From the first test firing of an atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 until the adoption of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963, there were 235 acknowledged atmospheric detonations of nuclear devices by the United States government. Having been eye witnesses to the awesome nature of these weapons, these quarter million American military personnel constitute a unique population. Many of these men have experienced illnesses which they attribute to radiation exposure; a number have offspring with congenital defects; others are sterile. Most seem to recognize that military service is a hazardous occupation that entails risks. Still, the feeling prevails that safety measures were inadequate and many identify themselves as 'human guinea pigs'. Their resentment, however, is not directed toward the military. They tend to blame their problems on the policymakers, the Congress and, in particular, on the Veterans Administration. This book, based on interviews and questionnaires, examines and analyzes the recollections of the American military personnel involved in these tests and the effect on their lives.
Publisher: University Press of America