The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Nuclear Destruction (#atozchallenge)





Some of us love Manhattan for all that it is while other evil minds think about the destruction they could wreak upon this great city.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 44th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Nuclear Destruction

           In January when I asked the question What Does Manhattan Say to You?,  Dezmond from Hollywood Spy commented: 
 "...the first thing that fell upon my mind is that new TV series MANHATTAN :) on building the first atomic bomb in USA :("

         Since my title for my 2016 A to Z theme is The Manhattan Project, the development of the atomic bomb probably came to many minds when they read it.   After all "The Manhattan Project" was the code name for the research and development of nuclear weapons from 1942 to 1946.   Spurred by the research efforts of Nazi Germany, the United States fervently worked to be the first to harness the power of the atom to be used as a weapon.   As we know from history, the U.S. succeeded in not only building the weapon, but being the first to actually use it in warfare with devastating results.

         The debate continues as to whether using the bomb was a necessity to end the war with Japan or that country merely became the laboratory for testing the frightening new bomb.  The Pandora's box of nuclear destruction had been opened and the world has been on the brink of annihilation ever since.  The stalemate continues as more countries strive for ownership of their own nuclear weapons. And to think the project got it's name from the office in Manhattan where the plans were drawn up to organize the strategy to build the bomb.  Later the actual research and construction of the bombs were done elsewhere in facilities throughout the United States.
  1.      Sharon Himsl at Shells Tales and Sails related the following:
  1. Interesting theme choice. I actually live near the site of the Manhattan Project. But of course it means more too!
  1.       I'm guessing that Sharon's near the Hanford, Washington area where part of the work was done.  This location was chosen due to its distance from major population areas.  The government realized that what they were dealing with was a dangerously destructive power--far too risky to be developed near large population centers.  Where I used to live in East Tennessee is where the project of building the bomb first started.  Oak Ridge still has a large nuclear research facility along with a very fine museum on the subject.  
  2.         The bombs were built and not long after the first testing was done in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the bombs were put to actual use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   Never again say some, but will this be the case?   And when (I think "when" not "if" is a probable outlook) the next bomb is detonated, where will that be?   Manhattan?  We can only hope not, but the city is likely in the mind's eye of more than one evil force in the world.   After all, we have already seen the attacks on the city by terrorists in recent decades.   
  3. Manhattan:  Target of Destruction
        Alex J. Cavanaugh ruminated on all of the destruction that Manhattan has faced in movies and so many other genres of fiction.  He pointed out,   "It does seem a ton of films have been set there. New York has been destroyed by flooding, Godzilla, aliens..."  It's so true and yet the reasons are so obvious.  That inner apocalyptic mindset within each of us--that darker side where dystopia is the order of the future--our imagination driven by fears as the shadow mind glimpsing the horror of absolute destruction takes us to the visions of apocalypse that few of us would ever want to actually experience.

        Realistically we can't help but acknowledge that there are evil forces that would like to see a massive city like Manhattan decimated into dust, concrete chunks, and the residue of vaporized human beings.  Fear mixed with a morbid fascination stirs nightmarish visions of total unequivocal destruction from which no life could rise for centuries or even millennia. 

        As creative artists and thinkers, our imaginations conceive the worst along with the best and most beautiful.   It's completely unlikely that Manhattan will ever be directly hit by a giant meteorite or leveled by a tsunami.   It's also improbable that a nuclear warhead will ever target the city.  However we can't discount the possibility that a dirty bomb might be one day exploded in the city causing a mass evacuation that could leave Manhattan abandoned for perhaps decades or even centuries.

        Likewise the idea of the city falling under the attack of prehistoric creatures or a giant gorilla makes for entertaining fantasy, but we can't dismiss the concept of a plague that could infect millions.  Or what about economic collapse or failure of the power grid or other aspects of the infrastructure that could send the city into turmoil and panic in the streets.

         Let's hope none of these horrors ever visit Manhattan or any great city for that matter, but the ideas will fuel fictional scenarios for writers of science fiction and speculative literature for years to come.   We don't want anything bad to happen to America's great city, but we can't help but imagine the worst sometimes.

         Have you visited any of the sites related to the Manhattan Project?    What do you think is the most feasible scenario of disaster in Manhattan?   What is your favorite disaster film that takes place in Manhattan?

44 comments:

  1. WOW lee, that is a very serious problem and post today, I hope they don't go ahead with their plans for the sake of the world.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I guess there will always be the bad guys who want to destroy someone else. It's sad, but it's the way it's always been.

      Lee

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  2. I don't like disaster films at all. I used to live in Washington and Hanford is still a nuclear dumping ground. These days I worry more about North Korea than any other nation getting ahold of those bombs. As for WW2, it was definitely extreme, but the Japanese military was unstoppable.

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    1. JoJo, the rogue nations and groups like North Korea and ISIS are real reasons for concern. They have little to lose with such an attack on a larger power and we'd probably help rebuild them if we did retaliate. The Japanese in WW2 was a force to be reckoned with and the big bombs pretty well finished things off.

      Lee

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  3. I doubt that the discussion about the use of the A Bomb in Japan will ever cease. I just hope the memory of that destruction will be enough to prevent the sane among us from instigating more of the same or worse devastation. I'm blogging about Cuba, and one of my posts is about the Missile Crisis, so I'm thinking about this topic a lot.

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    1. C.Lee, any of us who lived during the Cuban Missile Crisis will remember the tension. I was just a kid, but I was still very aware of what could happen.

      Lee

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  4. Thought provoking post, Arlee. I do love disaster movies but hate disaster realities. There is never a good ending in reality. Thank you for such a detailed and thoughtful post.

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    1. Nicola, disaster movies are escapist diversions, but no one would likely want to actually experience such horror.

      Lee

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  5. I suppose there is something deeply psychological about disaster films--much as little kids love monsters. We pretend to look it in the face because the reality would be too terrifying.

    #AtoZchallenge
    Meet My Imaginary Friends

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    1. Kathleen, I'm sure studies have been done about why we tend to enjoy or at least be curious about disaster and horror fiction. We are morbidly inquisitive about such things I guess.

      Lee

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  6. Lets hope none of those Doomsday scenarios become realities. The events of 9/11 were frightening enough! Although I'm not a huge fan of disaster films, I thought "Escape from New York" and "Independence Day" weren't bad.

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    1. Debbie, I'm a big fan of disaster films and the effects that go with them. That doesn't mean I'd like to be in a similar disaster, but we sometimes wonder what it's like to been in such an event. I prefer a nice uneventful life.

      Lee

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  7. As far as New York City disasters, 9/11 was horrifying enough...

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    1. Alex, 9/11 was very bad, but I fear that we might eventually see worse. I just think Revelations for one thing.

      Lee

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  8. I think the first bonbon Hiroshima may have been necessary since the Japanese government was not going to surrender because it really is not part of their psyche but the 2nd one ...not sure if that was needed. I have never visited any area close to the project. NYC will be one of the first hit by some bombs since that is evident by 9/11. I have to go with the original Planet of the Apes because it was just so shocking to see the Statue of Liberty there...a total surprise.

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    1. Birgit, I've heard different takes on whether or not either bomb should have been used, but it's always easier to analyze things like this after the fact. The war stopped and that was the main thing. Let's hope we don't see a scenario like in Planet of the Apes but then again we won't be around to know if it happens will we. Well that is as long as we aren't around if a nuclear attack happens.

      Lee

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  9. I lived on Long Island right off Manhattan but that was after the project. Never heard of it until I was an adult living in Ohio. I have been through Alamogordo, NM on a road trip. Now that I know a little Spanish, the name means fat alamo. Ha!

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    1. Em, I never knew how Manhattan Project got its name until my research for this post. But it makes sense. We usually played Alamogordo on our theater tours, but I never went to the bomb site or anything related to it. Not that I remember at least. We did go to White Sands though and that was pretty cool.

      Lee

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  10. I hate to think of a nuclear bomb hitting anywhere in this country and especially Manhattan. What scares me is the destruction of the power-grid. The Niagara Power Plant would be another destination for destruction as it powers a majority of the state.
    Scary prospects indeed.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, The problem with the power grid sounds like it could set the U.S. back for years. I'd hate to be without power for long--actually not at all.

      Lee

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  11. I have never been to any of the places attached to the Manhattan Project. My sister-in-law and her husband lived in Oak Ridge, TN, for awhile back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. David and I grew up in South Carolina, the nuclear dumping ground of the country being in Barnwell, SC.

    I don't particularly like disaster movies, so can't name a favorite.

    I would think a disaster of the financial variety would be the most likely, but I don't discount another instance of the likes of 9-11. I wish we lived in a world where that wasn't a concern.

    The photo of the nuclear explosion at the top of your post brought back memories for me. Two weeks before my father-in-law died from a dissecting (sp) aortic aneurysm, I had a dream. I was driving down a country road with my husband and infant son and off in the distance I saw the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. It was just like in your picture up there. It was an extremely upsetting dream. I couldn't figure out what it mean, what prompted it. Two weeks later its meaning became clear to me. His heart exploded and life as we knew it was destroyed before our eyes.

    Thank you for a very interesting post and the possible prompter for one of my own. Have a blessed weekend!

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    1. Suzanne, strange dream story. I've had similar dreams but never made connections like you did. You're probably right about the financial disaster. Fearfully, I sense one coming.

      Lee

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    2. So do I. Hopefully we're both wrong.

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  12. Independence Day was riveting. Scenarios of nuclear attacks - or domestic disasters like meltdowns, etc. are terrifying. I wish mankind had never ever conceived such a thing.

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    1. Diedre, any disaster can be frightening to contemplate.

      Lee

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  13. Disaster films aren't really my cup of tea.

    https://ficklemillennial.wordpress.com/

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  14. Hi Arlee, wow, what a scary post. In fact, I grew up in NM, and while I have not visited Trinity site, (and I think you can, now, but only once a year or something like that), I have visited the Bradbury Science museum in Los Alamos, where much of the research for the Manhattan Project took place. One of my college writing profs was one of the marines who witnessed the test detonation of a nuclear weapon in Nevada desert in the 50's. He wrote a poem about this experience, and I can say that hearing him read this when I was in college was an experience I will never forget.

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    1. Jet, to have witnessed those early tests must have been awesome in an almost scary way.

      Lee

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  15. Arlee!! A thought provoking post on how inhumane activities can destroy the world and its citizens. You must have heard how chemical substances destroyed Bhopal a city in India. The biggest gas tragedy where the common people suffered lost in terms of property and health.

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    1. Vishal, I recall the Monsanto disaster in India and have heard of some others. Most we probably don't hear much about in the U.S.

      Lee

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  16. My take on the prompt:

    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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  17. I remember watching The Day After in US History class in middle school. I had nightmares about nuclear bombs for the next few years. I am not easily scared, as I watched the Exorcist by myself in the dark at age 10. But nuclear war is a real threat and there are a bunch of crazy people out there in the world who are power hungry or fanatics...and that is truly scary.

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    1. D.A., I was obsessed with atomic destruction movies when I was a kid during the early 60's. I guess I became desensitized to the fear and became more curious. The Day After was an excellent depiction. I liked it so well that I bought the DVD after it came out.

      Lee

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  18. I'm not a conspiracy theory nut, nor do I sit around waiting for doomsday, but I'm a realist and I'm not willing to dismiss the idea of it happening. I think it's a very real possibility and I think there are a great number of deranged people and people with vendettas who would love to bring down the great city of New York. I love disaster movies, but your thought provoking post is making me see the potential for reality. I just pray it never happens. 911 was horrific enough and it's taken so long for so many people to recover. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.
    Melissa Sugar @
    Melissa Sugar Writes

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    1. Melissa, the destruction of a major city like New York is a terrifying thought. The impact on economy, health, environment, and psyche would touch the entire world. And in such a scenario involving governments and armies, it's likely that not just one city would be attacked.

      Lee

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  19. The possibility of dystopian-type travesty hitting anywhere in America is looking very real lately. What with all the terrorism, both foreign and domestic. Who knows where the "end of the world" technology will explode, but it will effect the entire world, not just ground zero. Hard to think about, not such a stretch of the mind.

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    1. Dolorah, the possibilities are very real and it's a bit frightening. But life must go on--that is until it ends.

      Lee

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  20. You've raised some interesting points. I don't like disaster films much and specially ones set in iconic cities like Manhattan. But I loved reading your excellent post.

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    1. Kalpanaa, thank you! Glad you stopped by to let me know.

      Lee

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  21. It would certainly be awful if another nuclear bomb were detonated anywhere else in the world. If that were to happen, retaliation shots would be called for and before you know we, we are all sitting in ruins and destruction. Even the winner of the war. And truly, would anyone be a winner?

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    1. Jeffrey, no one wins in such a scenario, but it could happen.

      Lee

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  22. I've been to White Sands but nothing else. I don't even like to think about it. Scary stuff...

    Relating to the destruction of Manhattan, I really liked Cloverfield.

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    1. Pat, White Sands is a fun place to go. My kids loved sliding down the dunes.

      I'd forgotten about Cloverfield as a Manhattan film. I liked it too.

      Lee

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