Home » Features » Discussion of the Movie “Oppenheimer”

Discussion of the Movie “Oppenheimer”

Posted on September 13, 2023, by Byron Plumley CoL

a banner that says "Remove Nukes from Dangerous Hands"

In Cedar Falls, Iowa, we hosted a discussion of the movie “Oppenheimer” with friends from the Unitarian Universalist Church. The following comments were made during the conversation.

  • The group appreciated the biographical and historical commentary on the scientific work of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project, 1945. 
  • Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist who did not know the impact of the weapon he was developing. Even after seeing the Trinity test, he did not know the end result.
  • As Oppenheimer developed the bomb his conscience raised questions about the use of the weapon even though he was motivated by the push to stop Hitler.
  • The U.S. government pressure to create a weapon that would end the war motivated Oppenheimer to stay focused on the development of an atomic weapon.
  • After Oppenheimer saw the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki he told President Truman that he felt he “had blood on his hands.”
  • After Oppenheimer was discredited and accused of being a communist and stripped of his security clearance, his wife asked him if his martyrdom was going to assuage his conscience. 
  • One person had visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum where she cried, and again during the movie found herself crying at the awareness of the devastation of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • A couple people in the discussion were alive in 1945 and commented that everyone knew someone connected to the war effort in the U.S.

Without a political focus the conversation about the movie offered reflection on the events of 1945 as the United States faced war in Europe, and after Pearl Harbor, war with Japan.  

Hosting a discussion of the film is an opportunity to open the door to talking about the proliferation of nuclear weapons that Oppenheimer predicted. At the end of the evening I handed out a timeline of nuclear weapons development since 1945. And even though it is not part of the movie you would have opportunity to mention the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Byron Plumley CoL

Byron was a friend of Loretto in Denver for many years. He became a co-member in 2015 and serves on the Peace Committee. The commitment of Loretto to work for justice and act for peace is the guiding principle for his involvement. He now lives in Iowa with his wife, Shirley Whiteside.
Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!