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The mind of Oppenheimer, inventor of nuclear bomb who turned pacifist

WION News, New Delhi, By: Kshitij Mohan Rawat Apr 28, 2023,


J Robert Oppenheimer was a physicist and director of the Manhattan Project, which developed the world’s first nuclear bomb. He witnessed the destructive power of the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite his role in the creation of the most destructive force the world has ever seen, he became an outspoken advocate for nuclear disarmament. Christopher Nolan’s upcoming biopic, Oppenheimer, promises to explore the scientist’s complicated life and legacy.

In the early morning of July 16, 1945, J Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist, and director of the Manhattan Project, watched as the world’s first nuclear bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert. The blast was so powerful that it lit up the sky like a second sun, and Oppenheimer later recalled that he thought of a verse from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita just then: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one.” It was one other verse from the scripture that he spoke of and has come to be deeply associated with him. Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, is in his universal form, and proclaims to Arjun: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” 

The technology that Oppenheimer helped develop served as the basis of Little Boy and Fat Man, two atomic bombs that laid waste to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The bombings effectively ended World War II, as Imperial Japan surrendered. [Ed. note – Japan was going to surrender already, anyway]

Oppenheimer had been instrumental in the development of nuclear weapons, but witnessing the destructive power of the bomb he helped invent made him question the morality of what he had done. In the years that followed, he became an outspoken advocate for nuclear disarmament, a stunning transformation that actually came very quickly after the destruction in Japan.

Who was J Robert Oppenheimer?

……………………….Oppenheimer was appointed as the director of the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico, where the bomb was designed and built. He oversaw a team of thousands of scientists, engineers, and support staff, and he worked tirelessly to ensure that the bomb was ready for use as soon as possible. 

Oppenheimer, the unlikely apostle of peace

Only 11 days after the bombings in Japan, Oppenheimer urged then-US president Harry S. Truman to ban nuclear weapons. But the president was by now worried about Soviet Union’s aggression [although Russia was USA’s ally in WW2 losing 20 million soldiers] and paid him no heed. Oppenheimer also told Truman that he (Oppenheimer) had blood on his hands.

……………………Oppenheimer had become disillusioned with the technology he had helped create. He began to publicly speak out against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and he became an advocate for arms control and disarmament.

He strongly opposed the development and test of the H-bomb, a weapon with far greater destructive power than the original atomic bomb, in 1952. But his opposition to the bomb did not go down well with the government. It was the time of McCarthyism, after all — a time of intense anti-communist suspicion and persecution of dissenting voices. He was removed from the Atomic Energy Commission.

In 1954, Oppenheimer’s political views came under scrutiny when he was accused of being a security risk by the US government. During the height of the Cold War, Oppenheimer’s past associations with left-wing political groups and his vocal opposition to nuclear testing made him a target of suspicion for many in the government.

Despite his contributions to the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer was ultimately stripped of his security clearance and barred from further government work. In the years that followed, Oppenheimer continued to speak out against nuclear weapons, and became a prominent voice in the anti-nuclear movement. 

The threat of nuclear weapons in the present time

The devastating impact of nuclear weapons is something that cannot be understated, with the potential to annihilate entire cities and leave a lasting impact on the environment for years to come. A full-fledged nuclear war would obliterate all life from earth  Moreover, the rise of non-state actors and terrorist groups has added a new dimension to the threat of nuclear weapons………………

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer’s story will be explored on the big screen with Christopher Nolan’s upcoming biopic of the scientist, titled simply Oppenheimer. The film, which is set to star Cillian Murphy in the role, promises to be a thought-provoking and insightful exploration of Oppenheimer’s life and legacy. The film also features Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett, and Kenneth Branagh in the cast.


April 30, 2023 - Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, USA

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