The Tsar Bomba was the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated. The project to build the Tsar Bomba was commissioned by Nikita Krushchev in 1961 during the height of the Cold War. This bomb was detonated just one year before the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Tsar Bomba was a tool used by Krushchev to demonstrate Russia’s dominance in the nuclear weapons race. It was so big, that it had to be dropped by a plane and not by a missile launcher. The firepower of this baby was the equivalent of 10 times all of the explosives used in World War II: 50 megatons. Only one live bomb and one replica bomb were made as the bomb was too big and to damaging to be practical. The mushroom cloud was 60 kilometers high, and felt as far as Finland; breaking windows on houses!
Interestingly, one of the physicists who worked on Tsar Bomba’s development, Andrei Sakharov became strongly opposed to nuclear weapons. In the late 1960’s he ramped up his opposition to nuclear proliferation and helped to broker the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963. When ABM’s (anti ballistic missiles) came onto the scene), he was strongly opposed to them, saying that they would increase the likelihood of a nuclear war. He was awarded the Nobel Peace in 1975 for his work in promoting peace and for his role in establishing the Moscow Human Rights Committee. Sadly, he wasn’t allowed to leave Russia to claim the prize, so his wife accpeted it on his behalf. He was also strongly opposed the Soviet Invasion of Afganistan.