If you ever wanted to know what a nuclear armageddon would look like without actually experiencing it, we have a good source for you. The U.S. government just declassified 750 videos from nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962. These were atmospheric tests and were truly terrifying. These were created in the beginning of the nuclear arms race. Some of the films were digitized and declassified by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, led by physicist Greg Spriggs. They wanted to preserve the content of the film before it was lost. (And while you’re watching this, you might feel motivated to buy a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills. It’s only $9 to $14 on Amazon.)
Here are some of the videos:
Operation Hardtack videos and Operation Plumbbob are among the most interesting, so we’ll start with some Operation Hardtack. Operation Hardtack II was 37 nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site. The tests were rushed out before a moratorium was put into place.
This one below is footage from Operation Dominic: an airdrop at 2995 feet on May 11, 1962.
Operation Dominic was a series of 31 nuclear test explosions conducted in the Pacific by the U.S. in 1962. It was ordered quickly in response to the Soviets’ resuming testing after a moratorium. This was shortly after the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Next is a video from Operation Hardtack-1. Dropped June 10, 1958, at 12 feet. Operation Hardtack 1 was a series of 35 nuclear tests conducted from April 28 to August 18, 1958 at the Pacific Proving Grounds. This was part of a push to develop new types of nuclear weapons, examine underwater explosions, and analyze high-altitude nuclear tests.
This one is Operation Dominic (Housatonic 120256). This operation was a series of 31 nuclear test explosions conducted in 1962 in the Pacific. These were mostly free fall bombs from B-52 bombers. Twenty were new nuclear weapons. Housatonic occurred at the Johnston Island, Johnston Atoll and tested Ripple II, 8.3 Mt.
Next is another from Operation Dominic (this one is Harlem — June 12, 1962, parachuted weapons development test, at Christmas Island, 1.2 Mt.
This fascinating video up next is Operation Plumbbob (Diablo 41549). Plumbbob was a series of nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site from May 28 to October 7, 1957. It was the most controversial series of nuclear tests in the continental U.S. It consisted of 29 explosions, 27 of which had nuclear yield. During the operation, 18,000 military members participated in exercises to test how a soldier would stand up physically and psychologically to a nuclear battlefield.
Diablo was July 15, 1957, testing the Swan device, delivered via the tower, 17 kt. The first attempt was a misfire.
Here’s an avalanche from an underground test at Operation Plumbbob:
Next up is Operation Dominic (Bighorn 110762). This was a series of 31 nuclear tests with a 38.1 Mt total yield in 1962 in the Pacific. Bighorn took place June 27, 1962, at Christmas Island, an air drop.
Next up, Operation Teapot (Tesla 28610.) These were conducted at the Nevada Test Site in 1955. Tesla was on March 1, 1955, 7 kt.
Another from Teapot, 7 kt tower at 308 feet on March 1, 1955:
More Tesla tests:
And this absolutely crazy one is also from Operation Teapot, but it’s Turk 28112:
Here’s one from Operation Dominick:
Another from Dominick:
Next up, Operation Upshot-Knothole (Ray 17481). These were a series of 11 nuclear test shots in 1953 at the Nevada Test Site.
Another from Upshot:
Like what you read? Join our email list to stay updated by clicking here and be sure to follow us on Twitter. And now that you’ve watched these, you might feel motivated to buy a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills.