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Two films produced by the Naval Photographic Scientific Laboratory:

1) Project Crossroads Test Able, Bikini Atoll, 1 July 1946 [27 minutes],

2) Project Crossroads Test Baker, Bikini Atoll, 25 July 1946 [14:46 minutes].

Using footage taken by Task Force One, the Navy’s scientific photographic unit produced separate documentaries on the Crossroads tests, which the Department of Energy later reviewed and released.

Radio Bikini

Directed by Robert Stone , "Radio Bikini"was produced for PBS’s “American Experience Series” andnominated for an Academy Award in 1988 (Best Documentary Feature). A critical examination of the Crossroads tests "Radio Bikini" wasorganized around the perspectives of an elderly Bikinian and a U.S. serviceman who was exposed to radioactivity after the Baker test.

Bikini Atoll location

Bikini A-Bomb Tests July 1946

Gallery of Declassified U.S. Government Photographs

 

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 555

Posted - July 22, 2016

Edited by William Burr with Stav Geffner

For more information contact:
William Burr at 202/994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu.


Army Air Force footage of the Baker test. Film footage of the iconic Baker test can be seen in the closing moments of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Motion Picture Branch, RG 342, Department of the Air Force, 342-USAF-34282ar-58-62


Photo Gallery

Click on photo to enlarge

King Juda (central figure on the right) and the Bikinians shown during a meeting, presumably with Commodore Ben Wyatt [undated photo]. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 60 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”).
According to the Navy's caption, "Natives going aboard LCM [Landing craft mechanized]." According to the photo this event was in July 1946 but it was probably in late February or early March. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 60 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
The Able cloud forming above Bikini. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 59 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
The Able test’s damage to the USS Skate (SS 305). (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Evaluation Board looking over the damaged fleet on July 3, 1946, accompanied by Captain Horacio Rivero of the Navy’ s Special Weapons Staff, who had played a key role in selecting Bikini. Shown in the photo from left to right are: Rivero, Vice Admiral John H. Hoover, Bradley Dewey, General Joseph W. Stilwell (after his death replaced by General Albert C. Wedemeyer), Lt. General Lewis H. Brereton. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
Destroyed automatic-tracking microwave radar on the USS Independence from the Able Test on July 1, 1946 (CVL 22). (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627520-627549)
Wrecked flight deck of the USS Independence (CVL22) caused by the Able test. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627520-627549)
Damaged USS Independence (CVL 22) target ship from the Able test. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)

Captain Robert S. Quakenbush (left), King Juda (right) and Commodore Spencer (center) aboard the USS Mt. McKinley the morning of Baker Day, July 25, 1946. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627520-627549)

View of Baker detonation from Enyu Island 10 seconds into the test, showing the stern of the Saratoga (left) rising 43 feet on the first wave crest. Note that its stack appeared undamaged. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-g, box 7, folder 59 “Tests: Operation Crossroads*)
The first 10 seconds of the Baker explosion in sequence. The sequence begins at point zero with the battleship Saratoga lying low on the lagoon’s surface. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 23 “Test Activities”)
The instant at which Baker begins to form a water column. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 23 “Test Activities”)
As the water column forms, Baker’s steam and fission products hit the atmosphere and a huge condensation cloud forms. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 23 “Test Activities”)
After the water column shoots up, Baker’s condensation cloud begins to shoot up at a rate exceeding two miles per second. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 23 “Test Activities”)

The Baker explosion caught in the first 10 seconds showing what looked like streams shooting out of the column of water at the center. The detonation occurred   at a 3.5-mile distance off Bikini Island. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 23 “Detonation”)

The white condensation cloud dome forming micro-seconds into Baker’s detonation. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 347-G, box 7, folder 59 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
The next 10 seconds of the Baker detonation showing the column of water beginning to collapse with massive waves (80-100 feet high) below. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 59 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
Several seconds later, the column continues to fall. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 59 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
The column continues to collapse with the waves growing in height. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 59 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
The island-view of Baker’s cloud 10 seconds into the explosion. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 59 “Test: Operation Crossroads”)
The USS Agerholm in the foreground of the Baker dome. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 26 “Detonation”)
This iconic Navy image, entitled “No Toy Balloon”, depicts the exact moment of the Baker explosion in which “water, steam, and radio-active substance released in the blast were boiling skyward like a huge toy balloon. This shot was taken from a plane flying directly [at] the point of detonation.” (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 1742, folder 422320-422386)
The striking flash of light produced by the Baker explosion. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 1724, folder 422320-422386)
Topside view of the underwater Baker explosion at the instant of its detonation rising past the clouds in the sky. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 1724, folder 422320-422386)
Seen from Bikini Island, the Baker explosion as the water begins to shower down. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 372-G, box 5, folder 18 “Detonation”)
The fully developed Baker cloud in clear contrast with the upright water column, which is enveloping kinetic matter. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 18 “Detonation”)
The Baker explosion in total-area perspective. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-ANT, box 5, folder 23 “Detonation”)
On July 25, 1946, scientists measure radioactivity in the lagoon. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
U.S. Navy still of the USS Saratoga (CV 3) sinking at 15:40 in the Bikini Waters on July 24, 1946. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
USS Saratoga (CV 3) sinking continued. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
Group of sailors wash down the highly contaminated deck of the captured German battleship USS Prinz Eugene (IX 300) after the Baker explosion. The ship was so radioactive that it was later sunk. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
Navy personnel decontaminating the damaged quarterdeck of the USS Pensacola (CA 24) on July 25, 1946. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 80-G, box 2228, folder 627483-627519)
Team of technicians in body suits cleaning up near the lagoon. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 60 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)
Technical officer samples material on a damaged ship. (NARA, Still Pictures Unit, Record Group 374-G, box 7, folder 60 “Tests: Operation Crossroads”)