Discussing the reasons on Nuclear testing in the pacific region by Britain, and France.

Essay by JamsHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 2003

download word file, 6 pages 4.7

The British and French government, during the 1950's and 1960's conducted major nuclear testing, in the pacific region, which had affected the lives of many. It is important to note, why did the both of these nations, conduct such tests on foreign soil? Thus, this essay, will explore the different perspectives of why such nuclear experiments were conducted, the attitude displayed by the victims and governments involved, and more important, the environmental and health impact it caused.

Without a doubt, even today, the nuclear threat is not far from over. As stated by William E.Burrows and Robert Windrem, in their book "Critical Mass" state, "The proliferation of super weapons is now the most dangerous specter facing this planet." In the 1950s the Australian government had permitted the British to develop a nuclear weapons program in Australia. In 1952, the British government detonated "Hurricane", a twenty-five kilo tonne nuclear weapon above the ocean.

The British nuclear testing in Maralinga included many so called "minor" tests, which consisted of about five-hundred experiments during 1952 to 1963. These included, for example the crashing of aero planes with nuclear weapons on board, or according to Australian archive documents at Scotland's Dundee University, twenty-four Australian servicemen tested different types of clothing to find out what protection they offered against radiation. It is easy to view, that the British government reason, that they were only conducting experiments of nuclear weapons on objects and "things", however, their attitude to such testing was not acceptable or appropriate.

In 1957, the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan stated, "We have made a successful

start. When the [nuclear] tests are completed, as they soon will be, we shall be in the same

position as the United States or Soviet Russia. We shall have made and tested the massive

weapons. It will...