TALES FROM THE TRENCHES
The A-Bomb That Created the Sex Bomb
The atomic age showed its chops on a remote Pacific atoll named Bikini—and gave a name to the most provocative invention of the sexual revolution.
Early in February 1946 the 167 inhabitants of Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a remote U.S. possession in the Pacific Ocean, were told that in order to “end all world wars” they would have to leave this, their ancestral home, and pick up their lives again on a distant island.
The order was issued by the authority of the U.S. Navy. A fleet of 95 decomissioned ships, ranging from battle cruisers to small amphibious vehicles, was going to be anchored in the large lagoon encircled by the Atoll’s reefs.
The plan was to drop two atomic bombs on these vessels, the first on July 1. No atomic bomb had been used since two were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August the previous year. In 1946 the U.S. had an arsenal of only seven atomic bombs. Those to be used at Bikini were of the same type as the one dropped on Nagasaki, named Fat Boy.