Atomic age beginson July 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm
On this day in 1945 the first atomic bomb was tested. Scholars, military historians, politicians, almost everyone since has argued the pros and cons of the subsequent dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan thus ending the Second World War. Within a few years the Soviet Union had the bomb. We lived through tension and fear for the next few decades, wondering if the world as we knew it would end in any half-hour period.
I remember the now comical school drills of hiding under the desk with hands over our eyes. I was in Washington DC during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, attending a seminar at the Library of Congress Folger library just a few blocks from the Capitol. The constant awareness that death could come at any time and that we at that conference would not know made the poetry and discussions especially poignant.
Since September 11, 2001, our people, politicians, country has reacted to the sudden attack with hysteria, security theater, overreactions. We are the people who faced down Joseph Stalin and Khrushev. What happened?