Editor’s Note: The Chestertown Spy has teamed up with the C.V. Starr Center for the American Experience at Washington College to share the stories of local residents who experienced World War II, either on the Home Front or as Veterans. Students and staff have already interviewed over a hundred people about their experiences during World War II. Each installment presented in The Spy includes an audio clip of an interview, along with the corresponding transcript. You can find more audio clips and interview transcripts at storyquestproject.com. If you have a story or artifact to share, please contact Deputy Director of Starr Center, Pat Nugent, at [email protected] or 410-810-7161.
Bob Carter: Reaction to Nuclear Bomb
Well, at the beginning of the project there was a lot of uncertainty among the scientists whether a nuclear bomb was even feasible, whether it could be built, or whether the parameters involved were sufficient to make it function as a bomb. So that was a large part of the investigations at the beginning. Then when it became more and more certain that a bomb would, in fact, detonate, we started trying to understand the magnitude of the explosion and the results of it – the mechanical effects of an explosion. So, we realized if it worked as we had predicted, it would be a huge explosion. A bigger explosion than mankind had ever seen before. I guess it was partially scientific inquisition to go ahead and do it if it were possible, and then also a little bit of concern how it would be used by the U.S. government if and when it was possible to build one. I don’t remember thinking in terms of it being used to kill a lot of people. I don’t remember thinking that through very much at the time. I guess I was surprised that the United States government had done it, had actually used it on a city. I guess I thought, “Golly, a bomb is supposed to be used on military people. It’s not supposed to be used on cities with civilians.” I guess that was my immediate reaction.