Archive for the ‘17. Nuclear Scavenger Hunt – Answer Key’ Category

Nuclear Scavenger Hunt


Alamogordo, New Mexico – The first atomic bomb in history was detonated at the Alamogordo Test range on July 16, 1945. The site of the explosion, called trinity Site, is located on property owned by the present-day White Sands Missile range.


arms race – A competition between two or more parties for military supremacy. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation. The arms race that characterized the 20th Century refers to the massive military build-up, especially of nuclear weapons, by both the Soviet Union and the United States in an effort to gain military superiority.


Bikini Atoll – (also known as Pikinni Atoll) An uninhabited 6.0-square-kilometer atoll in one of the Micronesian Islands in the Pacific Ocean, part of Republic of the Marshall Islands. It consists of 36 islands surrounding a 594.2-square-kilometer lagoon. As part of the Pacific Proving Grounds it was the site of more than 20 nuclear weapons tests between 1946 and 1958, including the first test of a practical dry fuel hydrogen bomb in 1952.


bomb shelter – A chamber (often underground) reinforced against bombing and provided with food and living facilities; used during air raids. During the Cold War, many Americans raced to build bomb shelters to protect themselves and their families from the effects of a potential nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.


Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) – In British politics, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has been at the forefront of the peace movement in the United Kingdom and claims to be Europe’s largest single-issue peace campaign. As well as campaigning against military actions that may result in the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, they are also in favor of nuclear disarmament by all countries and tighter international regulation through treaties such as the NPT.


capitalism – An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods.


civil defense – An effort to prepare civilians for military attack. Since the end of the Cold War the concept has been replaced by a more general intent to protect the civilian population in times of peace as well as in times of war.


Cold War

A term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and capitalist democracy.


communism – A political system derived largely from the theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (The Communist Manifesto, 1848) in which all wealth is owned collectively and shared equally among all members of society.


Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) – Bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for civilian or military purposes.


cruise missile – A guided missile that flies to its target close to the earth’s surface. They can be launched from aircraft, ships, submarines or land sites. A cruise uses a lifting wing and most often a jet propulsion system to allow sustained flight. A cruise missile is, in essence, a flying bomb.


Cuban Missile Crisis – A major cold war confrontation in 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union. After the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the USSR increased its support of Fidel Castro’s Cuban regime, and in the summer of 1962, Nikita Khrushchev secretly decided to install ballistic missiles in Cuba. When U.S. reconnaissance flights revealed the clandestine construction of missile launching sites, President Kennedy publicly denounced (Oct. 22, 1962) the Soviet actions. He imposed a naval blockade on Cuba and declared that any missile launched from Cuba would warrant a full-scale retaliatory attack by the United States against the Soviet Union. On Oct. 24, Russian ships carrying missiles to Cuba turned back, and when Khrushchev agreed (Oct. 28) to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the missile sites, the crisis ended as suddenly as it had begun. The United States ended its blockade on Nov. 20, and by the end of the year the missiles and bombers were removed from Cuba. The United States, in return, pledged not to invade Cuba, and subsequently secretly removed ballistic missiles it had placed in Turkey.


détente – A French term, meaning a relaxing or easing; the term has been used in international politics since the early 1970s. Generally, it may be applied to any international situation where previously hostile nations not involved in an open war de-escalate tensions through diplomacy and confidence building measures. However, it is primarily used in reference to the general reduction in the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and a thawing of the Cold War, occurring from the late 1960s until the start of the 1980s.


deterrence – A military strategy developed after and used throughout the Cold War and current times. Deterrence by punishment is a strategy by which governments threaten an immense retaliation if attacked. Aggressors are deterred if they do not wish to suffer such damage as a result of an aggressive action. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is a form of this strategy, which was used by the US to characterize relations between the United States and Soviet Union, although the Soviet Union did not in fact adhere to MAD and was prepared to fight a full scale nuclear and conventional war


Domino Theory – The domino theory was a 20th Century foreign policy theory that speculated if one land in a region came under the influence of Communists, then more would follow in a domino effect. The domino effect indicates that some change, small in itself, will cause a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence, by analogy to a falling row of dominoes standing on end.


duck and cover – A suggested method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear detonation which the United States government taught to generations of United States school children from the late 1940s into the 1980s. This was supposed to protect them in the event of an unexpected nuclear attack which, they were told, could come at any time without warning. Immediately after they saw a flash (which would be the last thing they would ever see), they had to stop what they were doing and get on the ground under some cover — such as a table, or at least next to a wall — and assume the fetal position, lying face-down and covering their heads with their hands. Critics have said that this training would be of little, if any, help in the event of thermonuclear war, and had little effect other than promoting a state of unease and paranoia.


Einstein, Albert – The physicist Albert Einstein did not directly participate in the invention of the atomic bomb, but he was instrumental in facilitating its development. In 1905, as part of his Special Theory of Relativity, he made the intriguing point that a large amount of energy could be released from a small amount of matter. This was expressed by the equation E=mc2 (energy = mass times the speed of light squared). The atomic bomb would clearly illustrate this principle. Einstein originally considered himself to be a pacifist. In 1929, he publicly declared that if a war broke out he would “unconditionally refuse to do war service, direct or indirect… regardless of how the cause of the war should be judged.” His position would change in 1933, however, as the result of Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power in Germany. While still promoting peace, Einstein no longer fit his previous self-description of being an “absolute pacifist”. Einstein’s greatest role in the invention of the atomic bomb was signing a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging that the bomb be built.


Enola Gay – The B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped “Little Boy”, the first atomic bomb ever used in war, when the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) attacked Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, just before the end of World War II. Because of its roles in the atomic bombings of Japan, its name has been synonymous with the bombings themselves. It was named after Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot.


Evil empire – The phrase evil empire was applied to the former Soviet Union by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and American conservatives, particularly “hawks — a term used to describe those preferring an aggressive, hard-line stance that favored matching and exceeding the former Soviet Union’s strategic and global military capabilities. Some contend that this depiction of the Soviet Union, in the mid to late-1980s, as “evil” marked a turning point in the Cold War, affording the U.S. a moral high ground that allowed it to take vastly more aggressive steps to deter and “rollback” the former Soviet Union’s significant engagement in global affairs. Critics of the phrase, however, saw it as an escalation of anti-Soviet rhetoric that was further dividing the two superpowers, with potentially serious military consequences, including the risk of nuclear war.


Fifth Columnist – A clandestine subversive organization working within a country to further an invading enemy’s military and political aims.


fission – The splitting of atoms, which results in the release of large amounts of energy. Fission occurs naturally or when an atom’s nucleus is bombarded by neutrons.


fusion – The process whereby the nuclei of lighter elements, especially the isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium ) combine to form the nucleus of a heavier element accompanied by the release of substantial amounts of energy.


Hiroshima and Nagasaki – The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks during World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States of America under US President Harry S. Truman. After six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities, on August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, followed on August 9, 1945 by the detonation of the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. These are the only uses of nuclear weapons in warfare. As many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki may have died from the bombings by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness due to radiation. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians.


hotline – a point-to-point communications link in which a call is automatically directed to the pre-selected destination without any additional action by the user when the end instrument goes off-hook. The White House/Kremlin hotline during the Cold War, known as the red telephone, which was established on June 20, 1963, in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis.


House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created in 1938 to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having communist ties. Through its power to subpoena witness and hold people in contempt of Congress, HUAC often pressured witnesses to surrender names and other information that could lead to the apprehension of Communists and Communist sympathizers. Committee members often branded witnesses as “red” if they refused to comply or hesitated in answering committee questions.


International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for military purposes. It was established as an autonomous organization on July 29, 1957. In 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned the creation of this international body to control and develop the use of atomic energy, in his “Atoms for Peace” speech before the UN General Assembly. The organization and its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize announced on 7 October 2005. Media often refer to the IAEA as “the UN’s Nuclear Watchdog”. While this describes one of the Agency’s roles, it is by no means the only one. The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.


Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) – A long-range (greater than 5,500 km or 3,500 miles) ballistic missile typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery, that is, delivering one or more nuclear warheads. Due to their great range and firepower, in an all-out nuclear war, submarine and land-based ICBMs would carry most of the destructive force, with nuclear-armed bombers the remainder. ICBMs are differentiated by having greater range and speed than other ballistic missiles: intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), and the newly-named theatre ballistic missiles. All five of the nations with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council have operational ICBM systems: all have submarine-launched missiles, and Russia, the United States and China also have land-based missiles.


Iron Curtain – The “Iron Curtain” was the boundary which symbolically, ideologically, and physically divided Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War, roughly 1945 to 1991. The first recorded use of the term was in 1920 by Ethel Snowden in her book Through Bolshevik Russia. German politician and Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels was the first to refer to an “Iron Curtain” coming down across Europe after World War II, in a manifesto he published in the German newspaper Das Reich in February 1945. The term was not widely used until March 5, 1946, when it was popularized by Winston Churchill in his “Sinews of Peace” address. While the Iron Curtain was in place, certain countries of Eastern Europe and many in Central Europe (except West Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Austria) were under the political influence of the Soviet Union. Indeed the Central European states to the east of the Curtain were frequently regarded as being part of Eastern Europe, rather than Central Europe.


Los Alamos, New Mexico – Los Alamos (from the Spanish: Los Álamos, meaning “The Cottonwoods”) The home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which was founded to undertake the Manhattan Project.


The Lucky Dragon 5 – (Daigo Fukuryu¯ Maru) was a Japanese tuna fishing boat, which was exposed to and contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954. Kuboyama Aikichi, the boat’s chief radioman, died a half a year later, on September 23, 1954, suffering from acute radiation syndrome. He is considered the first victim of the hydrogen bomb


Manhattan Project – The project to develop the first nuclear weapon (atomic bomb) during World War II by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Formally designated as the Manhattan Engineer District (MED), it refers specifically to the period of the project from 1941–1946 under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under the administration of General Leslie R. Groves. The scientific research was directed by American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The project succeeded in developing and detonating three nuclear weapons in 1945: a test detonation of a plutonium implosion bomb on July 16 (the Trinity test) near Alamogordo, New Mexico; an enriched uranium bomb code-named “Little Boy” on August 6 over Hiroshima, Japan; and a second plutonium bomb, code-named “Fat Man” on August 9 over Nagasaki, Japan.


McCarthyismThe practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence. Named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, an anti-communist crusader of the early 1950s, who remains one of the most controversial and reviled American politicians of the 20th century.


megaton – A unit of energy used to describe nuclear warheads. The same amount energy as 1 million tons of TNT.


Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) – A doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by one of two opposing sides would effectively result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender. It is based on the theory of deterrence according to which the deployment of strong weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use of the very same weapons. The strategy is effectively a form of Nash Equilibrium, in which both sides are attempting to avoid their worst possible outcome – nuclear annihilation.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, or the Western Alliance) is a military alliance, established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949. With headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the organization established a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.


Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) – The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) is an international treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, opened for signature on July 1, 1968. There are currently 189 states party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China. Only four nations are not signatories: India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. India and Pakistan both possess and have openly tested nuclear bombs. Israel has had a policy of opacity regarding its own nuclear weapons program. North Korea ratified the treaty, violated it, and later withdrew. The treaty was proposed by Ireland, and Finland was the first to sign. The signing parties decided by consensus to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions upon meeting in New York City on May 11, 1995. The NPT consists of a preamble and eleven articles. Although the concept of “pillars” appears nowhere in the NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as having three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.


nuclear umbrella – A “nuclear umbrella” refers to security derived through military protection from a nuclear power. By coming under a nuclear umbrella, countries allied with a nuclear power hope to deter nuclear attack from other countries.


Oppenheimer, Robert – J. Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist, best known for his role as the director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II effort to develop the first nuclear weapons, at the secret Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico. Known as “the father of the atomic bomb,” Oppenheimer lamented the weapon’s killing power after it was used to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


pre-emptive strike – a military attack designed to prevent, or reduce the impact of, an anticipated attack from an enemy


proliferation – Nuclear proliferation is the spread of nuclear weapons production technology and knowledge to nations that do not already have such capabilities.


Red ScareIn US history, the term Red Scare denotes two distinct periods of strong anti-communism: the First Red Scare, from 1917 to 1920, and the Second Red Scare, from 1947 to 1957. The Scares were characterized by the fear that communism would upset the capitalist social order in the United States; the First red Scare was about worker revolution and Political radicalism. The Second Red Scare was focused on (national and foreign) communists infiltrating the Federal Government.


retaliation – An action taken in return for an injury or offense


Rosenberg, Julius and Ethel – American communists who were executed in 1953 after having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. The charges were in relation to the passing of information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Theirs was the first execution of civilians for espionage in United States history.


Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) – The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties between the Soviet Union and the United States–the Cold War superpowers–on the issue of armament control. There were two rounds of talks and agreements: SALT I and SALT II. SALT I is the common name for the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty Agreement, but also known as Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. SALT I froze the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels, and provided for the addition of new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers only after the same number of older intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and SLBM launchers had been dismantled. SALT II later became START. Negotiations started in Helsinki, Finland, in 1969 and focused on limiting the two countries’ stocks of nuclear weapons. These treaties have led to START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). START I (a 1991 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union) and START II (a 1993 agreement between the United States and Russia) placed specific caps on each side’s number of nuclear weapons.


Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) a.k.a. “Star Wars” – The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic offense doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD). Though it was never fully developed or deployed, the research and technologies of SDI paved the way for some anti-ballistic missile systems of today. 


Teller, Edward – Edward Teller (original Hungarian name Teller Ede) (January 15, 1908 – September 9, 2003) was a Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as “the father of the hydrogen bomb.” Teller emigrated to the United States in the 1930s, and was an early member of the Manhattan Project charged with developing the first atomic bombs. During this time he made a serious push to develop the first fusion-based weapons as well, but these were deferred until after World War II.


Truman, Harry S – Harry Truman became president of the United States on April 12, 1945 upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. During Truman’s presidency Germany surrendered (May 8, 1945) and Japan surrendered (Aug. 14, 1945), ending World War II. The U.S., with Truman’s approval, dropped an atomic bomb on the people of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and one on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. As more information has become available regarding the Japanese peace effort, the Japanese fear of losing their emperor (whom they believed was a god), and U.S. advisors who offered other methods of winning the war, the debate has grown over whether the atomic bombings were necessary to save lives and win the war. Truman always staunchly defended the atomic bombings. Shortening the war, saving American lives, and revenge are the main reasons he gave for using them. In his first public explanation (Aug. 6, 1945, just after Hiroshima was a-bombed), he said: “The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold.” On Aug. 9, after Nagasaki was a-bombed, Truman made another public statement on why the atomic bombs were used: “Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.”


University of Chicago – Italian physicist Enrico Fermi managed the University of Chicago reactor, called Chicago Pile 1 (CP-1). Nobel Prize-winner Fermi had fled Fascist Europe. On the afternoon of December 2, 1942, it happened. Under the abandoned west stands of Stagg Field, the first controlled nuclear reaction occurred. Humankind had controlled energy released from the nucleus of the atom.


Warsaw Pact – The Warsaw Pact or Warsaw Treaty Organization, officially named the Warsaw Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (Russian: Dogovor o druzhbe, sotrudnichestve i vzaimnoy pomoshchi), was a military alliance of socialist states in Central and Eastern Europe. It was established on 14 May 1955 in Warsaw, Poland. While Soviet Union claimed to counter the potential threat from the NATO alliance and as retaliation due to the integration of a “re-militarized” West Germany into NATO on 9 May 1955 via ratification of the Paris Peace Treaties, the organization de facto served as a tool for keeping control over countries taken over after Second World War by the Soviets and to intervene military against any attempts the other states took to free themselves of the political hegemony of their own Communist Parties. The Pact lasted throughout the Cold War until certain member nations began withdrawing in 1989, following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and political changes in the Soviet Union. The treaty was signed in Warsaw on May 14, 1955 and official copies were made in Russian, Polish, Czech and German.





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