During lockdown I’ve been listening to the BBC World Service’s seven part podcast series on the rapid development and first use of the atomic bomb by the US in the Second World War.
The Bomb is narrated by Emily Strasser whose grandfather worked on the project team as she seeks to understand why he contributed to production of the weapon. The story follows events through the eyes of Leo Szilard, one of the first to realise the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction and the terrifying opportunity for destruction, especially if the Nazis make the atom bomb first.
Through the history of the bomb, the podcast explores the ethical relationship between the scientists, their work and those who would use their discoveries as weapons, which remains as relevant today as it did 75 years ago.
There are some interesting factoids in there too. I didn’t know that the Purple Heart medals awarded today were originally manufactured in WWII in preparation for the expected casualties from a US invasion of Japan. As Japan surrendered after the dropping of the two bombs, there was a large surplus of medals left over and these continue to be presented today to those wounded in battle.
Give The Bomb some space in your podcast queue.