The Hydrogen Bomb: The Weapon That Has Never Been Used

grayscale photo of explosion on the beach

The hydrogen bomb comes in two varieties — a classic one and a “boosted” one.

The first type of H-bomb, the classic H-bomb, is more commonly known as the standard or unboosted bomb. It’s basically just another fission weapon with a layer of deuterium surrounding it.

The second type of H-bomb is called boosted because it uses fusion reactions to produce extra power to increase its yield far beyond that which could be achieved by fission alone.

The first H-bomb was tested in 1952 on the tiny Pacific Ocean atoll of Enewetak.

The hydrogen bomb was developed by the United States in 1952, and it was tested at the Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The first H-bomb was about 1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan. Hydrogen bombs are so powerful that even if you could survive being close to one when it goes off, all of your hair would be singed off by the intense heat. However, the hydrogen bomb was not terribly accurate in its early years, so it could only be used for the most serious of threats.

A Tiny Island Used as a Nuclear Dumpsite Is About to Be Submerged by Water  - Enewetak Atoll. The waters look very blue.
Enewetak Atoll

But as time went by and more countries developed these weapons, their use became more likely, until President Richard Nixon put their use on the table in 1969.

Nixon’s speech was a response to the Soviet Union’s development of the SS-9, a mobile ICBM that could be launched from any location and heavily threatened American interests. The SS-9 was meant to be used against NATO bases in Europe and would have been difficult to defend against because they were mobile. This made it possible for Russia to launch an attack without warning — something both sides wanted to avoid at all costs.

“As we make clear our determination to maintain the peace through strength, we must also make clear our intention to limit the proliferation of these weapons,” he said.

In the 1950s, hydrogen bombs were a new and terrifying technology that promised to change warfare forever. Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved that there was no theoretical limit on how big an H-bomb could be built, or how powerful its explosion could be; but they also showed that such bombs were too expensive and complicated for most countries except superpowers like America or Russia—and even then only one country at a time.

Much like technology itself, they seem to get bigger and more powerful every day but despite this they have never been used.

As much as the H-bomb can be seen as a sign of progress in the world, it is also a reminder that much like technology itself, they seem to get bigger and more powerful every day but despite this they have never been used.

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