Interviews:

Agnew,
Harold

Asam,
Jean

Goodpaster,
Andrew

Knutson,
Martin

McNamara,
Robert

Rotblat,
Joseph

Teller,
Edward

Troyanovski,
Oleg

Welch,
Roy

York,
Herbert



     
   


INTERVIEW WITH JEAN ASAM

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INT: And what was the prize?

JA: I guess in that time, the prize was to stop Communism, to never let them onto our shores and to protect every American in their home, in these little homes everywhere, and we could go on with our life the way it was, that the bomb would never reach our shore, that we in fact would overcome the space race and be able to do the bigger, better things in space that the Russians couldn't do, because we learnt more in our education because we were good students and going back to the basics and so forth, you know, and going into engineering and all these things that would allow our country to do this better than the Russians! (laugh)

INT: A final question then.

JA: Uh-huh.

INT: Do you think the Cold War was necessary?

JA: Hm! (laugh) Necessary. I certainly don't confess to be any kind of a historian to really probably give that a very fair answer. I know it goes back a long time, probably before the Fifties and into the Sixties. I guess in some way it was probably necessary that if we didn't do it, what would have happened. If our country wasn't so strong that maybe Communism would've taken over, maybe lots of things would've happened that didn't happen because we were so strong and did have the Cold War. I guess, you know, we certainly have to think that way, that it certainly was a purpose and a need that was very necessary. You know..! (laugh)

INT: OK, Jean, thank you very much indeed.

JA: Oh, thank you very...!

INT: That's it then, thank you, terrific, that was excellent, absolutely excellent.

JA: I hope so, I hope it was...

(Break in tape)

INT: So do you remember we were talking earlier and you said that you were alone at home once in the Fifties.

JA: Uh-huh....

INT: Can you just talk me through how engrained you were to expect an attack.

JA: Uh-huh. I think was pretty real thatů I mean, I guess I can sort of visualize these.. what I picture to be a Russian soldier in their uniform walking through the front door of my home. I mean, it was real enough that could envision that happening and I mean, I guess that was from seeing so much on.. I mean, I can remember when TV sort of came into your home and.. you could see some of those things and I guess, I don't know, I guess it was propaganda on our part, showing the Russians marching and all of this and they certainly looked very frightening to a child. They were always very big and tall. 'Course we were very small, back then. But it was definitely something that you felt could happen at that time. You know, when the alarms and through the drill teams and so forth would happen. But I don't think in your normal life you would go out and think about it on a daily basis. You know, you sort of went off and did your childhood kinds of things feeling that you were definitely protected by your country.

INT: And do you remember we said earlier.. you said that you were home alone once and..

JA: Yes..

INT: ....you heard the sirens go off. Could you talk me through that?

JA: Yes, sure. I do remember being home one afternoon, alone, and hearing the air-raid sirens or whatever they used go off and I do remember thinking.. I was trained to go and duck and cover kind of thing. So I did, I ducked and I covered you know, behind a chair that was in the living room. It was sort of in a corner where the walls were, that kind of thing. And I did what I would have done as I was trained at school to do. And I stayed there by myself (laugh), you know, behind this big chair, sort of ducking and covering, until the other alarm went off and you could come out! (laugh)

INT: Did you know what...

JA: (laugh, overlap) Isn't that something?!

INT: .....you were waiting for?

JA: Umm.. for them to say it was alright.

INT: But did you think in the moment you were sitting by yourself behind the chair..

JA: (laugh) Why was I doing this?!

INT: (overlap) Did you think was there going to be a war?

JA: Uh.. yeah! I think we took it very seriously, that you... yes, yeah, that this was something that could be a real danger, yes, yeah. I mean, they wouldn't do it to you if there wasn't a real danger so you believed it, you know, that there was a possibility that something could be happening so you did what you were told to do! (laugh)

INT: Does this...

JA: (overlap) Does that answer it?!

INT: That's it, perfect!

END OF INTERVIEW WITH JEAN ASAM