Experimental Mayhem

In 1968, the year I wrote Slaughterhouse Five, I finally became grown up enough to write about the bombing of Dresden. It was the largest massacre in European history. I, of course, know about Auschwitz, but a massacre is something that happens suddenly, the killing of a whole lot of people in a very short time. In Dresden, on 1945-02-13, about 135,000 people were killed by British firebombing in one night. It was pure nonsense, pointless destruction. The whole city was burned down and it was a British atrocity, not ours. They sent in night bombers and they came in and set the whole town on fire with a new kind of incendiary bomb. And so everything organic, except my little POW (Prisoner Of War) group, was consumed by fire. It was a military experiment to find out if you could burn down a whole city by scattering incendiaries over it.

~ Kurt Vonnegut (born: 1922-11-11 died: 2007-04-11 at age: 84) A Man without a Country, 2005

I think some atrocities, such a Dresden, can be attributed to a childish desire to play with a new toy.


Nuclear Glitter

I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.

~ Freeman Dyson (born: 1923-12-15 age: 91) The Day After Trinity

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