Home > Uncategorized > C.P. Snow: Hiroshima, the most horrible single act so far performed

C.P. Snow: Hiroshima, the most horrible single act so far performed


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

C.P. Snow: Selections on war


C.P. Snow
From The New Men (1954)

C._P._Snow (1)

He opened the wallet, and with his neat deliberate fingers unfolded a sheet of office paper. He leant across and put it on my blotter. The words were written in his own handwriting. There were no corrections, and the letter looked like a fair copy. It read:

“To the Editor of ‘The Times’ (which failing, ‘Daily Telegraph,’ ‘Manchester Guardian’). Sir, As a scientist who has been employed for four years on the fission bomb, I find it necessary to make two comments on the use of such a bomb on Hiroshima. First, it appears not to have been relevant to the war: informed persons are aware that, for some weeks past, the Japanese have been attempting to put forward proposals for surrender. Second, if this had not been so, or if the proposals came to nothing, a minimum respect for humanity required that a demonstration of the weapon should be given, e.g. by delivering a bomb on unpopulated territory, before one was used on an assembly of men, women, and children. The actual use of the bomb in cold blood on Hiroshima is the most horrible single act so far performed. States like Hitler’s Germany have done much wickedness over many years, but no State has ever before had the power and the will to destroy so many lives in a few seconds…”

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