Russia’s 5 Biggest Nuclear Bomb Tests Ever

    Steve Weintz

    History, Europe

    And the world has not seen anthing like them since. 

    The Bomb represents the ultimate expression of might, so the biggest bombs express that power to its extremes. The United States and the Soviet Union built bigger and bigger bombs to deter each other. Eventually, Washington stopped testing such large weapons due to improved accuracy of their delivery methods. Only 3 percent of the superpowers’ stockpiles consisted of nuclear weapons with yields greater than four megatons, but those weapons more than any others symbolize the terror of nuclear war.

    The Soviet Union’s swift strides towards nuclear arms alarmed American officials in the 1950’s. “First Lightning” (called “Joe-1” in the West)—the first Soviet nuclear test—announced the Moscow’s new military power less than three months after lifting the Berlin Blockade in May 1949. The twenty-two-kiloton shot copied the U.S. Trinity test as closely as possible to achieve early success; the rushed development actually stalled the Soviet program for over a year, with the second test occurring in September 1951.

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