THE ATOM: The Road Beyond Elugelab

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Who was tragically, wildly wrong? Eisenhower and Dulles? Or last week's hand-wringers?

The answer—important for all men alive—lay not in the H-bomb alone, but in the whole world picture of which the bomb is a part.

The nature of Communism was fixed before any atomic bomb was made. Out of that nature came acts of Communist aggression that are facts of the world picture—facts as hard, as definite, as explosive as any bomb. The Communists conducted their experiments in aggression not on remote Pacific Ocean atolls but upon populous lands where anciently established peoples were trying to live their lives in freedom. Not tuna, but men and women by the millions, were deliberately killed or contaminated by terror in the Communist experimental aggressions in Estonia, Poland, Greece, China, Malaya, Indo-China. These explosive experiments have already cost the world the price—in lives and in dollars—of many large cities, perhaps of more cities than bombs will ever destroy. And there is no sign that the Communist experiments in aggression will stop of their own accord at any point short of world domination.

Winston Churchill believed, and forcefully said at Fulton, Mo. in 1946, that only the U.S. atomic-bomb superiority deterred the Communists from much larger aggressions. This Churchill doctrine became the basic conviction underlying the policy of the non-Communist world. The Communists supplied further evidence of its truth by a series of aggressions which in their calculations were not quite large enough to invite atomic retaliation. They backed away from their grabs at Berlin and Greece (both of which they could have taken by Red land forces), but they managed to localize the free world's resistance to their aggressions in China, Korea, Malaya and Indo-China.

The Dulles policy of possible "massive retaliation" was developed as an extension of the Churchill-Truman policy, as an answer to the Communist success in evading effective punishment for piecemeal aggression.

Agonizing Premises. While the atom was playing this passive, but partially preservative, role on the world scene, a crisis arose among the Americans responsible for top decisions of atomic production. The story of that crisis contains in embryo all the doubts, all the controversy that now turn around the public disclosures of the new bomb's power. And that story also contains the record of the quiet, courageous decisions that a few men had to make alone, that millions are now asked to accept on the same agonizing and inescapable premises.

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