Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (Father of the atomic bomb)
Truly the face of a haunted man.
Sometimes I feel like people here in the US don’t really understand the horrors of a nuclear attack. They don’t understand why those who created the A-bomb were haunted by it. A few years ago, especially after 9-11, I remember hearing an awful lot of posturing going around about nuking these people and nuking those people. Part of this was the collective outrage and grief caused by the attack in New York. The other part seems to have come with our desire to put the hysteria of the Cold War behind us. With the “end” of the Cold War, we, here in the US, seem to have shed our fear of full nuclear war. However, I feel like we also lost our healthy respect for the power of these devices.
I spent a lot of my young life doing reports on nuclear weapons, nuclear fission, and some of the scientists who worked in nuclear science. Nuclear science was the reason I immersed myself in chemistry and physics in high school and college. I even remember the 8th grade presentation I gave which made me realize just how horrible this technology can be, and how its power should be respected
More than any other historical topic I learned about in primary school, I remember the information revision/omission about the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it made me sick. Glossing over the worst parts of history teaches people nothing but indifference. I try to avoid comparing horrifying event. Massacres, genocides, and all acts of cruelty of man deserve to be studied and respected on their own. People need to learn about them, understand them, and teach their kids about them. It is how we make sure we do not repeat our mistakes.
So before you make that next posturing comment about “nuking those bastards over in country X”, do some research. Look up what these weapons can do and the eye witness accounts of those who lived through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Find a documentary about Japanese survivors. Learn about it. Tell your friends about it. If there is one thing I took away from everything I learned, it is that ignorance kills.
(The best movie I have ever seen about post war consequences has to be Grave of the Fireflies. If you choose to watch it, bring some tissues.)