This week our class is focusing on the nuclear weapons tests that occurred after the end of the Second World War. These tests took place in the desolate deserts of Nevada and while the explosions were heard about and known. Many of their details were kept out of the eyes of the American public. This raises the question of why the American public was not informed about the testing of their own weapons. The answer lies within the “National Security State” or the belief that the government would prevent the spread of information for the protection of the citizens of the United States. These ideas began shortly after the end of the Second World War. The United States and Soviet Union, once allies during the war, soon grew resentment for one another and began a military arms race that would last for nearly four and a half decades. After the success of the Manhattan Project, many scientists left the United States and began spilling secrets on how nuclear weapons were made to other nations such as the Soviet Union. Thus began a process by the United States government to limit the spread of important information. This process became known as the “Red Scare.” As Dean explains in his article, many civil liberties and freedoms became restricted. The CIA began a process of investigating many left leaning celebrities and popular figures. Many were outraged at these investigations as they violated many constitutional rights of citizens. As for weapons testing, the United States after the war was very public with its nuclear testing up until the Crossroads test in 1946. Where the US Air Force and Navy conducted nuclear tests on the Atoll of Bikini in which a nuclear bomb, detonated beneath the surface of the water, contaminated hundreds of warships as well as many locals who lived on the islands and was seen as a failure. Fox explains in his article that after the failure of Crossroads, the United States moved its nuclear testing to the remote deserts of Nevada and limited its testing information to the pubic as another failure would lead to the publics distrust of the government. After the Soviets tested their first atomic bomb in 1949, the United States implemented a “culture of secrecy.” The United States public was severely limited in the information they received behind weapons testing. The Red Scare as well as the failure of Operation Crossroads created the national security state we know of today. A policy that is still used today. Most military projects are not initially revealed to the public as foreign enemies could gain intelligence on how these projects were created. The National Security States goal is to protect the citizens of the United States through secrecy. It was created during a period of conflict and remains today as a way to protect not only our citizens, but our military. I believe it is one of the key reasons why the United States remains as the most powerful military in the world.
2 thoughts on “Blog Week 1”
After reading your blog post I found it interesting how you explained both “natural security state” and “culture of secrecy”. I agreed with everything you said, like when you went on to say how these two areas are used to protect not only the citizens, but also the military of the United States. As most people would like to know about everything that is going on in the US, it is probably better if something were kept out of our eyes and hands.
Jack, after reading your blog post I realized some key points I missed in my own. Such as the personal investigations done on notable people in the US. Also, the nuclear bomb testing done at sea before they took it to the deserts of Nevada. The government thought that by moving the tests to a remote area of the country, no one would realize if they failed. The secrets they kept from the US citizens were meant to keep everyone safe. But I understand why people would want to know what their country is doing in terms of building up the military and who they are trying to destroy.