THE CROSSROADS OF ATOMIC WARFARE IN ONE FAMILY
August 6, 2022
This report is published under a 4.0 International Creative Commons License the terms of which are found here.
This report is simultaneously published by the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network, Nautilus Institute, and the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA).
The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. Readers should note that Nautilus seeks a diversity of views and opinions on significant topics in order to identify common ground.
In this photo-essay, Michael Roach provides a remarkable account of multigenerational involvement in nuclear war, including a previously unpublished photo of the starboard nose of the Enola Gay bomber that delivered the first atomic bomb and returned to Tinian airfield, showing the inscription “First Atomic Bomb – Hiroshima – August 6, 1945.” Michael Roach and his father, Kenneth Roach, both served in the US Army two decades apart on missions that involved the atomic bomb. The prospect of real atomic warfare in Japan during the 1940s, and potential atomic warfare in Korea during the 1960s, brought their lives together historically, but father and son came away from their experiences with completely different conclusions. This essay sheds light on the US government’s thinking about nuclear weapons, particularly vis-à-vis military operations in Northeast Asia. It outlines the impracticality and risks of the US strategy to use tactical atomic weapons in Korea in the 1960s.
Atomic warfare, United States, Northeast Asia, Hiroshima, tactical atomic bomb
Michael Roach is a retired renewable energy manager residing in a small Wisconsin farm town surrounded by vast green fields of corn and soybeans. He is currently writing a history of wheat culture using commodity chain analysis. His research is part of a larger project that examines the history of illumination and power technologies, from 18th century whale oil to modern microgrids. He also volunteers his time assisting in the reconstruction of Ukraine using ultra energy efficient modular multifamily housing powered by solar microgrids. He served in US Forces Korea as an Atomic Demolition Munitions engineer in 1968.