The Seattle
Times Web Edition: 50 Years from Trinity

Talk back: Comment on
the atomic age

   How has the atomic age affected society -- and affected you? Below are some of the comments of the people who have visited this Web site.

Why did Truman drop the A-Bomb in 1945? Was it the only way to end of the war? Was Truman "right" in his decision? Would millions of people really have died if America decided to invade the Japanese home land directly? These are indeed very difficult questions. But whatever the conditions are, using nuclear weapons is wrong. Our God gave us "A knowledge" not for the creation of mass destruction weapons but for improving ourselves. What we are doing is no different from what we were doing many centuries ago. It is us, the young generation, who must think about this. Not war -- let's talk. I strongly believe nuclear weapons are not needed.

Keita Koido, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

I'm afraid of not waking up someday.

Antonio Emilio Garcia Villalba, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

How has the atomic age affected society and myself? We have a dangerous environment and have one more thing for college kids like myself to worry about and one more problem for the future leaders of the world to deal anything worth the cost of damaging our natural environment and health...isn't that the base of it all?!!!..I think it has a lot to do with the male ego and who can build the newest..biggest..thing...its a power trip...and it's stupid, and I like Franklin D. Roosevelt and cannot believe he authorized the development and testing of the Manhatten Project in the first place..

Julie Gardner, Saint Louis Comm. College at Meramec, Saint Louis

The idea of nuclear energy and weapons is silly, expensive and dangerous to me. There are plenty of other sources of energy available. Solar energy has been cheap and available for years. The sun has enough energy to keep the world going forever. It seems like everybody just keeps overlooking the idea of solar energy on purpose. As far as weapons go, we never needed weapons that are nuclear. What's the point? So we can kill each other quicker.

Greg Medina, Columbus High, Downey, CA, USA

I think atomic energy has had a detrimental affect on our society. Although many of us think that it is important for us to move on into the future and use non-polluting fuels such as atomic energy. . . I don't think that many of us realize the dangers that are held in this. Atomic energy is one of the most volatile fuels since the use of hydrogen and we all know the affects of hydrogen (We can all remember the Hindenberg disaster). Atomic energy is the same thing if not worse.
A radioactive leak in a nuclear plant (such as Chernobyl) or even in a nuclear dump could create a massive disaster zone and many of us don't even realize that we are standing on a potential disaster! Don't we realize that if there was a leak then thousands if not millions of people would die? A blast in an area like Los Angeles would be deadly, people would be unprepared because the government hasn't prepared us for the possibility of a nuclear plant disaster.

Adam Fischer, UC IRVINE, Irvine, CA

I think that nuclear bombs are really pointless because if you bomb a country then that country is going to turn around and bomb you right back with a bomb twice as powerful. Then pretty soon there will be nothing left to bomb. The whole world will be gone.

Jordan Ray, Eastern Hancock Middle School, Charlottesville, IN

The power of nuclear fission and fusion is a force that can help everyone in the world but should only be in the hands of responsible people. As long as we have the power to harness something or THINK we have the power to harness something we will use but if we trick ourselves into control and don't respect that power it will consume and destroy us.

Matthew Green, Wicomico High School, Salisbury, MD, USA

Nuclear weapons are weapons that have a pointless use because in the long run they do more damage than good.

Michael , Ewing High School, Ewing, NJ, USA

I think that Atomic Bombs are good in some aspects but are bad in other aspects. If you are in a major war with deadly people then yes you should use the bomb to destroy your enemy and win the war. Otherwise you should not use the A-Bomb because it is very nuclear and deadly.

Jason Barthman, Wicomico High School, Salisbury, MD, U.S.A

I think that at the time we believed that we needed it; and who knows-maybe we did. But now that we have had time to reflect upon our actions, do you really think that we should commend it?
If we show the future generation that we are proud of killing and maiming innocent people and their offspring for years to come then we will be no better than animals.

Pam Correa, Wicomico High School, Salisbury, Md, USA

When we used the bomb, to end the war, it was one of the best things that we could do. Not only did it teach Japan not to mess with the United States of America, but it sent a new message around the world that we weren't chicken. At the time it was good, but then we had no idea that it would result in a long threatening cold war.

Dennis, Ankeny High, Ankeny, IA, USA

It's bad enough to have one person have total power, but if two groups of people have each their own great amount of power: destruction is certian. It's only a matter of time.

Darcy,IA, USA

I think if harnessed the atomic energy will be useful if
it is not it will kill us all with slow and painful deaths.
Scientists should work on using it in new and useful ways.
They should not be using it for bombs unless absoulutely necessary.

Emma Hitchcock, Holmes Middle School, Alexandria, Virginia, USA

I have just participated in a several-weeks-long discussion of the nuclear bombings, on the Usenet newsgroup, and it was hot and heavy...and for me quite distressing, for the trend of the discussion clearly favored the bombings. My own concern is that our initiation of the Nuclear Age, in that aggressive fashion, compels us to continue justifying it. The dynamic is really not much different from any proud nation refusing to recognize the horror of its past actions. It is one thing to consider something as having been SEEN as necessary, but quite another to go on feeling that it was, indeed necessary.

The result is that it desensitizes us to the terrible truth of a world on the constant edge of potential nuclear threat, whether in warfare or by terrorist intimidation. I call this the psychological normalization of nuclear weaponry. Because we used the Bomb first, we must not only defend and justify that usage but thereby forsake the high moral ground that could forcefully set the pace to outlaw nuclear weaponry. In that the sense of a future that will never likely be free of the nuclear threat, we are as much the ultimate victims of the nuclear use in warfare as those we used it on.

My only personal solace in this situation is that the present refusal to open ourselves to the possibility that we did something that may have been less than honorable or at least less than wise is part of a cyclic trend of current history, and that will surely swing toward a greater degree of social responsibility (on a worldwide scale) at some time in the future.

Irv Thomas, Seattle, WA, 98115

I am appalled that veterans who served aboard the USS Missouri are not to be allowed aboard the ship to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaty ending the war with Japan (who incidentally has not, and obviously will not, apologize for atrocities they performed). I vote to leave the other dignitaries and politicians standing on the pier instead.

Another vet

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