J. Robert Oppenheimer “slipped into a deep depression” after creating the atomic bomb.
Historian Kai Bird said the physicist then began to publicly denounce the use of the bomb.
During a meeting with President Harry Truman in 1945, Oppenheimer said, “I have blood on my hands.”
After leading the Manhattan Project and creating the world’s first atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer had some regrets about his weapon.
In fact, Oppenheimer “slipped into a deep depression” after reading news reports about what the atomic bomb did to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, historian Kai Bird – who has written a book on Oppenheimer – told CBS News.
According to the Washington Post, Oppenheimer deeply regretted not completing the bomb in time to drop it on the Germans, but felt triumphant after the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Days later, when the United States dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki, things began to change for the physicist, The Post reported.
Oppenheimer did not believe it was necessary or justified to drop the second bomb, according to the Post.
According to the Post, Oppenheimer made such a disgusted face when the second bomb was dropped that during an October 1945 meeting with then-President Harry Truman, Truman asked Oppenheimer what was wrong.
“Mr. President, I feel like I have blood on my hands,” Oppenheimer told Truman, according to Bird’s book, “American Prometheus,” the Post reported.
Oppenheimer then began to publicly denounce the use of his atomic bomb, much to the dismay of the NSA, Bird said. He gave speeches against the weapon that “appalled” the national security establishment.
“If there is another world war, this civilization could sink,” Oppenheimer said in 1947, according to a clip shown by CBS.
According to CBS, Oppenheimer warned that the use of the atomic bomb “would one day cause the world to curse the names ‘Los Alamos’ and ‘Hiroshima.’ “
In 1954, at the height of anti-Communist hysteria, the United States revoked Oppenheimer’s security clearance, ruining the physicist’s career. Last year, the Biden administration announced that it was officially reversing that decision.
“As time went by, more and more evidence came to light of the bias and unfairness of the process to which Dr. Oppenheimer was subjected, while the evidence of his loyalty and love of country only grew stronger,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
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