Found this at Esquire.com. An interview with Edward Teller: The father of the Hydrogen Bomb!
Thought it would make interesting reading to most … 😉
What I’ve Learned: Edward Teller (1908 – 2003)
Interviewed by Daniel Voll
ESQUIRE: January 2002, Volume 137, Issue 1
Photograph by Larry Sultan
I’m proud to be called the father of the H-bomb. It was necessary.
If not for me, the H-bomb would have been developed in Russia first. In the U. S., we would now be speaking Russian.
That I spent my life working on weapons, I have not the least regret. I succeeded. I believe that by building the H-bomb, I contributed to winning the cold war without bloodshed. I am not overly modest.
We now have more than enough nuclear weapons.
As a human being, I was sorry for September 11. As a political person, I thought, Thank God that they killed six thousand people rather than the president.
Anything connected to war is wrong in some people’s opinion. But there is a Latin statement: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.
What makes me angry is danger. When I see something coming and I don’t know what to do about it, that makes me angry.
In wartime, things are permitted that otherwise are not permitted.
I was at the first New Mexico test on 16 July. I was twenty miles away, lying down in the sand with my face turned illegally toward the bomb. I put some suntan lotion on my face and very dark glasses. A spot lit up in the distance. The luminous region spread, more sideways than upwards, and then began to rise, and within a minute it reached the atmosphere—with some imagination you could claim it looked like a question mark—and then the bang arrived half a minute after the explosion. About twenty of us were there on the sand. This was at 6:00 a.m. When I got home, I went back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t allowed to tell my wife, and I didn’t. She told me what she’d heard on the news—that an ammunition barn had blown up and nobody was hurt. She knew, I guess, and I knew, but we never told each other.
Oppenheimer was against the hydrogen bomb. He said we were making the god of destruction. I thought it was absolutely necessary. At the hearing, they pushed me to answer if Oppenheimer was a communist. I said he was a complicated man, and that I did not always understand his actions, and that I felt safer without him being in the loop. I was one of many witnesses. He lost his high-level security clearance thereafter. I did not label him a communist. I certainly did not. That assertion came from others.
I am the opposite of a warmonger. I’ve tried to protect us.
President Kennedy called me to the White House. As he said goodbye, he asked me, “After 1945, for a few years we had an atomic weapon and the Soviets didn’t. Why didn’t we use it?” I found the question scandalous. My answer: I think under no conditions should we use atomic weapons first. I said that to the president.
I told Ronald Reagan my idea about a missile defense system. He liked it.
How well will a missile defense system work? I don’t know, but I’m absolutely sure that if we don’t work on it, it won’t work.
The first atomic bombs had about thirty thousand tons of TNT. The bombs we now have stockpiled are ten times bigger, but they could be easily a thousand times bigger. Bigger bombs are not better. The kind of weapon we now have will blow away the atmosphere into outer space. You make the explosion bigger, you blow away the atmosphere quicker.
There is nothing called nuclear waste, only nuclear materials that we haven’t found a use for.
Recently I dreamed of Heisenberg. He was my teacher. He is young in my dreams, at the height of his intellectual power. In my dream we were playing Ping-Pong. We used to play every Tuesday night. I beat him. He went off to Japan. When he came back, he could beat me.
Tarzan is the last movie I recall watching. I didn’t see Apocalypse Now. Nor did I see Dr. Strangelove, but I heard that it’s a satire. A character rides a bomb to earth and loves it. I assure you that I would not love it.
Radiation has been overblown by the media.
For a nonbeliever like myself, I’d like to ask the pope: Why didn’t you make your God in the Bible a little more credible? Why did you have to say so literally that God made the world in six days? A vague notion of God would be acceptable to me. Why the devil did He not say, “This world is wonderful, what you see is remarkable, and there are many other remarkable things you have not yet seen. And I’ve done all of them!”
I have regret connected to Hiroshima. We should have dropped the bombs not on Hiroshima but in Tokyo Bay. Ten million Japanese would have seen the blast and nobody would have been hurt. With the Japanese seeing that, we could have ended the war without killing. Or we could have dropped the atomic bomb over Tokyo at an altitude of twenty to thirty thousand feet, at eight o’clock in the evening, so they would have seen it and felt the shock. Hirohito would have seen the bomb and used it to surrender.