Why was Oppenheimer referred to as a "destroyer of worlds"?

Reply Wed 1 Jan, 2020 07:58 am
Hi. I am just curious. J. Robert Oppenheimer is the man credited as inventing, developing and creating the first atomic bomb; he was known as the "father of the atomic bomb." I know the phrase "destroyer of worlds" has been associated with him, but why was he referred to as such?

He's not really a "destroyer of worlds" if he didn't invent, develop and make bombs designed to go off on other planets.

Did Oppenheimer think the bombs he helped to create and develope could has been used in such a fashion at some point?

Please help - thank you.
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Reply Wed 1 Jan, 2020 08:20 am
JGoldman10 wrote:

Did Oppenheimer think the bombs he helped to create and develop could have been used in such a fashion at some point?

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Reply Wed 1 Jan, 2020 08:27 am
He was "associated " with the line because he was supposed to have said it .This is based upon a phrase that Oppenheimer was "supposed" to have uttered upon seeing the Trinity Test Detonation. Oppenheimer was a student of Indian philosophy and religion and he often quoted stuff from the Baghavad Gita.
At the Trinity detonation he DID openly quoteanother Baghvad Gita phrase
that one stated.

"If the of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky it would be like the splendor of the mighty one"...

That line didnt play well with the press so, about 2 years later, Oppenheimer said that he was actually thinking of another line from the Bag.. that quoted Vishnu . This was your line>>>

"NOW I AM BECOME DEATH, THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS"" (Its actually funny because that mini quote is taken from a line in the Bag that is much more circular in its criticizing war.
Neverthelless, "The Destroyer of WOrlds" line played much better on tv and in the newspapers. DID HE ACTUALLY SAY IT At WHITE SANDS??? Noone really knows.

By the time he was supposed to have uttered the Vishnu line--Oppenheimer was at the beginning of his"COmmunist association" period and when he was being accused of pacifism and his "fellow traveller" accusations by the nascent Mcarthy era.

Reply Wed 1 Jan, 2020 09:11 am
Thank you for responding. I am not an expert on history.
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Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2020 10:00 am
William Burroughs said that when Oppenheimer was told of Hiroshima he said, 'Thank God it wasn't a dud,' which lead Burroughs to ask which God Oppenheimer was thanking.
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Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2020 04:17 pm
The title "destroyer of worlds" just seems like a misnomer.
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2020 04:46 pm
Its just some lines from the Bhagavad Gita. Poetry takes all kinds of license and uses it in its palette of words. Remember VISHNU is part of the Hindu Trinity (Hes the preserver). Hes second in the three Amigos that include
1. BRAHMA-the Creator
2. SHIVA-The destroyer
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