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Military.com Remembers the Cold War
Nuclear Memories

The atomic experience in the United States closely parallels that of the Cold War.  At every twist of the Cold War plot, the strategies and technologies of atomic power fueled the momentum.  Understanding America today is impossible without including its nuclear memories.  This section of Military.com's Cold War Special looks at that atomic history and presents the familiar, the curious and the shocking as additional context for the Cold War chapter of America's military experience.

  • Atomic Blast Gallery -- This gallery catalogues the majority of American nuclear tests between Trinity and the banning of above-ground test in 1963.  Explore the macabre beauty created by kilotons, and in some cases megatons, of power.
  • Atomic Airpower -- Just one aircraft in history carried this tail marking showing the now-familiar symbol for radioactivity.  Read more about it and its contributions to the Cold War in this Military.com exclusive.
  • Bomb that Ended WWII -- "We started an approach [to Nagasaki], but Beahan couldn't see the target area. Van Pelt, the navigator, was checking by radar to make sure we had the right city . At the last few seconds of the bomb run, Beahan yelled into his mike, 'I've got a hole! I can see it! I can see the target!'"
  • Nuclear Primer -- This look at the early atomic history of the United States traces the atomic pioneers from the turn of the century to the foundation of the Manhattan Project and Roosevelt's authorization to build a full-scale atomic bomb project in 1942.
  • Run Silent: The Birth of a Nuclear Navy -- In the years following World War II, the U.S. Navy found itself with an aging fleet of diesel submarines ill equipped to deal with the new rules of a new type of war, the Cold War.  In secrecy and stealth the submarine became the sentinel and remained vigilant for any rumbling of the Soviet bear.
  • Thermonuclear Legacy -- Since its only use in war 50 years ago, the atomic bomb has had a far-reaching impact on the course of military history and the global experience as whole.  From the economic burden to the looming threat of annihilation, the thermonuclear legacy remains.
  • Tibbets:  Paul Tibbets, Enola Gay, and the Bomb -- The pilot of Enola Gay can claim many more credits than the mission to Hiroshima. He led the first daylight raid against Nazi-occupied France, led the first American 100-aircraft raid against the Axis powers, and pioneered the B-29 test project.

Share your Cold War memory.  As the experiences of the Cold War recede into the history books, veterans must record their experiences for future generations.  The first-hand accounts of a veteran's experience supplies important context to history and understanding the challenges facing the nation today.  Share your story now.

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