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In Pictures: Testing the A-bomb

As North Korea makes headlines this week for what is now their third nuclear test, it's easy to forget how routine such detonations had become in the U.S. just half a century ago. With the Cold War intensifying, the U.S. detonated more than a dozen atomic bombs in the first half of 1955.

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From the May 16, 1955, issue of LIFE. "Unburned, a lady mannequin with wig askew is wearing light-colored dress which absorbs less heat."
Loomis DeanTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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From the May 16, 1955, issue of LIFE. "Scorched, male mannequin in suit of dark fabric indicates a human would be burned but alive."
Loomis DeanTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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From the May 16, 1955, issue of LIFE. "Burned up except for face, this mannequin ... was 7,000 feet [one and a quarter miles] from blast."
Loomis DeanTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Remains of a house [built for the test more than a mile from ground zero] after an atomic bomb test, Nevada, 1955.
Loomis DeanTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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From the May 16, 1955, issue of LIFE. "Fallen mannequin in house 5,500 feet from bomb is presumed dead."
Loomis DeanTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

In Pictures: Testing the A-bomb

As North Korea makes headlines this week for what is now their third nuclear test, it's easy to forget how routine such detonations had become in the U.S. just half a century ago. With the Cold War intensifying, the U.S. detonated more than a dozen atomic bombs in the first half of 1955.

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