First we got the bomb, and that was good
‘Cause we love peace and motherhood
Then Russia got the bomb, but that’s okay
‘Cause the balance of power’s maintained that way
– so sung the American satirist Tom Lehrer.But the Beeb tells it differently.
Michael Gill writes:
I visited the following URL: “Still fighting the bomb, 50 years on.” (Typical output from the Beeb)
From that page, I followed the link to “RELATED BBCi LINKS: On This Day 1957: Britain drops its first H-bomb
Now this page did have an interesting bias.
Take a look at the “Timeline: Arms Race” box. Note how we are given dates when the US exploded H-bombs, when the UK exploded H-bombs, when the French exploded an A-bomb, even when the Chinese detonated an H-bomb.
But no dates for the Soviet Union! At all!
[Well, there are lots of dates for the Soviet union participating in talks to reduce nuclear weapons and several mentions of it having missiles and warheads. It just doesn’t say how it got them. I blame the tooth fairy. – NS]
Interesting arms race where one side doesn’t appear to be participating!
Even though the Soviet Union did detonate by far the biggest H-bomb of them all, the BBC can’t find room to mention it.
According to this website the first Soviet test H-bomb was exploded on 12 August 1953. I gather there is quite a difference in difficulty between making a static experimental bomb and one capable of being launched from an aircraft or missile. (Britain, unusually, went straight to this stage.) The first Soviet thermonuclear bomb to be dropped from an aircraft was exploded in Kazakhstan on 22 November 1955. The biggest H-bomb ever, as mentioned by Mr Gill in his e-mail, was exploded by the USSR over Novaya Zemlya on 30 October 1961. Given a very basic general knowledge of twentieth century history, these dates aren’t hard to find via Google. It’s downright odd that they weren’t mentioned in a timeline that includes such relatively obscure details as the date of France’s third H-bomb. And what the devil is the banning of landmines by the UK doing in a nuclear timeline?