The nuclear secrets! They held the power in this new nuclear arena now. The balance of powers-bureaucratic were now feeling the effects of nuclear power. Nuclear power had modified and redefined every familiar governmental relationship in which politicians and bureaucrats once freely moved under superior command. Now there would be an end to these slippages hither and thither. Impervious security would now limit and restrict aristocratic demands on every bureaucratic level. Transforming and isolating the bureaucratic relationships as well as every legislated limit of these authorities, a nuclear-empowered military began exercising their newfound strength in the political arenas. Here was an intriguing standoff, one which had been awaited for a long, long time.
Nuclear weaponry marked a new definition in military power. Military concentrated this power to itself. After World War II, military hierarchy began recognizing that technology alone could be the answer to a new warfare. During this time period strange and bold related projects began emerging from research laboratories across the nation. The fear gave way to a hubris of power. To wield the nuclear weapon was a matter of choice now. To use it, to imply its use in mildly threatening gestures, was a liberating pride which went deep into the military heart With military in control of the weaponry, regulation was a mere clattering of words. Because of the Bomb, military ceased considering small theatres of conflict, and suddenly thought of war in global terms only. The vast arsenal used in the former war was now forgotten. The Bomb now literally exploded every possible battle theatre, every wartime scenario out into a huge scale, the scale of a nuclear blast. Here was indeed the power to destroy whole nations in a few strikes. The Bomb marked a sharp division between everything past and all things future. The dividing line was not vague, it was drawn by a nuclear blast in New Mexico. The Nuclear Age.
For military, there was no past. Everything was future. The white blast and the thunderous unhinging of things terrestrial seemed to wipe away all of the past, all of the wars, all of the errors. Now and henceforth, all weaponry had to be nuclear. Discussion of nuclear weaponry was now a routine function of military conversation. New applications of the hideous energy were required. What else could the Bomb do in warfare? Could nuclear weapons be made to any specification? To any size? How big? How small? Could one “shape” and direct the charge? Could other nuclear applications be devised besides those which used fission reactions? Military demands now directed the engineers, who conferred with physicists on a regular basis. Military, academia, and industry worked together.
Up to this time, nuclear weaponry was deployed by Air Force superfortresses. Differing branches of the military began struggling over the weaponry, and then began struggling one against the another. The Army demanded its due, its own nuclear applications. In response, military engineers now began developing a new breed of nuclear weapons systems, tailor made to each of the military branches. At the time, these were simple nuclear analogues of the past arsenals and weaponry: nuclear shells, nuclear cannons, nuclear mines, nuclear torpedoes. Testing in the field began anew. Small or large, few of these were announced. Expansions of nuclear pride followed each upward radioactive plume, as nuclear blasts became a routine experience for local residents upon whom deadly isotopic dust settled with the winds and rains. The military wished the extension of its elite new nuclear force into the international scene. Such extreme power and an extreme sense of postwar victory became a fearful combination for NATO allies who now had no command of the situation. The American Military had no inclination to share its secrets either.
President Truman made it clear that the nuclear secret would remain safely in American hands. US Military was therefore free to unsheathe the flaming sword at any time, letting slip the sheath before allies and enemies alike as often as it wished. There was no argument NATO tried using diplomacy, the magick of words, to twist a pathway into the secret. All to no avail. The problem of nuclear proliferation, at this early phase of the age, was not an American dilemma. The Bomb modified military thought completely. Many military leaders were no longer able to foresee the possibility of small local conflicts, the more conventional and traditional encounters, without invoking “the Bomb”. Battle strategies were each gauged against the diameter of a nuclear bomb. The pride of nuclear weaponry pressured an over inflated philosophy of war, one which eventually proved unrealistic. The meetings were filled with a euphoric laughter, there seeming to be virtually no reason to engage battle studies any longer. The Bomb solved all the problems of war.
The Bomb seemed to provide a neutralization of fear among military leaders. Having the Bomb was imagined to be a magick bullet for all and any world-be enemy assaults. With the threat of war no longer being considered, the nation could sleep without fear. The only lingering fear was fear of the weaponry itself and distrust of those who held it in their possession. With the advent of the Bomb Foreign obstructions against a nation with ultimate earthly power would now be laughable and humorous. Diplomatic interactions would no longer be strenuous and laborious. With the nuclear bomb backing one’s words, international discussions could be terminated whenever desired. Nuclear weaponry replaced every conventional weapon, a new arsenal being required by an ever more powerful military. The military had become an independent agency, distanced so far from every earthly power by virtue of its newfound fearless handling of the ultimate fire.
The enlarging effect on the military mind, brought about by the possession of this single weaponry, absolutely shocked every superior command. The shock threaded its twisting pathway back through the bureaucracy, through the Congress, through the Commander in Chief, and straight through every part of the caste labyrinth leading directly into the aristocratic centers of national control. In the heat of this time period, General MacArthur was publicly brought down for planning the routine tactical use of such weaponry in an impending Asian crisis. This public rebuke, delivered to one so highly esteemed, marked a critical event in our national history. It signals the reemer-gence of control in an arena where, otherwise, there are no control factors.
- CHAPTER 3
- CHAPTER 5