Feis, Herbert
January 1960
Foreign Affairs;Jan1960, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p300
Academic Journal
The article describes the Postdam conference, held to give the approval to test the S1 atom bomb and the impact the bomb had made. The Americans left for Potsdam with an exciting secret--first test was to be made of the atomic weapon, which had been long in conception and construction. Secretary of War, who bore the focal responsibility for the quivering decisions that, would have to be faced at once if the test went well. His thoughts about S-1, as the atomic weapon was identified, like those of the President, circled around its possible use in the war against Japan rather than its bearing on the matters that were to be discussed in the conference at Potsdam. The test was successful beyond the most optimistic expectations of anyone. It is estimated that the energy generated could be in excess of the equivalent of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of T.N.T. A crater, from which all vegetation had vanished, with a diameter of 1,200 feet and a slight slope toward the center, was formed. The author no longer considers the Pentagon a safe shelter from such a bomb. The intention was to find ways to use the technical triumph in New Mexico for the service of the ideal principles, which had been endorsed at San Francisco. The aim of those who guided American diplomatic and military decisions at Potsdam was that Russia could be frightened or coerced by the bomb. Thus the light of explosion "brighter than a thousand suns" and its full glare was to become burningly visible over Hiroshima not many days later.


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