History of nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons possess enormous destructive power from nuclear fission or combined fission and fusion reactions. Building on scientific breakthroughs made during the 1930s, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and free France collaborated during World War II, in what was called the Manhattan Project, to build a fission weapon, also known as an atomic bomb.[1] In August 1945, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were conducted by the United States against Japan at the close of that war, standing to date as the only use of nuclear weapons in hostilities. The Soviet Union started development shortly after with their own atomic bomb project, and not long after, both countries were developing even more powerful fusion weapons known as hydrogen bombs. Britain and France built their own systems in the 1950s, and the list of states with nuclear weapons has gradually grown larger in the decades since.

A nuclear fireball lights up the night in the United States' nuclear test Upshot-Knothole Badger on April 18, 1953.

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