THE ATOM: Five Hundred Hiroshimas

At dawn on March 1, a Marine corporal on lonely Kwajalein saw an awesome sight. "All of a sudden," he wrote his mother, "the sky lighted up, a bright orange, and remained that way for what seemed like a couple of minutes . . . We heard very loud rumblings that sounded like thunder. Then the whole barracks began shaking as if there had been an earthquake. This was followed by a very high wind." In another letter, two days later, the corporal reported that two U.S. destroyers pulled into Kwajalein with victims of atomic radiation.

Man's Greatest Explosion. What the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!