Leona Marshall Libby

I have no regrets. I think we did right, and we couldn’t have done differently. …
when you are in a war, to the death, I don’t think you stand around and ask, “Is it right?”

Leona Marshall LibbyHiroshima-Pic-07HiroshimaAtomicBomb


Leona Marshall Libby was an American physicist who helped build the first nuclear reactor and the first atomic bomb.

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1 Response to Leona Marshall Libby

  1. shinichi says:

    WorkingOnTheBombWorking on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford

    by S. L. Sanger, Craig Wollner

    (1995)

    Asked many years later about how she felt about her involvement in the Manhattan Project, Leona Marshall Libby said:

    I think everyone was terrified that we were wrong (in our way of developing the bomb) and the Germans were ahead of us. That was a persistent and ever-present fear, fed, of course, by the fact that our leaders knew those people in Germany. They went to school with them. Our leaders were terrified, and that terror fed to us. If the Germans had got it before we did, I don’t know what would have happened to the world. Something different. Germany led in the field of physics. In every respect, at the time war set in, when Hitler lowered the boom. It was a very frightening time.

    I certainly do recall how I felt when the atomic bombs were used. My brother-in-law was captain of the first minesweeper scheduled into Sasebo Harbor. My brother was a Marine, with a flame thrower on Okinawa. I’m sure these people would not have lasted in an invasion. It was pretty clear the war would continue, with half a million of our fighting men dead not to say how many Japanese. You know and I know that General (Curtis) LeMay firebombed Tokyo and nobody even mentions the slaughter that happened then. They think Nagasaki and Hiroshima were something compared to the firebombing.

    THEY’RE WRONG!

    I have no regrets. I think we did right, and we couldn’t have done it differently. Yeah. I know it has been suggested the second bomb, Nagasaki, was not necessary. The guys who cry on shoulders, when you are in a war, to the death, I don’t think you stand around and ask, “Is it right?”

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