Less than a year after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States detonated the fourth and fifth nuclear weapons
under the name Operation Crossroads
in July 1946. Beyond testing the capabilities of nuclear bombs, the Navy said it wanted the Bikini tests treated like "the story of the year, maybe of the decade, and possibly of a lifetime."
Only two of the three bombs were detonated, and the project was shut down over the next months. To celebrate the efforts of Operation Crossroads, a cake in the shape of a mushroom cloud was featured
at a publicized event on November 5, 1946. In response to this display, Reverend Arthur Powell Davies, the minister of the Unitarian All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., gave a sermon on the "utterly loathsome picture"
and the message it sent to other nations. That sermon set off a flurry of replies and reactions
, that extended around the world, including a connection formed between Reverend Davies' All Souls Unitarian Church and school children in Hiroshima
World War II was over, but the US military was not done with the atomic bomb. Testing continued, and The Bomb was new grounds for what some called "the war between the Army and the Navy
." A joint task force, JTF 1, was organized on 11 January 1946
, as an effort between Army, Navy, and civilian scientific personnel. Time Magazine ran an extended article
on the operation, atomic weapons, and Albert Einstein
, and there were a radio presentations
were broadcast before
and the day of
the events. More than 100 members of various news agencies were allowed to watch the events, including three members of the British press, one each from Russia and nine other nations, and three artists to record the project
). After the events, Joint Task Force One even published the official pictorial record
The celebration following the official end to JTF 1, including the notable cake, made national news, and Time Magazine provided a good summary of the concern
These were probably the harshest words ever spoken of a dessert. But a lot of non-Americans (notably Britons) had long regarded the U.S. public's attitude toward The Bomb as callous to the point of idiocy. Although this interpretation did the U.S. an injustice, it had a certain justification. Some Americans, for instance, missed the point of Davies' tirade. Said L. K. Stephens, bakery supply salesman, who helped design and bake the cake: "We intended the cake as something to eat."
The concern of public image reached as far as the Secretary of the Navy, James V. Forrestal
, who agreed that the display was less than positive, and wrote "people were becoming bored with such adolescent competitive publicity."
The publicity traveled to Japan, where Dr. Howard Bell, an official with General Douglas MacArthur's provisional government, read an article and contacted Reverend Davies
. Dr. Bell wrote and described the plight of the Japanese children, who were without school supplies. The children of All Souls Church gathered half a ton of pencils, crayons, paper, erasers, paste, and paper clips, and shipped them to to Japan. In return, the Japanese children sent 48 paintings and drawings. The pictures toured the United States and were shown in Japan this year
, when some of the former students saw their artwork for the first time in over 60 years. There is a documentary in the making
) that tells the story of the connection between the children in two countries.