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Nuclear Weapon Test Essay

1550 words - 7 pages

World Turned Upside Down

The people of the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands would never be the same after 1946. 67 nuclear weapon tests were conducted on this atoll until the blessed year of 1958. Perhaps the only reason the United States displaced a beautiful culture and atoll was to settle some post-WWII uneasiness. Bikini was the definition of perfection when it came to testing the most powerful weapon there is in the world. It was inhabited by only 167 islanders which meant an easy relocation. The atoll was isolated, limiting the chances of further damage to other atolls. It also had a shallow lagoon, allowing easy access to radioactive measuring devices that would fall into the ...view middle of the document...

This caused the Bikinians to be relocated more than once in the expansion of two years and struggle with overcoming the threat of severe emaciation because of the lack of food. In the beginning of the whole ordeal Commodore Ben H. Wyatt traveled to the Bikini Atoll to convince the Bikinians to leave their islands for the nuclear testing, he said while explaining, “For the good of mankind and to end all world wars” (Simon 29). Juda, the leader of Bikinians said, barely understanding Ben’s English, “…We will go believing that everything is in the hands of God’s” (Simon 29). The islanders so familiar with their land were whisked off to Rongerik Atoll. Rongerik was never meant to be inhabited; the atoll was small and had an inadequate amount of water and food, but yet there the Bikinians were left doomed. Emso Leviticus a young girl at the time of relocating said, “The Island itself looked so different from Bikini… and, from the beginning, we had reason to lack confidence in our abilities to provide for our future on that small place” (Niendenthal 29-30). There, the Bikinians struggle and hardship began, creating a chain reaction of difficulties ahead. The only resource available to them sufficient enough to provide for all was fish, but even that was poisonous. The United States left some food rations, but only enough to last for more than a few weeks. Every day on Rongerik was a guessing game, trying to figure out what hardships the next day would bring them.
In March of 1948, the Bikini Islanders were quickly moved to the Kwajelein Atoll after 6 months of starvation on Rongerik (Simon 6). There the leaders of Bikini decided to move to the Kili Atoll in June 1948, only Kili wasn’t under any rule of a king. Yet, after moving to Kili, the third relocation in two years, starvation still haunted them. Food shortages sprouted unexpectedly. The rough seas prevented ships to deliver food. It seemed as if nothing good could come out of agreeing to allow the United States to take over Bikini. Even by going to Kili to find some saving grace to validate that the leaders made a good decision, Bikinian culture was in peril. Kili atoll had no lagoon, destructing the traditions and diets both surrounding lagoon fishing. In desperation, the Bikinians signed over their rights of Bikini Atoll to the United States. By loosing their islands to poison and man-made destruction, the Bikinians had no hope of ever going back, determining their fate as the “nomads of the sea.” What the U.S did was displace a culture for their own benefits and success, but then they never gave back what was lost to the islanders and never quite understood why they felt so hopeless and lost. Now, present day, the Bikinians still haven’t gone back. And only in 2013, America decided it was safe for the Bikini islanders to go back and support their selves on their own soil. Even though it’s now safe, America can never give back the last fifty or so years of trouble and terror that now just...

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