Skip to Main Content
Accessibility Information

HIS 100 - Perspectives in History

Tulsa Massacre, Wounded Knee Occupation, Stonewall Rebellion, Haitian Independence, Philippine Revolution, Iranian Revolution, The Great London Smog, Creation of Earth Day, Chernobyl, Creation of the UN, Act Prohibiting Slavery, Founding of NATO


On April 26, 1986, there was an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the republic of Ukraine. Large amounts of radioactive material were released into the atmosphere, where it was carried great distances by air currents. It affected large areas of the former Soviet Union and even parts of western Europe. This led to the deaths of more than a dozen people, hundreds becoming ill from radiation sickness, as well as environmental damage. Please review the below links to reference articles (tertiary sources) on this topic for more information. (Please note, encyclopedias/tertiary sources should NOT be cited in your assignment. Scroll down for primary and secondary sources).

Primary Sources

Note: For help with citing primary sources properly, check out this FAQ and be sure to reach out to your instructor with any questions you may have. For help citing interviews such as Voices from Chernobyl (below), click here

This memo reviews early Soviet information received through U.S. intelligence and speculates about the number of fatalities on the day of the explosion.

This working copy of a Politburo session provides details from the first discussion of the Chernobyl accident.

This book presents personal accounts of what happened on April 26, 1986, when the worst nuclear reactor accident in history contaminated as much as three-quarters of Europe.

The document refers to the level of radiation in the area affected and the measures undertaken for planned evacuations.

This report details government action after the Chernobyl incident including containment and evacuation efforts.

In this document, an unnamed KGB agent reports on the situation two weeks after the incident, including transportation and journalist suppression methods.

Secondary Sources

This chapter is from the book titled Producing Power. This chapter analyzes the contributing factors and causes of the Chernobyl accident from a historical perspective and in the context of a larger conversation about nuclear power.

Geist explores the role of management's failure in the Chernobyl incident in this academic article.