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Modern History of the Republic of the Marshall Islands  1953 - 1999

1954 Mar 1, The Bravo hydrogen bomb test exploded across Bikini atoll (Marshall Islands) with the force of 1,200 Hiroshima bombs. Radiation from the test forces evacuation of all people on 'Rongelap, Rongerik, Utirik, and Ailinginae.


A Nuclear Claims Tribunal, established in 1986, later awarded Bikini and Enewetak 500 million dollars but only a fraction of the amount was received. A Nov 30, 2004, deadline limited further suits.

This 20-minute archival video depicts the preparation for and detonation of the world's first deliverable H-bomb "Bravo" in 1954 at Bikini Atoll


The radioactive fallout pattern from"Bravo" showing the location of the Japanese fishing trawler "Fukuryu Maru"

These two excellent short videos tell the story of the so-called "Lucky Dragon" [Fukuryu Maru"]
fishing trawler with 23 men aboard that were caught in the 1954 "
Bravo" H-bomb at Bikini Atoll

1954 Mar 1, The No. 5 Fukuryu-maru [aka "Lucky Dragon," see map above] was trolling for tuna off the Bikini atoll in the Pacific during the Bravo hydrogen bomb test. 11 crew members died in the half-century since the exposure, at least six of them from liver cancer. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States conducted 66 nuclear tests at Bikini as part of "Operation Crossroads."

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The Japanese fishing boat "Lucky Dragon" in a museum outside of Tokyo.  When Glenn met in Yaizu, Japan with the former captain and eight [of the original 23] of his former crew members in March 1990, he heard firsthand about their frightening encounter with the deadly radioactive fallout from "Bravo" on March 1, 1954.

Upon return to Yaizu following "Bravo" radiation scientists from Hiroshima ran their Geiger counters over the caught tuna on the deck of the ship, and loud clicking noises came from the Geiger counters.  Japanese coined these sounds as the "talking fish," and talking fish from the Pacific Proving Grounds dominated Japan's news cycle for days.  In protest, the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations proclaimed that "The United States has now used nuclear weapons twice against the Japanese people."  The following year - in 1955 - Japanese housewives collected 43 million signatures on a petition banning Atomic and Hydrogen bombs.

This short video tells the story of how the 1954 "Bravo" H-bomb and the "Lucky Dragon" gave
birth to Godzilla

   This hour-length video explains in
detail how Godzilla came from"

                                  Cultural Spin-Offs from the 1954 "Bravo" H-Bomb

The perennial monster Godzilla [with 35 sequels] originated from the radioactive fallout of "Bravo." Finally, Nevil Shute's classic book "On the Beach" was based on "Bravo" and the plight of the Rongelap people.  

To watch the full (scary!) movie "
On the Beach" click here:

1954        Mar 26, The U.S. set off the second H-bomb blast in four weeks in the Marshall Islands at Bikini Island. The 15-megaton device was 750 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The blast contaminated the neighboring island of Rongelap and nearly 100 people on the island and other downwind atolls.
1958        Apr 28, The United States conducted the first of 35 nuclear test explosions in the Pacific Proving Ground as part of Operation Hardtack I.

1971        Australia joined with New Zealand and 14 independent of self-governing island nations to form the South Pacific Forum. The name was changed in 2000 to Pacific Islands Forum. Member states include: Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Since 2006, associate members territories are New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
1972        Amata Kabua (1928-1996) founded and led the Political Movement for the Marshall Islands Separation from Micronesia.
1978        The Marshallese voted for independence from other districts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
1978        Doctors ordered a 2nd evacuation from Bikini due to high radiation.
1979        May 1, The people of the Marshall Islands ratified their own constitution and the constitutional government came into being. In recognition of the evolving political status of the Marshall Islands, the US recognized the constitution of the Marshall Islands and the establishment of the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Mr. Amata Kabua  (1928-1996) became the first president.
1979        July, Imata Kabua led a protest against US operations in the Marshall Islands, The country becomes self-governing.


1982 - It is renamed the Republic of the Marshall Islands

1983        The Marshall Islands received $183.7 million for the 1946-1958 US nuclear tests near Bikini.
1986        Oct 21, The US, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands formed a Compact of Free Association (CFA). Tens of millions in economic benefits along with security and defense of the islands was exchanged for the right to deny access to third countries. The US paid $270 million in compensation to nuclear victims under the 1st phase of the CFA (1986-2001), insisting that was a full and final arrangement.
1986        The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia were granted independence.
1991        Sep 17, The U.N. General Assembly opened its 46th session, welcoming new members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North and South Korea, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.
1996        Dec 19, Pres. Amata Kabua died.
1998        Jul 17, Rising seawater was attacking the coastline of the islands.
Please watch this short video on YouTube about climate change, rising sea levels and the Marshall Islands:


​1999        Jan 31, Phillip Muller, the foreign minister, said his government would seek a rent increase from the US for the use of the Kwajalein Atoll, the only place where the US was able to test long range components of its missile defense program.

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Incoming missile Impact Area at Kwajalein Atoll. When the nuclear testing ended in 1958 a major battle was fought between the Interior Dept. and the Pentagon. Interior pushed for eventual independence of the Marshalls, and the Pentagon pushed to retain Kwajalein for ABM missile defense. Guess who won?


A MIRV [Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles] missile with 8 warheads splashes down in the Kwajalein lagoon.  Only one of the 8 warheads contains the weapon so as to "fool" the enemy. The system is easily fooled by mylar ballons as decoys.
Since 1960 the U.S. has spent over $400 billion on missile defense, and most honest scientsts say that it will never  work:  "Like hitting a bullet with a bullet."  Go here for an update on the deception called Ballistic Missile Defense [BMD]  Go here for   an incisive article about how the BMD program doesn't actually work. 

Ground-based missile from Meck Island, Kwajalein to intercept an incoming ICBM or MIRVed warhead launched from Vandenberg AFB in California.  About once a month a missile aimed for Kwajalein is launched from CA, with the awaiting ground-based missiles to attempt to intercept it. If a real war were to erupt, we would not have the luxury of knowing when they were launched nor where they were aimed.  Even with this rigged system, it still doesn't work!  Go here for an expose of the BMD program.


An incoming ICBM splashing into the Kwajalein lagoon, fired from Vandenberg Air Base in Lompoc, California 4,200 miles away. Local Marshall Islanders watch from a nearby beach.

  And if you dare:  Listen to this 6-minute NPR interview from 1986 with  Australian filmmaker Dennis O'Rourke about the 1954 "Bravo" H-bomb 
cover-up at Bikini Atoll. "Bravo" was equal to 1,000 Hiroshima A-bombs

Dennis O' Rourke-NPR-Half LifeArtist Name
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