Nuclear America: Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940-1980

By Gerard H. Clarfield; William M. Wiecek | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3
The Destroyer of Worlds"

WHY HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI?

IN THE EARLY HOURS of August 6, 1945, a lone B-29 Superfortress, stripped of all nonessential gear and carrying a 9,000- pound uranium-type atomic bomb, waited at the end of the air strip on the captured island of Tinian. Colonel Paul Tibbets, USAAC, commander of the Enola Gay, understood that this was no ordinary mission. The bomb his plane was carrying would explode with a force of perhaps 20,000 tons of TNT, enough to destroy an entire city.

Tibbets had been warned by General Leslie Groves to expect "a little publicity" prior to takeoff. But what he found at the landing field took him completely by surprise. His plane was surrounded by floodlights that made a circle of harsh white light against the darkness beyond. Inside this circle were perhaps a hundred men--his own crew, scientists, military police, security personnel, and filmmakers sent by Groves to record the historic undertaking. William Laurence, the science reporter for The New York Times who had been flown in for a special briefing, was also on hand.

Tibbets later recalled his amazement at what he described as this "full-scale Hollywood premiere treatment. I expected to see MGM's lion walk onto the field or Warner's logo to light up the sky. It was crazy."1 In a way it was crazy. That the atomic age should be ushered in with spotlights and public relations hoopla seems in retrospect to go beyond mere insanity to the genuinely

-53-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Nuclear America: Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940-1980
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 518

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?