Nuclear Friday: 2053

The second half of the 20th century was a nuclear armed century. There were 2053 detonations of a wide variety of nuclear devices between 1945 and 2000. That’s a big number. Probably a bigger number than you thought. But it’s still just a number. How can you comprehend that number? Find the average, look at charts? Yes, you could, but Isao Hashimoto has presented this information in a much more compelling way.

I can never look at this without wanting to scream “STOP!”

I really don’t have much more to say. Each tick of the clock after it starts is equal to one month of time. The look of the map was inspired by The Big Board from Dr Strangelove. From late 1963 onward all US, USSR, and UK tests were performed underground in accord with the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. France was not a party to that treaty and continued to test above ground until 1974. Subsequent French tests were in holes drilled into mined-out guano islands. The 1979 Vela Incident is missing from the video, though I believe it was indeed a nuclear test, as does Jimmy Carter.

You might also want to watch what happens to British nuclear tests during 1965-1967. I had meant to include some links to articles about opposition to nuclear testing in Australia, but this has been a bad week for research. I know I have a few readers from Australia and I would love it if any (either?) of you have anything to share on that topic.

I want to end on a positive note here. Notice that the video ends in 1998? We ended the century with no tests after that year. There have been only a handful of tests this century, mostly in North Korea, and some of those were faked. None of the more established nuclear armed powers has tested since 1996. The international taboo on nuclear weapons is becoming stronger after the decades of madness in Hashimoto’s video. I really think the world has turned a corner concerning this issue.

Bonus video:

No mention of nuclear testing would be complete without a link to the greatest political ad of all time. The greatest advertisement of any kind. Apple’s 1984 spot wasn’t even close.

 

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