Skip To Content
Las Vegas: An Unconventional History | Article

The Atomic Age

In the 1950s the American public accepted above-ground nuclear bomb blasts just 65 miles from an American city as part of the ongoing Cold War effort. The tests became a tourist attraction for visitors. Las Vegas became "Atomic City, USA." The public's enthusiastic reaction to the tests demonstrates how well the government both downplayed the possible dangers of the tests and emphasized the patriotic mission of the program.

In 1988 the U.S. Congress passed a bill to compensate veterans whose health was damaged from exposure to nuclear tests. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah sponsored the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) that was passed in 1990, providing compensation to civilians downwind from the above-ground tests (many in his home state) and quickly amended to also apply to workers at the Nevada Test Site. As of 2001, RECA has paid out some $232 billion for 3,135 claims.

Explore the different ways in which the government presented the safety and importance of the tests to the American public in the early years of the Cold War.

lasvegas_atomic.jpg

1955 Stamp: Atoms for Peace
When President Dwight Eisenhower requested a stamp design to commemorate the Atoms for Peace Program, George Cox, a technical illustrator for Brookhaven National Laboratory, responded with a double globe with orbiting electrons. The U.S. Postal Service issued the "Atoms for Peace" stamp on July 28, 1955, less than two weeks before delegates from 73 countries convened for the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, Switzerland.

1957 Booklet: Atomic Tests in Nevada
In 1957 Mike McCollough was in the eighth grade at Townsite Elementary School in Henderson, Nevada. As part of the Civil Defense effort that year, he and all of his classmates were given a green booklet titled "Atomic Tests in Nevada." The booklet describes the importance of the atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds and emphasizes the safety precautions that were taken to protect those both on- and off-site.

Henderson, in the Las Vegas Valley, is now part of the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area. Townsite Elementary School once stood where the Henderson Convention Center is located. McCollough donated his copy of "Atomic Tests in Nevada" to the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

The following is excerpted from the booklet with original illustrations.


ATOMIC TESTING IN NEVADA
The Nevada Test Site of U.S. Atomic Energy Commission is used periodically for experiments or tests involving nuclear detonations of relatively low yield (explosive energy).

Forty-five nuclear fission weapons, weapon prototypes, and experimental devices were fired at the Nevada Test Site from January 1951 to June 1955. They ranged in yield from less than 1 kiloton up to considerably less than 100 kilotons. (A kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.)

Despite their relatively low yield, Nevada tests have clearly demonstrated their value to all national atomic weapons programs. They have made important contributions to the development of a whole family of weapons, including ones for defense against attack. Because of them our Armed Forces are stronger and our Civil Defense better prepared.

Each test fired in Nevada is justified, before it is scheduled, as to national need for the data sought. Each Nevada test has successfully added to scientific knowledge needed for development and use of atomic weapons, and needed to strengthen our defense against enemy weapons. Most tests have been used additionally for basic research, such as biological studies, which could be conducted only in the presence of a full scale nuclear detonation.

Conducting low-yield tests in Nevada, instead of in the distant Pacific, also has resulted in major savings in time, manpower, and money. The saving of time is particularly important because of its contribution to the Nation's defense capability.

PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC
You people who live near Nevada Test Site are in a very real sense active participants in the Nation's atomic test program. You have been close observers if tests which have contributed greatly to building the defenses of our country and of the free world. Nevada tests have helped us make great progress in a few years, and have been a vital factor in maintaining the peace of the world.

Some of you have been inconvenienced by our test operations. Nonetheless, you have accepted them without fuss and without alarm. Your cooperation has helped achieve an unusual record of safety.

To our knowledge no one outside the test site has been hurt in six years of testing. Only one person, a test participant, has been injured seriously as a result of the 45 detonations. His was an eye injury from the flash of light received at a point relatively near ground zero inside the test site. Experience has proved the adequacy of the safeguards which govern Nevada test operations.

Potential Exposure Is Low
Any atomic detonation, even though small enough to be fired in Nevada, involves powerful forces. The effects of a detonation include flash, blast, and radio-active fallout. Your potential exposure to these effects will be low, and it can be reduced still further by your continued cooperation.

The low level of public exposure has been made possible by very close attention to a variety of on-site and off-site procedures.

Public protection began with selection of the site. Nevada Test Site was selected only after extensive studies of other possible locations. The testing site covers an area of more than 600 square miles, with an adjoining U.S. Air Force gunnery range of 4,000 square miles. The controlled areas are surrounded by wide expanses of sparsely populated land, providing optimum conditions for maintenance of safety.

EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR DETONATIONS
A nuclear explosion releases tremendous energy, equivalent in a so-called "nominal" burst to about 20,000 tons of TNT. This energy is released as heat, light, blast, and nuclear radiation.

The heat energy, released instantaneously, produces very hot gases at a high pressure, and the outward movement of these gases creates a shock wave, which is capable of severe destructive effects in the immediate area.

The instantaneous release of light is so great that devices detonated in Nevada, when fired before dawn have produced a flash visible 400-600 miles away. At a distance of about 6 miles, the brilliant flash from a 20-kiloton burst -- used as an example throughout this section -- is 100 times brighter than the sun.

Nuclear radiation is released as particles and waves (similar to X-rays) of energy. A portion of the radiation is released instantaneously in the form of neutrons (particles) and gamma rays (or waves).

The remainder of the radiation is given off over a period of time by the "fission products" created during the nuclear detonation.

For each 20 KT of explosive energy, about two pounds of radioactive materials are produced. In these 2 pounds are a variety of different radioactive substances varying in half-life from a fraction of a second to many years.

FALLOUT FROM NEVADA TESTS
We cannot see, feel, smell, taste, or hear nuclear radiation. Consequently it may seem to be more difficult to understand than are light and sound waves from Nevada tests.

In order to help you understand radioactive fallout, we have appended to this booklet a discussion of the units used in measuring radiation, natural radioactive background, and the effects of radiation on man, including possible effects on inheritance and life expectancy.

Please understand that in the following discussion of radioactive fallout, we are not talking about high-yield A-bombs or H-bombs tested elsewhere. We are not talking about radiation from enemy bombs designed to do the most damage possible. We are talking only about low yield tests, conducted under controlled conditions at Nevada Test Site.

The Atomic Cloud
As the fireball rises, the atomic cloud forms. If dirt and debris have been drawn up into it, they become coated with radioactive materials and immediately start falling to earth. As the cloud rises, it expands, begins losing its radioactivity by decay, and floats away.

The radioactive particles within the cloud are initially of a wide range of sizes. Extremely small particles are apt to be fission products; larger particles are more likely to consist of fission products condensed on dust and debris of the air or sucked up from the ground.

As the radioactive particles begin to descend to earth, they are carried transversely by the winds. The larger particles tend to settle first. Fallout -- the descent of the particles back to earth -- may occur in the immediate vicinity of the burst or thousands of miles away.

Fallout Can Be Inconvenient
Fallout of very minute intensity can interfere temporarily with some industrial and research enterprises not only near the test site but elsewhere in the United States.

Interference in normal operations may occur in the uranium prospecting and mining business, in industrial and commercial processes where there are radiation controls, in the photographic industry, in low-level radiation research, etc.

Similar interference is, of course, caused by any United States or foreign tests. To help avoid or reduce such interference, Nevada series and individual shots are publicly announced.

Warnings and Procedures
As in past series, every effort will be made to warn people away from the test site and the bombing range.

Helicopter and light aircraft sweeps of close-in predicted fallout areas will be made before a shot and any persons found there will be warned to leave. Like sweeps will be made following a shot. Stockmen will be advised if there are indications their stock has been exposed.

An extensive radiation monitoring system will be in operation in the test site region.

THE FLASH OF LIGHT
The effects of the flash of light are essentially no different from those of sunlight. If you look directly into the sun (or at photographer's flash bulb), you get black spots in front of your eyes for a few seconds or a few minutes. If you were much closer to the sun or if you used binoculars, eye damage might result.

On-site the thermal (heat) waves can injure eye tissues and cause permanent eye damage if one looks directly at the fireball. This is also true in the air above the test site. At shot time all personnel on or above the test site wear extremely dark glasses or turn away; binoculars are prohibited; and road traffic may be halted.

Off-site the same precautions should be followed by anyone in line of sight with the expected burst. The flash can cause "black spots" so that momentarily you can't see, or the flash can startle you if it is unexpected. This effect can be experienced at night many miles away. The greatest caution needs to be used by drivers of vehicles or the pilots of aircraft who might have an accident if momentarily unable to see, or if startled.

The brightness of the light striking your eyes depends of course on whether it is night or day (at night, more light enters the dilated pupils), whether there is direct line of sight of the fireball, on distance, on atmospheric conditions, and to some extent on the yield of the device.

A majority of Nevada shots must be in the predawn hours of darkness and will require precautions against flash.

Past Experience With Flash
There have been no known cases of serious eye damage from light effects to people off-site. Some observers on nearby mountains, who did not wear dark glasses nor turn away, have reported temporary blind spots.

THE SOUND, OR BLAST
Shock waves go out in all directions from the detonation. Some strike the earth and are dissipated. Some are reflected back to earth from various atmospheric layers. If they reach earth at an inhabited point they may be felt or heard.

Wave propagated through the troposphere (up to 6 miles high) cause sharp cracking and banging noises in the nearby site region. The strength of waves hitting in the nearby region depends on temperature and wind structure of the atmosphere, on altitude of the detonation , and on its yield. The point at which the wave will strike the earth is dictated by the altitude of the detonation and the meteorological structure of the atmosphere at that moment. Wind direction causes directional variation in blast. If the weather creates a lens effect in the atmosphere, blast intensity may be focused at a particular point and may be strong enough to break windows.

Past Experience With Blast
Light damage to structures and broken windows have resulted within 100 miles of the test site. Most of these were in the two 1951 series, on a line from the test site through Las Vegas and Henderson. Blast has been heard, but it is not known to have caused damage, at greater distances, including Los Angeles, Calif., and Albuquerque, N. Mex.

Off-Site Warnings and Procedures for Blast
The Nevada Test Organization has a blast prediction and blast recording unit and devotes considerable effort to forecasting where blast may strike. High explosive shots are fired shortly before the nuclear test so the resulting blast can be recorded on sensitive instruments in communities around the test site. If the weather remains constant these provide a good indication of where the blast will strike, but if the atmosphere changes only slightly the point of impact may vary by miles. If strong blast is indicated for any community, under apparently meteorological conditions, the shot may be postponed.

When a possibility of slight damage to any community is indicated, the community is warned to open windows and doors to equalize pressure.

REPORTING TEST-CAUSED DAMAGE
Since the first Nevada test series, the AEC has contracted with the General Adjustment Bureau to receive and to investigate claims for damages arising from test operations. An office is maintained in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Bureau's investigative teams are supplemented by engineers, architects, veterinarians, or other experts from the area where the asserted damaged occurred. The investigation is thorough, in order to determine whether or not the claimed loss actually resulted from a test detonation. If found to be justified , settlement is relatively prompt.

If a claim is refused, or if it exceeds $5,000 you may still sue in Federal Court.

Almost all of the claims made as a result of tests have been for asserted damage made as a result of tests and a large majority of these were from the Las Vegas area as a result of the first two test series.

TESTS AND THE WEATHER
Quite by chance, some unusual weather accompanied Nevada tests during the spring of 1952 and 1953 (this was not the case in 1955). Lacking anything else to blame, some people thought the tests caused the bad weather.

You have lived next door to the test site long enough to know that weather is very important to us. We sometimes wait for days and days until the right period of strong winds. In such a case, strong winds will of course follow a shot.

For example, people in Las Vegas have noted during the day of an early morning test that a wind storm moved in from the northwest, seemingly from the test site. They haven't always realized that the same storm was moving toward them across California at shot time, and the Test Organization was taking advantage of the calmer period before the storm in order to control test effects. To a Tonopah resident, the sequence would have been different as he could have seen the early morning flash in the southeast, then watched the clouds move in from the northwest.

The U.S. Weather Bureau experts, and those in our Armed Forces, have reviewed all of the facts. They have found no indication at all that Nevada tests change the weather anywhere in any respect.

1953 Speech: Atoms for Peace
President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave what is known as the "Atoms for Peace" speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 8, 1953. He stated frankly that nuclear weapons were now a part of the world's military arsenal and then called for research into possible peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Madame President, Members of the General Assembly:

When Secretary General Hammarskjold's invitation to address this General Assembly reached me in Bermuda, I was just beginning a series of conferences with the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of Great Britain and of France. Our subject was some of the problems that beset our world.

During the remainder of the Bermuda Conference, I had constantly in mind that ahead of me lay a great honor. That honor is mine today as I stand here, privileged to address the General Assembly of the United Nations.

At the same time that I appreciate the distinction of addressing you, I have a sense of exhilaration as I look upon this Assembly.

Never before in history has so much hope for so many people been gathered together in a single organization. Your deliberations and decisions during these somber years have already realized part of those hopes.

But the great test and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide a great share of the wisdom, the courage, and the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all nations, and happiness and well-being for all men.

Clearly, it would not be fitting for me to take this occasion to present to you a unilateral American report on Bermuda. Nevertheless, I assure you that in our deliberations on that lovely island we sought to invoke those same great concepts of universal peace and human dignity which are so clearly etched in your Charter.

Neither would it be a measure of this great opportunity merely to recite, however hopefully, pious platitudes.

I therefore decided that this occasion warranted my saying to you some of the things that have been on the minds and hearts of my legislative and executive associates and on mine for a great many months -- thoughts I had originally planned to say primarily to the American people.

I know that the American people share my deep belief that if a danger exists in the world, it is a danger shared by all -- and equally, that if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that hope should be shared by all.

Finally, if there is to be advanced any proposal designed to ease even by the smallest measure the tensions of today's world, what more appropriate audience could there be than the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations?

I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new--one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use.

That new language is the language of atomic warfare.

The atomic age has moved forward at such a pace that every citizen of the world should have some comprehension, at least in comparative terms, of the extent of this development of the utmost significance to every one of us. Clearly, if the people of the world are to conduct an intelligent search for peace, they must be armed with the significant facts of today's existence.

My recital of atomic danger and power is necessarily stated in United States terms, for these are the only incontrovertible facts that I know. I need hardly point out to this Assembly, however, that this subject is global, not merely national in character.

On July 16, 1945, the United States set off the world's first atomic explosion. Since that date in 1945, the United States of America has conducted 42 test explosions.

Atomic bombs today are more than 25 times as powerful as the weapons with which the atomic age dawned, while hydrogen weapons are in the ranges of millions of tons of TNT equivalent.

Today, the United States' stockpile of atomic weapons, which, of course, increases daily, exceeds by many times the explosive equivalent of the total of all bombs and all shells that came from every plane and every gun in every theatre of war in all of the years of World War II.

A single air group, whether afloat or land-based, can now deliver to any reachable target a destructive cargo exceeding in power all the bombs that fell on Britain in all of World War II.

In size and variety, the development of atomic weapons has been no less remarkable. The development has been such that atomic weapons have virtually achieved conventional status within our armed services. In the United States, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps are all capable of putting this weapon to military use.

But the dread secret, and the fearful engines of atomic might, are not ours alone.

In the first place, the secret is possessed by our friends and allies, Great Britain and Canada, whose scientific genius made a tremendous contribution to our original discoveries, and the designs of atomic bombs.

The secret is also known by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union has informed us that, over recent years, it has devoted extensive resources to atomic weapons. During this period, the Soviet Union has exploded a series of atomic devices, including at least one involving thermo-nuclear reactions.

If at one time the United States possessed what might have been called a monopoly of atomic power, that monopoly ceased to exist several years ago. Therefore, although our earlier start has permitted us to accumulate what is today a great quantitative advantage, the atomic realities of today comprehend two facts of even greater significance.

First, the knowledge now possessed by several nations will eventually be shared by others -- possibly all others.

Second, even a vast superiority in numbers of weapons, and a consequent capability of devastating retaliation, is no preventive, of itself, against the fearful material damage and toll of human lives that would be inflicted by surprise aggression.

The free world, at least dimly aware of these facts, has naturally embarked on a large program of warning and defense systems. That program will be accelerated and expanded.

But let no one think that the expenditure of vast sums for weapons and systems of defense can guarantee absolute safety for the cities and citizens of any nation. The awful arithmetic of the atomic bomb does not permit any such easy solution. Even against the most powerful defense, an aggressor in possession of the effective minimum number of atomic bombs for a surprise attack could probably place a sufficient number of his bombs on the chosen targets to cause hideous damage.

Should such an atomic attack be launched against the United States, our reactions would be swift and resolute. But for me to say that the defense capabilities of the United States are such that they could inflict terrible losses upon an aggressor -- for me to say that the retaliation capabilities of the United States are so great that such an aggressor's land would be laid waste -- all this, while fact, is not the true expression of the purpose and the hope of the United States.

To pause there would be to confirm the hopeless finality of a belief that two atomic colossi are doomed malevolently to eye each other indefinitely across a trembling world. To stop there would be to accept helplessly the probability of civilization destroyed--the annihilation of the irreplaceable heritage of mankind handed down to us generation from generation--and the condemnation of mankind to begin all over again the age-old struggle upward from savagery toward decency, and right, and justice.

Surely no sane member of the human race could discover victory in such desolation. Could anyone wish his name to be coupled by history with such human degradation and destruction?

Occasional pages of history do record the faces of the "Great Destroyers" but the whole book of history reveals mankind's never-ending quest for peace, and mankind's God-given capacity to build.

It is with the book of history, and not with isolated pages, that the United States will ever wish to be identified. My country wants to be constructive, not destructive. It wants agreement, not wars, among nations. It wants itself to live in freedom, and in the confidence that the people of every other nation enjoy equally the right of choosing their own way of life.

So my country's purpose is to help us move out of the dark chamber of horrors into the light, to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men every where, can move forward toward peace and happiness and well being.

In this quest, I know that we must not lack patience.

I know that in a world divided, such as our today, salvation cannot be attained by one dramatic act.

I know that many steps will have to be taken over many months before the world can look at itself one day and truly realize that a new climate of mutually peaceful confidence is abroad in the world.

But I know, above all else, that we much start to take these steps--now.

The United States and its allies, Great Britain and France, have over the past months tried to take some of these steps. Let no one say that we shun the conference table.

On the record has long stood the request of the United States, Great Britain, and France to negotiate with the Soviet Union the problems of a divided Germany.

On that record has long stood the request of the same three nations to negotiate the problems of Korea.

Most recently, we have received from the Soviet Union what is in effect an expression of willingness to hold a Four Power meeting. Along with our allies, Great Britain and France, we were pleased to see that this note did not contain the unacceptable preconditions previously put forward.

As you already know from our joint Bermuda communiqué, the United States, Great Britain, and France have agreed promptly to meet with the Soviet Union.

The Government of the United States approaches this conference with hopeful sincerity. We will bend every effort of our minds to the single purpose of emerging from that conference with tangible results toward peace--the only true way of lessening international tension.

We never have, we never will, propose or suggest that the Soviet Union surrender what is rightfully theirs.

We will never say that the people of Russia are an enemy with whom we have no desire ever to deal or mingle in friendly and fruitful relationship.

On the contrary, we hope that this coming Conference may initiate a relationship with the Soviet Union which will eventually bring about a free inter mingling of the peoples of the east and of the west--the one sure, human way of developing the understanding required for confident and peaceful relations.

Instead of the discontent which is now settling upon Eastern Germany, occupied Austria, and countries of Eastern Europe, we seek a harmonious family of free European nations, with none a threat to the other, and least of all a threat to the peoples of Russia.

Beyond the turmoil and strife and misery of Asia, we seek peaceful opportunity for these peoples to develop their natural resources and to elevate their lives.

These are not idle works or shallow visions. Behind them lies a story of nations lately come to independence, not as a result of war, but through free grant or peaceful negotiation. There is a record, already written, of assistance gladly given by nations of the west to needy peoples, and to those suffering the temporary effects of famine, drought, and natural disaster.

These are deeds of peace. They speak more loudly than promises or protestations of peaceful intent.

But I do not wish to rest either upon the reiteration of past proposals or the restatement of past deeds. The gravity of the time is such that every new avenue of peace, no matter how dimly discernible, should be explored.

These is at least one new avenue of peace which has not yet been well explored--an avenue now laid out by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In its resolution of November 18, 1953, this General Assembly suggested--and I quote --"that the Disarmament Commission study the desirability of establishing a sub-committee consisting of representatives of the Powers principally involved, which should seek in private an acceptable solution . . . and report on such a solution to the General Assembly and to the Security Council not later than 1 September 1954."

The United States, heeding the suggestion of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is instantly prepared to meet privately with such other countries as may be "principally involved," to seek "an acceptable solution" to the atomic armaments race which over shadows not only the peace, but the very life, of the world.

We shall carry into these private or diplomatic talks a new conception.

The United States would seek more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials for military purposes.

It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.

The United States knows that if the fearful trend of atomic military build up can be reversed, this greatest of destructive forces can be developed into a great boon, for the benefit of all mankind.

The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the future. That capability, already proved, is here--now--today. Who can doubt, if the entire body of the world's scientists and engineers had adequate amounts of fissionable material with which to test and develop their ideas, that this capability would rapidly be transformed into universal, efficient, and economic usage.

To hasten the day when fear of the atom will begin to disappear from the minds of people, and the governments of the East and West, there are certain steps that can be taken now.

I therefore make the following proposals:

The Governments principally involved, to the extent permitted by elementary prudence, to begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international Atomic Energy Agency. We would expect that such an agency would be set up under the aegis of the United Nations.

The ratios of contributions, the procedures and other details would properly be within the scope of the "private conversations" I have referred to earlier.

The United states is prepared to under take these explorations in good faith. Any partner of the United States acting in the same good faith will find the United States a not unreasonable or ungenerous associate.

Undoubtedly initial and early contributions to this plan would be small in quantity. However, the proposal has the great virtue that it can be under taken without the irritations and mutual suspicions incident to any attempt to set up a completely acceptable system of world-wide inspection and control.

The Atomic Energy Agency could be made responsible for the impounding, storage, and protection of the contributed fissionable and other materials. The ingenuity of our scientists will provide special safe conditions under which such a bank of fissionable material can be made essentially immune to surprise seizure.

The more important responsibility of this Atomic Energy Agency would be to devise methods where by this fissionable material would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind. Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine, and other peaceful activities. A special purpose would be to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world. Thus the contributing powers would be dedicating some of their strength to serve the needs rather than the fears of mankind.

The United States would be more than willing -- it would be proud to take up with others "principally involved: the development of plans where by such peaceful use of atomic energy would be expedited.

Of those "principally involved" the Soviet Union must, of course, be one.

I would be prepared to submit to the Congress of the United States, and with every expectation of approval, any such plan that would:

First -- encourage world-wide investigation into the most effective peace time uses of fissionable material, and with the certainty that they had all the material needed for the conduct of all experiments that were appropriate;

Second -- begin to diminish the potential destructive power of the world's atomic stockpiles;

Third -- allow all peoples of all nations to see that, in this enlightened age, the great powers of the earth, both of the East and of the West, are interested in human aspirations first, rather than in building up the armaments of war;

Fourth -- open up a new channel for peaceful discussion, and initiate at least a new approach to the many difficult problems that must be solved in both private and public conversations, if the world is to shake off the inertia imposed by fear, and is to make positive progress toward peace.

Against the dark background of the atomic bomb, the United Stats does not wish merely to present strength, but also the desire and the hope for peace.

The coming months will be fraught with fateful decisions. In this Assembly; in the capitals and military headquarters of the world; in the hearts of men every where, be they governors, or governed, may they be decisions which will lead this work out of fear and into peace.

To the making of these fateful decisions, the United States pledges before you--and therefore before the world -- its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma -- to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.

I again thank the delegates for the great honor they have done me, in inviting me to appear before them, and in listening to me so courteously. Thank you.

Support Provided by: Learn More