On 24 January 1946, Vice Admiral W. H. P. Blandy, USN, announced the plans for postwar atomic bomb testing before a Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy. After dropping the atomic bomb in August 1945 on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States military wanted to test the bomb postwar on warships and other vessels. Blandy would be the Commander of Joint Task Force One. The location would be the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Code name: Operation CROSSROADS.
In Blandy’s words, “In the face of this new knowledge, these recently discovered truths concerning the atom, so suddenly thrust upon an already chaotic world, not only warfare but civilization itself literally stands at the Crossroads. Hence the name of this Operation.
(Image courtesy of Hoover Institution Library & Archives. Beth Flippen Scheel papers, Box 1. Beth Flippen was an American Red Cross nurse at Operation Crossroads.)
Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.