In 1985 nuclear physicist Phillip Morrison lectured at Harvard about the Manhattan Project. I asked Dr. Morrison if the Los Alamos scientists were aware of the long-term effects of nuclear radiation? Morrison answered “yes,” the scientists knew, but it wasn’t a consideration. Scientists at that time were enshrined in secrecy. After the war their names and faces were lauded for making the atomic bomb. No one was held accountable for creating a crime against humanity, not the military, not the Truman administration, not politicians and not the scientists and engineers.
William Hartung, director of the Arms and Securities Project in Washington, acknowledged that scientists and engineers are the only people capable of designing and making nuclear weapons. They are the source of weapons of mass destruction. From 1933 to 1945 at least 150 major U.S. corporations independently enjoyed multinational business relations with the Nazi Party. Standard Oil, IBM Corp., Du Pont provided the Nazi war machine with a secret aviation fuel, computer technology and Zyklon-B, the gas used in the death camps. Without these corporations Adolf Hitler could never have come to power and Germany could not have started World War II. Hence the atomic bomb would not have been made. Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have been bombed.
Today we must hold scientists, engineers corporate CEOs accountable for their actions. We must meet face to face with corporate executives to discuss weapons divestment. We need to find the key to national compassion and act on it for the survival of humankind globally. We owe it to the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who are now reaching out to future generations in their own words: “We are telling our stories so these young people will never have to suffer what we suffered so many years ago.”
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts