Joe 4

JOE-4: The Soviet Union’s first thermonuclear device.

The use of atomic bombs in World War II gave more and more countries reason to investigate and gather knowledge about their own nuclear capabilities, even how to begin the construction of them. After the Germans created their very own nuclear bombs and the United States started to mention that they had weapons of mass destruction, the Soviet Union knew they had to gather their scientist and engineers to quickly finish their own nuclear and atomic bombs. (Soviet Atomic Program) Especially preparing weapons of mass destruction during the Cold War. This led to the Soviet Union to testing their first nuclear bomb called the RDS-1 at Semipalatink on August 29, 1949. Eventually the United States launched its hydrogen bomb program in the early 1950s, which led the USSR to follow and initiate their own hydrogen bomb programs. (Soviet Atomic Program) Stalin promoted the creation and future use of atomic and nuclear bombs. When he died his legacy continued with Nikita Khrushchev. August 12, 1953, three months after Stalin’s death, the Soviet Union detonated their first, original design, thermonuclear bomb; in the exact same location where their first atomic bomb was tested, in northern Kazakstan. (Seventeen Moments in Soviet History) Stalin’s top priority for his country was to the improve nuclear arm program and before his death, the Soviet Union tested three nuclear bombs. His successor allowed sixteen, which included 3 hydrogen bombs, to explode between 1953 and 1955. (Hydrogen Bomb) It was clear that that Khrushchev continued the legacy of Stalin. During the experimental trials of the hydrogen bombs, the government had to make an announcement to the people of what was going; the explosions of the hydrogen bomb were of such great strength, and was then discovered that it was a lot greater than the power of atomic bombs. (GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT) With the nuclear capabilities of this country, the death of Stalin only increased the testing and creation of deadly weapons.

Hydrogen+Bomb“Hydrogen Bomb.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 5 Oct. 2015,

“Soviet Atomic Program – 1946.” Atomic Heritage Foundation, 5 June 2014,

12 thoughts on “Joe 4”

  1. Siria, good information on the intentions of Stalin and then Khrushchev to develop nuclear weapons as a counter to the US programs. However Germany never developed atomic weapons.

    1. Hi Tom, thanks for your comment! The information I learned about the development of the nuclear weapons was very interesting to write about and thank you for the correction.

  2. Hi Siria, I think the whole nuclear arms race is very fascinating, both in terms of the technological progression, and its political implications. I never realized they tested that many warheads in such a short time.

    1. Tanner, thank you for your comment! I also thought it was fascinating how technological progression increased the development of nuclear weapons. Yes, learning how Khrushchev not only continued the nuclear arms program but sped up the process.

  3. This is such an important topic, Siria! The announcement you found in the Current Digest is really suggestive. The last sentences cue up a key dynamic of the Cold War — that mutually assured destruction would be the main brake on either side using these terrible weapons. What a good find!
    Also, check out Kendall’s post about the development of the ICBM, which makes a similar point about the key dynamics of Cold War competition:

    1. Hello Professor Nelson, thank you for your comment! Reading that announcement I was shocked because of the work they were doing. I did not get to read Kendall’s post but I will for sure take a look.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. With the threat of Nuclear weapons today and the devastation that could be caused is monumental. So taking it back to where it all began with the Soviet Union was very interesting.

    1. Hi Matt, thank you for your comment! Yes you are right, with the development of nuclear weapons since they were discovered is very dangerous.

  5. Hey Siria, I thought your post was very interesting taking a look at the development of nuclear weapons. I really liked how towards the end you talked about how the death of Stalin really increased the amount of testing, bringing the world that much closer to nuclear war.

    1. Hi Isaiah, thanks for your comment! I was very intrigued to learn how the successor of Stalin not only kept the nuclear arms programs, but also sped up the creation and testing of them.

  6. Christopher Jones

    Hey Siria, I think your post is very interesting doing a great job of highlighting the early days of the Cold War and the Nuclear Arms Race. Im intrigued at how Khrushchev accelerated nuclear weapons testing after taking power in 1953.

    1. Hi Christopher, thanks for your comment! I was also intrigued how after Krushchev took power, there were sixteen tests of nuclear weapons. Reading showed how Stalin how much influence he had over his successor even after his death.

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