12-28-17 / 8:25 AM / MEET A “MAN OF THE HOUR.”


The Osgood File. Sponsored in part by Dell Small Business. Save up to 35 percent off select business PC’s until the end of this month. Get the right solution for your business today. This is Charles Osgood from the Dell Small Business Studios.

James Conant oversaw the creation of the first atomic bomb during World War II.

He never regretted the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan.

But he did fear a nuclear standoff – similar to the one we have today between the United States and North Korea.

As you’ll hear after this…

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As Tony Dokoupil of CBS News tells us, James Conant was in charge of bringing this country into the nuclear age…

VO – Tony Dokoupil, CBS News Correspondent
“But his granddaughter – bestselling author and historian Jennet Conant – says his efforts to control the weapons were ignored. And now, the all-out nuclear conflict he worried about could be close at hand.”

SOT – Jennet Conant
“This was his nightmare scenario, that we would have this enormous arms race and that it would just increase sort of unabated and that we would inevitably find ourselves, as he said, ‘like two gunmen with itchy trigger fingers.'”

She has written a book about his life and career – titled, “Man of the Hour”…

SOT – Jennet Conant
“My grandfather was really so terrified of a nuclear conflict, I think the idea that Mutually Assured Destruction would have held for almost 70 years would have surprised him.”

VO – Tony Dokoupil
“In the late 30’s, Conant was a brilliant chemist, a veteran of poison gas production during World War I and a successful president of Harvard University. But his life changed course, after Albert Einstein warned the White House about the potential for ‘extremely powerful bombs.’ That triggered a desperate race to build a nuclear weapon before Hitler’s Germany – and the task of winning fell to Conant and a secret team of scientists.”

SOT – Jennet Conant
“He was the supervisor of everything that happened in terms of the bomb’s development.”

More on our next Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood.