Almost four years after the atomic bomb was dropped in Japan, Hanson Baldwin dissects the false sense of security the weapon of mass destruction caused the American people in his New York Times article, “Two Great Delusions About the A-Bomb: The First is that the Bomb Assures Security; the Second, that Security Requires Secrecy”. Baldwin’s two major issues were the false sense of security and secrecy surrounding the weapon. Since the article was written four years after the initial event the nation has had time to reflect on the impact and see the long term effects.
The article is created to illustrate how the idealized bomb is a major issue in the coming years because the United States has a short supply of them and their impact is not powerful enough to stop the rise of Eastern Europe. Baldwin writes in 1949, at the time the United States is already entrenched in the Cold War and the red scare is terrifying citizens in the United States and Western Europe. The idea of the USSR creating their own atomic bomb after seeing the affects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a threat that could have potentially been avoid if the bombs were never used according to Baldwin. His assumption that the arms race could have been avoided is not completely factual because there were leaks of the atomic bomb design and the USSR could have possibly still assembled an atomic bomb without the United States using two in Japan.
Before the first drop over Japan the public did not know about the atomic bomb. Harry Truman did not find out about the bomb until he became president after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death. Baldwin states that the Atomic Energy Act adds to the issue of concealment about the bomb from the world. The stress of secrecy surrounding the creation and usage of a weapon of mass destruction does not instill comfort in the American public or her allies. At times Congress is also kept out of the conversations about the further creation of atomic bombs causing the military agenda moving forward to not have adequate information to operate under.
It is clear throughout the article that Baldwin is opposed to the current state of the conversation, or lack thereof, about the atomic bomb. The article concludes with ideas that could potentially do away with the secrecy and false sense of security that is currently plaguing the atomic bomb mindset. Baldwin makes it clear that his ideas are not fact and that there is not a simple fix to the destruction caused by the atomic bomb. The change he views as necessary is to communicate with foreign nations using the Atomic Energy Act. The article contains a strong opposition to the current statues of conversation surrounding the atomic bomb and breaks down the issues that are often overlooked in an attempt to get the general public thinking about what changes should be made going forward.
Baldwin, Hansom W. “Two Great Delusions about the A-Bomb.” New York Times (1923-
Current File), Jul 10, 1949. http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?
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