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The Bikini Atoll and Operation Crossroads: Unveiling Stories

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Social Studies +2 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

In this activity, students will analyze photographs documenting the exodus of Bikini islanders from Bikini Atoll prior to Operation Crossroads, a pair of nuclear weapons tests and the first detonations of nuclear devices since the bombing of Nagasaki. These photographs were taken by Carl Mydans and were published in the LIFE Magazine article, "Atomic Bomb Island," on March 25, 1946.

Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs communicate about the experiences of the Bikini islanders and America's perspective on military advancement after WWII. They will also consider the perspectives presented by these photographs, in multiple contexts from the personal to the global. Additional resources (primary sources and the original article) and information on using this collection in the classroom can by found by clicking Read More ».

Keywords: atomic testing, atomic bomb, operation crossroads, bikini islands, bikini atoll, rongerik, able test, baker test, nuclear bomb, photojournalism, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s


Nuclear Testing, Bikini Island

National Museum of American History

King Juda and his family, Bikini Island

National Museum of American History

Sunday Service on Bikini Island

National Museum of American History

Canoeing, Bikini Island

National Museum of American History

Graveyard on Bikini Island

National Museum of American History

Transporting sailboats onto a landing craft

National Museum of American History

Nuclear Testing, Bikini Island

National Museum of American History

Bikini natives leaving for Rongerik

National Museum of American History

Raising the American flag in Rongerik

National Museum of American History

Remains on Bikini Island

National Museum of American History