Like Prometheus, Robert Oppenheimer gave divine fire to mortals only to be mercilessly punished for it. The father of the atomic bomb, the acclaimed hero in World War II after having defeated the Japanese colossus with a nuclear fission blow, suffered a real Via Crucis in the 1950s at the expense of the same government that had exalted him. On paper, McCarthyism lashed out at him for his communist past; swept under the rug, the reason was murkier. «It was a farce, a jerk trial in which he was personally and professionally humiliated. They sentenced him to get him out of the way for having called the control of atomic weapons ». The one speaking on the other side of the screen is the columnist and researcher Kai Bird; he does it from the United States, his homeland, and sure of the accusations he makes against the process that the fission genius had to face. That was a comic opera, and he refuses to get out of the argument no matter how many cross-examinations there are. His conviction cannot be criticized, since both he and his colleague, the historian Martin J. Sherwin -died in 2021-, produced in 2006 the definitive biography of the father of the atomic bomb; an essay that arrives in Spain for the first time under the title ‘American Prometheus. The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer ‘ (Debate) and who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize fifteen years ago. Bird takes no prisoners, but neither his character nor the seriousness of his subject prevent his face from changing when he hears one of the first questions: “What do you think of historians who write his works in a year?” . The astonishment turns into laughter, since they scrutinized the archives for a quarter of a century to link his essay: «I can’t imagine it. I have published six biographies and one memoir, and my average has been five years per book. The unprecedented costs, but it is also valued. The documents and the hundreds of relatives and friends of Oppenheimer whom the couple interviewed have become Christopher Nolan’s workhorse. “The ‘Oppenheimer’ movie is based on the book, and I can only say that it will be spectacular,” he confirms. We touch wood. Standard Related News No The USSR’s brutal hunt against the father of nuclear fusion: “Russia is a giant concentration camp” Israel Viana Andrei Sakharov contributed to the development of this technique and the construction of the first hydrogen bomb in 1953, but later he denied its military use and confronted the Soviet Union for it. But every good story has a beginning, and Oppenheimer’s was in the USA in 1904. The myth has presented him to us as a boy who loved science and letters; a prodigious student whose biggest flaw was the depressive attacks that followed him throughout his life. Bird agrees in part: “He Solo was a sensitive man of contrasts. He was specialized in physics, but he loved French poetry, reading Hemingway novels and studying Sanskrit ». The problem is that some historians, those who dedicate little to writing his books, have failed to see that he became a stable adult with a passion for his work despite suffering a strong emotional crisis in his youth. Of a hero Clearer are his dalliances with communism in the heat of one of his great loves: Jean Tatlock. But his with this ideology was nothing more than a flash courtship that was nothing strange among the young liberals who were supporters of the policies promoted by the New Deal. “He gave money to the party, attended demonstrations against segregation in public swimming pools, got an ambulance sent to the Spanish Republic… But he was not a red, he was, at best, a pink”, he adds . American Prometheus Editorial Debate Price 29.90 Years later he began to do well. Oppy, as his friends called him, married Kitty and became one of the leading experts in theoretical physics in the country. Thus, until the arrival of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Oppenheimer, already 39 years old, then ascended to the Olympus of scientists when he was selected to direct the Manhattan Project, the design of the atomic bomb that was to end Japan. Or so we have been told. “The tragedy is that he created it to get ahead of the Nazis, but it was not launched against them,” Bird reveals. Serious, and after a usual sip of coffee when he plunges into thorny issues, the author presents an argument that he knows is controversial: «Martin and I maintain that the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a show of force. Japan wanted to surrender for months and only a few fringes were pending. Despite this, the general idea is that the bombings pushed the Emperor to his knee. The story could have ended here. Happy ending and that of eating partridges. A villain But his natural sensitivity cost him his professional life. The most celebrated scientist on the planet, whose face had appeared in Time and Life magazines, met with Truman and was candid about his feelings: “Mr. President, my hands are stained with blood.” He couldn’t bear it; memories of him haunted him. “His personal secretary of his, whom we interviewed, confirmed that she lamented over and over again for the death of ‘those poor people,'” Bird completes. After understanding the barbarism that had been unleashed in Japan, he began a public campaign to promote control of the atomic bombs and gave a series of lectures throughout Europe against them. «It is a weapon for aggressors. Its elements of terror are intrinsic », he repeated. The last straw was his frontal criticism of the creation of the hydrogen bomb, the cure-all with which Truman intended to keep the Soviet Union at bay. That was too much for the White House and for its prey dogs, J. Edgar Hoover -FBI director- and Lewis Strauss -chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission-. “There was a conspiracy to sink him,” explains the author. And, incidentally, he drinks a sip of coffee… Something big is coming: “They persecuted him, branded him a spy because of his communist political past and argued that his security pass had to be taken away.” J. Robert Oppenheimer and John von Neumann in 1952 ABC The figurehead of the accusation was a report of more than 8,000 pages that, since 1940, the North American secret police had prepared against him through illegal wiretapping and hat and newspaper monitoring. The process against Oppenheimer began in April 1954. “I can’t believe what is happening to me,” the scientist lamented. But it was real. For three and a half weeks, he had to put up with unscrupulous prosecutors branding him a “threat to national security.” In total, up to 34 absurd charges were listed that were intended to kill him without fuss. According to Bird, he even endured stoically how they revealed in front of his wife that he had had several sexual encounters with Tatlock after they were married: «There was a personal and professional humiliation; a premeditated witch hunt. His closest friends advised him to leave, but his response was sincere: “Fuck, I love this country!” In the end, he experienced what the entire nation expected: he was declared a threat, his privileges were stripped of him, and he was marked forever. MORE INFORMATION The mystery behind the secret underground city built by the USSR against the nuclear debacle The mystery of the atomic bomb that Nazi scientists wanted to make “Franco tried to create the atomic bomb with the help of Nazi scientists” His last great trip was at Virgin Islands, fed up with the world, fed up with injustices. And so he spent his days until he died in 1967. In the end he did not do badly. Several politically influential friends reinstated him, and Kennedy presented him with a $50,000 prize. But, for him, the damage was already done. And for society in general, too, since he ushered in fear of an era of subservient scientists. Bird knows this well: «Society has reacted and does not trust the experts. There is more to see the criticism of vaccines. It is a pity”.