The weapon packed a yield of 57 Megatons on detonation, meaning that it was equal to the explosive force of 57,000,000 Tons of TNT, or 3800 times larger than the Hiroshima explosion. This monster bomb is famous for being the largest nuclear detonation on the face of this planet.
112 days earler the project to build the weapon, codenamed Ivan, was initiated by the soviet premier of the time Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev.
3 years before the Tsar Bomba was detonated, Khrushchev was enstated as the Premier of the Soviet Union in March 1958, and shortly after his enstatment the Soviet Union issued a statement in which it planned to suspend nuclear weapons testing. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the United States President until at the time, and he issued this statement shortly after the Soviet Union's announcement: "The United States is prepared, unless testing is resumed by the Soviet Union, to withhold further testing on its part of atomic and hydrogen weapons for a period of one year from the beginning of the negotiations."
There was a nuclear weapons moratorium in effect from late 1958, the last nuclear weapon detonated by the United States being 'Titania', a small sub-kiloton device detonated on October the 30th 1958 in Nevada, the last device detonated in the Hardtack II series of tests. Almost exactly 3 years later, the Soviet Union detonated the Tsar Bomba, effectively destroying the moratorium. The United States were furious. The Ambassador to the United Nations at the time was Adlai Stevenson, as pictured in the film giving this statement:
"Mr. Khrushchev has exploded his 'Giant Bomb' in cynical disregard of the United Nations. By this act, the Soviet Union have added injury to insult: They broke the moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. They have raised atmospheric pollution to new heights. They have started a new race for more deadly weapons. They have spurned the humanitarian appeal of the United Nations, and of all peace loving peoples. They have advanced no solid justification for exploding this monstrous and unnecessary weapon. They have been wholly unmoved by the dangers of radioactive fallout to the human race. The United States delegation deeply deplores this contempt for world opinion and we think that in the light of this sombre development, other delegations may wish to express their views on this shocking and distressing news. For today, Mr. Chairman, the world has taken a great leap backwards, toward anarchy and disaster."
The Narrator, William Shatner, then says: The Russians had Shattered the voluntary moratorium. The United States would follow suit with an extensive series of weapon tests, for massive retaliation.
The United States testing that was to follow the ending of the moratorium was codenamed Operation Nougat, a series of 69 nuclear weapon tests which began a month before the Tsar Bomba explosion. This was at the height of the aptly named 'Cold War' and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and it stood not only as testing, but as a deterrent against Soviet aggression. Any nuclear attack by either country would have escalated and triggered a full-scale thermonuclear war in which many millions would have perished, and making much of the world inhospitable. These weapons designed and constructed by the United States and Russia were designed to protect the countries but instead, if the Cold War became a reality, they would have had the destructive power to destroy much of the human race.
Remember to watch the documentary!! And if you wish to watch the entire 'Tsar Bomba' test, the link is:
The footage used in this video was obtained from the documentary: "Trinity and Beyond" (1995), written and directed by Peter Kuran (Production Company: Visual Concept Entertainment) I do not hold any ownership or copyright to footage or audio, nor am I making or seeking to make profit from it. This video is simply intended to be informative