Jacob Beser: The story which we could tell. And one point that Dr. Wittman, though, which I wish you would please keep in mind—and this is true not only in this situation, but any historical event should be evaluated in the context in which it took place, the context and the times in which it took place. Hopefully we proceed from there and progress. Forty years later, we all had 20/20 hindsight and we also have had access to archives and information that we did not have forty years ago.
Debate over the Bomb
General Groves: All right now what else is there?
Stephane Groueff: So you made a decision about the Hanford.
Stephane Groueff: Now it is recording Dr. Langsdorf. If you can tell me in a few words how you got connected with the project and where you came from.
Alexander Langsdorf: Oh, in the first place, as soon as I got my PhD at MIT, I went out to Berkeley as a national research fellow and started to work in Ernest Lawrence’s lab doing nuclear physics, which was a brand new field then, just opening up in 1938.
Bird: Let us begin at the beginning and I think the viewers of this will want to know first about your own background. What year were you born?
Carter: I was born in 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bird: On what day?
Carter: February 3, 1920.
Bird: Okay, 1920, what was sort of before modern physics, quantum physics was invented as such.
Interviewer: At two forty-five in the morning of August 6, 1945, the B-29 Enola Gay took off from North field on Tinian. Aboard the plane were thirteen men a thing called “the Gimmick.” Some fourteen hundred miles and six hours later, the Enola Gay reached her appointment with history. The time was fifteen minutes and seventeen seconds past 8:00 AM, just seventeen seconds behind schedule. The place: Hiroshima. The Gimmick, also known as Little Boy, was a uranium atomic bomb with the explosive power of twenty thousand tons of TNT.
Hunt: I started working for DuPont in 1937 at Old Hickory [in Tennessee] in the power department. I was very anxious to do the best I could, so I made a special effort to learn everything.
Where were you when you were told to return to Wilmington?
Hunt: At that point I was a power superintendent at Childersburg Ordnance.
That was in Alabama?
Hunt: In Alabama.
When did you find out about Hanford?
Bob Caron: Oh, now for comments on Bob Lewis. I do not know what the hell to say about that, Joe. Bob calls me fairly frequently on his WATS [Wide Area Telephone Service] line, and I kind of feel like I am in the middle of something. He is very bitter, and very bitter towards [Paul] Tibbets. How justified it is I am just not sure. I do not know really the whole story. Bob is very emphatic when he tells his side of the story. When I mention some things, he just tells me, “Oh, you are too damn naïve.” Well, I know I am. Always have been.
Kai Bird: This is Kai Bird off camera, interviewing Charles Oppenheimer and Dorothy Vanderford. Just for the record, I will ask you to state your names and your date of birth and where you were born.
Dorothy Vanderford: My name is Dorothy Vanderford. I was born as Dorothy Oppenheimer August 18th, 1973. I was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
William Downey: The depersonalization of the world, and what the Soviet Union does to their own people in mental hospitals in the process of destroying them, so all people would be destroyed everywhere. So, it is not the peace I want. It is not peace that I want. It is peace with justice. It is peace with freedom. It is peace that makes it possible for a man to dream his dream and stretch and strain and sweat to attain it. Without that, peace is a fraud and a delusion and a pretty word for tyranny. Do you follow me?
William Downey: Now, as I remarked, one of the security officers told me a little time before, there was going to be a really fantastic new thing, only one of the greatest things that ever happened in the history of the world. This kind of hyperbole I never took too seriously anyway.