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Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 22 Declassified Military & CIA Secrets

Operation Crossroads

The "Baker" explosion, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear weapon test by the United States military at Bikini Atoll, Micronesia, on 25 July 1946.

The "Baker" explosion, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear weapon test by the United States military at Bikini Atoll, Micronesia, on 25 July 1946. (Image credit: Public Domain)

In July 2016, the National Security Archive posted declassified documents, films and photographs that show U.S. tests of atomic bombs in the Bikini Atoll in 1946. Dubbed Operation Crossroads, the tests marked the first atomic explosions since the bombings of Japan during World War II in August 1945. [In Photos: Dive to USS Independence Wreck]

While much is publicly known about the tests, the declassified documents shed new light on how the tests affected people of Bikini Atoll, who were forced to relocate. They also offer a view of the objections raised by scientists and military officials before the bombings, as well as the rationale behind the decision to carry out the tests despite these objections.

Doctor Zhivago

During the Cold War, the CIA played a role in distributing the book "Doctor Zhivago" throughout the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, the CIA played a role in distributing the book "Doctor Zhivago" throughout the Soviet Union. (Image credit: Central Intelligence Agency)

During the Cold War, the CIA played a role in distributing the book "Doctor Zhivago" throughout the Soviet Union. The book by Russian writer Boris Pasternak was banned by the Soviets, according to a Washington Post article, because it displayed an open-minded view of the Bolshevik Revolution and its protagonist, a doctor-poet, was staunchly individualistic.

Seeing the book's potential as a propaganda tool, the CIA worked with its allies in Dutch Intelligence to deliver about 1,000 copies of the book into Soviet hands, according to documents declassified in 2014. The books were distributed to visiting Soviets at the World's Fair in Brussels in 1958 with help from the Vatican, according to the National Security Archive.

Bound in unmarked blue linen and wrapped in brown paper, the books made their way into the Soviet Union, where the CIA hoped they would stir up anti-communist sentiment among disgruntled citizens. The CIA also smuggled other banned books into the Soviet Union, including James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and Vladimir Nabokov's "Pnin."