Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wednesday morning 8 August 1945, Marks Hall

The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, 6 August, 1945

Darling Margaret,
                           Your extremely exuberant letter arrived on Monday, to gladden me with its tidings of new dressing gowns, sweetly functioning kidneys, superannuation cheques and vacated coal cellars. I am very glad indeed to hear that Kate is so pleased with you: you seem to be in every way a model of expectant motherhood. I suppose that on your next visit she'll be giving you a thorough examination and I'm sure she will find everything quite satisfactory.

                         After our Sunday evening storm the weather turned distinctly cool here and in fact yesterday was rather a bleak day. I hope your good weather is continuing so that you may continue to enjoy the garden rather than be cooped up with your 'wally dugs' and highland cattle.

                        When you mentioned on Sunday the name of the teacher who is expected back to school, I am afraid I was very dumb not to recognise it. When I was visiting H.Q. Middle East in Feb. of last year, I found Alec Keith sustaining the dignity of a Squadron Leader in Signals and from him I got several whiskies and the information that our wing was on its way to Corsica. He is a very pleasant fellow. I don't quite understand why he is going back to Albert, as he had left us before the war to go to Jordanhill college.

                       Some of the papers this morning are forecasting a big acceleration in demobilisation. If this turns out to be true, I'll begin to have some doubts about the wisdom of coming out under Class B. If I received an offer within the next few weeks, I would accept. But the longer they delay, and the nearer my ordinary release comes, the more do I think on the financial advantages of coming out in the normal way. In fact I should not be surprised to see the Govt. scrubbing the whole class "B" scheme, as it has not been a great success.

                       The Bomb has thrown everyone into a Wellsian frenzy and the "Express" today obliges its readers with a diagram showing the "probable construction of the new bomb" - the last word in journalistic fatuousness. I find the discovery extremely depressing, even though it will undoubtedly shorten the Japanese War. If mankind can't avoid future wars, the only survivors will be a few Arabs in the centre of the desert or a happy dweller near the north pole.

                       Such a diabolical discovery will I think be another sad blow to conventional religion. The old "God moves in a mysterious way" gag has already been stretched to breaking point and I don't see how the doctrine of an external, omniscient, guiding presence can be made to include a man-made weapon of destruction which promises to make earthquakes, fires, floods and other "acts of God" look simply childish. The parsons will have to go back to Plato to learn how to see God in the recesses of Matter. Whitehead is very good on the necessity for a new theology and I think you should recommend his book to Jack Shelly.

                    Time is passing quite quickly these days and it will soon be a month since I left you. And in less than two months I should be seeing you and the offspring. You have always been a reasonably punctual person and I am expecting you to deliver the goods right on time. I suppose that the child gets increasingly active as the days pass, and by 27th Sept. it will probably be shouting at the pitch of its infant voice "Don't Fence me In".

                  My regards to the family ...

This blog has several fascinating entries on the demobilisation process and the bombing of Japan.

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