Tonight, I read a few dozen quotations from the scientists, politicians, and military figures who were instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb, and in the final decision to drop it on Japan in August of 1945.
The most prominent voices here are those of Robert Oppenheimer and his fellow physicists, whose dedication and excitement to develop the bomb was matched only by their misgivings (though rarely their outright regret) in the years after World War Two.
While I previously dedicated four long episodes to the subject, I tried here to isolate the most vivid quotations, and the most difficult ideas, into one episode. The sources I drew on for this episode are:
- The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes
- Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, by Richard Rhodes
- American Prometheus: The Triumph & Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
- J. Robert Oppenheimer: Shatterer of Worlds, by Peter Goodchild.
- John Else’s documentary, The Day After Trinity, can be watched here.
- John Bradley’s anthology of poets writing about the bomb is Atomic Ghosts: Poets Respond to the Atomic Age.
- My poem about Robert Oppenheimer can be read here.
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Any comments, or suggestions for readings I should make in later episodes, can be emailed to email@example.com.