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  • Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands was the scene of the first post-World War II atomic tests, carried out by the United States to determine the effects of nuclear weapons on naval ships. This photograph, part of the record of the operation made by the U.S. Army Air Forces, shows inhabitants of the island gathered around a thatched-roof building in a palm grove. Before the tests, all 167 residents of Bikini were evacuated from their home island. Because of the high levels of radiation caused by the explosions over Bikini, neither they nor their descendants were ever able to return. After World War II, the Marshall Islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States under a United Nations mandate. In 1986, the Republic of the Marshall Islands became an independent country under a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

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