August 8, 2010

(The scramble to assure people this really was a good thing)

As the world underwent it's transformation, that week in 1945, America was in the grips of figuring out just exactly what had happened.

What was this Atomic bomb? Was it absolutely necessary to use? What else was this new found energy going to be good for? Was Atomic energy only good for destruction?

So the Sunday news shows scrambled to assure the public this new found power was also capable of doing something good.

This program, The University Of Chicago Roundtable was broadcast on August 12, 1945 - three days after the second Atomic Bomb attack took place on Nagasaki. With the title "Atomic Force: It's Meaning For Mankind" the members of the University of Chicago research department, the same University where the initial research took place under Enrico Fermi, tried to allay the fears this new found weapon brought about.

But even the people involved in its development weren't quite sure the right thing had been done.

Ruben G. Gustavson (U. of Chicago): “On the day the bomb was dropped I met the Director of the University laboratory which helped to develop the Atomic Bomb. His first words were ‘this is a very sad day for us. Let us not hope we’ve placed dynamite in the hands of children."

It was a little late to be asking those kinds of questions. The damage had already been done and the incredible fear became part of our national DNA.

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