The Timeline: The Atomic Bomb

Purification of uranium, 1939-1945

The first atomic bomb ever used in warfare was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945 by the US – signalling the realisation of the six-year Manhattan Project. Albert Einstein had written to Franklin D Roosevelt in 1939 detailing the Nazi experiments that attempted to purify uranium, prompting the US to pump more than $2bn into its development. But it was Robert Oppenheimer – an American physicist working on the project – whose name became synonymous with the A-bomb. The success of the "gadget", the first atomic bomb, began the move into the "Atomic Age".

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945

On 26 July, the US President, Harry S Truman, issued the Potsdam Declaration as an ultimatum to Japan, warning of the "inevitable [and] utter devastation" of Japanese homeland. Their refusal to surrender led to Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber, dropping the atomic bomb, known as Little Boy, on Hiroshima days later. Around 66,000 died instantaneously. The total reported number of deaths – from burns and radiation – varies from 90,000 to 166,000. Little Boy's brother, Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki three days later, killing 40,000 at once. On 10 August, the Japanese surrendered.

The Iron Curtain closes, 1946-1969

Relations between the East and West deteriorated severely as post-war Europe was carved up and the Iron Curtain descended and the Cold War began. The Soviet's expansion into the uranium-rich Eastern Bloc challenged America's monopoly over nuclear power and triggered the Arms Race, as the UK, France and China also developed weapons. The Korean War (1950-53) threatened atomic warfare once again. The defining crises of Berlin, 1961 and Cuba, 1962, narrowly avoided all-out conflict as the Cold War ran its course.

Nuclear Disarmament, 1970-1990

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force in 1970, aiming to limit the powers with nuclear weaponry to five. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament argued for a more radical approach and gained widespread support. However, India, Pakistan and Israel all declined to sign the treaty, continuing to develop nuclear weapons. Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power in Russia resulted in the end of both the Soviet Union and, ultimately, the Cold War, as the Berlin Wall fell. Relations between the US and Russia eased during this period.

The Modern Age, 1991-today

In 2003, North Korea became the first country ever to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as a US-led invasion of Iraq searched for weapons. Iran has continued to defy UN sanctions, with 21st-century nuclear policy increasingly dominated by the fear of "rogue states" developing weapons. The Liberal Democrats – during the 2010 election campaign – called for the cancellation of the renewal of the Trident missile programme.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Secondary supply teachers required in Wisbech

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers ne...

PPA Cover Teachers Required in Doncaster

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Primary PPA Teachers required for wo...

Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering