Nuclear weapons do exist

8 March 2022
What was claimed

Nuclear weapons don’t exist.

Our verdict

Their long-term development, their use in 1945 on Japanese cities and the aftermath of that, and decades of research proves that nuclear weapons are real.

What was claimed

Science fiction writer HG Wells invented the atom bomb.

Our verdict

HG Wells’s writings did, in part, inspire the development of the atom bomb, but he did not invent the atom bomb.

What was claimed

The Manhattan project was a work of fantasy.

Our verdict

There is a vast amount of evidence that the Manhattan project was real.

What was claimed

Napalm, not nuclear weapons, were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Our verdict

Evidence clearly shows the victims of those bombings suffered from injuries consistent with a nuclear attack, and not a napalm attack.

A post on Facebook makes a number of claims about nuclear bombs, culminating in the falsehoods that “nukes don’t exist”, and are “a technological impossibility”. 

Nuclear weapons not only exist but have been used, both in testing and on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945

We’ve addressed some of the post’s claims below.

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A-bombs were not invented by HG Wells

The A-bomb or atomic bomb is a type of nuclear weapon, which works by nuclear fission. This is where atoms of heavy elements (usually uranium or plutonium) are split by bombarding them with neutrons, which releases energy and more neutrons. These neutrons, in turn, split other atoms, setting in train a chain reaction which can release huge amounts of energy very quickly.

The A-bomb was not invented by HG Wells, as the post claims, but was inspired somewhat by his writings.

Wells wrote about a uranium-based bomb being dropped from planes in his 1914 novel, The World Set Free, which led Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard to hypothesise how splitting the atom could produce large amounts of energy. 

Szilard, who developed the idea of the nuclear chain reaction, which would lead to the eventual invention of the bomb, recalled on the aftermath of such an experiment: “I was quite aware of the dangers. Not because I am so wise but because I have read a book written by H. G. Wells called The World Set Free.” 

The Manhattan project was real and not a “work of fantasy”

The Manhattan Project refers to the programme of American-led research and development of nuclear weapons during the Second World War.

It was spurred on, in part, when, in 1939, Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard wrote to warn President Roosevelt that Germany might develop atomic bombs.

The Manhattan project was not “a work of fantasy” as the post claims. There is vast documentary and infrastructural evidence for the project, and of course the evidence of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Nuclear weapons and not napalm were used to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945

The US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945: one on Hiroshima on 6 August and another on Nagasaki, three days later.

There’s lots of evidence that the bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear. Many survivors suffered from radiation poisoning and acute radiation symptoms, which would not have been caused by other weapons. 

Extensive subsequent research shows that there were higher rates of specific cancers and other diseases in survivors who were exposed to high doses of radiation.

The post claims napalm, not nuclear weapons, were used. The US did use bombs filled with napalm during a particularly deadly air raid on Tokyo on 9 March 1945, which killed an estimated 100,000 people. But the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were made using uranium-235 and plutonium-239 respectively.

Image courtesy of Geralt via Pixabay

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