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"800 Troops See Dummy 'A-Bomb' At Fort Devens" article in Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Three weeks after the hydrogen bomb was detonated in the Pacific, soldiers at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, saw a simulated atomic bomb. The stated purpose of the explosion was to "familiarize troops with the sight and sound of the atomic bomb without the danger of radioactivity." In 1954 the United States was in the middle of the Cold War and a nuclear arms race. The United States and the Soviet Union had developed atomic bombs, and in 1952, the United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb. During the 1950s, many people felt that it was likely that a bomb could be dropped. People built fallout shelters, and school children participated in "duck and cover" drills. The danger of nuclear war was high on the public mind, and the civil defense exercises attempted to assure the American people that something could be done to defend against nuclear attack.


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