Death Stands at Attention
In the summer of 1939, German scientist Albert Einstein was enjoying a sailing holiday on the northern tip of Long Island, New York. In the last days of July, fellow German scientist Leo Szilard drove from Manhattan to Einstein’s seaside hideaway with one objective.
In March of that year, Hitler had occupied Czechoslovakia, suspiciously stopping the sale of Czech uranium ore. Just months earlier, German physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch had succeeded in splitting a uranium atom. They named the process “nuclear fission.” This, combined with the knowledge that Nazi Germany was conducting secret nuclear research in Heidelberg at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, greatly troubled Leo Szilard.
Not wanting Germany to gain the upper hand in the war, Szilard pressed Einstein to write a personal letter to President Roosevelt detailing the impact of the scientific breakthrough and highlighting the urgency with which America must embark upon a nuclear research program to thwart the Nazi threat.
“I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations,” Einstein wrote on August 2 in his two-page letter to the president.
Einstein detailed the nuclear chain reaction that could be brought about by the discovery. “This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable—though much less certain—that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed.” He went on to warn of the German peril, recommending that permanent contact be established between the White House and a group of physicists working on chain reactions.
In October 1939, President Roosevelt approved the establishment of a low-scale “Uranium Committee” with a budget of $6,000. For the next two years, official skepticism stalled research efforts. However, on December 6, 1941, a large-scale U.S. atomic project began—one day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Then, in August 1942, the Uranium Committee became the Manhattan Project, and Einstein’s fellow scientist and graduate of Germany’s Göttingen University, J. Robert Oppenheimer, was appointed its director.
Atomic Age Begins
Under the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government continued to underwrite the development of the atomic bomb in a race against time. Hitler’s scientists were scrambling to produce the nuclear weaponry capable of turning the impending German loss of World War ii into victory. But the Germans were not to succeed—then.
The European phase of the war ended in Reims, France, on May 7, 1945, when Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied powers. Time and circumstance had not permitted the atomic deterrent being inflicted upon either Germany or the Allies in that war. However, Japanese aggression continued in the Pacific theater.
In the early morning hours of July 16, 1945, great anticipation and fear ran rampant at White Sands Missile Range near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Robert Oppenheimer could hardly breathe. Years of secrecy, research and tests were riding on this moment. When the announcer shouted “Now!” and there came a tremendous flash of light followed abruptly by the deep growling of the explosion, his face relaxed into an expression of relief. The explosion, carrying more power than 20,000 tons of tnt and visible for over 200 miles, confirmed that the great nuclear experiment was a success. The world’s first atomic bomb had been detonated.
On August 3, after the Japanese leaders had flatly rejected surrender to the Potsdam Declaration, President Truman authorized the use of the atomic bomb. The secret weapon designed originally to humble Hitler’s Germany would be used to topple the land of the rising sun.
On the morning of August 6, the first atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Over 60 percent of the city was leveled, and 70,000 residents died instantaneously in a searing flash of heat. Three days later, on August 9, a second bomb, “Fat Man,” was dropped on Nagasaki. Over 20,000 people died instantly. In the successive weeks, thousands more Japanese died from the aftereffects of the radiation exposure of the blast.
During these days of the atomic bombing of Japan, Herbert W. Armstrong, writing in his autobiography, shared the tension of the times. “The newspaper was literally filled with sensational news and facts about nuclear fission. It was the first news to be given to the public about the perfection of atomic energy. We had entered a new age!—the atomic age!” he wrote.
“But the most important news of all is the announcement, with the actual horrifying demonstration, of the atomic bomb and the age of atomic power. This, say scientists, will at once completely revolutionize both peacetime life and warfare upon earth” (Autobiography, vol. 2, pp. 118, 120).
On September 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay, on the deck of the uss Missouri, the Japanese signed the document of unconditional surrender. The war was over—but a new and dangerous age had been ushered in, an age teeming with the possibilities of destruction at the touch of a button.
Even long before the war began, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, with remarkable prescience, understood that mankind was on the brink of disaster. “Mankind has never been in this position before,” he said in 1929. “Without having improved appreciably in virtue or enjoying wiser guidance, it has got into its hands for the first time the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination. That is the point in human destinies to which all the glories and toils of men have at last led them. They would do well to pause and ponder upon their new responsibilities.
“Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse; ready, if called on, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization. He awaits only the word of command. He awaits it from a frail, bewildered being, long his victim, now—for one occasion only—his Master” (The World Crisis: The Aftermath; emphasis mine).
World War ii proved that man was fully capable of wiping out peoples en masse. The question is, does death still stand at attention ten years following the close of the cold war? Is human survival still at stake? Surely we have learned our lessons from World War ii and the horrific devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We’ve since come through the Korean War, the Berlin airlift, the Cuban missile crisis, multiple Middle East conflicts, the Star Wars program and the nuclear reactor meltdowns of Three Mile Island in the U.S. and Chernobyl in the Ukraine.
The cold war is over, Russia is in an economic abyss. We’ve signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Weapons Reduction, start ii and UN-approved Nuclear Test Ban treaties. The world is a safer and wiser place now—or is it?
Cold Hard Facts
On April 14, 1999, then U.S. State Department Spokesman James Rubin spoke before the National Newspaper Association conference in Washington D.C. In that speech he made an amazing statement: “The days of people thinking that a nuclear bomb would be dropped on their city are over” (c-span). Tragically, Mr. Rubin was denying reality through blind rhetoric.
Let’s review the cold hard facts of history. In 1986, as the cold war reached fever pitch, annual production of weapons of mass destruction (wmd) hit an all-time high of almost 70,000. Since the end of the cold war, nuclear weapon stockpiles have steadily decreased, primarily because of joint agreements signed by the U.S. and Russia. Yet since this time, Israel, India and Pakistan have declared themselves members of the nuclear club. Over ten other countries are thought to be capable of creating wmd.
According to the Center for Defense Information, there are currently somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled by the world’s eight known nuclear powers. The United States and Russia account for half of all wmd and are by far the global leaders of weapons proliferation.
The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and Russia’s economy crumbled. Concerns then grew over the safety of wmd stockpiled by the former USSR. As the region imploded, the ruble collapsed, along with military morale. Russian weapons and scientists began disappearing, no doubt going to a higher bidder than the financially strapped Soviet Union. The West, which had fought so hard to weaken the USSR, neglected to build an adequate strategy for the containment of Russia’s nuclear program. Such restraints weren’t even imposed as a condition of Russia receiving the aid it so desperately needed to survive as an economic power. Despite enormous loans from the World Bank, which were never used for their intended purpose, Russia’s economy was drowning, and its mechanisms for control and security of its nuclear weaponry were rotting in decay.
The world emerged from the cold war into the hot peace of the 1990s. Rogue nations began offering large sums of money for Russian nuclear weapons and technical assistance. Strapped for cash, the Russians listened to offers. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, along with their delivery systems, began proliferating around the world.
The U.S. lost a huge deterrent advantage at this point. Under the Clinton administration, U.S. forces were cut by a third, and not one new piece of military hardware was assembled, proven or distributed to troops in a whole decade. “As a result of that military weakness, America would turn away from the important objective of fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and backing the newly reenergized international organization charged with that task”—the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) (Donald and Frederick Kagan, While America Sleeps, p. 341).
A Shameful Alliance
By now U.S. attention had been distracted by Saddam Hussein, one of the lead beneficiaries of the proliferation process. During the cold war, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the iaea, had allowed its procedures to become staggeringly slipshod. This was most evident in their report delivered before the Gulf War, which cleared Iraq of any complicity in the creation or storage of wmd. “The revelation at the end of that conflict that Iraq had a multibillion-dollar nuclear weapons research program spread out at sites dispersed throughout the country that the iaea had totally missed was a humiliation for the agency” (ibid., p. 345).
With characteristic naïveté, the U.S. and United Nations did not suspect any large-scale involvement in nuclear trafficking with Iraq. However, one European country’s energy, weapons-production capability and advanced knowledge of nuclear technology placed it in the position as a lead exporter of wmd know-how. It may come as a shock to the reader, but the majority of assistance Saddam’s Iraq received in the assembly of its national research and production program came from an alliance withGermany!
Martin Lee, in his book The Beast Reawakens, details the deceptive path that Germany trod in aiding Iraq. “With the full knowledge and cooperation of the federal government and its bnd [intelligence agency] spy apparatus, dozens of German companies were instrumental in helping Saddam Hussein develop one of the world’s most diversified unconventional-warfare arsenals.
“Several of West Germany’s biggest firms supplied equipment and expertise to set up entire plants for the production of nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry….
“In addition to constructing Saddam’s underground bunker and extending the range of the Scud missiles to be able to hit Israel, German engineers concocted new delivery systems for poison gas and dispensed advice on the most efficient way to enrich uranium into weapons-grade fuel for a nuclear bomb” (p. 250; emphasis mine).
Germany’s unashamed involvement with Saddam Hussein has greatly contributed to Iraq being such a thorn in the side of the U.S.
German Nuclear History
When reviewing Germany’s history with weapons of mass destruction it must be remembered that it was German scientists who began atomic research. German scientists Szilard and Einstein warned America of the aspirations of their own people to use this destructive technology.
Since the end of World War ii, Germany has been an unofficial nuclear club member. Other than the U.S. and Russia, Germany has been home to more wmd than any other country. In 1960 more than half of the 7,000 U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe were stored in West Germany.
It is known that Germany has considered manufacturing fusion bombs for “civil engineering purposes.” In the early 1970s, a feasibility study was conducted for a project to build a canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Qattara Depression in the Western Desert of Egypt using nuclear explosives. This project proposed to use 213 bombs, with yields of 1 to 1.5 megatons, detonated at depths of 100 to 500 meters, to build the canal for the purpose of producing hydroelectric power.
Germany’s nuclear question arose amid the 1998 election when Gerhard Schröder’s coalition government was formed between the Social Democratic Party (spd) and the Green Party. It must be kept in mind that the Green Party polled only 6.7 percent of the vote, allowing it minimal policy influence.
Initially, led by the Greens, the coalition agreed to eventually phase out nuclear power. Since that time, however, this policy has broken down under immense pressure from the German nuclear industry. Last year a compromise was struck in an effort for the government to save face. All 20 of Germany’s nuclear plants have unlimited licenses and strong legal guarantees enabling them to continue running. In addition, significant French-German cooperation continues on the development of technology for the increased safety and improvement of Soviet-designed reactors in Eastern Europe.
Since the 1998 election, German public opinion has risen to 77 percent in favor of the continued use of nuclear energy. Despite the rhetoric of the Green Party, the German nuclear industry continues on as strong as ever.
Around 150 to 200 American nuclear bombs currently reside in the European theater. These bombs were originally placed in Europe as a deterrent to any Russian attack. A study published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1999 reveals that although they were intended for use by the U.S. military, as many as 40 percent of the bombs in Europe were actually for use by nato allies.
With the end of the cold war and the escalation of the European Union as a new power interposed between the U.S. and Russia, one might expect that the U.S. would have withdrawn its nuclear weaponry from Europe. Not so. In fact, a new weapons storage and security systems program is in full swing. The program calls for the construction of new wmd storage vaults. The vaults are designed to prolong the life of existing nuclear bombs. Of the 181 vaults housing the 150 to 200 bombs, all are located in EU member states, 55 in Germany alone. Thus, nuclear life quietly goes on in Europe, despite the dramatic change in the political climate in the last decade.
Carey Sublette writes in the 1999 Nuclear Weapons Frequently Asked Questions, “Germany has an advanced science and technology base capable of supporting an aggressive nuclear program should it be deemed necessary to do so. Although hard information about this is lacking, it is likely that Germany has undertaken advanced design work on a full range of nuclear weapon types…. This would be almost mandatory for national security reasons if only to create a base of expertise for conducting intelligence assessments of the nuclear programs of other nations. In addition there have been influential proponents of acquiring nuclear arms in the German government, such as the first Minister for Nuclear Affairs Franz Josef Strauss, who would most likely have sponsored such work” (Section 7.5).
In 1995, Bernard Connolly, then a senior European civil servant, took a leave of absence from his job as head of the European Commission’s monetary affairs department to write a book. The product of his working holiday was The Rotten Heart of Europe. This literary bombshell outlined the EU system as a Trojan horse, which has been and is being used as a “European cloak for German ambitions” (p. 4).
It must be remembered that the European Union currently has in its possession 710 nuclear weapons, with an additional 150 to 200 bombs courtesy of the United Sates.
Recent EU decisions to proceed with a common defense policy and create a rapid reaction force essentially independent of nato should raise red flags as to the true intent of German-inspired European ambitions. As Germany has evidenced in its relationship with Iraq before and during the Gulf War, it is prepared to equip a confirmed enemy of the U.S. with its nuclear technology!
As the nuclear doomsday clock ticks toward midnight, America sleeps while European military aspirations reawaken. Yes! The U.S. will soon face a new nuclear opponent—Germany!
Rife with moral corruption, America and Britain await the fate of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah (ii Pet. 2:6). Having rejected the law and the government of Almighty God, biblical Israel (primarily Britain and America) are about to suffer man’s worst ever tribulation. Jesus Christ prophesied it! “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21). “That means nuclear destruction! Germany is going to obtain nuclear missiles and bombs and a mighty army. They will ‘destroy wonderfully’ many millions of people!” (Gerald Flurry, The History and Prophecy of Germany, p. 33).
American and British cities will soon be leveled by nuclear bombs! That’s a fact most of our readers will not like to face right now. Nevertheless, it is the advance news of the inevitable end to what is shaping up in Europe right now! Then, as Bible prophecy foretells, Germany (biblical Assyria) will take Americans and Britons captive (Isa. 10:6).
“Germany is going to trigger a nuclear war that would destroy all life from this planet if Christ did not intervene” (Nahum: An End-Time Prophecy for Germany, p. 20). Understand—it is God who is using Germany as the rod of His anger (v. 5). America and Britain reject God. Because they won’t listen to the words of warning, they have, by their actions, chosen God’s rod of correction.
As Germany lay in the ashes of World War ii, Herbert W. Armstrong warned that it would again rise one final time to inflict nuclear suffering upon its old enemies. And today, in the tradition of Mr. Armstrong, our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, fearlessly warns of the fulfillment of this event. Both their warnings are going largely unheeded, but the warning will continue. God has commissioned it (Ezek., 2:5; 33:7-11; Amos 3:7-8; Rev. 10:11).
“Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up. For thus saith the Lord God; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel” (Amos 5:1-3). Here 90 percent of the people in this city die instantly. That’s a survival rate of 1 out of 10! Can you picture this mountainous death toll?
Understand this: Nuclear bombs are going to be dropped on major cities. Your Bible forecasts it. The destruction and carnage will be far worse than that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Put yourself in the following situation. When a high-yield nuclear bomb is dropped on downtown London or New York, all people will die within 6.5 miles of ground zero. They will die immediately—they will know nothing. And they are the “lucky” ones. What once was a concrete jungle will look more like the cratered face of the moon.
Between 6.5 and 10.7 miles away, 50 percent of the people will die. Seeing the nuclear flash and mushroom cloud, many will be swept away by the burning cyclonic wind. Beyond this point, another 50 percent will be seriously injured, and many structures will be virtually flattened. Millions of people will suffer third degree burns. The heat in a nuclear explosion is so intense that in some cases bodies literally explode.
From the blast site and beyond, all communications are destroyed, and countless fires are burning as a result of raining embers from the nuclear mushroom cloud. There remain few hospitals to help the dying and critically injured. Most of those injured suffer radiation sickness and will die a slow, painful death. Many are disfigured, dismembered—maimed for life. Babies will be born deformed and suffer radiation sickness passed on by the parents.
Are weapons of mass destruction real to you? Do you see where man’s “progress” has led? It all began as a grand experiment, but it ended World War ii in a nightmarish conflagration that decimated two whole cities. That awesome power will be mercilessly unleashed, many times over, in World War iii.
Winston Churchill was right. Read his warning again: “Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse; ready, if called on, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization. He awaits only the word of command. He awaits it from a frail, bewildered being, long his victim, now —for one occasion only—his Master.”
Death stands at attention! Will you be its victim? Most people are asleep to the reality of nuclear warfare. Man must learn that there is no hope in mere man. Man must look to God for the solution to his problems. That’s the only source for ultimate peace and security from nuclear annihilation. Christ will stop the insanity of man—He’s promised it! (Matt. 24:22).