press, were on hand to witness the explosions and the resulting destruction, none of whom wore protective clothing of any kind.

Gathering up dead birds for radiation testing & Feeding a goat used as a test animal (above).

Scientists conducted countless tests to gauge the radiation exposure that resulted from the blasts and many animals were intentionally exposed to radiation during the tests but didn’t survive for more than a few days.

Taking a bomb of bacteria samples for radiation testing from the sack in which it was lowered from the USS Bracken (in the background) during nuclear testing &  The sign atop the Officers’ Club at the Bikini Atoll station (above).

Among those civilians observers was photographer Fritz Goro, who was with Operation Crossroads (as the July 1946 tests were collectively called) as an official observer. Goro died in 1986.
The effect on sailors and other military personnel who observed the tests has been debated for decades in US. A 1996 government study found that Crossroads veterans who had died appeared to have a lifespan three to four months shorter than a control group of similarly aged American non-veterans who had died.
All Goro’s photographs are from Time & Life  / Getty Images. Find more at  LIFE
  • Previously

Vintage Atomic propaganda here

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