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Oppenheimer's Shadow: His Nuclear World and Ours by Martin J. Sherwin

Oppenheimer's Shadow: His Nuclear World and Ours

by Martin J. Sherwin


Title Details

Audio Original
Running Time
1 Hr. 27 Min.
Martin J. Sherwin and his co-author Kai Bird won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for their biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. In this talk from UCTV, Sherwin discusses Oppenheimer's life, focusing mostly on the tragic events after World War II and Oppenheimer's failed attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. Sherwin tells the story of Oppenheimer's frustrating meeting with President Harry Truman. Also, he talks about the framing of Oppenheimer as a communist sympathizer during McCarthyism, which led to the revocation of his security clearance. Sherwin also makes the argument that the Japanese were ready to surrender before the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the talk, he is joined by historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa who authored the 2005 book Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. Hasegawa echoes this argument, challenging the orthodox view that the bombings expedited Japan's surrender and significantly shortened the war. Sherwin and Hasegawa end the talk by answering some questions from the audience.

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