Hist 2260 Sec 102
Two Suns in One Day
A burning ball was so bright and vivid overhead. Confusion arose when they realized that it was 8:15 a.m., and that the sun had already risen that day. The people of Hiroshima remember that day as "the day the sun rose twice" (Motro). They ran in a state of panic as the images of people's shadows were burned into the cement. This mayhem happened all because of the use of a weapon of mass destruction. The reading the author choice to do was The Day The Sun Rose Twice by Ferenc Morton Szasz (Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press , 1984 ) Ferenc Szasz raises certain issues in The Day the Sun Rose Twice regarding the lives of the scientists involved with the nuclear bomb. Focusing on Szasz' portrayal of the scientific community's perspectives in the context of the international conflicts, security issues, and the science itself will show that Szasz essentially idolized the scientists and, therefore, left out many areas of importance in the controversies of the atomic age. First, it is important to examine the context in which a book is written. The Day the Sun Rose Twice is meant to introduce the groundwork for Trinity because "surprisingly little has been written on Trinity . . . But much remains to be told" (4). As an introductory book Szasz covers many bases with a good amount of detail in the events leading up to and immediately after the test in the Jornada del Muerto, as well as the aftermath of fallout, radiation, documents that are no longer classified, and much of the politics surrounding it all then and now. The perspective through the pages is more from the scientific side, as opposed to a military or political side, recounting what life was like for the men and women who were the most deeply involved with the secret project. By setting his parameters on page 19, Szasz establishes which scientists he finds of major importance for a book that gives general information on the Trinity Site and atomic bomb. The context of the book, perspective, and parameters are essential to note before looking closer at the issue of politics and science as Szasz defines in the book. The Day the Sun Rose Twice is not a book that dwells on the controversies surrounding the Manhattan Project, but rather a more informative narration of the events that unfolded in the creation of the bomb. Because of this informative quality, the reader is left to gather his/her own biases based on Szasz', and other historian's, historical accounts. Of course, every account has biases from every angle, so the controversies that are mentioned are there because they hold some importance in Szasz' estimation. Most central in many of the scientists' minds, and obviously in politicians' and military personnel, was WWII. Many scientists, in order to maintain scientific purity, did not involve themselves with keeping up-to-date on the world.
This is a point that Szasz mentions but could have gone into more detail on, although he does give the sense of isolation the scientists worked in. Oppenheimer, for instance, never watched TV, read newspapers, or listened to the radio, and he first learned of the stock market crash of 1929 months after the event. However, as non-political as they tried to be, the international conflicts leading up to and during the war were something that none of the scientists of the time could ignore. The rise of Fascism "began to affect the ivory-towered world of physics" (9), forcing Jewish scientists to continue their work under German state control with a limited freedom of research and thought or to leave the country and break down the wall of secrecy by giving the nuclear advantage to the U.S. In the 1930s, Jews made up only one percent of the German population, but held twelve percent of the professorships in universities ; the Nazi system "cleansed" over forty percent of that twelve (Horowitz). It seems that the scientists fleeing Germany is a very