Five Men Volunteer To Stand Under Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Early in the morning on July 19th, 1957, a U.S. nuclear tipped missile was to be detonated in the skies over Nevada. Near a handwritten sign marked “Ground Zero, Population 5,” five men waited for the blast.

The 2-kiloton atomic bomb would be going off 18,500 feet overhead. One of the officers describes the blast, “We felt a heat pulse. A very bright light. A fireball; it is red. The sky looks black about it. It is boiling above us there…There is the ground wave. It is over folks, it happened. The mountains are vibrating. It is tremendous…directly above our heads…There’s a huge fireball. The mountains are still echoing…”

Why were the men standing there? To help publicize the idea that weapons like these could be used safely with people on the ground. During the Cold War, these weapons were developed as defenses against nuclear threats. It was believed that the altitude and relative low-yield would make the radiation factor negligible.

All of the men in the video lived for at least 40 years after the test, but did develop cancer. The U.S. government has paid over $2 billion in claims through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, with most claims filed by downwinders affected by atmospheric nuclear tests (like this one) conducted at the Nevada Test Site.

[Source: Youtube]

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