On 6 June, Stimson again briefed Truman on S-1.
* The briefing summarized the consensus of the Interim Committee, set up as an advisory group on atomic research.
* It’s job was the advise on the proper use of atomic weapons in wartime and to develop a position for the United States on post-war atomic policy.
* The committee comprised of Bush, Conant, Compton, the Under Secretary of the Navy, The Assistant Secretary of State and the director of the Office of War Mobilization, soon to be Secretary of State, James F. Byrnes.
* Oppenheimer, Fermi, Compton and Lawrence served as a scientific panel, while General Marshall represented the military.
* They had met on 31 May and concluded that the United States should not share its nuclear secrets and should try to retain superiority in nuclear weapons in case international relations deteriorated.
* Most present thought that the US should protect its monopoly for the present, though they realized that the secrets could not be held for long.
* It was only a matter of time before other potentially hostile countries, particularly Russia, would be capable of producing atomic weapons.
* Some thought the Soviets would catch up in 3 or 4 years.
* Groves countered with a twenty-year estimate.
* He was convinced the U.S. Had a stranglehold on the world’ supply of uranium.
* There was also some discussion of free exchange of nuclear research for peaceful purposes and the international inspection system that such an exchange would require.
* Lawrence’s suggestion that a demonstration of the atomic bomb might possibly convince the Japanese to surrender was discussed over lunch and rejected.
* No one knew whether the bomb would go off.
* If it did not, it would do much to improve Japanese morale.
* If they were warned, the Japanese might put American prisoners of war in populated areas or make an all-out effort to shoot down the plane.
* Besides, the shock value of the new weapon would be lost.
* These reasons and others convinced the group that the bomb should be dropped without warning on a dual target – a munitions factory surrounded by workers’ homes.
* Still no one realized quite how devastating the bomb would be.
* The weirdest thing about the committee meeting?
* There seems to have been no discussion about whether or not they SHOULD use the bomb – only where and when they should use it.
* On 1 June, the committee met with representatives from DuPont, Tennessee Eastman, Westinghouse and Union Carbide to get input from the contractors.
* This further convinced the Interim Committee that the US had a lead of three to ten years on the Soviet Union in making the bomb.
* As a result, in his meeting with the president on 6 June, Stimson told Truman that the Interim Committee recommended keeping S-1 a secret until Japan had been bombed.
* The attack should take place as soon as possible and without warning.
* The president was of course due to meet Churchill and Stalin in Potsdam on 17 July.
* While the British were already on board with the Manhattan Project, Truman and Stimson agreed that the president would stall if asked about atomic weapons by Stalin as it might be possible to gain concessions from Russia later in return for technical information.
* Stimson told Truman that members of the Interim Committee generally held the position that international agreements should be made in which all nuclear research would be made public and a system of inspections would be devised.
* They were even considering domestic legislation to that effect.
* However, if international agreements didn’t get worked out, the US should continue to produce as much fissionable material as possible to maintain its current position of superiority.
* Although the bomb had not yet been tested, a target selection group was set up in late April.
* It was headed by Groves and General Thomas Farrell, who had been appointed his military aide in February 1945.
* In late May, the committee, which comprised scientists as well as air force officers, listed Kokura Arsenal, Hiroshima, Niigata and Kyoto as the four best targets.
* These cities were as yet undamaged, though General Curtis LeMay’s Twentieth Air Force planned to eliminate all major Japanese cities by 1 January 1946.
* Using a single bomb to wipe out a pristine city, it was thought, would have a profound psychological impression on the Japanese and weaken military resistance.
* It was also thought that by dropping the bomb on a city that had not already been damaged, it would be easier to judge just how much destruction this new weapon wrought.
* However, Stimson vetoed Kyoto.
* Japan’s most cherished cultural centre was full of priceless art treasures.
* The Allied governments had already noted the revulsion among their populations at the bombing of Dresden, so Nagasaki replaced the ancient capital in the directive issued to the Army Air Force on 25 July.
* While decisions about the use of the atomic bomb were being made by politicians and the military, the scientists who had made it thought they should have their say.
* The scientific panel of the Interim Committee was the only way that they could communicate with the policy-makers and Compton was convinced it must have a high level of participation in the decision-making process.
* His briefing of the Met Lab staff on the findings of the Interim Committee on 2 June led to a flurry of activity.
* The Met Lab’s Committee on the Social and Political Implications of the Atomic Bomb, chaired by James Franck, issued a report advocating international control of atomic power as the only way to stop the arms race that would be inevitable if the United States bombed Japan without first demonstrating the weapon in an uninhabited area.
* The scientific panel disagreed with the Franck Report, as the Met Lab report was known.
* It concluded that no technical test would convince Japan to surrender and a military demonstration of the bomb might best further the cause of peace, but held that such a demonstration should take place only after the US informed its allies – which, of course, included the Soviet Union.
* On 21 June, the Interim Committee agreed with the position advanced by the scientific panel.
* The bomb should be used as soon as possible, without warning and against a war plant surrounded by additional buildings.
* As to informing allies, the Committee concluded that when Truman went to Berlin in mid July he should mention to Stalin that the United States was preparing to use a new kind of weapon against Japan.
* On 2 July 1945, President Truman listened as Stimson detailed the peace terms he had drawn up for Japan.
* These included demilitarization and prosecution of war criminals in exchange for governmental and economic freedom.
* Stimson returned to the Oval Office on 3 July and suggested that Truman broach the issue of the bomb with Stalin.
* It would put the Russians on notice and serve, in Stimson’s words, as a ‘badly needed equalizer’.
* Meanwhile, the test of the plutonium weapon was rescheduled for 16 July at a barren site on the Alamogordo Bombing Range known as the Jornada del Muerto, or Journey of Death, 210 miles south of Los Alamos, NM.
* Do you know what Alamogordo means?
* “large/fat cottonwood” in Spanish
* It’s also what I call my penis.
* The test and the test site were named ‘Trinity’ by Oppenheimer.
* Groves wrote to him in 1962, asking why he had picked that name and speculating that he had chosen it because it was a name commonly given to rivers and peaks in the American West, so it would be inconspicuous.
* Oppenheimer replied that he had not suggested the name on those grounds.
* ‘Why I chose the name is not clear,’ he said, ‘but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation:
* As West and East
* In all flat Maps (and I am one) are one,
* So death doth touch the Resurrection.’
* The poem was ‘Hymn to God My God, in My Sicknesse’.
* Groves was like… Ooookkkkk ….But it doesn’t explain why you picked the name Trinity.
* He was like “hey I’m just a big Matrix fan.”
* TRINITY CLIP
* So wait… You’re at a club. Some smoking hot babe walks up to you and introduces herself, and you’re first reaction is to assume she’s a hacker with the same name?
* And then tell her you thought she was a guy?
* What the fuck is wrong with this guy?
* Groves concluded that there was another, better known devotional poem by Donne that began: ‘Batter my heart, three person’d God.’
* This is the fourteenth of Donne’s Holy Sonnets and explores the theme of a destruction that might also redeem.
* Oppenheimer, like many of those who worked with him, still thought this most deadly weapon might, once and for all, put an end to war.
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