Friday, July 26, 2013

BOMB Part 4: Final Assembly

Where you able to finish Part 4 ?

That was difficult to read. I felt so anxious and sad for everyone involved. 

Did you?

Colonel Paul Tibbets hand picks the 509th Composite Group. And, at age 29, is entrusted with the successful delivery of the most frightful weapon ever devised. Have I mentioned that he was only twenty-nine?!

Then, Carl Eifler is replaced by former baseball player Moe Berg to render Heisenberg hors de combat - "out of battle". Werner Heisenberg was in Zurich, Switzerland to give a lecture, Moe Berg walks into the lecture hall ... in one pocket he has a pistol and in the other was a cyanide tablet, just in case he needed to kill himself before being captured.

I'm thinking history is crazier than fiction.

Secret messages are being sent through Walt Whitman's book Leaves of Grass; milk is used as invisible ink on news papers; and the plans for the atomic bomb are stuffed into the bottom of a tissue box. Amazing!

President Franklin Roosevelt dies, leaving vice president Harry Truman in charge, and as Germany begins to fall... American troops are grabbing all the German scientists before the Soviet troops are able to do the same. And, on April 30th 1945, Adolf Hitler commits suicide... the war in Europe is over. 

The United States and the Soviet Union will soon be the only world powers left standing.

On the morning of July16, the U.S. was ready to test the first atomic bomb. Would it work?

Zero minus fifteen minutes. Zero minus ten minutes. Zero minus two minutes. Zero minus one minute. Zero minus ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one... zero.

"Lord, these affairs are hard on the heart."

And then, without a sound the sun was shining. Or so it looked. Then, about thirty seconds after the blast of light, came the sound. 

"It worked."

The bomb had exploded with the almost unbelievable force of eighteen thousand tons of TNT.

"Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

President Truman decided that the atomic bomb could shock Japan into surrendering and end the war in the Pacific. He later explained that, "I couldn't worry about what history would say about my personal morality. I made the only decision I ever knew how to make. I did what I thought was right."

On August 6, 1945 a uranium bomb nickname Little Boy was loaded onto Colonel Tibbet's plane, the Enola Gay. The bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. The blast heated the ground to over 5,000 degrees. After witnessing the explosion, a feeling of shock and horror swept over the crew piloting the Enola Gay.

"My God, what have we done?"

On the morning of August 9, 1945 a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.

And... the book isn't over yet. I am exhausted and don't think I can go on... but what of Robert Oppenheimer and his staff and their bomb making secrets...

The U.S. Army wanted more bombs. The President wanted Oppenheimer back in the lab. "Mr. President," said Mr. Oppenheimer, "I feel I have blood on my hands." He refused to build any more bombs. He knew his creation was completely - and forever - beyond his control.

How did all of this make you feel?
Proud? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? Relieved?

As for the writing of the book, I absolutely loved how it came full circle: "He had a few more minutes to destroy seventeen years of evidence." (pg. 1 and pg. 225)

Next, read the Epilogue (if you haven't already). We will discuss it tomorrow.

For now, I need to think about what the dropping of the atomic bomb means, some 68 years later.

video: The Manhattan Project and related videos on the History Channel (Einstein and the Atomic Bomb, Atomic Bomb Ends WWII, and Coroners Report: Atomic Bomb which is quite graphic. 

Also, check out this post on ENDPAPER, where Einstein confesses his "one great mistake".

Finally, you can listen to President Truman's radio address to the American people on August 9, 1945 about the bombing of Hiroshima.

Check out this interactive website on The Manhattan Project.

If you're interested in a great historical fiction book to read next, try Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. This book is a work of historical fiction about the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb and their families. It is told from the point of view of the children, who were not given many details of the highly classified project. The bomb is a looming presence in the story, though, because now you have knowledge that the characters do not. 

No comments:

Post a Comment