June 12, 2012

Haunting Photographs From an Atomic Bomb Test in the Nevada Desert in 1955

In the spring of 1955, as the Cold War intensified and the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated at a shocking pace, America — as it had many times before — detonated an atomic weapon in the Nevada desert. The test was not especially noteworthy.

A day after the 44th nuclear test explosion in the U.S. rent the still Nevada air, observers cautiously inspected department store mannequins which were poised disheveled but still haughty on the sand sand in the homes of Yucca Flat. The figures were residents of an entire million-dollar village built to test the effects of an atomic blast on everything from houses to clothes to canned soup.

These pictures, made in the Nevada desert by photographer Loomis Dean shortly after the atomic bomb test, serve as a quiet reminder of just how horrific and deranged the very notion of nuclear warfare really is.

(Images: Loomis Dean—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


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