Thursday, May 6, 2010
I had the opportunity to visit the Trinity Test Site today, courtesy of General Regan, of the White Sands Missile Range. It was almost sixty five years ago, when the United States tested the world's first atomic bomb.
It made me think of what that time must have been like, as I was standing there at ground zero. The dedicated teams working fiercely to develop this weapon, which was intellectually interesting, and critical to the United States war effort. It undeniably shortened the war, and saved many lives, on both sides.
However, what went through the minds of the people doing it? Oppenheimer had somewhat of a crisis of conscience. Who wouldn't? At least to some degree? Even Edward Teller must have wondered sometimes, about what he had helped to develop. Yet, it would be naive to believe that had the United States not developed nuclear weapons, that no other country would have. The Germans were working on atomic weapons research during the last days of the war. Does anyone doubt that Hitler, with his V2 rockets to deliver these weapons, would not have used them?
It is not only about war and weapons. What advances came out of this time of crisis and conflict? It is interesting to consider all of this.