Sometimes a single moment or a single day can crystallize an entire segment of history and today, July 16…back in 1945 was definitely one of those days. On this day in 1945, at just after 5 in the morning, the incredibly expensive, top secret “Manhattan” Project paid off, with history’s first nuclear explosion at the Trinity Site in Alamogordo New Mexico, a 20 Kiloton blast that was heard as far away as El Paso Texas. The Test, and the Bomb was on the mind of New US President Harry Truman, who was at the Potsdam Conference in Germany on that very day, alongside Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, working out the fate of Germany, who had surrendered weeks earlier, and redrawing the map of eastern Europe. On this particular day, Truman didn’t mention the existence of the bomb to Joseph Stalin, but most historians believe Stalin knew about it before Truman did. They’d kept it a secret from Truman until Roosevelt died, so this was new stuff to him. Stalin had better sources of information. Truman did finally make a vague mention of the bomb to Stalin in late July…simply saying that the US had a new weapon of unusual destructive power. History records Stalin had little reaction to the news. The new bomb was about to get a far more demonstrative test than the Trinity Blast, and that was underway also on this day in 1945, as the USS Indianapolis was setting out that very day from San Francisco to Tinian Island with important parts of the “Little Boy” bomb, that was destined to be dropped on Hiroshima in a matter of weeks. Wouldn’t be quite so secret after that. Of course, as you are probably aware, the Indianapolis was sunk after making that top secret delivery, so secret in fact that the navy didn’t know for days that it was even missing. Most of the sailors aboard perished in the sinking or afterwards from exposure, thirst and suicide…and some shark attacks, but Quint’s story in “Jaws” is believed to be a bit exaggerated. Hey it was a movie…about sharks. For better or worse, the second half of the 20th century was invented on this day in 1945.
Album Notes: Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8. “Impending Boom” Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod, Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks. Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine