At the Bomb Testing Site Historical Context

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In what some historians have called the single most important event of the twentieth century, the world's first atomic bomb was dropped in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, in July of 1945. This bomb test, code-named "Trinity," ushered in the nuclear age. When the bomb exploded successfully, J. R. Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who directed the development of the bomb from its raw materials, said "I am become Death, shatterer of worlds," echoing a Hindu scripture. Kenneth Bainbridge, who was responsible for the bomb's detonation, exclaimed, "Now we are all sons of bitches." A War Department memo of July 18, 1945, describes the feelings of those who witnessed the blast: "The effects could well be called unprecedented, magnificent, beautiful, stupendous, and terrifying. No man-made phenomenon of such tremendous power had ever occurred before.... It was that beauty the great poets dream about but describe most poorly and inadequately.... [The] awesome...

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This section contains 996 words
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Poetry for Students
At the Bomb Testing Site from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.