Q: Tell me what impact the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had on the Soviet
DH: The Soviet project was expanding early in 1945, but it was expanding at a
fairly kind of measured pace. And then in August, 1945, in fact two weeks to
the day after Hiroshima, Stalin signs a decree which turns it into a crash
program. You know, setting up new management bodies for the project, and
essentially laying the basis for a program to build a Soviet bomb as soon as
possible. So speed is now of the essence. And that's what we see immediately
Q: Stalin tells the scientific director of the project Igor Kurchatov that he should conduct
the atomic bomb project on a Russian scale. What does he mean by that?
DH: Yes. [Soviet leader Joseph Stalin] has a meeting with [Igor] Kurchatov.
It's in fact a little bit after Hiroshima, in January of 1946 he calls
Kurchatov in for a kind of pep talk. And he says, "Yes, do this, you know,
give us the bomb, but do it on a Russian scale." And what he means by that is,
"Don't think of the cost. Do it expensively. Don't be penny-pinching about
it. You know, this is a big thing. It's very important. Do it on a -- if you
like, kind of aristocratic way. Don't be too concerned about what it is
costing. Don't try to do it cheaply. This has got to be done. It overrides,
you know, in priorities, so many other things."
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