"Super" NUCLEAR POWER IN THE COLD WAR
AT THE BEGINNING OF 1947, the newly organized Atomic Energy Commission inherited what its official historians describe as "little more than the remnants of the military organization and facilities" of MED. 1 The Manhattan Project's physical facilities were scattered and their future uncertain. Would atomic energy remain primarily a military resource used to build bombs, or would it be redirected into nonmilitary avenues, toward medical, biological, industrial, and scientific applications? The leadership of the transitional Project was plagued with problems of low professional morale. Scientists left the Project in droves at war's end because they felt their mission was accomplished, or for better pay, or to return to the more congenial climate of academia, or because they resented the role of the army in overseeing security. The Cold War began to trouble the nuclear energy establishment. Security investigations intruded into the lives and professional work of scientists. The 1946 debates over military-vs.-civilian control of nuclear power had done much to enervate nuclear scientists; to their dismay, these debates were about to flare anew. Politically, the period between Hiroshima and early 1947 was a time of policy drift, marked by an absence of any clear directions from civilian political leadership about the future of nuclear power.
The sense of drift dissipated as the chill of the Cold War set in and American military policy underwent a revolutionary about-face from our traditional mistrust of standing armies.