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September 18, 1946

“NEW YORK, Tuesday—I have just finished reading a novel called “Mr. Adam” by Pat Frank. It is inspired by our new ability to destroy, and deals with the numerous things that may develop from the power that we can now unleash. It is pure imagination, but there is just enough possibility that it might come true to make one read it with interest—and with the hope that it may make us realize what fearful responsibilities now rest upon us and what a very great people we must be if we are going to face up to these responsibilities.

We have the secret of the atom bomb. How long we alone will have it, nobody knows. But while we have it, the responsibility of what happens in the world is in our hands. Soon we may share it with others, and then we will have the uncomfortable feeling that, unless the other people of the world have goodwill and face up to their responsibilities toward humanity in general, we may have very little time left upon this planet.

One of the characteristics of human beings in the past has been never to face disagreeable realities until they were actually forced to do so. Fundamentally, that is the reason why we did not, after World War I, do much to prevent World War II. Sometimes I wonder if we intend to be so blind again!”

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June 16, 1953

“HIROSHIMA, Japan…To arrive in Hiroshima is an emotional experience. Here is where the first A-bomb ever to be dropped on human beings, actually was used.

The people of the U.S. believe that the President and our military leaders thought long and carefully before they used this dreaded weapon. We know that while the head of the state must think first of the welfare of his own people, consideration was given to the fact that if the war went on, there would be in many parts of the world great loss of life and much damage done, and in Japan itself step by step fighting from one end to the other would mean complete devastation and incalculable loss of life. In spite of this conviction we still cannot see a city and be told of the area that was destroyed, the people who died or were injured, some of them still suffering from the results of those wounds; we cannot go and look at the model of the city showing what it looked like after the bomb had dropped and fire had swept through the city; we can’t see the photographs of some of the victims without a deep sadness. To see the orphanage where children whose parents died are still being cared for is impossible without wishing with our whole hearts that men could learn from this that the time has come when we know too well how to destroy and we must learn instead how to prevent destruction.

It is useless to say that Germany started the war and began the research which we were then obliged to take over and which led to the discovery of the atom bomb.

I can remember only too well my husband’s feeling and the feeling of the people of the U.S. when we first heard of Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was only the final action which resulted from years of growing misunderstandings and antipathies throughout the world. Out of all this came Hiroshima. But it is not only here that civilian men and women suffered. All over the world civilians suffered as a result of the last war and the increase in our power of destruction. So it seems to me the only really helpful thing we can do is to pledge ourselves to strive for the elimination of the causes of war and for the greater awareness of the people, and to bringing about such arrangements as can only be made through the use of the U.N.. If we use the machinery set up through an organization such as the U.N., time must elapse before wars can be begun, people may then understand a little better and may have more chance to be heard.

As one contemplates Hiroshima, one can only say God grant to men greater wisdom in the future.”

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