In 1953, the Soviet Union detonated their first hydrogen bomb, a fusion bomb that was many times greater than the fission bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan to end World War Two. The project was being developed as early as 1946, three years before the Soviet Union even detonated their first atomic bomb.
The lead architect of the project was Igor Kurchatov, a Soviet physicist placed in charge by Stalin in order to create an atomic bomb. During World War Two, Soviet espionage had caught wind of the United State’s progress towards their own nuclear project. The Soviets used the lessons learned from the Manhattan project to help fuel the advancement of their own atomic program. The first fusion nuke was tested by the Soviet Union in 1949, four years after the first US test which took place in 1945.
On the first of November, 1952, the United States detonated their first hydrogen bomb. The bomb was over five hundred times more powerful than the fission bombs dropped to end World War Two. The bomb was dropped on a small island in the pacific, the results left a mile wide crater where the island of Elugelab used to be.
This was big news for the Soviets, and Stalin further impressed upon Kurchatov to create a hydrogen bomb to rival the United States and stay competitive in the arms race. The subsequent testing of the Soviet Union’s hydrogen bomb signaled the true beginning of the arms race between the two greatest super powers on earth. The cold war was finally in full swing. Protests and peace movements grew from both sides of the populace, as the destruction from the testing showed that a thermonuclear war outbreak could spell the end for civilization. The nuclear arms race build up would continue until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990’s, and would mean the creation of thousands of nuclear bombs that are still present throughout much of the former Soviet states.