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Henry Judd

A-Bomb Test at Bikini Prelude to New War

(15 July 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 28, 15 July 1946, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Bomb has been dropped; the Great Experiment is over, or at least, first part of the performance. No tidal waves or earthquakes occurred, and the world’s climate seems to be about the same as before. In the ranks of the politicians, military and naval brass hats and assorted scientists a certain disappointment may be detected. The results SEEM to have been below expectations.

What about the Bikini experiment? What did it prove, if anything? The first thing it proved is that our Government, along with its military experts, is more than ever anxious to keep concealed the truth about atomic warfare. Despite the terrific ballyhoo built up around the Bikini event, who among us except those really in the know, is aware of what actually happened, exactly how effective the Bomb was? The entire matter has been kept in secrecy except for those items the Navy and War Departments publish.

Every official and brass hat involved has extracted from the experiment just what he wanted to extract, and no more. All of them, therefore, are blind or hypocritical so far as the real meaning of Bikini is concerned. The brass hat General who represented the Army at Bikini is more than satisfied with the results. He would be. The Army wants more and better atomic Bombs in its preparations for the next war. It is hot for atomic warfare.

What the Admiral Saw

The Navy Admiral who ran the works – a pompous gentleman named Blandy – blandly informed his vast radio audience that the experiment had “proven” that the day of airplane carriers and navies was not over! This a few moments after one lone bomb had sunk, capsized and badly damaged a good many strongly-built battleships of various types!

The scientists present exhibited the usual confusion that prevails among these distinguished gentlemen, particularly on the subject of their invention. All agreed that Their Bomb was an awe-inspiring weapon and that people had better keep out of its way.

As for the politicians and foreign representatives present (at a safe distance), all were “disappointed” at the ‘‘show.” The death-filled cloud of gamma rays wasn’t big enough; the noise not loud enough; the flash-colors not glamorous enough. The Russian representative thought it looked like just another big bomb (and Russia has plenty of those). Not a one seemed a bit concerned about what was going on, insofar as it might affect the masses of people in a future war. They were exclusively concerned with (a) self-interest and entertainment derived from the spectacle; (b) the possible military-strategic value of The Bomb.

Bomb a Terrific Weapon

But let nobody kid himself. The Bomb dropped at Bikini was no fraud or fake, in its terrifying powers. Dropped on cities like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, it would have spread the same toll of death and destruction over huge areas as did the two previous Bombs.

Consider just one fact admitted by a scientist present at Bikini: Every sailor on board any of the ships at Bikini would be dead – either from fire, blast result, or explosion; or would be dying from exposure to the gamma rays. The fleet, in a word, would have been put out of action completely – by one Bomb! What more need be said?

The political significance of Bikini is tremendous. How else can it be understood except as a threat and warning to the one great rival of American imperialism still remaining – Stalin’s Russian imperialism. The Bikini experiment was an experiment for war, both politically and militarily, and as such it must be understood.

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