Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

The Oak Ridge Conundrum on War and Peace

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Olga Bonfiglio       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 8/6/09

Author 8877
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)
- Advertisement -

Oak Ridge, Tennessee, "the city that made the atom bomb," clearly illustrates the difficult conundrum people must face when their government decides to build a stockpile of highly lethal nuclear weapons.

The origins of this conundrum are steeped with justifications like (a) "the bomb" ended the World War II and saved American lives; (b) the weapons protect us from our enemies and have prevented World War III; and (c) the research and manufacture of nuclear products preserve jobs, homes, and the local economy.

- Advertisement -

From its beginning in 1942 Oak Ridge was an unsettling place. Located in the lush and beautiful Clinch River Valley of eastern Tennessee, it "mushroomed" into a government "reservation" of 75,000 people living and working in the middle of nowhere so research and production of the atomic bomb could be hidden from the enemy fascists of Germany. Unfortunately, the farmers and their families who lived there were dispossessed of their property and told to clear out in 10 days.

- Advertisement -

Oak Ridge finally produced the plutonium for the "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" bombs dropped on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9) killing 140,000 and 80,000 respectively. Since then, tens of thousands more Japanese have died from leukemia and various cancers attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. Nevertheless, when Japan surrendered on August 15, Oak Ridgers were jubilant because they were told that their work made a direct contribution toward ending the war.

Life in the "Secret City" wasn't easy for the Oak Ridgers, who were mostly civilians literally living behind a security fence under the authority of the Army. Residents were expected to report any suspicious behavior of their neighbors and fellow workers. Employees had to sign a pledge not to divulge any secrets about their work, which was so broken down into smaller parts that only the top directors of the Manhattan project knew that the atom bomb was actually being built!

- Advertisement -

Oak Ridge was conceived of as a temporary city with a single purpose and no one expected it would continue after the war. Housing was made of cheap, pre-fabricated materials. Facilities and amenities were meager and mud was everywhere.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Olga Bonfiglio is a Huffington Post contributor and author of Heroes of a Different Stripe: How One Town Responded to the War in Iraq. She has written for several magazines and newspapers on the subjects of food, social justice and religion. She (more...)

Olga Bonfiglio Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Michigan Can Be a Leader in Dealing With Climate Change

Some Sociological Explanations for Climate Change Denial

Inauguration Day 2009

How Music Helped Save New Orleans After Katrina

Big Government and Big Corporations Befriend the Local Food Movement

Food Fight