Atomic utopia in The Reader’s Digest

Looking back, it’s tempting to apply today’s cynicism to yesterday’s words, but often the words mean what they say. Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1953 to 1958, was mostly a pernicious influence on the history of reactors, but this August 1955 quote (surplus to my requirements) from a fulsome interview by that bellwether magazine, The Reader’s Digest, surely reflects his convictions:

I believe firmly that out knowledge of the atom is intended by the Creator for the service and not the destruction of mankind. . . . We are living in an era that seems designed to test the courage and faith of free men. Yet I do not believe that any great discovery of the atom’s magnitude came from man’s intelligence alone. A Higher Intelligence decided that man was ready for it. My faith tells me that the Creator did not intend man to evolve through the ages to this stage of civilization only now to devise something that would destroy life on this earth.


Strauss, Lewis L. 1955. “My faith in the atomic future.” The Readers Digest, Aug., pp. 17-21.