They Don’t Know What They’re Doing

January 1961, three days after John F Kennedy’s inauguration as President of the United States, a US B-52 bomber carrying two, 4-megaton, nuclear bombs broke up over Goldsboro, North Carolina. One of the bombs fell harmlessly to earth. The other, assuming it was over target and being released, began its detonation process.


There were four fail/safe devices incorporated into the weapon. The first three failed to activate. The fourth, a simple low-voltage switch, worked, preventing a catastrophe so huge it would be impossible for man’s imagination to comprehend it.[1]

Four megatons: the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only twenty kilotons each – one two-hundredth the power of this monstrosity.

It’s more than fifty years since this accident occurred. Yet, only now is the US government releasing the facts. Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The 1960s: the Cold War at its height; everyone brainwashed into fearing a nuclear strike. If that bomb had exploded – would Kennedy’s government have blamed it on the Russians?

[1] “US plane in 1961 ‘nuclear bomb near-miss'” BBC, September 21st 2013

FOOTNOTE: Their have been over a thousand near accidents with nuclear devices. Many of these were minor. Others were not.