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        #197: Developing the First Atomic Bombs

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-27-2013

        Members of the experimental staff at North American Aviation, Inc. observing wind tunnel tests on a model of a B-25 plane in 1942
        Members of the experimental staff at North American Aviation, Inc. observing wind tunnel tests on a model of a B-25 plane in 1942

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember

        (MUSIC)

        World War Two ended with an action that was never taken before in the history of warfare, and has never been taken since. It required the efforts of a team of scientists. Working in secrecy, they designed and built the first atomic bombs. President Harry S. Truman made the decision to use these weapons against Japan in August of nineteen forty-five.

        PRESIDENT TRUMAN: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. We shall continue to use it until we destroy Japan's power to make war."

        STEVE EMBER: America's use of atomic weapons brought years of conflict in Europe and the Pacific to an end. But it also marked the beginning of the nuclear age. And it represented, in a dramatic way, the growing importance of science and technology in modern times.

        The second atomic bomb ever used in warfare explodes over the Japanese town of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945
        The second atomic bomb ever used in warfare explodes over the Japanese town of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945

        Interest in science goes back to the earliest days of the nation. President Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were famous not only as political leaders but also as inventors and scientists. President Abraham Lincoln and Congress established the National Academy of Sciences during the Civil War in the eighteen sixties. And in the early nineteen hundreds, the nation created scientific offices to study and improve agriculture, public health, even air travel.

        (SOUND)

        By the start of World War One in nineteen fourteen, the federal government was employing scientists in many areas of work.

        President Woodrow Wilson created the National Research Council to organize the work of scientists and engineers to win the war. However, before World War Two, government support for science was generally limited. The government was willing to pay for research only to meet certain clear goals, such as better weapons or military transport systems.

        (MUSIC)

        World War Two greatly changed the traditionally limited relationship between American scientists and the federal government. In the early years of the war, the German forces of Adolf Hitler showed the world the strength of their new tanks, guns and other weapons.

        President Franklin Roosevelt knew that the United States would need to develop modern weapons of its own if it entered the war.

        For this reason, Roosevelt established a National Defense Research Committee in nineteen forty to support and organize research on weapons.

        The new committee included some of the top scientists in America. Among its members were the presidents of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bell Laboratories. The committee did its work so well that Roosevelt later formed an even more powerful Office of Scientific Research and Development.

        The leader of both groups was Vannevar Bush -- no relation to the future presidents. He had long experience as a professor of electrical engineering and as an inventor. Many scientists knew him.

        Vannevar Bush put together a hard-working team. And in the years that followed, American scientists and engineers developed one invention after another to help the war effort.

        Scientists developed new devices to help the Navy find German submarines. They improved methods for bombers to find their targets. And they developed more powerful rockets to protect American troops when they landed on foreign beaches.

        American scientists and doctors also made great progress in improving the methods of wartime medicine. World War Two may well have been the first war in history in which a wounded soldier was more likely to survive than to die.

        (MUSIC)

        But, in many ways, the most important scientific development of the period was the atomic bomb.

        In nineteen thirty-nine, Albert Einstein wrote President Roosevelt a letter. The scientist told the president that it might soon be possible to build a powerful weapon -- a weapon that would use the power of the atom. And he urged Roosevelt to get American scientists to build the atomic bomb before German scientists could build one.

        Roosevelt agreed. He created a special team of scientists. Their work became known as the Manhattan Project. Roosevelt made sure that these scientists got all the money and supplies they needed.

        Roosevelt died before the scientists could complete their work. But in April nineteen forty-five, the scientists told the new president, Harry Truman, that they were almost ready to test their invention. Just three months later, they exploded the world's first atomic bomb in the desert in the southwestern state of New Mexico.

        (SOUND)

        Truman had to make a difficult decision. He knew the atomic bomb would cause widespread death and suffering if it was used on a Japanese city. But he was willing to do anything to avoid the need for American troops to invade Japan.

        A
        A "Little Boy" atom bomb. This was the kind of bomb used over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

        In Japan, a new prime minister and government were searching for a way to end the war. But Truman believed that the Japanese were still not ready to surrender. And he felt it was his duty to end the war as soon as possible.

        On August sixth, nineteen forty-five, the first atomic bomb fell on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second A-bomb fell on the city of Nagasaki.

        PRESIDENT TRUMAN: "Having found the atomic bomb, we have used it.? We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us."

        STEVE EMBER: President Truman

        PRESIDENT TRUMAN: "It is an awful responsibility which has come to us. We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemy. And we pray that he may guide us to use it in his ways and for his purposes."

        STEVE EMBER: The Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan estimates that between one hundred fifty thousand and two hundred forty-six thousand people died within two to four months of the bombings.

        The bombings left Japan's rulers with no choice. In less than one week, they surrendered.

        President Truman during a news conference in the White House in Washington announcing the Japanese surrender
        President Truman during a news conference in the White House in Washington announcing the Japanese surrender

        PRESIDENT TRUMAN: "I received this afternoon a message from the Japanese government. I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, which specifies the unconditional surrender of Japan.? In the reply there is no qualification.? Arrangements are now being made for the formal signing of the surrender terms at the earliest possible moment. General Douglas MacArthur has been appointed the Supreme Allied Commander to receive the Japanese surrender."

        (MUSIC)

        STEVE EMBER: In this newsreel, we hear General MacArthur accepting the surrender of the Japanese Empire.

        NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: "The Battleship Missouri, fifty-three thousand ton flagship of Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet, becomes the scene of an unforgettable ceremony marking the complete and formal surrender of Japan.? General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander for the occupation of Japan, boards the Missouri.? Fleet Admiral Nimitz, Pacific Fleet Commander, and Admiral Halsey welcome MacArthur and his Chief of Staff General Sutherland aboard.? It is Sunday, September second, nineteen forty-five."

        GENERAL MACARTHUR:" We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues involving divergent ideals and ideologies have been determined on the battlefields of the world and hence are not for our discussion or debate. The terms and conditions upon which surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces is here to be given and accepted are contained in the instrument of surrender now before you. I now invite the representatives of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government and the Japanese Impreial Headquarters to sign the instrument of surrender at the places indicated.

        (MUSIC)

        STEVE EMBER: American scientists and engineers proved that a war could be won with research as well as bullets. And all Americans learned how much could be gained when government agencies, scientists and universities worked together for common goals.

        Roosevelt had understood this long before the war ended. He asked Vannevar Bush to study how the federal government could work with scientists and universities in peacetime.

        Bush offered a number of ideas to President Truman at the end of the war. He told the president that science was important to America's progress and safety. He called on the federal government to support scientific study and education.

        Professor Bush said that the nation's universities should be greatly strengthened. He called for the creation of a new government agency to provide money for science projects.

        Truman and Congress agreed with Vannevar Bush. And in the next few years, American research efforts expanded. In nineteen forty-six, the Office of Naval Research was created to support basic science study in universities. In the same year, the government created the Atomic Energy Commission. And in nineteen fifty, it created the National Science Foundation to provide support to thousands of the nation's best scientists.

        In the years that followed, American science would grow beyond the wildest dreams of Vannevar Bush and other scientists of his time.

        Universities would add thousands of new students along with new laboratories and research centers.

        By the middle of the nineteen sixties, the federal government would spend more than thirteen billion a year for research and development. And five hundred new centers of higher learning would be created. All this investment would help make the United States the world leader in such fields as computer science, genetics and space travel.

        Our program was written by David Jarmul. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This was program #197. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

        人類戰爭史上一次前所未有的行動,給第二次世界大戰劃上了句號,那就是,美國向日本廣島和長崎投擲了原子彈。從此,原子彈再沒用過,其巨大的威懾力就足夠了。

        原子彈的出現要歸功于美國的一群科學家,他們秘密開發研制出了原子彈,美國總統杜魯門1945年8月決定,用原子彈對付日本。杜魯門總統說:"全世界都會知道,第一枚原子彈被投擲到了廣島。我們會繼續使用原子彈,直到徹底摧毀日本的戰斗能力"。

        美國動用原子彈,結束了歐洲和太平洋戰事,同時也標志著核時代的來臨,以一種戲劇化的方式展現了科學技術在現代社會中的重要性。

        早在建國之初,美國人就對科學有著強烈的興趣,美國總統托馬斯.杰弗遜和本杰明.富蘭克林不僅是著名的政治領袖,也是著名的發明家和科學家。美國總統林肯和國會在19世紀60年代內戰期間,專門成立了國家科學院,20世紀初期,美國政府又成立了科研辦公室,研究和改善農業、公共健康,乃至民航的發展。

        1914年第一次世界大戰打響時,美國政府已經雇傭了很多領域的科研人員。威爾遜總統成立了全國研究委員會,負責組織科學家和工程師的工作,設法打贏第一次世界大戰。然而,二戰開始前,美國政府對科研項目的支持總體上說還是相對有限的。政府只愿意給具體的科研項目出資,比如改進武器裝備或是軍事運輸系統等。

        美國聯邦政府和科學界的關系一貫很有限,是二戰顯著改變了這種狀況。二戰初期,希特勒向全世界展示了德國強大的新坦克、大炮和其他武器。美國總統羅斯福知道,美國如果想參戰,就必須開發自己的先進武器。出于這種原因,羅斯福1940年成立了全國防御研究委員會,負責武器研究。

        新的全國防御研究委員會里有當時很多頂尖的科學家,包括哈佛大學和麻省理工學院校長,以及貝爾實驗室負責人。這個委員會工作成績非常顯著,羅斯福后來又成立了更為強大的科研和開發辦公室。

        這兩個科研機構由范內瓦.布什負責。他當過很多年電子工程學教授,本人也是發明家,在科研圈子里知名度很高。范內瓦.布什組建了一個勤奮的團隊,在接下來的歲月里,美國科學家和工程師一個發明接著一個發明, 為戰爭的勝利做出了極大貢獻。

        科學家們研制了新裝置,幫助海軍探測德國潛艇;他們提高了轟炸機鎖定目標的精確度,還開發出威力更大的火箭,更有效地保護在外國搶灘登陸的美軍部隊。

        美國科學家和醫生在戰爭急救方面也取得了長足進展,在人類戰爭史上,二戰是第一場傷員的存活比死亡機會更大的戰爭。

        然而,從很多意義上看,這段時期內最重要的科研成果還是原子彈的誕生。1939年,愛因斯坦寫信給羅斯??偨y。他在信中說,用不了多久,可能就會出現一種使用原子能量的強大武器,他敦促羅斯福,一定要讓美國科學家搶在德國人前面研制出原子彈。

        羅斯福表示同意。他成立了一個特別科研小組,將這一研究項目定名為曼哈頓項目。羅斯福確保這些科學家可以得到需要的一切金錢和物資。遺憾的是,羅斯福沒能等到原子彈的誕生就去世了。1945年4月,科學家通報新總統杜魯門,基本做好了試驗的準備。短短三個月后,他們就在美國西南部新墨西哥州的沙漠地帶試爆了原子彈。杜魯門總統面臨一個艱難的選擇。他知道,如果向日本投擲原子彈,一定會造成大量死亡和痛苦,但是為了避免讓美軍進攻日本,他不惜一切代價。

        當時,日本新首相領導的政府正在尋找結束戰爭的途徑。但是杜魯門認為,日本還沒有做好投降的準備,他覺得,結束這場戰爭是他做為美國總統應盡的責任。

        1945年8月6號,美國向日本廣島投擲了第一枚原子彈,三天后又向長崎投擲了一枚原子彈。美國總統杜魯門宣布:"我們研制出了原子彈,而且已經開始使用,我們會繼續用下去,直到徹底消滅日本的作戰能力,只有日本投降才能讓我們停下來。"

        杜魯門還說,"對我們來說,這是一個可怕的責任,我們感謝上帝,讓這個責任由我們來承擔,而不是我們的敵人,我們也祈求上帝,指引我們,依照他的方式,為了他的目的,去履行這一義務。"

        日本的輻射效應研究基金會估計,美國對廣島和長崎投擲原子彈后的兩到四個月內,大約有15萬到24萬6千人死亡。日本領導人別無選擇,不到一個星期,日本宣布投降。

        美國總統杜魯門說,"我今天下午收到日本政府的回復,我認為他們的回復是對波茨坦聲明的全面接受,波茨坦聲明里具體說明了日本的無條件投降。日本的回復中沒有任何附加說明,我們目前正在具體安排盡早簽署投降書。麥克阿瑟將軍被任命為盟軍最高統帥,接受日本的投降。"

        當時的一份報導說:日本投降儀式,是在海軍上將哈爾西領導的第三艦隊旗艦,排水量5萬3千噸的密蘇里號上舉行的。盟軍最高統帥麥克阿瑟登上密蘇里號,哈爾西將軍和太平洋艦隊指揮官尼米茲將軍一起歡迎麥克阿瑟和他的參謀長薩瑟蘭將軍的到來。這是1945年9月2號,星期天。

        麥克阿瑟將軍說:"今天,主要參戰各方代表聚集在此,簽署一份重要協議,重建和平。不同理念和意識形態帶來的分歧已經在戰場上解決,不需要我們在這里討論或爭辯。日軍投降條款都寫在你們面前的投降協議書里,請日本天皇,日本政府和日軍司令部代表在投降書上簽字"。

        美國科學家和工程師證明,除了子彈外,科學研究也能打贏一場戰爭。所有美國人也認識到,政府部門和科學家、高等院校為共同目標而努力能夠得到巨大收獲。早在戰爭結束前,羅斯??偨y就很清楚地看到了這一點,他要求范內瓦.布什研究一下,聯邦政府如何才能在和平時期跟科研人員和高等院校展開合作。二戰結束時,范內瓦.布什向杜魯門總統提出很多建議。他指出,科學研究對美國的進步和國防安全至關重要,呼吁聯邦政府支持科研教育。

        范內瓦.布什教授認為,應該大力強化美國的大學系統,并建立成立一個新的政府部門,為科研項目提供經費。他的建議得到了杜魯門總統和國會的支持。在接下來的幾年里,美國的科研努力大幅度拓寬,1946年建立了海軍研究辦公室,支持高等院校的基礎科研。同年,聯邦政府還建立了原子能源委員會,1950年,又建立了全國科學基金會,為全國各地數以千計最優秀的科學家提供幫助。

        此后的很多年里,美國科學的發展遠遠超越了范內瓦.布什和他那代科學家的夢想。成千上萬的新生走進大學校園,各大高等院校還增建了新的實驗室和研究中心。到20世紀60年代中期的時候,聯邦政府每年用于科研和開發的經費已經超過130億美元,500個新的高等教育中心拔地而起,這些投資使美國在電腦、遺傳學和太空探索等領域內都走在了世界的前列。

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