[Many thanks to Claude Lyneis for donating this footage to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]
Narrator: About seventy-five miles northwest of Walla Walla, Washington, in an isolated expanse of open desert, civilization entered into a new age, an age from which it would never emerge the same. Here, in the home of the Wanapum Indians, the terrain is mostly scrubland, laced here and there by cheatgrass, greasewood, and Russian thistle.
Donald Ross: My name is Donald Ross, and I am about to begin my eightieth year on this planet. I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and I left there with my parents at an early age. We moved to the southern tip of Texas, and had a little farm not too far from Edinburg, Texas, where I grew up.
Gerhart Friedlander: My name is Gerhart Friedlander.
Interviewer: What was your role in the Manhattan Project?
Friedlander: I got into the Manhattan Project very early; in fact, before there was an official Manhattan Project. I was a graduate student at Berkeley at the University of California. My thesis advisor was Glenn Seaborg, who later on got a Nobel Prize and became chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, but at that time he was just a new instructor and I was his first graduate student.
Hans Bethe: The other was M - A - D, MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction], which essentially says that nuclear weapons make sense only as a safeguard against nuclear weapons. As [Wolfgang] Panofsky has said recently, and there is actually an article by him, "It is not a doctrine. It is a fact of life. Nothing else is possible, whatever you might wish.” So I think you should not present it as something really unavoidable, without any movements in the opposite direction.
Stephane Groueff: [Enrico] Fermi had the characteristics of a real genius.
Colonel Franklin Matthias: Almost every time you would get in contact with him, something would come up that was impressive. Physically, he was a small man, unimpressive person, but he grew real large when he started talking about things he knew.
Groueff: Was he a friendly person?
Matthias: Yes, warm; very warm, very friendly, a real nice person.
Walt Grisham: Okay, what you’re looking at is our old family well. It’s a little different than it used to be, because it’s sitting kind of up on the top of a bank here. After the project was built, they did a little roadwork out here and cut it way down. But where I am at the present time is the meadow of our front yard. The old dead trees off to this side were cherry trees. We used them not only to produce the cherries, but also as shade trees in the front lawn. The house sat back in this direction.
Ralph Lapp: I am Ralph Lapp, L-A-P-P. I am a physicist, nuclear physicist, an author, and a consultant. I have engaged in finance and technology.
Interviewer: Great. What can you tell us about your role in the Manhattan Project?
[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly, Tom Zannes, and Thomas E. Marceau.]
Gabriel Bohnee: My name is Gabriel Bohnee. I'm Nez Perce tribal member, work for the Nez Perce’s tribe Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Office as an environmental specialist.
How'd you first learn about the Hanford site?
Jack Keen: My father was an engineering draftsman at Hanford. I was—depending on what the months were—probably three or four years old.
Richard Rhodes: When you went there?
Keen: Right, when I lived there in one of those big, duplex houses. My mother, father and I lived in those duplexes for a time when I was a little kid.
Rhodes: What was his name?
Keen: His name was Lester Orlan, O-R-L-A-N, Keen, K-E-E-N.
Rhodes: And what was your mother’s name?