February 13th: The Fourth Power
In the early stages of our history, society couldn’t really handle war. We, of course, manage to recall the larger and more obvious battles scattered across our earlier histories. We can recall those defining moments among the Persians, the Ottomans, the Byzantines, the Romans. We can remember long stretches of war — those which derived from sword and spear which seem more like hostile tension with few sparking moments in between. With the introduction of modern technology, rooting back to the height of the Industrial Revolution, warfare changed forever.
Countries used to be able to sit out through wars. The ancient city-states were able to withstand one major battle at a time — with limited land, resources, and capital to extend any further. It takes a lot to raise an army throughout our history. Said armies would be raised, as quickly as possible, to defend or advance against in one major battle. Then, resources draw low and the military needs to refresh itself. Either the war ends, or we see a long tense period in between battles where the two sides recollect themselves. Of course, that is, if one side withstands.
I recently started listening to Dan Carlin again, and so far Part 1 of his Blueprint for Armageddon has gone into this subject deeper than I ever could. It’s pretty simple, though. The world has been in a tense, eternal and ever-so global “Cold War” for over a century. One could argue that ever since the first World War, or even the Napoleonic Wars, we’ve been in such an extreme form of war. It’s evolved a lot over the centuries, and now we’re finally able to destroy the world in minutes. We have nuclear capabilities that we can’t use without ending it all.
It started with one nation having this capability. This kind of suave importance that allows them to decide the fate of the entire world. Now there are nine. Russia, the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea all have the capabilities of completely destroying society as we know it.
Today, February 13th, is the 56th anniversary of one of these nations gaining this power.
Happy Birthday to France! Or at least their modern day stance as a world power. Because, you know, nukes = world power.
France became the fourth nation to conduct a nuclear test. Code-named “Gerboise Bleue” (Blue Desert Rat), the test allowed France to eternally grab a seat at the Big Nation’s Club after taking place on February 13th, 1960.
The day marked the beginning of four atmospheric nuclear tests in the Sahara Desert of Algeria. “Gerboise Bleue” had an explosive yield of 70 kilotons, making it four times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb.