In a surprising revelation, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had reportedly extended an offer of Indian citizenship to Julius Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned physicist known as the father of the atomic bomb, following his humiliation in 1954 due to his stance against nuclear weapons.
This revelation comes from Kai Bird, co-author of the book that served as the inspiration for Christopher Nolan's film latest film, Oppenheimer.
Bird stated that Oppenheimer, being a deeply patriotic American, did not seriously consider the offer from Nehru.
According to Bird, Oppenheimer faced a significant downfall nine years after being hailed as America's greatest scientist. He was subjected to what Bird describes as a "terrible kangaroo court" and had his security clearance revoked in a virtual security hearing.
Bird attributes this to McCarthyism, a period when government employees were publicly accused of disloyalty and prosecuted using questionable methods, as the US government sought to counter communism.
In a stunning exploration of history, Christopher Nolan's upcoming film "Oppenheimer" delves into the life and experiences of the renowned physicist. The movie draws inspiration from the trials and triumphs of Julius Robert Oppenheimer, shedding light on the significant events that shaped his legacy.
Oppenheimer, who had Jewish ancestry but was not a practicing Jew, was deeply concerned about the rise of Fascism. He even donated money to help rescue Jewish refugees from Germany.
His fear stemmed from the belief that German physicists might provide Hitler with an atomic bomb, which could potentially lead to a victory for fascism worldwide. Thus, Oppenheimer believed that developing the atomic bomb was necessary to prevent such a devastating outcome.
In August 1945, Oppenheimer had mixed emotions regarding the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By that time, Germany had already been defeated, and some scientists questioned the need to continue building such a destructive weapon.
They wondered why they were putting in so much effort when they knew the Germans were defeated and Hitler was dead, and it seemed highly unlikely that the Japanese had a bomb project of their own.
Oppenheimer was deeply troubled and felt immense empathy for the victims of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After reading accounts of the horrific events, where tens of thousands of people were instantly burned to death, he fell into a profound depression.
He eventually recovered and soon began to speak out against the use of such destructive weapons.
In October 1954, Oppenheimer delivered a speech denouncing these weapons as tools of aggression rather than defense. He emphasized that they were weapons of terror, and highlighted that they were used against an enemy that was already on the verge of defeat.
Oppenheimer's statement, made just three months after the devastating events in Hiroshima, was remarkable. He had learned from conversations with individuals in Washington that the Japanese were actually very close to surrendering. This realization led him to spend the rest of his life advocating for the establishment of an international arms control regime.
Oppenheimer developed a deep interest in Hindu philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita. He sought out the guidance of Arthur Ryder, the sole Sanskrit scholar at Berkeley University, to learn the language and read the Gita in its original form.
This fascination with Hindu philosophy became a significant part of Oppenheimer's life.
According to Bird, Oppenheimer became interested in the Gita due to its connection to cosmic order and philosophical ideas that align with quantum concepts about the nature of the world.
The famous line he used to describe his reaction to witnessing the Trinity explosion, "I am death, destroyer of the world," may have a more accurate translation as "I am Time, destroyer of worlds" according to some Sanskrit scholars.
As a quantum physicist, Oppenheimer sought to understand time and space, which are themes addressed in the Gita.
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