I found this transcript in my research, interesting to read a physicist's first hand account of having lost his illusion that America would be different. It is this kind of realization that Modernism and the Enlightenment failed that is the birthpangs of postmodernism. Science did not create a utopia, it created the ability for more destruction amongst humanity.
Copyright, August 15, 1960, U.S. News & World Report.
President Truman Did Not Understand
Dr. Leo Szilard, 62, is a Hungarian-born physicist who helped persuade President Roosevelt to launch the A-bomb project and who had a major share in it. In 1945, however, he was a key figure among the scientists opposing use of the bomb.
Q Would most other nations, including Russia, have done the same thing we did, confronted with the same opportunity to use the bomb?
A Look, answering this question would be pure speculation. I can say this, however: By and large, governments are guided by considerations of expediency rather than by moral considerations. And this, I think, is a universal law of how governments act.
Prior to the war I had the illusion that up to a point the American Government was different. This illusion was gone after Hiroshima.
Perhaps you remember that in 1939 President Roosevelt warned the belligerents against using bombs against the inhabited cities, and this I thought was perfectly fitting and natural.
Then, during the war, without any explanation, we began to use incendiary bombs against the cities of Japan. This was disturbing to me and it was disturbing many of my friends.
Q Was that the end of the illusion?
A Yes, this was the end of the illusion. But, you see, there was still a difference between using incendiary bombs and using the new force of nature for purposes of destruction. There was still a further step taken here - atomic energy was something new.
I thought it would be very bad to set a precedent for using atomic energy for purposes of destruction. And I think that having done so we have greatly affected the postwar history.