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Author Topic: American History  (Read 30258 times)
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weezo
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« Reply #1980 on: February 20, 2008, 07:51:06 PM »

I read somewhere that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Winston Churchill urged President Truman to mass produce the atom bomb and drop one on every city in the Soviet Union. I don't know what Truman's reaction was to that suggestion and I can't recall where I read it. If I find it, I'll post it.

Clark, Michael Hogan in A Cross Of Iron mentions quite often that the military kept proposing to Truman to make a pre-emtive strike against the Soviet Union using the Atomic Bomb. If you want, I could look up some of the pages it is on, but it is repeated often (but then the book tends not to be chronolical, but to jump back and forth within the Truman years).
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1981 on: February 20, 2008, 09:30:18 PM »

Immediately after the war, J Edgar Hoover began a defamation campaign against Opp for some reason that I did not understand from the narrative (perhaps his true motivation was shown but, somehow, I missed it). While he did not have direct proof that Opp had been a member of the  CPUSA he insisted that either he had been a member or had been unduly influenced by its leadership. Hoover even went so far as to spread rumors that  Opp was about to defect to the USSR with some top secrets. Some of the bogus data gathered by Hoover was later used by the Republican HUAC to investigate alleged communist infiltration into the HST administration. This latter investigation was clearly motivated by the Republican desire to take back Congress from the Democrats. This fits the pattern they have used in recent decades such as alleging that Dems were ''soft on communism'', ''soft on crime'', promoters of welfare, and now the idiotic notion that they are ''soft on terrorism''. As with their usual pattern, they drop names, spread innuendo, hype up hysteria, and pretend for all the world that anyone who dares to question them is some form of commie or traitor.  And as usual, they never come up with a shred of evidence to back up their claims but manage to persuade the hysterical and naive public to swallow their lies.
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« Reply #1982 on: February 20, 2008, 10:34:00 PM »

Than,

I will never understand how it was so horrid that Bill Clinton lied to the congress about his strictly personal activities and was sorely chastized for it, but when George Bush lied to congbress about the threat of WMD in Iraq, even though he has since admitted it, he greases by with nothing more than a cluck, cluck.

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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1983 on: February 20, 2008, 11:49:23 PM »

Weezo,

I'll reply in the Bush section of this forum.
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« Reply #1984 on: February 21, 2008, 10:40:56 AM »

Immediately after the war, J Edgar Hoover began a defamation campaign against Opp for some reason that I did not understand from the narrative (perhaps his true motivation was shown but, somehow, I missed it). While he did not have direct proof that Opp had been a member of the  CPUSA he insisted that either he had been a member or had been unduly influenced by its leadership. Hoover even went so far as to spread rumors that  Opp was about to defect to the USSR with some top secrets. Some of the bogus data gathered by Hoover was later used by the Republican HUAC to investigate alleged communist infiltration into the HST administration. This latter investigation was clearly motivated by the Republican desire to take back Congress from the Democrats. This fits the pattern they have used in recent decades such as alleging that Dems were ''soft on communism'', ''soft on crime'', promoters of welfare, and now the idiotic notion that they are ''soft on terrorism''. As with their usual pattern, they drop names, spread innuendo, hype up hysteria, and pretend for all the world that anyone who dares to question them is some form of commie or traitor.  And as usual, they never come up with a shred of evidence to back up their claims but manage to persuade the hysterical and naive public to swallow their lies.



thanatopsy,

"but manage to persuade the hysterical and naive public to swallow their lies."

That was done by the coincidence of television becoming popular as a household object almost revered like the ancestor shrine was in a Japanese household. Remember tv dinners?  I surprisingly saw some of these "hearings"in 1951/1952, from the vantage of New Jersey with a friend who did not like to be so much alone while her husband was away at the Battery for the Coast Guard (otherwise, I would have forgotten that television existed).

The first thought that came to my mind when reading your post was: You should have seen the effect on the local level in your own community around you!  This was a result of such judicious use of the media. And looking back, I can see how they were propagandizing in the very way that they accused the Soviets of doing.  I also look back from the perspective of only a few years later, performing in a production of -- Darkness at Noon, and I'm not so sure that our gov't committees prosecuted Arthur Koestler for being sardonic enough to produce this mirrored image of what they were doing by comparison to the Moscow purge trials.  Of course, I may be wrong because they seemed to love to strike at the media itself while they were taking advantage of it; according to our Senators , Hollywood (which merely meant they got to go on camera with "the stars" that they were accusing) and all  productive artists of New York needed to be inspected,East Coast or West. If you recall Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible, which compared the hearings to the Salem witch trials. But of course the effects were deleterious to the reputations of all the media artists and "stars" the House and the Senate got to be seen with on the small screen in the living room. 

The effects, say in the Midwest, were such that careerists in J.Edgar's branch offices could feather their nests by becoming these inquistional types; they could rise to the next pay-grade level of service by being a G-Man like Dick Tracy, by persecuting some local nebbish whom someone else was envious of in the land of the great McCarthy even after he was removed from the immediate scene. Why, because it was a "Party" enterprise, while they were hound-dogs chasing mythical East German spies and members of that other party,"the Communist"; so there is a certain ironic perspective on this while an exchange program was operating academically in which we brought over the best and the brightest students in the  Natural sciences, for instance whether it was for their indigenous knack in some specialization that would assist us in having an edge in ecological defenses against "somebody" attacked us with "the bomb" or whether it was to demonstrate "the superior Freedom of our way of life as Americans".   I think this is enough to make at least some young adults suspicious of what they are getting into now that they are adult. You find yourself living with the Alice in Wonderland effect or Through the Looking Glass.  Yesterday's allies are today's "evil doers", if you will pardon me quoting The Decider himself.

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caclark
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« Reply #1985 on: February 21, 2008, 12:10:55 PM »

thanatopsy: “Immediately after the war, J Edgar Hoover began a defamation campaign against Opp for some reason that I did not understand"

J. Edgar Hoover never needed to have anything on anyone in order to go after them. But during the Manhattan Project, for which Oppenheimer was indispensible, if Hoover knew anything of it, he wouldn’t have dared to stick his busybody nose there. General Groves’ gadget would have trumped even J. Edgar who would keep busy adding to his files on 'dangerous subversives.'
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caclark
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« Reply #1986 on: February 21, 2008, 12:46:24 PM »

I have deep respect for dedicated law enforcement officials but my respect doesn't extend to J. Edgar Hoover. What does political ideology have to do with criminal justice? If there was evidence that Oppenheimer had violated the law, why was he never arrested and charged with anything? For the head of the FBI to publicly insinuate that any American citizen is about to defect to US enemies and then he presents no evidence to support the charge is to unwittingly provide evidence of his own unfitness for office. There was nothing criminal in Oppenheimer's left-leaning politics. J. Edgar Hoover was just a nutcase with an obsession for rooting out communists where there were none.

During a period of grave peril to the United States, Oppenheimer’s country called on him and entrusted him with high-level responsibility for a project on which the outcome of the war might have hinged. Some dangerous subversive, wasn’t he?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2008, 05:35:59 PM by caclark » Logged
thanatopsy
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« Reply #1987 on: February 21, 2008, 09:19:17 PM »

Great insight in those replies!
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« Reply #1988 on: February 21, 2008, 09:37:55 PM »

Opp changed his venue from California to Princeton where he hoped to settle into an academician's life at the Institute. He hoped to turn it into an ''international venue for interdisciplinary scholarship ... and theoretical physics''. But there was a problem: unlike Los Alamos where Opp largely called the shots, the Institute was comprised of strong will intellectuals. Many had their own agendas and differing scientific theories. One highly contested viewpoint was re the arms race and what role they as scientists were to have in advancing or in policing it. Opp's personality conflicts were especially difficult with Lewis Strauss and their differences would prove to be very fateful.


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« Reply #1989 on: February 22, 2008, 04:10:46 AM »

I haven't quite got this far in the book, than.  I'm currently reading about the arrival of Niels Bohr at Los Alamos, with the focus of the bomb changing from the ultimate weapon of destruction to the ultimate weapon of deterence.  The weapon to end all weapons.  Bohr also seemed to put forward the idea of an IAEA before any bomb had yet to be built.  The guy definitely stirred things upon his arrival.  Oppie seemed genuinely glad to have Bohr aboard.

During World War II Bohr did not argue against using the atomic bomb, unlike fellow Manhattan Project physicist Leo Szilard. Instead, he stayed focused on his message of international control and scientific openness. But after the atomic bomb was used on Japan Bohr told friends, "The frightening thing was... that it was not necessary at all"
http://www.doug-long.com/bohr.htm
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Dzimas
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« Reply #1990 on: February 22, 2008, 06:54:18 AM »

thanatopsy: “Immediately after the war, J Edgar Hoover began a defamation campaign against Opp for some reason that I did not understand"

J. Edgar Hoover never needed to have anything on anyone in order to go after them. But during the Manhattan Project, for which Oppenheimer was indispensible, if Hoover knew anything of it, he wouldn’t have dared to stick his busybody nose there. General Groves’ gadget would have trumped even J. Edgar who would keep busy adding to his files on 'dangerous subversives.'


One has to wonder if Hoover simply had too much time on his hands to go after persons like Oppenheimer.  Groves tried to call off the dogs, having Pash shipped over to Britain where he could no longer jeopardize the operation with his incessant prying.  But, apparently, this didn't extend to those with whom Opp still had connections, such as Jean Tatlock, who remained under surveillance, and the authors suggest may have become undone as a result, or even offed by the CIA.

However, Groves wasn't so confident about Bohr, which he worried very much about, as Bohr wanted to have an "open door" policy in regard to the bomb.  Bohr felt that the only way to ensure the bomb would never be actually used was to create an international advisory board, which he later did in the Atoms for Peace Conference in Geneva in 1955,

Following the passage of the 1954 act, the United States proposed a U.N. Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. It took place in Geneva in August 1955, and was the largest scientific meeting ever held, with an estimated 25,000 participants. The atmosphere was euphoric, and much previously secret information was shared. French scientists revealed the process of plutonium extraction; the United States declassified significant amounts of data and technology for the meeting, which was presided over by Homi Bhabha, the “father” of India’s future nuclear weapons program.

In bilateral discussions before the conference, the Soviets had agreed to support the creation of an Atomic Energy Agency, and even pledged to contribute a small amount of fissile material to it. [11] But they had no intention of digging deeply into their stockpile of fissile material to make the bank anything other than a symbolic shell. They used the meeting to announce their cooperation in forming the agency.

The countries interested in the agency met in 1956 in Geneva, and the organization’s statutes were, after a month of rancorous debate, adopted in the fall of that year. The IAEA, now officially named, was to have powers of safeguards and inspection.

One of the main points of contention during the negotiations had to do with whether the IAEA would have the power to control plutonium stocks by fixing the amount each country could keep for safeguarded civil uses. The United States favored this; India and the Soviet Union opposed it. The eventual compromise basically gave the Indians and the Soviets what they wanted—complete retention of all the plutonium made in their countries.


from an interesting article that raises the question, Did the 50-year-old Atoms for Peace program accelerate nuclear weapons proliferation?

http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/2003/Atoms-For-Peace1nov03.htm
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nytempsperdu
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« Reply #1991 on: February 22, 2008, 02:27:39 PM »

Quote
What does political ideology have to do with criminal justice?

A salient question, and one that apparently calls for the answer "Nothing."  But what if one's youthful political ideology is subsequently declared to be criminal by those who fear the effects of said ideology as it is manifested (or betrayed) elsewhere? 

In a broad sense, politics determines what laws are enacted defining what "criminal" is, as well as if/how those laws are enforced.  Both change over time, reflecting changes in circumstances and perceptions, and even such things as what methods and tools are available to enforce the laws.





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« Reply #1992 on: February 22, 2008, 02:42:44 PM »

I appreciate the debate over whether the U.S. was justified in its use of the atomic bomb, one that always prompted intense involvement by my US History students.  Often it was decided that use of the bomb on Hiroshima was the correct course of action in terms of national/allied interests, if perhaps not abstract morality.  Sometimes, there would be those who then asked "But what about Nagasaki?"
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weezo
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« Reply #1993 on: February 22, 2008, 03:24:45 PM »

NY,

Perhaps you could quip, "but we had another bomb ready and didn't know where to dump it" ... In actuality is is a very astute question.
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« Reply #1994 on: February 22, 2008, 04:46:30 PM »

Gintaras,


Thanx for that article on Atoms For Peace.  It is rather long but quite relevant to our discussion and adds quite a bit to it.

Re Bohr, the narrative indicates he was smuggled out of Sweden because Nazi agents were out to assassinate him.  From past readings, I thought the Swedish government cooperated with the Nazis but perhaps the British agents succeeded in smuggling him without Stockholm's knowledge. He appeared to have had a very garrulous nature and may have inclined to give away a few secrets.  He viewed cooperation with the Soviets as especially critical in the interest of future peace.



« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 05:19:29 PM by thanatopsy » Logged

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