The Atomic Bomb

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Was the atomic bomb necessary to end World War II? What impact did the Atomic Age have on American history? These OAH Distinguished Lecturers examine the development of nuclear technology, its use in times of war and peace, and its legacy.


Janet Farrell Brodie

Atomic Tourism in the United States: The Attraction of Nuclear Bombs and Radiation

Atomic tourism has become an international phenomenon. Tourists flock to sites of nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, or to birthplaces and production sites of nuclear weapons such as, in the U.S., Oak Ridge, Hanford, Rocky Flats, Los Alamos. The site of the first atomic bomb—the...(Read More)

Peter J. Kuznick

The Decision to Risk the Future: Harry Truman and the Atomic Bomb

This lecture argues that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily unnecessary and morally reprehensible. In authorizing the use of the atomic bombs against Japan, Harry Truman knowingly and recklessly put humanity on a glide path to annihilation. Read More

Michael S. Green

From Atomic Cocktails to Witch Hunts: Nevada's Forgotten Role in the Cold War

Nevada was the site of about 100 aboveground atomic tests from 1951 to 1963, followed by nearly 30 years of underground tests at the Nevada Test Site. Not only was this a key component of Cold War defense policy, but Nevada also turned the mushroom cloud into a tourist attraction and local symbol,...(Read More)

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