Culture

The real Oppenheimer was a deranged communist

Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer” offers three hours of drivel and in between we see the first atomic bomb test, where the special effects crew apparently detonated a few plastic drums of gasoline.

Without the first-class actors, no studio would have approved the project and the second major selling point was the supposed historical accurary of these important events. The common thread is left-wing activism; a thoroughly leninist framing of the subject and the superpowers.

The movie-Oppenheimer, played by Cilian Murphy, is a suave man who understands not just physics better then almost anyone else, but also has a better moral compass and more advanced global view on security. Of course, the evil, imperialist establishment thwarts his plans for limiting the bomb program and ousts him witch-hunt style under the pretext of his fleeting left-wing contacts.

The real Oppenheimer was an unstable lunatic who was surrounded by hardcore communists. The Soviets were angry that they were lagging behind in their own nuclear program and that their spies in the West were eventually exposed. A propaganda campaign immediately started to defend “Oppie”, to equate anti-communism with fascism and to complain that the USA should restrict its nuclear weapons program and place it under “international supervision”.

The film meets all the criteria of this left-wing activism. Real Oppie grew up like a little prince; he was privileged in every way and moved from one elite university to the next. His attempt to murder a professor with a poisoned apple is a strange side note in the film, while in reality some serious persuasion from the rich father was necessary to smooth things over. Oppie still suffered from severe depression, probably schizophrenia, and he also tried to strangle a friend with a belt. He was only able to continue his career because of his family and his willingness to be treated by the best psychiatrists. From the outset he was influenced by left-wing cliques and over time he surrounded himself with staunch communists. The fact that he received a security clearance is nothing short of a miracle. It was a normal event that he later lost it after several spies were exposed. In the film he is the honorable martyr who’s friends with Albert Einstein again. But thee real Oppie found Einstein horrible.

The security chief at Los Alamos was cast with a blue-eyed actor who tries hard to come across as Nazi-like and we hear he had killed communists with his own hands in Russia. Which is not at all unusual in the wake of the revolution and civil war. In the film, however, he represents fascism and imperialism, in the purest kind of Leninist framing.

A young John F. Kennedy tries to sabotage the career of an official who wanted to unseat Oppie. It is the myth of the good leftist JFK, who was later murdered by the fascist conspiracy. In reality, JFK was strongly opposed to Soviet communism and he had many common enemies. After the attack, the left wanted to dominate the narrative.

If you read the book on which it is based, “American Prometheus,” the suspicion becomes clear that Oppie himself may have been spying. His remote ranch and his many contacts would have offered him every opportunity.

Early on he was an active member of the Society for Ethical Culture of Felix Adler. The movement in England spawned the very leftwing “Fellowship of the New Life” and the Fabian Society. Even Albert Einstein was a supporter of Ethical Culture. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a regular attendee at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Adler echoed Marx and Lenin:

“The root disease that afflicts the world at the present day is the supremacy of the commercial point of view.”

In a summer camp a young Oppenheimer was viciously bullied, some say even tortured. At Cambridge he was collapsing multiple times and suffered from depression. After he tried to poison his mentor, he was diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia. He even tried to strangle a friend with a belt. He almost killed a woman, while he was driving recklessly.

He befriended Friedrich Georg Houtermans. who had been a member of the German Communist Party since the 1920s. After the election of Adolf Hitler in 1933 he went to Great Britain, near Cambridge. In 1935 Houtermans emigrated to the Soviet Union and took an appointment at the Kharkov Physico-Technical Institute. He was ultimately arrested by the NKVD in December 1937 and claime to be a German spy under torture. Later he worked for the Nazis in the field of nuclear physics.

Oppie’s student and close collaborator on the Manhattan Project Robert Serber married the communist Charlotte Leof who was appointed by Oppenheimer to head the technical library at Los Alamos. She was never a member of the Communist Party, unlike her brother and sister. Between 1946 and 1948, the FBI wiretapped her phone and opened her mail.

Oppie rented an appartment from the communist party member Mary Ellen Washburn who held fundraisers for communist-backed Spanish Republicans. He met with Harry Bridges. He had an affair the communist Jean Tatlock who introduced him to Rudy Lambert and Thomas Addis. Lambert first fell under FBI scrutiny in connection with its Comintern Apparatus investigation. Lambert is named in a 1945 San Francisco KGB cable intercepted and deciphered by the Venona project discussing information about uranium deposits in Western states. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission found Oppie to be deceitful:

In 1943, Dr. Oppenheimer indicated to Colonel Lansdale that he did not know Rudy Lambert, a Communist Party functionary. In fact, Dr. Oppenheimer asked Colonel Lansdale what Lambert looked like. Now, however, Dr. Oppenheimer under oath has admitted that be knew and had seen Lambert at least half a dozen times prior to 1943; he supplied a detailed description of Lambert; he said that once or twice he had lunch with Lambert and Isaac Folkoff, another Communist Party functionary, to discuss his (Oppenheimer’s) contributions to the Communist Party; and that he knew at the time that Lambert was an official in the Communist Party

In the movie you see Tatlock assassinated; a favorite conspiracy theory of the left. Oppie played down his connections:

She was, as it turned out, a friend of many fellow travelers and Communists, with a number of whom I was later to become acquainted. I should not give the impression that it was wholly because of Jean Tatlock that I made leftwing friends, or felt sympathy for causes which hitherto would have seemed so remote from me, like the Loyalist cause in Spain, and the organization of migratory workers.

But he actively brought suspicious people into the Manhattan Project. That’s more than just dinner party talk and Marxist musings. His own brother was a communist party member. So was his brother’s wife. Oppenheimer was a member at Berkeley of what he called a “discussion group”, which was later identified by fellow members Haakon Chevalier and Gordon Griffiths as a “closed” (secret) unit of the Communist Party for Berkeley faculty.

The FBI opened a file on Oppenheimer in March 1941. It recorded that he attended a meeting in December 1940 at Chevalier’s home that was also attended by the Communist Party’s California state secretary, William Schneiderman, and its treasurer, Isaac Folkoff. The FBI had wiretaps in which communist party members referred to him or appeared to refer to him as a communist, as well as reports from informers within the party. Oppie falsely blamed George Eltenton for spying. He testified that some of his students, including David Bohm, Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz, Philip Morrison, Bernard Peters, and Joseph Weinberg had been communists at the time they had worked with him at Berkeley.

You don’t see any of the gruesome realities of the Soviet regime in the film and it’s almost as if a communist had written the script. In principle, counterintelligence against communists is always presented as a witch hunt in order to remove obstacles from US imperialism. We briefly learn about the spy Klaus Fuchs, as if his betrayal was excusable or would restore the balance of power.

Einstein was also a communist and was therefore not allowed near the Manhattan Project. This context is missing in the film and a kind of trusting relationship with Oppie is fabricated.

Woke Hollywood has struck again here. Implicitly, everything is permeated by “toxic masculinity”, as if real communism was not dominated by men, or as if the USA was guided by simple emotions and ambitions.

The pro-Russian right could celebrate the film just as much as the left.

Visually, the film falls short of its potential. Some scenes look completely unnatural and ugly. It would have been better to use computer effects for the nuclear explosion to get a better understanding. Instead, it looks like a few ignited plastic barrels of gasoline. There’s nothing going on musically. It’s a three hour long costume film full of drivel. Hollywood can close down and we wouldn’t miss anything.

Nolan’s “Interstellar” was already an anti-capitalist global warming film: the conservatives have ruined the planet and you need a new one.

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