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1957   Cold War   1963

The Cold War (1953-1962)discusses the period within the Cold War from the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953 to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Operation Dominic I and II

Operation Dominic I test Arkansas, 2 May 1962

Operation Dominic was a series of 105 nuclear test explosions conducted in 1962 by the United States. Those conducted in the Pacific are sometimes called Dominic I. The blasts in Nevada are known as Dominic II. This test series was scheduled quickly, in order to respond in kind to the Soviet resumption of testing after the tacit 1958-1961 test moratorium. Most of these shots were conducted with free-fall bombs dropped from B-52 bomber aircraft. Twenty of these shots were to test new weapons designs; six to test weapons effects; and several shots to confirm the reliability of existing weapons. The Thor missile was also used to loft warheads into near-space to conduct high altitude nuclear explosion tests; these shots were collectively called Operation Fishbowl.

Operation Dominic occurred during a period of high Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, since the Cuban Bay of Pigs Invasion had occurred not long before. Nikita Khrushchev announced the end of a three-year moratorium on nuclear testing on August 30, 1961, and Soviet tests recommenced on 1 September, initiating a series of tests that included the detonation of Tsar Bomba. President John F. Kennedy responded by authorizing Operation Dominic. It was the largest nuclear weapons testing program ever conducted by the United States, and the last atmospheric test series conducted by the U.S., as the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed in Moscow the following year.