Unexpectedly, the atomic age was just like home. True, home had been transported to the side of a volcano. But the old familiar faces were there, the old mottoes hung from the walls, and in the evening on the porch everybody aired the same old prejudices, and called the smoke and lava to witness for his side.
Hiroshima changed a lot of thingsbasically, irreversibly. But man's ways of thought or thoughtlessness were not easily changed. Hundreds of statements began: "The atomic bomb proves. . . ."; or "In the atomic age we must. . . ."; or "The atom has settled the issue between. . . ." The rest of the sentence usually turned out to be what the speaker had believed long before there was an atomic bomb.
Before & After. General Marshall used the atomic bomb as an argument that future national defense would require large ground forces. General Arnold pointed out that the first bomb had been delivered by air. Admiral Nimitz said: "The atom bomb has given new importance to sea power."
A group of thoughtful U.S. citizens met at Dublin, N.H. to re-examine the United Nations Charter in the atom's cosmic light. A U.S. official in London, noting that the Dublin thinkers were all internationalist from way back, commented dryly that they probably would have called for a reinforced world state, atom or no.
The isolationist Chicago Tribune characteristically said: "We must make very sure that we have the most atom bombs and the best airplanes in which to fly them." Representative Rankin was of like mind: "Let us keep the strongest air force on earth as well as the strongest Navy; then, if the international conference does collapse because of Communistic pressure from the other side, then let us look after America."
Atomic power, in short, was new, energized, vitaminized oats for every old hobby.
All in the Neck. In Fruita, Colo., an illustrative marvel took place. A farmer chopped off the head of a rooster named Mike. He missed Mike's jugular vein and a lump of tissue at the top of his neck that controlled Mike's motor impulses.
Last week, a month later, Mike was still running around, with no head. He was fed, he flapped his wings, he even tried to crow.
Human society, like Mike, was getting by on its reflexes.