The Secret That Exploded Essay Research Paper

The Secret That Exploded Essay, Research Paper

The Secret that Exploded

by Howard Morland

?The Secret that Exploded? written by Howard Morland is

a non-fiction book based on his findings on the H-bomb.

Howard dedicated his life to finding out the secret of the

H-bomb and releasing his findings to the public who have

been in the dark since the beginnings of the Manhattan

Project. The book goes through everything he went through

from when he became an airforce pilot to him becoming

involved in radical groups to him fighting the government in

court for freedom of press. His book goes through everything

he had to do to get the information he needed to find out

the secret of the H-bomb. Howard felt that if ?He would

attack secrecy; if secrecy could be dismantled, then the

opponents of nuclear weaponry would have a fighting chance.

(pg.50)? He wanted to break down the secrecy of the

government and give the radical groups that were against the

bomb a chance to get there views heard around the U.S. and

possibly bring a stop to the nuclear arms race. Howard

thought that the ?secret of the H-bomb could be the

centerpiece of the secrecy structure and that if he could

crack it he could bring down the whole secrecy

structure.(pg.50)? This is what he wanted and he wanted all

of the secrets that the government has been keeping from the

public to be revealed so that the public could know what was

going on and not be in the dark.

Howard knowing that finding the secret would be near

impossible moved on in his journey and visited every major

nuclear manufacturing sight in the U.S. that he knew about.

On his journey he encountered problems with security. The

government has bottled up the secret by giving security

clearances to anyone who knew the secret. These people could

not tell anyone anything that was deemed classified and they

could get in very big trouble if they did. Howard had to get

by this by asking questions that would bring back answers

that wasn?t classified material but the information that he

needed. Howard got so good at asking questions that he

eventually put together all the information he found out

from all of his sources and put together his version of the

H-bomb. This version was so near accurate that the

government wanted to classify it so that Howard could not

publish it in the The Progressive magazine. Howard and The

Progressive took the government to the Supreme court where

the government dropped their case because the info that they

wanted to contain had already leaked out to the public.

Howard and The Progressive got what they wanted and earned

the right to print their article that revealed the secret of

the H-bomb.

One major theme in the book was how the U.S. and Russia

both had so many nuclear bombs that they could end life on

both continents and possibly the world and still have bombs

left in their arsenal to do more damage. The carnage and the

fallout of a nuclear bomb is devastating. As shown on page

276 one ?Poseidon submarine in the Gulf of Mexico could kill

50 million Americans who live in the 17 largest cities in

America. This attack would expend more explosive energy than

all the wars of history, and still use less than 1% of the

force of the U.S. Triad.? If one sub could kill one fifth of

the U.S. population then the amount of nuclear bombs that

both Russia and the U.S. hold could kill every single person

on the earth. Bernard Feld said that ?Fifty to a hundred

nuclear weapons, not ten thousand, were all we needed for

deterrence.(pg.61)? If we only need a hundred H-bombs to

deter the enemy then there is no reason for us to have ten

thousand. Something has to be done to decrease the amount of

bombs in our arsenal and the Russians. If a war was to break

out the world would end and there would be total

destruction. Some people don?t understand that if we got in

a nuclear war that there would be total destruction.

Everything and everybody will die. Just because we have more

bombs than our enemy doesn?t mean that we will win and

survive. All the Russians need to do is get off about fifty

bombs and more than half of the U.S. will be destroyed. The

fallout afterwards would bring death to all around the world

and the earth would become almost inhabitable. Howard saw

this and tried to crack the governments secrecy so that they

might start to listen to the public and reduce the nuclear


Howard felt that the information that he discovered

should be released to the public because it was public

information. He stated that if he could go out and find the

secret by just asking questions and looking in books that

the government had not classified that any other person

could go out and do the same thing. ?The defense of The

Progressive had to be base on a refutation of the

government?s case for censorship. The case quickly became a

First Amendment contest, pure and simple; the real purposes

of the article were summarily put aside, and we had to fight

the case on constitutional grounds, on legal technicalities,

and on the claim that the article was harmless.(pg.154)? The

Progressive had to prove that if they printed this article

that nothing would happen to danger national security and

that even though the secret would be printed you still

couldn?t produce a bomb without the knowledge and the

equipment that would make it possible to make one. The case

started out with the government putting a temporary

restraining order on the Progressive so that they could not

publish the article. Then they went to the Federal District

Court in Milwaukee. Any decision could be appealed to the

Seventh Circuit Court of appeals in Chicago and then on to

the Supreme Court. The government got it?s TRO and the

Progressive took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Progressive was trying to prove that the secret to the

H-bomb were already publicly accessible and that things that

are already public can be published again and can not be

deemed classified and that already published material could

not hurt the security of the U.S. if it is published again.

While the case moved on and it moved all the way up to the

Supreme Court, information that contained the secret leaked

out and it was spreading throughout the U.S. and even

Australia. When the case reached the Supreme Court someone

published an article that released the secret to the public.

The government saw that it was useless to try and keep

something from the public that was already out and

accessible to the public. The government was forced to drop

their case and The Progressive was allowed to publish

Howard?s article that finally released the best kept secret

to the public.

I feel that Howard should have been allowed to print

his article. He did get all of his information legally and

he should have been able to print his article that released

info any person doing the same thing could have found. The

government couldn?t have kept this secret from getting out.

Once people got the info and made copies of it then more and

more people would learn the secret and there was no way that

the government could have prevented the spread of this

highly classified material. Once Howard brought this case to

court people that knew the secret confirmed that Howard had

the closest diagram of a H-bomb that they had ever seen.

Howard broke the secrecy of the government and broke the

door open for the public being against government secrecy.

Howard convinced me that his methods of obtaining

information was perfectly legal. He did nothing wrong and

nobody who knew the secret told him anything that was deemed

classified. He deducted from his findings and his personal

knowledge a H-bomb. He also made me feel that the amount of

nuclear weapons that we have in our arsenal today is totally

unnecessary and that we should remove some of these bombs

from our arsenal. We do not need the amount of bombs that we

have to deter the enemy. It may feel safer that we have more

bombs than our enemy but it really doesn?t matter. The power

and the fallout of nuclear weapons is devastating and only a

few hundred bombs can devastate an entire continent.

I learned from this book that it is hard to keep

something secret. Once something if discovered and just one

person who is not sworn to secrecy discovers a secret it

will most likely find its way to the public. I also feel

that if someone can figure out a secret by legal means than

they should be allowed by First Amendment rights to publish

and info they find and feel that the public needs to know.

We haven?t gone over anything like this in class yet but I

would like to know if the government would have come out

victorious if the secret did not get out to the public

before the case was over. I felt that the defense did not

have much of a defense and that they probably would have

lost to the power of the government.

Howard was definitely against secrets and government.

It seemed as though he did not like a higher organization

withholding information that he wanted to discover from him.

It seemed as though he was one of those hippies and he

probably did some drugs when he was in all of those radical

groups trying to find his calling.

I feel this book is of some value because it shows the

power that we have as a country and our power to end all

life on the face of the earth. It also shows the power of

the government to suppress information given to the public.

It is kind of scary that the government in some way controls

our lives by controlling what and what we don?t see and what

we know. The government is probably holding some many

secrets from the public that the views of the nation would

change if all of them were released.

I felt that the book was boring and that Howard did not

do a good job in describing the trial and the events that

took place during the case. He was more concerned on telling

the secret and how he derived it than telling anything of

importance that deals with our civil law class. I would not

recommend this book to anyone that wants to read it for the

legal aspects but I would recommend it to those would want

to find out more about the H-bomb and what makes it tick.


Morland, Howard; Random House Inc., 1981, p.288


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