In the wake of World War II, in a move closely related to the beginnings of the Cold War, the United States of America decided to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean, on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall archipelago. After the displacement of the local inhabitants, 67 nuclear tests were carried out from 1946 to 1958, including the explosion of the first H-bomb (1952). Bikini Atoll has conserved direct tangible evidence that is highly significant in conveying the power of the nuclear tests, i.e. the sunken ships sent to the bottom of the lagoon by the tests in 1946 and the gigantic Bravo crater. Equivalent to 7,000 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, the tests had major consequences on the geology and natural environment of Bikini Atoll and on the health of those who were exposed to radiation. Through its history, the atoll symbolises the dawn of the nuclear age, despite its paradoxical image of peace and of earthly paradise. This is the first site from the Marshall Islands to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Criteria for inclusion as a World Heritage Site
|iv||To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.||All|
|vi||To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria).||All|
|‘Diminish and Ascend’||2019||1517.6km||site_ao|
|WWII Plane Wreckage||2019||854.5km||site_ao|
|Egg Fields of Savo Island||2019||2386.1km||site_ao|
|The Abandoned Talasea Airstrip||2018||2533.6km||site_ao|
|Old Japanese Jail||2017||2163.1km||site_ao|
|The Island Where Dozens of Japanese WWII Holdouts Fought Over One Woman||2017||2189.5km||site_ao|
|Atomic Bomb Loading Pits||2017||2169.4km||site_ao|
|Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia||2016||937.3km||site_whs|
About the source: UNESCO
Within UNESCO's broad remit, this specialised agency of the UN works towards international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage, designating venues of exceptional value as World Heritage Sites.