To test the impact of an atomic blast on populated areas, technicians built entire fake towns, with houses, shops, and even mannequin families. These settlements went by an ominous name: doom towns.
The dropping of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" on Japan marked the end of World War II and the dawn of the Atomic Age. The race against the Soviet Union to build a bigger, better bomb was on. The U.S. put their new nukes to the test on a desolate stretch of desert just 65 miles away from Las Vegas, and people traveled from all over the country to witness the detonations. This is the story of the nation's grand atomic experiment and the bizarre atomic subculture that spawned beauty queens, new hairdos, and radioactive superheroes.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.