Truman Oppenheimer meme

Truman vs. Oppenheimer

Part of a series on J. Robert Oppenheimer / Oppenposting. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jul 26, 2023 at 03:08PM EDT by Owen.

Added Jul 26, 2023 at 02:26PM EDT by Owen.

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About

Truman vs. Oppenheimer refers to a series of memes that portray J. Robert Oppenheimer (the "father of the atomic bomb") as weak compared to Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman who gave the order to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. The memes came to prominence in mid-2023 upon the release of the Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer starring actor Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer and actor Gary Oldman as Truman. Some memes centered on Oppenheimer's famous quote "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." Other memes focused on Truman once calling Oppenheimer a "crybaby scientist" behind his back after Oppenheimer told him "There is blood on my hands." Many Truman vs. Oppenheimer memes appeared on Twitter, 4chan and TikTok in 2023.

Origin

Memes about Harry S. Truman and J. Robert Oppenheimer notably started in early 2023, leading up to the July 21st, 2023, release of the Christopher Nolan movie Oppenheimer. The basis for the memes contrasting the two was a first-hand account of an encounter between Oppenheimer and Truman in 1945, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer had reportedly told Truman "There is blood on my hands," and after he left Truman's office, Truman called him a "crybaby scientist."[1]

On March 5th, 2023, Twitter[2] user @hannahrosewoods tweeted a screenshot of an article that relayed the aforementioned story, writing, "Obsessed with this Truman quote about Robert Oppenheimer." The tweet received roughly 17,500 likes in four months (shown below).


Hannah Rose Woods @hannahrosewoods Obsessed with this Truman quote about Robert Oppenheimer "Oppenheimer when he went into Truman's Office with Dean Acheson said to the latter, wringing his hands:"I have blood on my hands". Truman later said to Acheson: "Never bring that f------ cretin in here again. He didn't drop the bomb. I did. That kind of weepiness makes me sick." Source: Jean-Jacques Salomon Science et Politique (1970) - History in Quotations, Page 882 * 11:29 AM • Mar 5, 2023 1.7M Views :

Spread

The aforementioned tweet inspired humorous quote retweets and replies in the days that followed. Going into 2023, more meme creators on Twitter started to reference Truman and Oppenheimer in tandem. For instance, on April 18th, 2023, Twitter[3] user @bretuwaru posted a tweet (since deleted) that gained roughly 7,000 likes in one day (shown below, left). On May 9th, 2023, Twitter[4] user @sura104 used the I Am A Surgeon, Dr. Han! template, gaining roughly 20,200 likes in two months (shown below, right).


brett @bretuwaru "Mr. President... I have blood on my hands. It turns out Project J---Killer 9000 was a weapon of terror, not a resolver of peace..." "Never come back into my office ever again you stupid f------ nerd." 2:55 PM . Apr 18, 2023 94.4K Views . : Natasha is going to hell @sura104 I AM BECOME DEATH, MR. TRUMAN 6:46 PM - May 9, 2023 351.3K Views

During the same timeframe, posts about Truman and Oppenheimer surfaced on 4chan, such as a post to /tv/[5] on April 11th, 2023, that referenced Truman's "crybaby scientist" quote (shown below).


Anonymous Tue 11 Apr 2023 21:40:43 No. 182888926 Quoted By: >>182888949 >>182888985 >>182889037 >>182889114 >>182889184 >>182889355 >>182889423 >>182889717 >>182889893 >>182891341 >Truman called Oppenheimer a "cry baby scientist" after their meeting and reportedly said "I don't want to see that son of a bitch in this office ever again." Claiming there was "no time for pretentious melodramatic Indian mysticism" >"Oppenheimer when he went into Truman's Office with Dean Acheson said to the latter, wringing his hands:"I have blood on my hands". Truman later said to Acheson: "Never bring that f------ cretin in here again. He didn't drop the bomb. I did. That kind of weepiness makes me sick."

Leading up to and after the movie's premiere on July 21st, 2023, Truman vs. Oppenheimer memes became more commonplace online. For instance, on July 24th, 2023, Twitter[6] user @trentandrewrld tweeted a meme that followed the This Is X Bitch! We Clown In This Muthafucka template, gaining roughly 14,500 likes in two days (shown below, left). On July 25th, Twitter[7] user used a photo of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a tweet that gained roughly 26,200 likes in one day (shown below, right).


THIS IS ADMINISTRATION BITCH!!! we goin to hell take yo sensitive ass back to FDR in this muthafucka betta Másha Potato @mashapotatohead oppenheimer: i feel bad about making the bomb :( AGA truman: (4) Ser 4:29 PM Jul 25, 2023 631.4K Views CASE SESTA :

During the same timeframe, memes about the two surfaced on TikTok. For instance, on April 24th, 2023, TikToker[8] @lowellrenold20 posted a video in which they mouthed a photo of Truman, gaining roughly 198,500 plays and 31,600 likes in two days (shown below).

@lowellrenold20 #Oppenheimer #ChristopherNolan #HarrySTruman #GaryOldman #CillianMurphy ♬ original sound – 21❤️(Adele’s Version)

Various Examples


Anonymous 07/25/23(Tue)05:32:39 No.187988017 >>187988040 >>187988061 >>187988065 File: harry-truman.jpg (316 KB, 1160x629) >> >DAMNIT OPPENHEIMER! YOU MAY BE A COMMUNIST SYMPATHISER, BUT YOU'RE THE BEST DESTROYER OF WORLDS WE'VE GOT. WE'LL KEEP YOU ABOARD, JUST GET THE HELL OUT OF MY OFFICE Anonymous 07/25/23(Tue)05:34:19 No.187988065 >>187988260 >187988017 >THAT'S THE LAST STRAW, OPPENHEIMER, YOU'RE A LOOSE CANNON! TURN IN YOUR BOMB! >...AND THE OTHER BOMB! abby monteil @abbyemonteil oppenheimer : i have blood on my hands harry s. truman: 4:04 PM Jul 25, 2023 209.6K Views : THIS brilliant POTUS s Dropping Super Hot Nukes and basically, You are f------ defeated How?...Just Rea The Free Treaty>



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External References

[1] Vox – 'Cry baby scientist': What Oppenheimer the film gets wrong about Oppenheimer the man

[2] Twitter – @hannahrosewoods

[3] Internet Archive – @bretuwaru

[4] Twitter – @sura104

[5] 4chan (via 4plebs) – /tv/

[6] Twitter – @trentandrewrld

[7] Twitter – @mashapotatohead

[8] TikTok – @lowellrenold20

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