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Joan Hall  

A Memoir of Ted Hall

By Joan Hall

Bombshell , though we never liked the title, is a very fair journalistic account of Ted's life, the actions in question, and what he thought about them in 1996-97. But we all see past events through the lens of our own
time. In one way this modern perspective offers more clarity than was possible before, with the emergence of hidden facts, with informed and thoughtful scholarship, and, if not without prejudices, at least
with different ones. But to understand someone's past actions we also need to know how the world looked to him all those years ago, what his environment
was like and how it conditioned his choices. That sounds obvious, but in fact it is not so easy because our view is inevitably skewed by all that has happened in the meantime.

I was the one person who was close to Ted from 1947, soon after the events in question, until his death. I knew his story from the start, and of course the interviews for Bombshell involved me as well. With the
authors, we became absorbed in an effort to resurrect his experience, to dig away all the layers of time, distraction and repression, and form a coherent
picture of what happened. It was a good try, but I see now that our success was only partial. In the four years since the book was published I have had
many further occasions to ponder the questions involved, not just from the biographical point of view but in relation to the political perspectives of
the forties, of the present time, and of the years between.

My aim here is to give a straight, accurate account of Ted's character and motivations, within the political context as I now see it. Though I don't claim to be an expert on political history, I have read and learned a
fair amount about this period; and on the subject of Ted I am certainly an expert. I believe there is more to be said, connections to be made. I am not trying to write a biography (Bombshell does that pretty well), but to rescue Ted's action from the misconceptions usually imposed on it and restore the optic in which it ought to be seen. For me this has involved a
long process of study and re-orientation, though I shared almost all the years of his life. It became clear that those misconceptions concern not only Ted but the whole history of the past half-century.

In 1996, apart from the sensationalist news appeal of spies and secrets, the thing that seemed most exciting to all the journalists was Ted's extreme youth - not just that he passed secret information to the Soviets
at the age of 19, but that he had graduated from high school at 14 and from Harvard at 18, and even before graduating had been appointed to a very responsible job as a physicist in the Los Alamos lab that developed the atomic bomb. A reporter's dream - a wunderkind spy!

Undoubtedly Ted was an unusually gifted youngster, but it is also true that the policy of the New York City schools at the time was to promote bright pupils ahead of their age group, and he skipped four years by the
time he reached high school. He spent the next three years at Townsend Harris, a special (public) high school attached to New York's City
College, for academically talented boys. Thus his high intelligence was 'hothoused' by the school system. Though it certainly hampered Ted's social
development to be at school with kids up to four years older than himself, I think it would probably have harmed him more to be held back. Anyway, if he had
not been pushed ahead he would not have been handed such a high-level job at the age of 18. I think there were a few other very young scientists at
Los Alamos whose education had also been accelerated, though Ted was the youngest.
Despite his exceptional mind he had a very happy, normal childhood and youth. He was born in Far Rockaway, Long Island, but the family soon had
to leave their nice suburban house when his father's fur business failed at the beginning of the depression. They moved to Washington Heights in Manhattan, where they lived in a rather small apartment. That was where
Ted spent most of his childhood. In those days traffic was so light that kids used to play stickball and other games on the street, and go sledding in winter on the approaches to the newly built George Washington Bridge. In spite of his dislocation in school, Ted had a very active social life with boys of his own age in the neighbourhood. I gather he was popular, a
natural leader, athletic and well co-ordinated. He recalled teaching his friends how to make a ball bounce the right way off the curb, explaining
that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. He also remembered that while the others argued over who should run down the hill
to retrieve a lost ball, he would just go and get it - it seemed more important to continue the game. That story fits his personality as I knew it.
In school he sailed effortlessly through the curriculum, and was often asked by the teacher to give coaching in mathematics to other (older) pupils who found it difficult. To me it is significant but not surprising that he managed to do this without antagonizing them - even as a child, apparently, he had a sort of natural modesty and grace that disarmed people (actually I never knew or heard of anyone who didn't like Ted). He told
me his mother objected to this informal tutoring - not because it took him away from other studies, but because it might give the other child a competitive advantage over him! She was proud and jealous of his
pre-eminent standing in the class. Ted thought this was silly and just laughed it off.

Alongside his formal education, he enjoyed the enthusiastic teaching of his brother Ed, eleven years older than himself. Ed was another very bright boy, whose interests took a more practical, inventive turn. I
think he started doing the family's electrical repairs at the age of six or seven, and he later became an exceptionally gifted engineer. When his mother was expecting Ted, Ed requested a little brother named Teddy, and that was why they named him Theodore.

When Ted was four, I was told, Ed announced to his parents that he was taking over his brother's education. This activity was deeply enjoyed by
both of them, and the pupil's rate of progress was remarkable. I think he began learning algebra when he was seven. Ted lapped everything up with ease and delight. Partly through Ed and partly through his innate
curiosity, he learned a lot about the world in which he was growing up - a world in which the Great Depression was at the front of everyone's mind.
Ed, having graduated with two engineering degrees from City College, had great difficulty in finding a job. With his usual unsentimental practicality, he changed his name from Holtzberg to Hall to evade anti-Semitic prejudice - and thought it wise to change Ted's name as well, though Ted was destined to join a profession loaded with Jews.

Ted became an expert on the players and statistics of major-league baseball - he was a devoted Yankee fan - and he also learned some things about politics. The depression made a strong impression on him, as did
the rise of Nazism and the American far right. Hitler's anti-Semitism was already a source of anxiety for American Jews, and I believe Ed took part
in a group opposed to the Nazi-oriented German-American Bund. In 1938 Ted's family celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, his thirteenth birthday. A photo taken at the time shows a sweet-faced child, but he was no
ordinary Bar Mitzvah boy. There is a famous story about the ceremony, which I think is worth recounting although it has been told before.

When the time came to prepare for his entry into manhood, Ted was very doubtful about participating in the religious ceremony. 'How can I have a Bar Mitzvah', he asked the Rabbi, 'when I'm an atheist?' The Rabbi reassured him, saying the Jewish people needed independent-minded young men. So, to avoid family problems, Ted submitted to the preliminary
teaching and attended Saturday services. He was still rebellious, though,and even sabotaged liturgical songs by singing them in the choir to his own comic verses, which Ed was delighted to help him invent.

The Bar Mitzvah ceremony normally includes a speech following a set script: 'My heart goes out to you, my parents.etc'. No way was Ted going to parrot someone else's words: he insisted on writing his own speech. The first draft he presented to the Rabbi was highly political, warning of the dangers of Hitler and the far right. This was too inflammatory for the taste of the congregation in Forest Hills, Queens, where the family then lived, and the Rabbi made him tone it down. There were two or three further revisions, and Ted grew more and more frustrated with the dilution of his message. At last he and Ed put their heads together and concocted a joke ending, just for fun. Ed certainly didn't expect Ted to produce it in public.
In those days there was a controversy about the transit system in New York City - something Ted had strong views on because he had to ride the subway to his high school in lower Manhattan. I am not very clear about the specific issue, but it seems to have involved demolishing the Sixth Avenue El and replacing it with the Independent Eighth Avenue Subway. In the synagogue Ted delivered his speech, as the family sat in the front row 'kvelling' with pride in their beautiful bright, articulate Bar Mitzvah boy. After an eloquent (if relatively muted) political discourse, he wound
up to a glorious climax: 'We must eliminate from the world: poverty, greed, intolerance. and the Sixth Avenue El!'

Ted looked at the audience and saw Ed's head suddenly duck down between his knees. His own knees were shaking as the Rabbi put an arm around his shoulders and smoothed things over. I never heard how the congregation reacted, but it's fun to imagine. In the fifties, when we were married and living in New York, a friend told me a sort of urban legend about a boy in Brooklyn who called for the demolition of the Sixth Avenue El in his Bar Mitzvah speech. 'It wasn't Brooklyn, it was Queens,' I told her, and added,
nodding towards the demure young scientist reading across the room, 'It was him'. My friend thought I was joking.

I have repeated this story, I hope for the last time, not merely to entertain but to illustrate what sort of teenager Ted was, and what sort of adult he was becoming: free-thinking, iconoclastic, witty, and very much aware of world events - all of a piece with the youth who at nineteen made his own contribution to American foreign policy. In the six years between
his maiden speech in the synagogue and his exploit at Los Alamos, he grew from a precocious child into a principled young man prepared to take the weight of the world on his shoulders. I don't know as much as I would wish about his development in those years, but I can shed some light on the personal experiences and political environment that formed him.


The first major personal event was puberty, which, on the evidence of the cherubic face in the Bar Mitzvah photo, took place after that date. At fourteen he finished high school, and the family had to decide where he would go to University. He took the entrance exam for Columbia and passed it with very high marks - the story I heard was that his score was
either the highest of that year or the highest ever, but I can't vouch for that. For a short time it looked as if Ted would go to Columbia - he received an
invitation to a freshman smoker, and got worried because he didn't smoke.


But then came an interview, which he attended with his mother. The admissions officer wisely told her that despite his ability Ted was too young for college, and believe it or not he suggested that her son should
'travel' for a year! Apart from his tender age, and the fact that the family had no money, this was 1939 when Europe was about to erupt into World War Two. One has to wonder what world the man was living in.
Instead of Columbia Ted went to Queens College, a branch of City College not too far from his home. There he marked time academically for two
years while growing up a bit. His classmates were over eighteen and he could not share in their social life, but he did teach mathematics to some of them.
In those years, I gather, Ted showed little drive or initiative - possibly as a reaction to Ed's overzealous tuition or his mother's ambitiousness. He had a habit of balky passivity and it took a swift kick to get him to
make an effort.. He largely overcame this in later life, but it worried Ed at
the time.

During this whole period Ed was away in the Air Force. When he came home on leave he indignantly dismissed Queens College as just another high school, and demanded that Ted apply to Harvard. The eadline had passed, but under Ed's dictation Ted wrote that he hoped they would consider his application anyway. They did, and he was admitted to Harvard as a junior
in the autumn of 1942, about a month before his seventeenth birthday. A short note written before he left home gives an idea of what he was like
at that point in time. This is on the back of a letter written by his mother to Ed, who was then serving in Britain (apparently Ted didn't know
what to write, so she gave him some ideas):

'Dear Ed: Mom says that tomorrow we're packing my trunk for Harvard, that we're busy putting labels in things, and that I'm a nut. Now she says 'Good'. There are > two things you could write about: Have you seen any Italian prisoners, and how are they? How does the India situation seem from England, what kind of a guy is Cripps (ditto Churchill, Bevin, & co), how does British industry compare with American, how does the average Britisher stand politically, etc.? Now write. Ted. P.S. Bet you can't get the problems. P.P.S. Am still trying to figure out that meter circuit. Will take it to Hahvud.'

Here, if we overlook the initial moment of childish foolery, we can see that Ted kept up keenly with international affairs and had strong political interests. I can just imagine how the censors would have reacted if Ed had tried to answer those questions by post.

The move to Harvard was the biggest dislocation Ted had yet experienced, and he didn't find it easy. It was the first time in his life that he had the slightest difficulty with his studies. He wrote to Ed, explaining how he had overcome his inertia: 'My roommates are tops - absolutely exceptional. I had pride. These guys were good, and I got shown up pretty badly and the pride did the rest.' Though in the end his performance was
excellent, it was not such a lark as it had always been in the past. He got on well with his roommates, who seem to have been mildly into leftwing politics.

Cut loose from the family cocoon and thrown into a strange world, like any other adolescent he started to wonder what it was all for. At times he neglected his courses in favour of ping pong, sculling on the river,
even listening to radio soap operas. His disorientation must have been fairly drastic, for when he came home at Christmas after his first term he didn't want to go back. 'I had absolutely no interest in work in any field', he wrote to Ed in February 1943. 'I decided to leave but Mom and Dad got me back against my will. That was lucky - now for the first time I am going steadily and securely in several fields under my own power - and know I shall continue that way.' This letter also ended with a PS: 'Mom is sick.

If you could write, it really would mean a tremendous amount.' A letter written in April 1943 begins with a few hilarious pronouncements on Ed's imminent marriage (which Ted rather frowned on), and ontinues
with some theorising about education, followed by remarks on the general and special theories of relativity. The letter ends: 'As to other activities,
if you are interested, I have been very active olitically'. What this meant I have no idea. He did join the John Reed Society, named for the journalist who wrote Ten Days that Shook the World about the 1917 revolution in Russia, but in retrospect he described the Harvard group as a 'joke', with next to no membership and no activities. He had always read a lot, mostly about science, politics, philosophy, and the daily news. His ideas about his future were fairly fluid. He was
fascinated by theoretical physics and felt that he could happily spend his life thinking about quantum mechanics and the philosophy of science; but that seemed to him a selfish occupation and he thought he should combine it with something socially useful. (In the end he spent his whole career working on practical biological problems, deferring his theoretical interests until after retirement. Sadly, age and disease didn't allow him to carry through the studies he planned)

At the end of June, 1943, while Ted was at home on vacation, his mother died of cancer. He sent Ed a brief 'V-mail' letter, laconically describing her long coma and the funeral. Talking to me four years later, he did
not recall being terribly upset about his loss, though he loved his mother very much. He described his father's reaction with admiration: 'I could say he accepted my mother's death with equanimity'. Ted must have aimed for something like that. He went back to Harvard and carried on. In October 1943, just after his eighteenth birthday, he wrote Ed a long letter, evidently in response to Ed's exhortations to stop being lazy
and behave like a 'grade A individual'. After some paragraphs of heavy philosophising Ted commented: '. I could spend a whole summer strumming a guitar and not feel the summer was wasted at all. Sure it's fine to hit on all cylinders, and just from experience, you don't find many 'grade A' people who don't get the urge to hit on all cylinders, and I like being grade A. But I also like being grades B, C, D and E. I think most of my
time will be in A blocks; it happens I hope it will. I have no inclination to avoid the other levels though.' Here is a rare, characteristically modest expression of Ted's attitude to his own remarkable gifts. His aim,
he wrote, was 'to be able to enjoy capability without depending on the feeling of superiority'. I find this awesome and beautiful. This was the young man I married, three and a half years later.

In the same letter he wrote, 'I carried a few study projects thru this summer, in the effort to develop a consistent philosophy. I will have to carry many more through before I can feel I have one that I can act on:
my views are changing too rapidly. . I cannot regard myself as a member of any political, philosophical, religious etc. sect . I do not feel prepared to pick my team.' That letter was written just a few months before he went off to Los Alamos, and it should lay to rest the myth that he was brainwashed by Communists at Harvard.

During the whole of Ted's adolescence the Second World War was very much in his mind. Apart from his general interest in politics, the Nazi persecution of the Jews was a constant concern of his family and community. By the time he got to Harvard the United States was at war, and the campus was overrun with military personnel on various training courses. In a
letter written in his first term, Ted lists his physics courses plus 'guerrilla training', 'war service' and 'Fundamental Issues at Stake in the War'. The war saturated all the news media, and all the nation's
propaganda resources urged support for the war effort. Ted felt deeply involved. He told me that at one point he had wanted to become a paratrooper.
When he was recruited for the Los Alamos lab, in the spring of 1944, he had completed all the course work for his Bachelor's degree. Before he went to New Mexico he was told only that this was a major military project.

When he learned what it was, he also understood that it must be accomplished as quickly as possible for fear the Germans would do it first. The of all the scientists was intense. Ted threw himself into the work with
total commitment, and his motivation was no different from that of his colleagues. Writing to Ed in May, though of course he could not describe the nature of the work, he spoke of his feelings about it: 'Living
conditions are still poor here and will remain so, but I would be willing to live on whale blubber alone in an igloo at the South Pole for a crack at the same job. It is not perfect; I have been doing less theoretical work
than I would like to recently. I have suspended for the duration my edict about one-sided absorption in a job.' (Much later Ted told me he had initially been placed in a theoretical group, but when a friend felt
discontented with his experimental assignment Ted generously swapped with him.)

By October, 1944, Ted had formed the decision to pass information about the project to the Soviet Union. When I asked him why, in 1947, he
explained that he had feared the United States 'might become a very reactionary power after the war', and if it had a nuclear monopoly it might use this overwhelming advantage to dictate to the rest of the
world. This motive, which by the way was largely shrugged off by the media when he re-stated it in 1996, raises two questions that now have to be
addressed: why did he think that danger existed? And why did he choose to inform the Soviets?

The first question is relatively easy, as he later explained in detail what his thinking had been. He had watched the rise of Nazism and Fascism in European countries devastated by the worldwide economic depression, and had seen the ugly emergence of the racist, anti-Semitic American far right.
He realized that the depression had been relieved only by the war (which created a boom in the US economy), and he feared that after the war it would return - as I believe was predicted by some analysts at the time - and bring with it the danger of a Nazi-style takeover. That was what he feared, not what he expected. In a memo dictated to me in 1997, he said,
'I didn't think that this was likely. I thought it wasn't going to happen, with me or without me. I thought that by taking this step I could still further reduce the possibility of the bad guys taking over, and with
very
little risk to myself' [!]. The horrors of the war and the holocaust were so manifest, and the aims of the allies (including the USSR) so clearly noble and united, that like millions of other Americans he expected the
end of the war to bring an epoch of peace, cooperation and rationality to the world. But then again, he thought, what if it didn't happen that way? He argued this problem back and forth in his mind for some time, conscious also that to avoid a decision was in effect to make one. He felt, he told me, that it would be better to make a mistake - even a big mistake that
would ruin the rest of his life - than to fail to act through timidity or inertia. Finally, 'at a certain point I stopped dithering and decided to act'.

Why the Russians? I think it is true to say that most public commentators have assumed that Ted was a dedicated Communist with a 'willfully blind' faith in the Soviet Union - a misled youth who had either not heard of Stalinist crimes or had dogmatically denied them. Some were prepared to excuse him on the ground of his youth and idealism, but they would have
preferred him, in his seventies, to beat his breast and repent having given aid to Stalin's brutal regime. He did nothing of the sort; I will explain why later. Firt I will sketch some aspects of the world as he knew it in
1944.

To begin with, I think some corrections must be made in the historical perspective. The political picture in the United States changed drastically after the war. In the cold war years the complex spectrum of political
opinion was dumbed-down and polarized to the point where many people could scarcely remember what it was like before. On one side we had the Soviet
Union, Stalinism, communism, socialism, Marxism and the left, all lumped together as an evil force for human enslavement. On the other side were Democracy, freedom, capitalism, material abundance and the American Way of Life. The split was drastic, and this simplistic scheme was relentlessly drummed into the American people by carpet-bombing of propaganda.
Before and during the war the picture was different. Although there was plenty of conflict on related lines, the dichotomy was nowhere near as profound or pervasive as it later became. It was certainly true that in general the American ruling class hated the Soviet Union, as did the ruling classes of western European nations. But even within that class there were different perspectives, and moreover their attitude was not shared by all Americans. Many immigrants who had fled from persecution in Eastern Europe, including many Jews, at first had very high hopes for the new socialist state that emerged from the 1917 revolution. Some of these people were Marxists or Communists or socialists of various tendencies They had a
dream, one which it was hard to let go of: that socialism, somehow embodied in the Bolshevik regime, would bring the end of exploitation and
oppression, the beginning of a new way of life more worthy of human beings.

The Soviet purge trials of the late thirties soured many people's hopes for the Soviet Union. In 1997, Ted recalled that at that time, in his early teens, he 'didn't think about it much. I was confused by the trials, and didn't really know what to conclude from them because there was so much contradiction in the evidence and reports that came from them.' The
Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact in 1939-41 brought another terrible crisis for socialists, and many people condemned the Soviets. Ted, then aged 14-15, accepted the Communist argument that the Russians needed time to prepare for the coming Nazi invasion (and hindsight shows that this was probably true).Many leftists, in spite of everything, held on to their vision of the Soviet Union as the first flowering of socialism, however imperfect. Ted was among them: 'I believed that the "socialist" economic system had achieved great successes in economic production and in education, literacy, health care, social security, etc. etc.', says the 1997 memo. 'I saw the world during the second World War, so far as politics was concerned ... as containing, simplistically, the good guys and the
bad guys. And the good guys were pretty much a continuum encompassing Rooseveltians at one end and some mixture of Communists and Trotskyists
at the other end. The bad guys were fascists, Nazis and enemies of the people.'

When Russia was invaded by the Nazis, the heroism of the Soviet people in defending their land seemed a triumphant confirmation of their support for the regime. And when the western countries were thrown willy-nilly into an alliance with the USSR against the Nazis, the United States government found it necessary to tone down its anti-Soviet bias and try to raise
popular support for that alliance. With the encouragement of President Roosevelt, Joseph E. Davies, the US Ambassador to the USSR in 1936-38, wrote a book called Mission to Moscow giving a favourable view of the Soviet Union. He had attended the notorious purge trials in which high-ranking Communists, indicted for treason, confessed to that crime in public. These confessions were categorically dismissed as fraudulent by virtually all foreign commentators then and later, but Davies, 'based on
20 years' trial experience', concluded that they were true. He wrote, 'There is no longer any question in my mind that these defendants . were guilty of a conspiracy with the German and Japanese high commands to pave the way for an attack on the Soviet state. [.] Consequently all of the trials, purges, and liquidations which at first seemed so violent and
shocking to the rest of the world . are now seen clearly as part of a vigorous and determined effort by the Stalin government to protect itself not only from revolution from within, but from attack from without.'
That view was shared, according to Davies, by practically all the diplomats and press correspondents present in Moscow at the time. This story has
astonished everyone I have mentioned it to recently. I have to say that as of 2003 I don't really know what to think - I suppose Davies was partly right and partly mistaken.

Davies's views met with plenty of opposition, though he was an experienced lawyer and staunch Jeffersonian democrat who, indeed, abhorred
the legal system under which the defendants were tried. My point here is not to argue about the validity of his views, but just to observe that the book was widely read, selling over 700,000 copies in English and translated into thirteen languages. It was later issued in paperback for 25 cents. A film was made from it, which was not a cinematic masterpiece
but which yet again hammered home the message that the Soviet Union was a worthy ally for America. During the war, in other words, there was a
fair amount of pro-Soviet feeling in the United States.

In re-examining the political scene of that time it is important to discriminate between the Soviet Union and the American Communist Party. It is true that the party's leadership, through the Comintern, was totally
under Stalin's thumb. But on the ground, in its day-to-day political struggles, the American Communist rank and file didn't bother much about Soviet dictates. The party grew in strength and numbers throughout the
thirties, playing an active role in building trade unions and in fighting racism. There was plenty of red baiting about at the time - for example a virulent campaign against leftists in the City College of New York led
to
the dismissal of nineteen staff members and the resignation of seven others by the end of 1942 - with the war going full blast and official government
propaganda promoting friendship with our brave Soviet allies! On the other hand, in 1943 Ben Davis, a black lawyer and open Communist, was elected
to the New York City Council with 44,000 votes - over half of them cast by white people. At that time, clearly, the public had not been swept off its
feet by anti-Communist hysteria; people paid more attention to issues than to rhetoric.

Overall, a mixed picture emerges. The war dominated the news, with the USSR desperately defending itself against Hitler, the western democracies also at war with Hitler, Roosevelt and his allies in the US government promoting popular good will towards the Soviet Union. At the same time anti-Soviet and anti-Communist attitudes also circulated vigorously in
the government and media, and the American Communist Party, while ideologically tied to Moscow, acted autonomously at grass-roots level and enjoyed quite a bit of popular support. Such was the complex,
contradictory political climate in which Ted grew up - very different from the hidebound, knee-jerk anti-communism of the cold war years.

While Ted's interest in current affairs is clear from his letters, during the crucial years of 1942 and 1943 he was not exactly in the main stream of political events, and my guess is that he was not thinking deeply about
communism and anti-communism. He was a student at Queens College, where the atmosphere was far less politically charged than at City and Townsend
Harris. Then at sixteen he was off to Harvard, where he met young intellectuals who talked about politics, but he was far from the streets of New York where so much was going on. And of course science and personal development demanded much of his energy at the time. Clearly his political views had not gelled into any precise formation, except that like virtually
all other Americans he hated the Nazis.

When he found himself working on the atomic bomb he had to start thinking hard. He recognized that this powerful weapon could have a decisive effect
on postwar international relations. Towards the end of the war an argument was going on within the western alliance about how to handle the Soviet Union. Some leaders, including Roosevelt, hoped to preserve good
relations by showing trust in the USSR and promoting peace through the UN and personal diplomacy. Others, including members of the American and
British ruling establishments, feared that the Soviets would try to spread Communism throughout the world, and favoured strong policies of containment. I don't know how far Ted was aware of this conflict, but it is well known that a number of atomic scientists, prominently Einstein and Bohr, tried hard to persuade Roosevelt to let the Soviets in on the 'secret' of the bomb so as to preserve mutual trust.

A major element in Ted's political perspective all his adult life was the worldwide conflict between the capitalist class and the forces working for socialism. At nineteen he had seen and read enough to know what capitalism brought with it in the United States - for example depression, poverty, hunger, racism and injustice, suppression of popular movements. In his
1997 memo he recalled that 'as I saw the question at the time, the government was not mainly concerned about the interests of the people. I feared those forces in the government which were serving the interests
of the capitalist class, though I didn't put it that way to myself.' As for the USSR, he knew there was a lot wrong with the Soviet government, but there was no doubt in his mind that basically it was on the socialist
side. He feared that under some circumstances the capitalist ruling class, if it had a monopoly of the atomic bomb, might terrorize the rest of the
world into submission. He figured that if the Soviet Union had information about the bomb, such a development would be less likely. In essence his
view was not unlike that of Bohr, but rather than trying to persuade Roosevelt he took matters into his own hands with breathtaking audacity. My verbatim record of his dictated memo explains: 'I wasn't acting against
the intentions of the US people. I felt myself to be part of a broad democratic front. These actions were undertaken at a time before the beginning of the Cold War, and I saw myself as part of the political front insisting on peaceful and harmonious relations between the peoples of these states. [...] There was no big change in deciding to do it. I thought it would be a good thing, something that was called for, that the situation called for it. It was just something that fell to my lot, so to speak. I thought that it was not a particularly dangerous thing to do - there was some danger connected with it - but that it would close off one avenue of possible postwar development that should be sealed off, prevented. The bad guys might prevail ... so I just saw what I was doing myself as helping to seal off a danger which was there but probably wouldn't happen anyhow. I thought that by taking this step I could still further reduce the possibility of the bad guys taking over, and with very little risk to myself. At a certain point I stopped dithering and decided to act.'

As far as Ted's motivations in 1944 were concerned, that is absolutely all there was to it. At that point he was not a Communist or even a wholehearted admirer of the Soviets, though he was moved by their heroic
struggle to expel and defeat the Nazis. He stated his motive to me in 1947, and he publicly repeated it in exactly the same terms in 1996. In the meantime was the cold war, in which political positions were ardened
and the mass of complexities lay buried under a rigidly adversarial picture. In the United States (and to a lesser degree in Western Europe) the whole propaganda apparatus took arms against the Soviet Union, the satellite states, revolutionary China, and Communist parties everywhere. The American
left was all but wiped out by heavy-handed repression.
A sort of pervasive amnesia darkened the air. Most people working in the press and media had no functional memory of the complex scenario of the
thirties and early forties. They did not see capitalism as an agent of oppression. They only saw the terrible reds, who were supposedly trying to take over the world (by ideology or by force - they made little
distinction). The good guys were the leaders of the 'free world', a paradise (just slightly flawed) of democracy, abundant consumer goods, and free enterprise. Because of that mindset, which still survives, most commentators in the 1990s could only see Ted's act as a 'betrayal of his country', motivated by a blind allegiance to the false gods of Communism,
which meant Stalinist dictatorship and nothing else. That is why they ignored Ted's statement of his true motive - they couldn't hear it, because it didn't fit their ready-made framework.

From the fifties on we watched the Soviet Union with alternating hope and dismay - the 'doctors' plot' , the Slansky trial in Czechoslovakia, Stalin's death, Khrushchev's speech at the 20th Congress and his visit to the States, the doctrine of peaceful coexistence, the invasion of Hungary, Khrushchev's fall, the break with China, the Cuban missile crisis, the
crushing of the Velvet Revolution. Ted continued to hope, cautiously, for the redemption of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev's 'glasnost' seemed to him a
promising development, though he thought perestroika' was a disaster. By the time the regime fell apart his optimism had pretty well expired. At one point during the Brezhnev period I remember him saying sadly, 'the
only word I can find for the Soviet Union now is "fascist"'.

When interviewed in the nineties, Ted recognized that in his youth his knowledge about the Soviet Union was incomplete and distorted. He said that if he had then understood the real nature of Stalin's dictatorship,
he would not have had the stomach to share information about the atomic bomb with the USSR. However, looking back, he concluded that though he
had been mistaken about some important things, ultimately his decision had proved right. In the early postwar period the risk that the US would use
the bomb, for example against China or North Korea, was really serious. Hawks in the government seemingly had no comprehension of the danger
this would involve for the whole world, and certainly no concern for the human lives they would have destroyed. If they had not been made cautious by
the Soviets' retaliatory power, enhanced to an unknown extent by the contributions of Ted and (far more importantly) Fuchs, there is no telling what they might have been capable of.

If he was wrong in some ways about socialism and the Soviet Union, the past fifty years have shown that Ted was all too right about capitalism and the United States. Just as Marx predicted in the Communist Manifesto, the rule of capital ('the market') has expanded to cover 'the whole surface of the globe', enriching the top few per cent at the expense of the poor. By now the atomic bomb is only one part of the picture. A year after Ted's death the American government was indeed taken over by the far right, and we have seen the results - most recently in the war against Iraq. With this experience, millions of people all over the world seem to have awakened to the true nature of a world with only one superpower. People have told me, 'Now I realize that Ted was right!'But the awakening started before Iraq, and it has gone far beyond a response to specific events. In June 1999, during the last awful months of Ted's illness, one day a radio newsreader announced that thousands of people had gathered in the City of London to protest against 'capitalism'.

There was a crack in the usual deadpan style of BBC news reporting - that last word was spoken with an incredulous titter. Perhaps the announcer had never heard of such a weird idea. We were told that this demonstration, with a heavy involvement of young people, had been organized through the internet. There were police, there were arrests. Our grandson was there, but luckily didn't get arrested.

This was not the first sign of the 'anti-globalization' movement, but it was one of its early public manifestations. When we heard the news Ted and I just looked at each other - words were unnecessary. If this was real, it was something qualitatively different from anything in the political scene we knew. Here were people from many different political spheres, mostly without any party affiliations, not only fighting on single issues but also uniting against what they now identified as the basic enemy: global capitalism. The Seattle demonstration took place just a month after Ted's death. There was no longer any question - a vast new movement was born. While Ted's early fears of a nuclear monopoly were not realized in the form he envisaged, the situation that has emerged in the past half century makes those fears seem all too prophetic. Without a monopoly of any one weapon, the United States now commands an immense arsenal which enables it to dictate to other nations, to kill millions of people and run the world for the benefit of American corporate interests. That power, daily resisted worldwide, is now being threatened from a new (if not unexpected) quarter - the 'anti-globalization' movement, which is in fact a mobilization of worldwide public opinion against the globalized market. The terms of conflict are changing from day to day. The proclaimed 'war on terrorism' has served as a pretext for two wars so far - in Afghanistan and Iraq - and no one knows what further horrors it will bring to the people of the world. In the past few years the global political situation has changed out of recognition.
At any rate, for Ted the story is over now. He would probably have preferred to end his days without having to look back to his youth, to that principled transgressive step. He may have been pretty cool when he did it, but later he was made all too aware of its risks. I think, though he never said so, that it cast a shadow of deep anxiety over his whole life. A profoundly honest person, he was pained by deception, however motivated, and yearned for openness. Once in the sixties, when invited to tell the truth by an interviewer in the British Secret Services, Ted felt a strong temptation to get the whole thing off his chest. He told me of this, and for the only time in my life I laid down the law in the most peremptory way: 'You will tell them nothing! You'll stick to your story!' He sadly bowed to my wishes and renounced the sweet relief of coming clean. It's lucky he did - nearly forty years later it is obvious that the British and American authorities were hand in glove, and wanted only a 'confession' to nail him. And, of course, to destroy our family.

But in 1995, when the whole story came out, I was glad. For us personally the danger was clearly past, and Ted now had a chance to tie together the two ends of his life in a coherent way. This gave him more confidence that in the end he had done something worthwhile in addition to his scientific work - something he had paid for with long years of anxiety and constraint. Ted's efforts. and those of Fuchs, and of others who tried in legal ways to contain the nuclear threat, probably helped to stave off a violent crisis for several decades during which the 'socialist' nations tried to control the arms race. There is good reason to believe that the delay gave humanity an extended time of hope - a time during which our children and grandchildren, with millions of others, grew up to take the reins of struggle into their hands.

Cambridge, England
April, 2003