Heligoland fact and video of the day

by on March 19, 2017 at 12:38 am in Books, History | Permalink

In 1947 British forces set off here the largest non-nuclear explosion on record, blowing up what was left of Hitler’s island fortress.

That is from the new (and recommended) book Heligoland: Britain, Germany, and the Struggle for the North Sea, by Jan Ruger.

Here is further information, the blast was estimated to be one-third the power of Hiroshima, note that Heligoland is a holiday resort once again.

1 polyglot March 19, 2017 at 1:12 am

Britain traded Heligoland for Zanzibar- which made a decent profit, unlike German Tanganika.
So what if it was the site for the disposal of surplus explosives?

2 john smith March 19, 2017 at 2:23 am

Here’s a somewhat smaller, but none the less satisfying explosion in the Straights of Georgia. A place Capt. George Vancouver described as “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world.” https://youtu.be/6W9PV_s_zF4?t=117

3 Anonymous March 19, 2017 at 3:10 am

it was the largest up until that point in history. Minor Scale and Misty Picture in the 1980s were larger.


4 Todd K March 19, 2017 at 11:44 am

I was going to write the same thing until it occurred to me that the 80s bombs themselves were larger but not the total energy released. That is, those were two separate explosions while Heligoland was thousands in a small area.

5 So Much For Subtlety March 19, 2017 at 5:45 am

ANFO is not that expensive. I can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to go to Heligoland. So perhaps they should hold a re-enactment?

I would pay to see that. From a safe distance.

6 DJF March 19, 2017 at 6:11 am

“””””the blast was estimated to be one-third the power of Hiroshima, note that Heligoland is a holiday resort once again.””””

So is Hiroshima.

7 The Other Jim March 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

True, but it doesn’t fit the narrative.

8 Alex FG March 19, 2017 at 6:51 am

Ever been to Heligoland? It’s OK for a day trip. It’s main attraction for German mainlanders used to be its duty-free shopping (of booze).The cliffs are an attraction on its own, at least because “Lange Anna” is supposed to collapse in -10 years (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lange_Anna). Partly because of the bomb you see in the video above.

Also there’s seals on the beach. And they need more YIMBYism, a vote to expand the island lost by 5%.

9 NNM March 19, 2017 at 8:36 am

My (non-joking) Straussian reading of this blog post: We can’t be complacent and we can’t all be non-complacent infovores; some of us have to go out and blow big things up.

10 dearieme March 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

It’ll be Putin’s soon.

11 chuck martel March 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

Bristol-based trip hop band Massive Attack named their 2010 CD release “Heligoland”.

12 Brett Champion March 19, 2017 at 10:18 am

Atomic bomb explosions are prettier too.

13 Complacent Man March 19, 2017 at 11:56 am

Interesting. This post sent me down the rabbit hole of learning about the other islands in the North Sea, which you never hear anything about.

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