Graveyard on Bikini Island

After the end of World War II, President Harry S. Truman issued a directive to army and navy officials for the joint testing of nuclear weapons "to determine the effect of atomic bombs on American warships." Bikini Atoll was chosen as the new nuclear proving ground for the U.S. government because of its location away from regular air and sea routes. The natives needed to be relocated in order for operation Crossroads to get underway. Mydans was sent to the area to document the exodus of the people of Bikini. The story was published by LIFE (Mar 25 1946).
The graveyard on Bikini Island, just outside a village on the southside of the island, held about thirty graves. Walking together between the tombstones, the children smile, probably not realizing that they would soon leave their island and its history behind.
Currently not on view
Date made
Mydans, Carl
place made
Marshall Islands: Ralik Chain, Bikini
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 11 in x 14 in; 27.94 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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