C.P. Snow: As final product of scientific civilization, nuclear bomb is its ultimate indictment
From The New Men (1954)
Some of them gave an absolute no to the use of the bomb for reasons which were too instinctive to express. For any cause on earth, they could not bear to destroy hundreds of thousands of people at a go.
Many of them gave something near to an absolute no for reasons which, at root, were much the same; the fission bomb was the final product of scientific civilization; it of were used at once to destroy, neither science nor the civilization of which science was bone and fibre, would be free from guilt again.
The news of Hiroshima had sickened them; that afternoon had left them without consolation. Luke said: “If anyone had tried to defend the first bomb, then I might just have listened to him. But if anyone dares try to defend the second, then I’ll see him in hell before I listen to a single word.”
They all assumed, as Martin had done, that the plutonium bomb was dropped as an experiment, to measure its ‘effectiveness’ against the other.
“It had to be dropped in a hurry,” said someone, “because the war will be over and there won’t be another chance.”
How long can you sustain grief, guilt, remorse, for a horror far away?
If it were otherwise, if we could feel public miseries as we do private ones, our existence in those years would have been hard to endure. For anyone outside the circle of misery, it is a blessing that one’s public memory is so short; it is not such a blessing for those within.