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... ll of these experiments two types of bombs were created. 'Fat Man' was an implosion bomb composed of plutonium (13:13). The second bomb created, 'Little Boy', was a 'guntype' Uranium bomb (11:63). Both bombs were ready in mid July (11:174,254). Yet still more tests remained. According to Oppenheimer's report, '...bomb material itself leathal enough for a billion deadly doses...the weapon would give off raioactivity...bomb was set to explode in the air...[would deposit] a large fraction of either initial radioactive material or the radioactive products in the immediate vicinity of the target; but the radiation...will of course, have an effect on exposed personnel in the target area(1:5).' He went on to state that it was unpredictable as to what would happen to the radioactive material.
His assumptions were: 'It could stay for hours in a cloud above the place of detonation. If the bomb explodded during rain or high humidity and thus caused rain most of the active material will be brought down in the vicinity of the target area (1:5).' To confirm or disprove these assumptions, they decided to test a bomb. Trinity Test Site was chosen. The time selected was four in the morning, on July 16. However, it began to rain and had to be postponed until 5:30. At around 4:45 the weather began clearing and final orders for detonation at 5:30 were given (11:194-195).
When the countdown began, machines took over at minus 45 seconds (11:196). There was no turning back now, the moment of truth was soon arriving.It is through eye witness accounts that these stories are told. Mr. Kistiakowsky stated that, ' All of a sudden the entire desert for miles and miles, and the mountains, about ten miles away, were lighted with an intensity the like of which one had never seen before. I was partially blinded.' He continues, ' When my sight returned, the whole atmosphere was showered with a violet light. ...At that time we didn't know what was happening...and then a long time afterward, about ten minutes or so, the blast wave traveled six or seven miles and hit me...throwing me to the ground (11:196).' Mr. Hornig tells his account in a more emotional way, ' The fire ball was already beginning to turn in the sky...I was completely entranced by the spectacle.
Aside from being tremendous it was the most aesthetically beautiful thing I have ever seen. Tremendous billows and colors would unfold from the interior of the cloud. It would darken in places and open in a new burst of luminous gas that came to the surface...I just stood there completely captured (11:197).' The final account comes from Mr. Oppenheimer, it is rather sentimental, ' We waited until the last had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried.
Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture. The Baga Gita: Vinshu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty an to impress him he takes his multi-armed form and says,'Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds..' I suppose we all thought that one way or another. There was a great deal of solemn talk that this was the end of the great wars of the century (11:197).' Perhaps it is better to invision it this way, through someone's eyes, the devastaion and power suddenly becomes real.The final step in this process is to use the bomb. Selecting a target was not an easy ordeal. As is common, a committee was formed. It was composed of Groves, Army and Air Force men, Gen. Lauris Norstad, and scientists such as John Von Neumann.
The new outlook on war was to kill as many civilians as possible. They decided that they would choose large urban areas that were not less than three miles in diameter. On April 27, four cities were named: Hiroshima, Yawata, Yokohama and Tokyo (1:4). There were seventeen other possible cities, among them were, Kawasaki, Tokyo Bay, Kyoto, and Nagasaki (1:5). Although, the original target had been Germany, but Roosevelt and Churchill had decided it would be more effective if used on Japan (1:2). During the third meeting, itwas decided that the three targets should be Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Nugata(1:5).
However, upon further consideration, Kyoto was spared due to the relics that are held in that city (1:9). At the last meeting the final cities were chosen. THey were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Neither city was 'purely military' and were bombed mainly due to population and projected effect.Truman never doubted whether the bomb would be used or not (1:3). There was so much bureaucratic force driving this operation that it was never questioned. The first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 by the Enola Gay.
Hiroshima was the unfortunate recipient (7:71), the death toll totaled around 200,000. The second bombing, which from nearly all evidence seems to be unjustified, occured August 9, 1945 at 11:00 a.m. Nagasaki was the target this time (3:1). The bomb missed the target though, only 70,000 were killed this time. The cable that Truman received from Stimson read, 'Operated this morning. Diagnosis not yet complete, but results seem satisfactory (13:73).' There were many alternatives that could have been used, but weren't and the result was thousands dead. It was a brutal, almost unjustifiable occurance.
The blood is on American hands and cannot be washed off. Not only were nearly 300,000 civialians murdered, a lasting impact was made on the world and our reputaion. America began the atomic age and is still paying the price for it today, everyday. New advances in technology have made weapons of mass destruction easily obtainable, and by the wrong people. If America had refused to allow the bomb to be developed, the world would be a much different place, and a much better place. It was a frantic race with Germany, and 'American lives had to be saved'.
The rest of the world was an afterthought. War continues, and so does the struggle. The blood and burden is on American hands forever..
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