I wish I had 20/20 hindsight vision for all my current opinions

Editors Note: As a general rule I prefer to read the latest books on subjects because the authors usually will have had more information with which to cover a topic. However there have been times when reading an older book brings out interesting information. One of these just occurred in reading Winston Churchill’s six volume series ‘The Second World War’ published in 1953. He describes a very famous scene at the Big Three meeting in Potsdam when Truman tells Stalin that we have ‘a new weapon’ without any additional information. This conversation occurred just after the first successful test of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. I have read several descriptions of this conversation and they all agree with how the event took place. Truman tells Stalin and Stalin makes some statement about hoping we use it in well. He asks no questions about the bomb itself. When Churchill reports this exchange he said he particularly noted Stalin’s apparent lack of interest and concludes that Stalin knew nothing about the bomb and did not understand it’s significance. The advantage of hindsight is that we now know that Churchill’s assessment of the situation was exactly backward. Stalin was well aware of the bomb and what it was. In fact we now know that there were at least two people, one of them British, that were supplying the Soviets with classified information about the bomb.

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