Nuclear History - The Man who Built the Bomb

by Amazing1914 3 Replies latest jw friends

  • Amazing1914

    Okay, I truly appreciate it that my last post went so very well with all of you. Thank you for avoiding politics as much as possible. The following is a continuation of the topic because I met the man who made Little Boy.

    It is common belief that both atom bombs were assembled in New Mexico, with parts being shipped in from various locations in the country, including Hanford. The US government operated the project under strict secrecy, as one might expect, but also issued misinformation because they feared all sorts of spy avenues from Japan, Russia, and others. They still fear German spys, even though germany had surrendered in May 1945.

    The evidence I have on hand is not only an eye-witness, but the man who machined the plutonium element used in Little Boy. He worked at Hanford, and was my direct manager when I was assigned to Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories. The name "Battelle" is no longer used today. Today, there is no military activities remaining at Hanford. The entire area is dedicated to civilian and commercial purposes.

    As he shook my hand, he told me how when he was machining one sample element, the lathe slipped, and a splinter-chip of four grams of plutonium was jambed into his hand. This is enriched weapons grade plutonium. Today, these tasks are not done by such close human proximity. The medical staff cleaned out all but four milligrams of plutonium from his hand. He is the only man in history known to have had so much nuclear material injected into his body. I worked over seventeen-years in the nuclear industry, and I shudder everytime I think about this experience. Four milligrams is a lot of radioactive material for the human body to hold long term. He still set off radiation alarms when entering rad zones. Yet, he never got cancer and he lived a full life. He says all this as he continues the hand shake with the radioactive hand.

    The point here is not so much how this impressed me at the time while I was a JW, or what JW-Watchtower thoughts I had, but rather, as it affects me now as a Christian. This one man played a key role in the manufacture of the plutonium element that was first used. Little Boy killed over 100,000 people. Of course, the pilot who both armed and delivered it, as well as the bombadeer who dropped it, played equally key roles.

    To meet such a person, however, and work for him, was strange and rewarding. I do not know if he is still alive, as he was close to retirement in the 1970s. He knew much about the project, though his knowledge of all parts was limited as it was for many. He is the one who stated to me that Little Boy was built secretly at Hanford. He also helped assemble it as well as machine the elemnet. This was done in the event that something happened to Fat Boy being built at New Mexico, and a couple of other bombs being built at other undisclosed locations. This way, the US assured itself that a bomb would be delivered.

    He is a Christian. I do not know if he is still alive, as he was close to retirement in the 1970s. He hated to do what he had to do. He says that at the time, it seemed like the Japanese were never going to give up, no matter how grim and hopeless the situation was for them. He was not sure that using the bomb was necessary, but he said that he does not look back and second guess himself or his role in the war effort.

    While continuing to avoid the political ramifications of that period or how revisionists may view matters today, how do you judge this man?

    Jim Whitney

  • SixofNine

    No differently than I would any person working on weapons. Which is to say I don't judge him. Many of the scientist involved in the project went on to ask that it not be used, or that it only be used in demonstration form. I believe Oppenhiemer however, seemed to really want to see his handiwork kill people. If so, him I judge harshly. Truman ultimately is the person who dropped the bombs, not the pilots, not the bomb builders.

  • BrendaCloutier

    Amazing, thank you so very much for sharing this with us!

    Hugs and love


  • stillajwexelder

    I agree HST is where the buck stops

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