The Atomic Bomb’s Influence on American Public Opinion and History

Introduction


Between 1945 and 1992, the United States has detonated 1,054 nuclear weapons.  The majority of these detonations have occurred at test sites both in the Pacific Ocean and the southwestern part of the United States, specifically Nevada and New Mexico.  After the first atomic bombs were detonated over Japan in 1945 as a weapon of war, warfare would be changed forever.  The United States had employed a new, devastating war tactic that could be replicated in other countries and used against the United States if wars were to occur in the future.  Two years after the atomic bomb ended World War II, the United States engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, which lasted until 1991.  During that time, propaganda was was used extensively to influence the hearts and minds of the American public to support the United States potential use of nuclear weapons against communism and the Soviet Union.  This propaganda struck at the heart of the public by feeding into their fear of nuclear war and nuclear fallout.  Documentaries, magazines, TV shows, and other media outlets were used to influence the public opinion and perspective on nuclear weapons and testing done in the United States.  However, a great deal of the propaganda was not scientifically backed, nor did it reveal the hazards of nuclear weapons to the American public.  Nuclear fallout is a hazardous byproduct of nuclear weaponry, and it is not preventable once a nuclear weapon has been detonated.  This nuclear fallout has been the source of health hazards and public frustrations, as nuclear testing continued, ultimately shaping the history and culture of the United States.