This Week in Geographic History: Nuclear Weapons

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We’re slowing down for the summer! Instead of our usual roundup of “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events, here’s a closer look at one historic event that connects to something in the news today. We’ve also matched it with a map or visual, background information, and additional resources.

Tuesday, August 15

NGS Picture Id:633178
A mushroom cloud fills the sky after a U.S. government atomic bomb test in 1946 off the coast of Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, Micronesia. Photograph by U.S. Govt. Navy, National Geographic.


Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, less than a week after the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on the island nation. The Japanese surrender, known as “Victory over Japan Day,” marked the official end of WWII.

Current Event: Nuclear Weapons

North Korea’s recent threat to use nuclear weapons has prompted a closer look at other nations’ nuclear arsenals.


“Nuclear weapons: Who has what?”


Interactive Timeline: WWII in the Pacific

Nuclear energy

U.S. drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki

2016 North Korea hydrogen-bomb test

“Fact Check: “Is The Nuclear Arsenal ‘Stronger Than Ever’?”

Discussion Questions:  

  1. If you were the President of the U.S., how would you respond to North Korea’s statements about attacking Guam with a nuclear weapon?
  2. Do you think one nation should be able to tell another nation what they can or cannot do? Why?

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