What we have here in the photo above, is a billboard in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A., taken circa 1943.
The sign was installed at one of the three so-called secret cities where America’s nuclear weapons programs were constructing the atomic bomb—two of which were used on Japan in 1945, as we all know.
The signs’ were simply a way to remind local area residents to keep their work strictly confidential.
Now… you’ll notice that the imagery on the sign depicts a… I was going to say “stern” Uncle Sam… but he looks worried… whatever… we see Uncle Sam rolling up his sleeves to get to work, and below him the imagery of the three wise monkeys.
I didn’t know there were a lot of monkeys in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford/Richland, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico (where the three secret nuclear development sites were).
The important factor here is that three monkeys… the so-called “wise” monkeys in their posture of “See-no-evil; Hear-no-evil; and Speak-no-evil” are actually of Japanese origin.
The original location of the three wise monkeys is on a small wooden sculpted frieze on a temple in Nikko-shi (Nikko City), Tochigi-ken (Tochigi prefecture), Japan. I've seen it many times. It's NOT as grand an image as one would assume.
So what we have here, is the American government telling its citizens to be more like the people of Japan.
Owtch. Don’t (proverbial) we have people to vet these types of propaganda signs?
Of course, in 1943 the United States of America (and others) was at war with both Germany and Japan, and while both countries were thought to have been targets for the nuclear program of the U.S., there was also the concern about nuclear fallout.
In particular, if an atomic bomb was dropped on Germany, there was no way to predict if a nuclear cloud of radioactive fallout couldn't blow over other countries such as Poland or France et al and hurt the populace there.
While it is true that both of those countries, for example, were under Nazi Germany control, the main target should have been Germany itself.
But for those reasons, I am pretty sure that while it was imperative for the U.S. to ensure that it had such weaponry before Germany (who wouldn't have had such "fallout" concerns if deploying against North America or Great Britain or Australia, etc.), would the U.S. have actually deployed versus Germany?
I would say no - but that's me being logical and thinking with my head. I believe the option was there, but I personally believe Germany was never the initial option.
But thanks to the isolation of the Japanese islands, use of atomic weaponry was always a consideration, as there was no worries (slim worries, actually) about nuclear fallout affecting neighboring, friendly nations.
There was initial concern when the initial nuclear (atomic weapons) tests were deployed in New Mexico, USA, that the bombs could set fire to the atmosphere dooming the entire planet... which may have been one of the reasons why tests were done underground...
As such, there were still concerns that an open air deployment of the first atomic bomb deployed over Hiroshima, Japan could still have caused the Earth's atmosphere to burn.
But what the heck, eh? Let's try it anyway.
Of course, such fears did not come to pass, as scientists and researchers were pretty sure such an event wouldn't happen. I'm unsure if "pretty sure" was the term used, but you catch my drift.
The photo above is from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Oak Ridge Public Library.
Should you wish to learn more about the three secret American cities that were involved in the early stages of atomic weaponry via the Manhattan Project, click HERE for a very interesting read.
PS: I just realized that I enjoy pondering and writing about WWII. It's not to glamorize it or war, but a desire to "understand" why human beings act the way they do. I, of course, do NOT understand why human beings act the way they do, and grow more confused on the matter every day.