“We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.” Russell-Einstein Manifesto, July 9, 1955.
On July 16, 1945, the first nuclear bomb was tested in the desert near Alamogordo.
While the scientists of the Manhattan Project had been confident the design of the uranium bomb, “Little Boy,” would work, the design of the plutonium bomb, “Fat Man,” needed to be tested. The “Gadget,” as the device was called, exploded at 5:29 a.m.
After that, the world would not be the same.
Fear of the German bomb had been the initial justification and psychological fuel of the research at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and elsewhere, after Einstein’s famous letter to Roosevelt in 1939.
But Germany had surrendered to Allied Forces on May 8 and it had long been clear that Germany had not tried to develop its own nuclear weapon. However, the war in the Pacific was still raging on, and the Soviet Union was preparing to enter the battlefield.
On Aug. 6, 1945, the “Little Boy” was used in an attack on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. At least 70,000 people were immediately killed by the blast and fire. A similar number of “survivors” died in the weeks and months following the attack.