Wednesday, March 20, 2024

H. G. Wells - J. Robert Oppenheimer - ゴジラ Gojira

Herbert George Wells, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, Gojira: THE IMMORTAL TRIADE of man's fallacy, "The Atomic Bomb"!

"Triade" is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a "Group of Three", or:



His name was Herbert George Wells and the world knew him by his initials as: H.G. Wells.  

When people around the world think of him, most immediately associated H.G. Wells  with three of his novels, "Time Machine, An Invention", first published in 1895, "The Invisible Man", first published in 1897, and "The War of the Worlds", published in 1898. All three works have been turned into both motion picture and television dramas by other writers. 

Wells directly wrote two motion picture screenplays, the first was the classic 1936, "Things To Come", in which he predicted the Second World War three-years-prior to Adolph Hitler invading Poland and starting that war. The second was a Noel Coward style morality play, 1937's, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles". For those of my readers interested in all the on-screen interpretations of the author, my article is:

"H.G. WELLS On the Motion Picture and Television Screens", found at:

However, I am not interested in those three novels, or H.G. Wells's other works covered in my above article. 

Written in 1913, with the complete title of "The World Set Free, A Story of Mankind", was a prediction made by Wells, NINETEEN-YEARS-BEFORE it actually took place.

The problem which was already being mooted by such scientific men as Ramsay, Rutherford, and Soddy, in the very beginning of the twentieth century, the problem of inducing radio-activity in the heavier elements and so tapping the internal energy of atoms, was solved by a wonderful combination of induction, intuition, and luck by Holsten so soon as the year 1933.

The actual "Splitting of the Atom" took place on April 14, 1932. 

The three scientists mentioned in the above paragraph from the 286-page novel, were real. 

Ramsay, was actually Sir William Ramsay, the Scottish chemist who received the 1904, "Nobel Prize in Chemistry", for his work in gases discovering what Ramsay named "Argon".

Rutherford, was actually Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron of Rutherford of Nelson, a New Zealand scientist that was recognized as, according to "Michigan State University", "The Father of Nuclear Physics", and received the 1908, "Noble Prize in Physics".

Soddy, was actually Frederick Soddy, who proved the existence of isotopes of certain radioactive elements and the disintegration of uranium. He would receive the 1921, "Noble Prize in Chemistry". With Rutherford, the two proved that radioactivity is due to the transmutation of elements, aka: today, nuclear reactions. In his 1926 book, "Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt", Soddy references H.G. Wells', "The World Set Free".

There is a relationship between "The World Set Free" and the development of nuclear weapons. 

Hungarian born physicist and inventor, Leo Sailard, read the novel in 1932, the same year the neutron was discovered. In 1933, crediting the H.G. Wells work for giving him the idea. Leo Sailard conceived the concept of a nuclear chain reaction and in 1936, actually patented that idea. It was Leo Sailard who wrote the 1939 letter for Albert Einstein's signature, which led to the creation of "The Manhattan District Project". (See the next section of my article).

May reader can read, as of this writing, "The World Set Free" at:

The long Preface to this edition was written by H. G. Wells, at Easton Glebe, Dunmow, the United Kingdom, in 1921, and begins:

The World Set Free was written in 1913 and published early in 1914, and it is the latest of a series of three fantasias of possibility, stories which all turn on the possible developments in the future of some contemporary force or group of forces. The World Set Free was written under the immediate shadow of the Great War. Every intelligent person in the world felt that disaster was impending and knew no way of averting it, but few of us realised in the earlier half of 1914 how near the crash was to us. The reader will be amused to find that here it is put off until the year 1956. He may naturally want to know the reason for what will seem now a quite extraordinary delay. As a prophet, the author must confess he has always been inclined to be rather a slow prophet. The war aeroplane in the world of reality, for example, beat the forecast in Anticipations by about twenty years or so. I suppose a desire not to shock the sceptical reader’s sense of use and wont and perhaps a less creditable disposition to hedge, have something to do with this dating forward of one’s main events, but in the particular case of The World Set Free there was, I think, another motive in holding the Great War back, and that was to allow the chemist to get well forward with his discovery of the release of atomic energy. 1956—or for that matter 2056—may be none too late for that crowning revolution in human potentialities.


The novel tells the life of a scientist named "Holsten", who sees both the good and evil of his discovery of "Atomic Energy". The following two paragraphs come from "Chapter The First, The New Source of Energy":

Holsten, before he died, was destined to see atomic energy dominating every other source of power, but for some years yet a vast network of difficulties in detail and application kept the new discovery from any effective invasion of ordinary life. The path from the laboratory to the workshop is sometimes a tortuous one; electro-magnetic radiations were known and demonstrated for twenty years before Marconi made them practically available, and in the same way it was twenty years before induced radio-activity could be brought to practical utilisation. The thing, of course, was discussed very much, more perhaps at the time of its discovery than during the interval of technical adaptation, but with very little realisation of the huge economic revolution that impended. What chiefly impressed the journalists of 1933 was the production of gold from bismuth and the realisation albeit upon unprofitable lines of the alchemist’s dreams; there was a considerable amount of discussion and expectation in that more intelligent section of the educated publics of the various civilised countries which followed scientific development; but for the most part the world went about its business—as the inhabitants of those Swiss villages which live under the perpetual threat of overhanging rocks and mountains go about their business—just as though the possible was impossible, as though the inevitable was postponed for ever because it was delayed.

It was in 1953 that the first Holsten-Roberts engine brought induced radio-activity into the sphere of industrial production, and its first general use was to replace the steam-engine in electrical generating stations. Hard upon the appearance of this came the Dass-Tata engine—the invention of two among the brilliant galaxy of Bengali inventors the modernisation of Indian thought was producing at this time—which was used chiefly for automobiles, aeroplanes, waterplanes, and such-like, mobile purposes. The American Kemp engine, differing widely in principle but equally practicable, and the Krupp-Erlanger came hard upon the heels of this, and by the autumn of 1954 a gigantic replacement of industrial methods and machinery was in progress all about the habitable globe. Small wonder was this when the cost, even of these earliest and clumsiest of atomic engines, is compared with that of the power they superseded. Allowing for lubrication the Dass-Tata engine, once it was started cost a penny to run thirty-seven miles, and added only nine and quarter pounds to the weight of the carriage it drove. It made the heavy alcohol-driven automobile of the time ridiculous in appearance as well as preposterously costly. For many years the price of coal and every form of liquid fuel had been clambering to levels that made even the revival of the draft horse seem a practicable possibility, and now with the abrupt relaxation of this stringency, the change in appearance of the traffic upon the world’s roads was instantaneous. In three years the frightful armoured monsters that had hooted and smoked and thundered about the world for four awful decades were swept away to the dealers in old metal, and the highways thronged with light and clean and shimmering shapes of silvered steel. At the same time a new impetus was given to aviation by the relatively enormous power for weight of the atomic engine, it was at last possible to add Redmayne’s ingenious helicopter ascent and descent engine to the vertical propeller that had hitherto been the sole driving force of the aeroplane without overweighting the machine, and men found themselves possessed of an instrument of flight that could hover or ascend or descend vertically and gently as well as rush wildly through the air. The last dread of flying vanished. As the journalists of the time phrased it, this was the epoch of the Leap into the Air. The new atomic aeroplane became indeed a mania; every one of means was frantic to possess a thing so controllable, so secure and so free from the dust and danger of the road, and in France alone in the year 1943 thirty thousand of these new aeroplanes were manufactured and licensed, and soared humming softly into the sky.

Conversely, the following comes from "Chapter The Second, The Last War"

The gaunt face hardened to grimness, and with both hands the bomb-thrower lifted the big atomic bomb from the box and steadied it against the side. It was a black sphere two feet in diameter. Between its handles was a little celluloid stud, and to this he bent his head until his lips touched it. Then he had to bite in order to let the air in upon the inducive. Sure of its accessibility, he craned his neck over the side of the aeroplane and judged his pace and distance. Then very quickly he bent forward, bit the stud, and hoisted the bomb over the side.

‘Round,’ he whispered inaudibly.

The bomb flashed blinding scarlet in mid-air, and fell, a descending column of blaze eddying spirally in the midst of a whirlwind. Both the aeroplanes were tossed like shuttlecocks, hurled high and sideways and the steersman, with gleaming eyes and set teeth, fought in great banking curves for a balance. The gaunt man clung tight with hand and knees; his nostrils dilated, his teeth biting his lips. He was firmly strapped....

When he could look down again it was like looking down upon the crater of a small volcano. In the open garden before the Imperial castle a shuddering star of evil splendour spurted and poured up smoke and flame towards them like an accusation. They were too high to distinguish people clearly, or mark the bomb’s effect upon the building until suddenly the facade tottered and crumbled before the flare as sugar dissolves in water. The man stared for a moment, showed all his long teeth, and then staggered into the cramped standing position his straps permitted, hoisted out and bit another bomb, and sent it down after its fellow.

The explosion came this time more directly underneath the aeroplane and shot it upward edgeways. The bomb box tipped to the point of disgorgement, and the bomb-thrower was pitched forward upon the third bomb with his face close to its celluloid stud. He clutched its handles, and with a sudden gust of determination that the thing should not escape him, bit its stud. Before he could hurl it over, the monoplane was slipping sideways. Everything was falling sideways. Instinctively he gave himself up to gripping, his body holding the bomb in its place. 
Then that bomb had exploded also, and steersman, thrower, and aeroplane were just flying rags and splinters of metal and drops of moisture in the air, and a third column of fire rushed eddying down upon the doomed buildings below....

Like many of the stories of Herbert George Wells, it is the world's scientists that come together to set up a new Utopia for mankind. His 1936 screenplay for "Things To Come", takes that to the maximum.

The following is from "Chapter The Fourth, The New Phase", of "The World Set Free":

 The task that lay before the Assembly of Brissago, viewed as we may view it now from the clarifying standpoint of things accomplished, was in its broad issues a simple one. Essentially it was to place social organisation upon the new footing that the swift, accelerated advance of human knowledge had rendered necessary. The council was gathered together with the haste of a salvage expedition, and it was confronted with wreckage; but the wreckage was irreparable wreckage, and the only possibilities of the case were either the relapse of mankind to the agricultural barbarism from which it had emerged so painfully or the acceptance of achieved science as the basis of a new social order. The old tendencies of human nature, suspicion, jealousy, particularism, and belligerency, were incompatible with the monstrous destructive power of the new appliances the inhuman logic of science had produced. The equilibrium could be restored only by civilisation destroying itself down to a level at which modern apparatus could no longer be produced, or by human nature adapting itself in its institutions to the new conditions. It was for the latter alternative that the assembly existed.



The following paragraph comes from the website "Privatdozent", and the article, "The Eccentricities of J. Robert Oppenheimer", written by JØRGEN VEISDALfound at:

The now famous Einstein-Szilárd letter was written at the initiative of Hungarian nuclear physicist Leó Szilárd with help from Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner in 1939. It was signed by Albert Einstein and sent to the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt in October 1939. The letter argued that the United States should engage in uranium research. Its writing was motivated by the news of the discovery of uranium fission by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann nine months prior.

Above, Szilard and Einstein and the letter signing.


Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element of uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the discussion which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefor that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable — through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilárd in America — that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable — though much less certain — that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.

The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and former Czechoslovakia, wile the most important source of uranium is Belgian Congo.

In view of this situation you may think it is desirable to have some permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this might be for you to entrust with the task a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an inofficial capacity. His task might comprise the following:

a) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore for the United States;

b) to speed up the experimental work, which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contact with private persons who are willing to make contributions for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining the co-operation of industrial laboratories which have the necessary equipment.

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated. 

Yours truly, 

Albert Einstein

Two-years to the month of his receipt of the letter, on October 2, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized a crash program to make an atomic bomb. This was in coordination with the United Kingdom and Canada's "Tube Alloys" program

What became "Tube Alloys" had started as two groups of scientists in two countries. The United Kingdom's research began at "Cambridge University" in 1932. The French group began in Paris in February 1939, and suggested that uranium could create a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. 

Although the term "Atom Bomb" was familiar to the British public from the H.G. Wells novel, "The World Set Free". It was the Paris group that actually agreed that the atomic bomb of that novel was now possible and related their findings to the British group. The Paris group also had discovered the possibility of using heavy water, but the German army was on the move. On June 19, 1940, as the Nazi army invaded France, the scientists and their equipment crossed the channel to London and combined with the British scientists to form "Tube Alloys".

Below left to right, the scientific advisor to the prime minister Frederick Alexander Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell, next to him is Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, followed by Admiral to the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, watching a demonstration in June 1941, from the "Tube Alloys" scientist related to nuclear energy.


Across the pond, on the above mentioned October 2nd, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with "Secretary of War", Henry L. Simpson and other cabinet members. Simpson and the "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs", Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, met to discuss the President's request for the creation of an atomic bomb. 

Their meeting was followed by another between Fleet Admiral Leahy and the Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall. Marshall would give the assignment to the "Army Corps of Engineers", under "Chief of Engineers, Major General Eugene Reybold". Discussions were held as to best means of accomplishing the creation of an atomic bomb.

On June 12, 1942, Reybold, assigned the project, now code named, "DSM, Development of Substitute Materials", to Colonel James C. Marshall, no relation to the Army Chief of Staff, who would head the atom bomb project as it pertained to construction of facilities and security.

Colonel Marshall would eventually work in coordination with the "Corps of Engineers Construction Division", under the command of Major General Thomas M. Robbins and his assistant, the more popularly known Leslie Groves, at the time having the temporary rank of Brigadier General. Groves believed that the code name, "Development of Substitute Materials", would draw a large amount of attention with people inquiring as to what the "Substitute Materials" might be?

It was normal "Corps of Engineer's" policy to name a command based upon the location of its headquarters. As both, Brigadier General Groves and Colonel Marshall were now located at 270 Broadway, in an unidentified office, on the fifth floor of a New York City office building in Manhattan, see the tall building in the following picture. In June 1942, they suggested a new code name, and "The Manhattan Engineering District" was created.

The following September, temporary Brigadier General Leslie Groves was placed in overall command of what was now called "The Manhattan Project".

In October 1942, the military was ordered to obtain land for a scientific facility in Tennessee. By November, United States Marshalls were posting notices on people's homes, using imminent domain, to take over the land owned by more than 1,000 families in the community of Oak Ridge. 

On paper within the "Department of Defense" and the "Pentagon", both temporary Brigadier General Leslie Groves and Colonel James C. Marshall, were indicated as overseeing "The Manhattan Project". That was a military technicality, because shortly the real person who would take charge, would be a completely unknown, to either army officer, civilian scientist named Julius Robert Oppenheimer. 

However, the United States government already knew of J. Robert Oppenheimer, since October 21, 1941, two-months before Pearl Harbor. 

On that October 21st, the 1939 "Noble Prize" winning physicist, Ernest Lawrence, had brought Oppenheimer in on the President's project.

Leslie Groves first met J. Robert Oppenheimer in October 1942, and was initially put off by the eccentric professor and physicist, but realized he was the best man for the next phase of the project, the actual creation of a nuclear weapon

The original nuclear research project had started in February 1940, in the basement of "Pupin Hall", at "Columbia University", in New York City, and luckily hadn't blown-up the University, or the entire city for that matter. 

Above, Enrico Fermi, and his team in the "Pupin Hall" basement after the first successful nuclear fission experiment in the United States.

However, the first question for Groves was where does one build and test a nuclear bomb? The idea of building what was now called "Project Y" at Oak Ridge was the "Secretary of Defense's" idea and was agreed upon by the "Pentagon", but Oppenheimer convinced Groves that they needed an unpopulated area to test the, once created, nuclear weapon for two reasons. First, it was easier to keep what they were doing secret, and second, no one knew what would happen once the bomb was detonated.

Above, Groves and Oppenheimer at the time of finding a site for the construction of a atomic bomb.

The answer to Leslie Groves's question, also came from J. Robert Oppenheimer. Who loved riding horses in the State of New Mexico going back to his 1922 stay while recuperating from illness. Oppenheimer took Groves out to the vacant and vast New Mexico countryside he had enjoyed riding in. This was followed by the two taking a group of "Department of Defense" and "Pentagon" officials to the proposed site. Approval was given and work on constructing the Los Alamos, New Mexico, laboratory site began.

Working with Colonel Marshall, Oppenheimer designed the Los Alamos facility. Which would include housing and schools for the families of the scientists that would be needed as an incentive to come to work there. 

Of concern to Army Brigadier Leslie Groves was another question. Would all the needed "Noble Prize" winning scientists agree to work for the non-"Nobel Prize" winning J. Robert Oppenheimer? The answer was that, "Oppie's", as he was known, reputation over rode any "Noble Prize" concerns to the scientists. The eccentric scientist became the "Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory" and in sense, the two military officers on-site superior.

Above, the I.D. photo for J. Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos. 

Hans Albrecht Bethe, his I.D. photo is below, was a German-American theoretical physicist that "Oppie" made the head of "The Theoretical Division" at Los Alamos. In 1991, Bethe published a non-fiction work entitled, "The Road to Los Alamos", available on line to read at:

I turn to Hans Bethe's book and another scientist at Los Alamos, for a description of "Oppenheimer" as a leader in the development of the first nuclear weapon. The scientist is Victor "Viktor" Frederick "Viki" Weisskopf, an Austrian born theoretical physicist who was the "Deputy Division Leader of the Theoretical Division of the Manhattan Project". His I.D. photo is below:

Weisskopf is quoted by Bethe concerning classes and presentations by J. Robert Oppenheimer to both the other scientists and the military including Groves and Marshall:

Oppenheimer directed these studies, theoretical and experimental, in the real sense of the words. Here his uncanny speed in grasping the main points of any subject was a decisive factor; he could acquaint himself with the essential details of every part of the work. 
He did not direct from the head office. He was intellectually and physically present at each decisive step. He was present in the laboratory or in the seminar rooms, when a new effect was measured, when a new idea was conceived. It was not that he contributed so many ideas or suggestions; he did so sometimes, but his main influence came from something else. It was his continuous and intense presence, which produced a sense of direct participation in all of us; it created that unique atmosphere of enthusiasm and challenge that pervaded the place throughout its time.

As mentioned as having given input to the letter that was signed by Albert Einstein and was now part of "The Theoretical Division", was Austrian-Hungarian born Edward Teller. According to the website for "Atomic Heritage Foundation":

Teller joined the Los Alamos Laboratory in 1943 as group leader in the Theoretical Physics Division. Teller became interested in the possibility of developing a hydrogen bomb after Enrico Fermi suggested that a weapon based on nuclear fission could be used to set off an even larger nuclear fusion reaction. Teller continued to push his ideas for a fusion weapon throughout the project despite physicists’ skepticism that such a device could ever work. 
When Hans Bethe was selected as Director of the Theoretical Division, Teller became frustrated and refused to enagage in calculations for the implosion mechanism of the fission bomb. This caused tensions with other physicists at Los Alamos, as additional scientists had to be employed to do that work–including Klaus Fuchs, who was later revealed to be a Soviet spy.

Above, the photo I.D. for Edward Teller

According to author Richard Rhodes in his 1995, non-fiction work, "Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb". While the design of, and the type of nuclear material required was being debated at Los Alamos by Oppenheimer and others. 

Italian-American physicist, Enrico Fermi, had followed his work at "Columbia University" by moving to the "University of Chicago" on a second assignment for "The Manhattan Project". There he had built the first artificial nuclear reactor, code name "Chicago Pile - 1", and succeeded making the first self-creating nuclear chain reaction. 


On May 25, 1943, according to Richard Rhodes, J. Robert Oppenheimer formally responded in a letter to Enrico Fermi's suggestion that the United States use radioactive material to poison German food supplies. The written reply contained a question to the physicist, could Fermi produced enough "Strontium" and keep it secret? Rhodes quotes Oppenheimer as saying in the letter:
I think we should not attempt a plan unless we can poison food sufficient to kill a half a million men.
Now, Fermi arrived at Los Alamos and joined with Edward Teller supporting the creation of a
hydrogen bomb, opposing J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Below, Enrico Fermi's Los Alamos photo I.D.

Two meetings had been held in June and July 1942, called by Oppenheimer and Fermi, and held respectively at the "University of Chicago" and the "University of California, Berkeley". The assembled scientists at both included Teller and Bethe. It was decided that a fission bomb was theoretically possible and that was the goal of the group. However, once again, Teller and Fermi pushed for a fusion, hydrogen bomb, or as it was referred, the "Super Bomb". However, at each subsequent meeting, the proposed "Super Bomb" was blocked by Hans Albrecht Bethe. Next, Teller warned Oppenheimer of the theoretical possibility that when the bomb is set off, it would ignite the atmosphere, because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei. Yet, he kept pushing his "Super Bomb" over the fission bomb.

Two types of "Fissile Material", material that can undergo nuclear fission, "Uranium 235", and "Plutonium 239", were considered. The idea of testing the bomb was brought up in discussion at Los Alamos in January 1944, and Oppenheimer bought into it and convinced Groves. After further discussions, authorization came down to test a small yield bomb. The nuclear fission material would be plutonium.

There were eight possible test sites and after several different groups surveyed them, the chosen test site was the northern portion of the "United States Air Force's Alamogordo Bombing Range", which would be renamed White Sands, New Mexico.

According to Richard Rhodes, Leslie Groves asked Oppenheimer were the code name for the test, "Trinity", came from and received the following response centering upon the 1621, "Church of England", cleric and poet, John Donne:




I did suggest it, but not on that ground ... Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation: "As West and East / In all flatt Maps – and I am one – are one, / So death doth touch the Resurrection." That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem Donne opens: "Batter my heart, three person'd God" 

The test bomb was code named "Gadget" and before it was tested, a rehearsal took place that at first J. Robert Oppenheimer was initially against, but after the successful test, he stated it was a good thing that everyone was assured of their job and how it worked.

The following is from the "Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center" website:

The world's first nuclear explosion occurred on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested at a site located 210 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the plains of the Alamogordo Bombing Range, known as the Jornada del Muerto. The code name for the test was "Trinity."
Hoisted atop a 100-foot tower, a plutonium device, called "Gadget," detonated at precisely 5:30 am over the New Mexico desert, releasing 18.6 kilotons of power, instantly vaporizing the tower and turning the surrounding asphalt and sand into green glass, called "trinitite." Seconds after the explosion, an enormous blast sent searing heat across the desert, knocking observers to the ground.
Reports from witnesses came from as far as 200 miles away.  A forest ranger 150 miles west of the blast said he saw a flash of fire, an explosion and black smoke.  An individual 150 miles north said the explosion “lighted up the sky like the sun.” 
A U.S. Navy pilot flying at 10,000 feet near Albuquerque, New Mexico, said it lit up the cockpit of his plane and was like the sun rising in the south. When he radioed Albuquerque Air Traffic Control for an explanation, he was simply told, “Don’t fly south.”  After the test, the Alamogordo Air Base issued a press release that stated simply, “A remotely located ammunition magazine containing a considerable amount of high explosives and pyrotechnics exploded, but there was no loss of life or limb to anyone.”  The actual cause of the blast was not disclosed until after the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6. 

It should be noted that the actual bomb dropped, August 6, 1945, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, was not the plutonium type tested as "Gadget", but the untested, "Uranium-235" atomic bomb. 

While on August 9, 1945, the plutonium type atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

Above left, the mushroom cloud of Hiroshima's "Uranium-235". Above right, the mushroom cloud of Nagasaki's "Plutonium 239". 

What would weigh upon J. Robert Oppenheimer, "The Father of the Atomic Bomb" for the rest of his life was:

  • 70,000–126,000 civilians killed
  • 7,000–20,000 soldiers killed
  • 12 Allied prisoners of war

  • 60,000–80,000 killed (within 4 months)
  • 150+ soldiers killed
  • 8–13 Allied prisoners of war



March 1, 1954, was the date that Edward Teller's 1943 argument became reality, and he became, officially, "The Father of the Hydrogen Bomb". It took place on Bikini Atoll, when the hydrogen bomb, code name, "Castle Bravo", was tested and once again, would affect Japan, but without touching the island itself. 

That effect is part of the horrendous story of a Japanese tuna fishing boat and its crew being exposed to both radiation and falling ash from the hydrogen bomb. My detailed article is "THE STORY OF THE 第五福龍丸Daigo Fukuryū Maru, LUCKY DRAGON #5" found at:

The strongest response to Edward Teller's, "Castle Bravo Hydrogen Bomb", and the mistakes made by American scientists, including Teller, causing the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" incident. Did not come from the Japanese government, which did respond along with Japanese doctors, but a Japanese movie studio, "Toho Productions, Inc".


The power of a motion picture is sometimes underestimated. Initially only the Asian world and possibly Asian movie theaters in the United States and the United Kingdom might have shown this motion picture. It would be released only seven-months after "Castle Bravo" and the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" incident. To the Japanese theater goer this "Kaiju (Giant Monster)" motion picture wasn't about a giant monster, such as Ray Harryhausen's, 1953, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", running amok in New York City. "Gojira" WAS the American atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki come alive.

Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka had just faced racism in Indonesia resulting in a major motion picture he was to shoot there, blocked by the government. Perhaps that was fate, because on the flight back to Japan over the dark Pacific Ocean, and first knowing about the Ray Harryhausen film. Which apparently would not be in general release in Japan, until December 22, 1954, two-months after the premier of "Gojira", in Nagoya, October 27, 1954, and second, aware of the facts of the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" incident, let his imagination go. 

The result was a sketch with a title reminiscent of "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", "Kaitei Niman Mairu Kara Kita Daikaiju (The Big Monster from 20,000 Miles Underneath the Sea)". 

Tanaka's pitched his idea to Executive Producer Iwao Mori, who approved the concept in mid-April 1954, and told Tomoyuki Tanaka to take it to Special Effects Director Eiji Tsuburaya. Mentioning the story would be a good vehicle for Tsuburaya to try out his storyboard idea for special effects. At the meeting, Tsuburaya produced a story that he had written three-years prior featuring a giant octopus attacking ships in the Indian Ocean.

Tanaka took both his story sketch and Tsuburaya's to major Japanese science fiction writer Shigeru Kayama to create a story for a screenplay. 

Initially Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted to hire the director of the motion picture set to be filmed in Indonesia, Senkichi Taniguchi, but he declined the assignment. Tanaka eventually turned to Ishiro Honda, a cameraman and protege of Akira Kurosawa, and a motion picture director in his own right

Back in August 1933, while he was still in school, Iwao Mori, the "Executive in Charge of Production", for "Photographic Chemical Laboratories (PCL)", hired student Ishiro Honda. However, the following year, Honda was drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army, Ishiro Honda was twenty-three-years-old, as seen below. He found himself stationed in China, and one morning, considered by the Japanese Army high command as a participant in his commanding officers 1936 coup against the Japanese government. Honda had not been a participant, but he was a soldier under that officer. Any soldier of that officer's command was now to be watched. Just as suddenly, Ishira Honda was told he was out of the army and was sent back to Japan. Where he resumed work at "PCL", then the army recalled him to China, and next it was back to the Japan and "PCL" until the war ended and he was officially discharged.

It was Honda's wartime experiences, as weird as they seemed to be, that Tomoyuki Tanaka believed made Ishiro Honda better able to understand the anti-nuclear-themes of the story compared to the more experience directors at Toho Studios.

In fact, Ishiro Honda,  co-wrote the final screenplay with Takeo Murata, who would become a major 1950's screenplay writer for Toho on Honda's future work. The two admitted to having some trouble turning  Shigeru Kayama's story into a screenplay. Murata was quoted by Steve Ryfle in his 1998, "Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G":

Director Honda and I...racked our brains to make Mr. Kayama's original treatment into a full, working vision.

Both producer Tanaka and special effects director Tsuburaya had further input into the final storyline and a decision was made to change the minor colleague of "Dr. Yamane" into a major one, by adding in a love triangle between the colleague, "Dr. Yamane's" daughter, and a salvage ship's captain.

Which brings me to the cast and the fact that everything that occurs in the story revolves around that love triangle in some way. Giving the Japanese audience three people, like themselves, to identify with.

The Cast of the Love Triangle:

Akira Takarada portrayed "Salvage Ship's Captain, Hideto Ogata". This was only his third-feature-film and all three were in 1954. In 1955, he co-starred in Ishiro Honda's horror film, "Ju jin yuki otoko (Beast Man - Snowman)".

Momoko Kōchi portrayed "Emiko Yamane". This was the actresses sixth on-screen role and she would repeat "Emiko" as an elderly lady in 1995's, "ゴジラVSデストロイア Godzilla vs Destoroyah". She also co-starred again with Akira Takarada in Ishiro Honda's, "Ju jin yuki otoko (Beast Man - Snowman)". My article about her film career is "河内 桃子, Kōchi Momoko (Momoko Kōchi): Japanese Horror and Science Fiction", found at:

Akihiko Hirata portrayed "Dr. Daisuke Serizawa". The actor is known for portraying the character of "Seijuro Yoshioka" in director Hiroshi Inagaki's, classic, 1954, "Samurai I", 1955's, "Samurai II", and 1956, "Samurai III". 

Three Other Main Roles:

Takashi Shimura portrayed "Dr. Kyohei Yamane". Shimura first motion picture was in 1934, and he became a regular in director Akira Kurosawa's acting troop. His films for the director include 1950's "Rashomon", 1951's, "The Idiot",  1952's, "Ikiru", and 1954's, "Seven Samurai". Previously he was in director Ishiro Honda's, 1953, biographical film about Japanese "Admiral Yamamoto", "Taiheiyo no wash (Eagle of the Pacific)". He also had a cameo role as "Dr. Yamane" in the second "Gojira" feature film, 1955's, "ゴジラの逆襲 Godzilla's Counter Attack aka: Godzilla Raids Again aka: American re-edit, 1959's, "Gigantis the Fire Monster"


Toyoaki Suzuki portrayed "Shinkichi Yamada". He is only shown with a total of thirteen on-screen appearances and that total is misleading, because they include this motion picture, the 1956, American re-edit, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", and the French, 1957, re-edit, entitled "Godzilla". Along with a three-part motion picture continuing series.

Above left, Toyoaki Suzuki with Kokuten Kodo billed as Keninori Kodo, portraying "The Old Fisherman".

Sachio Sakai portrayed "The Newspaper Reporter Hagiwara". Between 1947 and 1991, character actor Sakai appeared in 165-roles, which included Akira Kurosawa's, 1948, "Drunken Angel", 1952's, "Ikiru", and 1954's, "The Seven Samurai". For Ishirō Honda, there was 1953's, "Eagle of the Pacific", and 1955's, "Beast Man - Snowman", and was also in Hiroshi Inagaki's, 1955, "Samurai II", and 1956's, "Samurai III".

The Screenplay;

The story starts with the freighter "Eiko-maru", as the allegorical "Daigo Fukuryu Maru", being destroyed by the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb. As a blinding flash of light and boiling water destroy the "Eiko-maru" and its crew. 

Should the audience not be sure of what they're watching. The number FIVE on the life preserver, in the above two stills, confirms the fact to any adult Japanese audience member, that they are watching the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" incident they've been reading about in the newspapers (See my article on the incident above).

Cut to "Emiko" and "Ogata", in his apartment, discussing her arranged marriage to "Dr. Serizawa" and what effect it might have upon their love for each other. When the phone rings, it's the Coast Guard about the mysterious sinking of the "Eiko-maru", and the salvage captain must leave.

A second ship, the "Bingo-maru", was sent to find survivors of the "Eiko-maru", but is also lost as the sea just boils around it and the ship bursts into flames.  A fishing boat from Odo Island is also destroyed, but a survivor on a make-shift raft,"Masaji Yamada", portrayed by Red Yamamoto, the brother of "Shinkichi Yamada", may have seen some creature.

Next, reporters arrive by helicopter, including "Newspaper Reporter Hagiwara", and start to interview the islanders. That night, sitting with the "Old Fisherman", and watching an ancient ceremony to keep evil away from the island. "Hagiwara" learns that long ago the villagers would send a young girl out on a raft to satisfy their God, a creature named "Gojira"!

Later that night, during a violent storm, something comes out of the sea, and kills "Shinkichi's" brother "Masaji" and his wife. It is believed whatever came out of the sea, crushed the helicopter by stepping on it, according to newspaper reporter "Hagiwara". Which was his statement in front of the "National Diet" during their hearing with the Odo Island villagers over the events during the storm and the strange disappearance of people and animals.

The government asks Paleontologist "Dr. Kyohei Yamane" to head a scientific investigation of the Odo Island incident. Accompanying him is his assistant "Dr. Tanabe", portrayed by Fuyuki Murakami, "Kyohei's" daughter, who acts as a secretary, and "Hideto Ogata". 

Among the village's destruction is a large footprint containing a radioactive trilobite.

While attempting to get the villagers away from the radioactive footprint, the alarm bell starts to ring and "Dr. Yamane", "Emiko", "Hagiwara", and others head toward the top of a small hill. Suddenly, from over the top is seen a dinosaur-like creature's head as it roars and everyone just stops, most turn around and run back down the hill toward the village.

The dinosaur turns around and goes back to the sea, as "Dr. Yamane", "Emiko", "Ogata", "Hagiwara", "Shinkichi", and "Dr. Tanabe go to the hill top and look down at the giant footprints the dinosaur-like creature has left.

Next, "Dr. Yamane" addresses the Japanese "National Diet" about the creature the Odo Islanders call "Gojira". He explains that this is a living Jurassic Age dinosaur, that has been exposed to the HYDROGREN BOMB ( There were only two-tests"Mike", back on November 1, 1952 that disintegrated an entire small Pacific Island. The second was "Castle Bravo" that was detonated only two-months before the start of production on this feature film ). He adds that "Gojira" stands 164-feet-tall. 

Meanwhile, more ships are lost that ignored the warnings to stay clear of the Sea of Japan. The Japanese Navy has ten frigates drop depth charges, but there is no sign of "Gojira". The Japanese official's once more turn to Paleontologist "Dr. Yamane" for ways to kill the allegorical atomic bomb. He replies that "Gojira" survived the hydrogen bomb, he can't be killed, and should be studied instead.

Meanwhile, "Emiko" and "Hideto" have come to a decision! She will tell "Dr. Serizawa" that their marriage cannot be, because she loves and plans to marry "Ogata". Before "Emiko" leaves for "Serizawa's", "Hagiwara" arrives and asks if she would introduce him to the noted scientist. "Emiko" agrees, but warns "Hagiwara" that "Serizawa" might not want to speak to a newspaper reporter.

As "Emiko" thought, "Dr. Daisuke Serizawa" is very polite, but evasive when "Hagiwara" attempted to ask about any current experiments the scientist was working on. The newspaper reporter thanks him for his time and leaves. "Emiko" remains and "Serizawa" now reveals, to the woman he loves, his secret invention that weighs heavily upon him. 

The two go downstairs and "Serizawa" unlocks the door to his laboratory and they enter. As "Emiko" looks around she sees a very large fish tank with assorted varieties within it. Next, "Serizawa" gets out what looks like large white pellets and drops one in the fish tank. The water slowly starts to boil and suddenly the audience sees a look of shock on "Emiko's face, but what she saw is not revealed.

"Emiko" promises never to reveal what she has seen and leaves without mentioning her engagement to "Ogata". She returns home, "Shinkichi" is apparently living with her and her father, talking to the young Odo Islander is "Ogata". They watch, as if in a trance, "Emiko" arrives and goes through the motions of entering the kitchen and putting on an apron. Her father enters the room with the two men and asks if "Emiko" has returned? She answers yes and brings out three beers. 

Cut, as "Gojira" appears in Tokyo Bay and attacks the Shinagawa area, as the three men rush from the house and join others watching "Gojira" on a hill. The attack on the city shows the allegorical atomic bomb, as a nuclear like stream comes from the dinosaurs mouth, and burns some buildings and kills some people.

"Gojira" returns to the Sea of Japan as stunned people on the hill look on.

International experts are consulted and the "Japanese Defense Force" builds a 98-foot-tall, 50,000-volt electrical fence along the coast that "Gojira" would have to go through. According to the experts should "Gojira" attempt to enter, the switch will be thrown and he will be electrocuted. At the same time the Navy is heavily deployed within the Sea of Japan and is patrolling Tokyo Bay. 

All creating a bad time for "Ogata" and "Emiko" to raise the question of their marriage to her father. Who still believes there is still an opportunity to study the creature, but the young salvage ship captain doesn't agree with his future father-in-law and supports the actions being taken against "Gojira" by the government.

"Emiko's" father retires to his study and she enters and listens, as the paleontologist reflects upon the need to study "Gojira" and find out how he survived.

"Emiko" turns off the light, leaving her father with his thoughts.

"Gojira" attacks Tokyo once more, but with a vengeance.

The electrical fence doesn't stop his nuclear breath. As now, Tokyo becomes the allegorical Hiroshima, to "Gojira's" allegorical hydrogen bomb.

Nothing stops "Gojira" and after he has disappeared below the waves of Tokyo Bay. The hospitals overflow with the injured and dying. It is at this point that "Emiko" makes the decision that will save Japan and tells "Ogata" about what she saw that day at "Dr. Serizawa's".

"Daisuke" dropped the white pellet into the fish tank, the water started to boil, next in an instant all the flesh was removed from the fish, leaving floating skeletons.

The two go to convince "Serizawa" to use his "Oxygen Destroyer" to destroy "Gojira", but "Daisuke" refuses and is angry that "Emiko" violated his confidence by telling "Hideto" about it, after promising to keep his discovery secret.

"Dr. Daisuke Serizawa" now mentions the thing that is weighing down upon him. He was looking for a way to increase oxygen and its uses, but instead created a destroyer of oxygen. His fear of other nations getting his discovery and turning it into a weapon is behind his refusal of revealing it. 

An argument between "Ogata" and "Serizawa" turns into a fight and "Hideto" is injured. "Daisuke" apologizes and starts to collect his papers on the "Oxygen Destroyer" as "Emiko" tends to the man, "Serizawa" realizes she loves.

On "Dr. Serizawa's" television, pictures of the destruction by "Gojira" are being shown, and then a young girl's chorus sings a prayer for Japan.

What he is seeing gets through to "Serizawa", he burns all his notes on how to make the "Oxygen Destroyer", and the three leave. On board a Navy ship "Serizawa" and "Ogata" prepare to dive into Tokyo Bay and destroy "Gojira".

Both men put on heavy deep sea diving suits and with the "Oxygen Destroyer" descend into the sea. They locate "Gojira" and the devise is deployed as their ascent begins, but "Serizawa" tells "Ogata" he wishes him and "Emiko" happiness and cuts his own airline.

"Ogata" makes it up safely, but because of "Dr. Serizawa's" fear of his discovery being turned into a weapon. He sacrifices his life to keep his secret from ever being recreated.

The film ends with "Emiko" looking into the sea.

Herbert George Wells wrote "The World Set Free" as a warning the even a scientific discovery for good, may have a dark side. Julius Robert Oppenheimer had to go to that dark side to end a war in the name of peace, but "Gojira" reminds a reminder of the unforeseen consequences.

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