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
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