I was unable to attend the SHOT conference in New Orleans last week, and so I sent in my presentation via Vimeo. I'm posting it here for anyone who wants to see it.
The title is, "When is a nuclear test actually an attack: Cold War nuclear testing and downwind fallout clouds."
I argue that radioactive fallout from nuclear detonations, especially of thermonuclear weapons (H-bombs) was strategized as a means of attacking enemy combatants and populations in imagined #nuclear war scenarios, but when those same clouds engulfed communities downwind from nuclear tests, they were dismissed as harmless.
I show how the US and former USSR were aware of the weapon potential of fallout radionuclides even before the Manhattan Project completed a weapon. They completely understood the dangers, that's why they intended to use it in warfare.
To read more about some of the themes in this talk, check out my book Nuclear Bodies: The Global Hibakusha, here.