Scene from The New Men

Scene from The New Men

The Strand Theatre in London's West End staged The New Men with Paul Daneman and Ernest Clark playing brothers Martin and Lewis Eliot. The text was adapted from a novel by C P Snow. The play examined the moral and intellectual dilemmas faced by scientists involved in the attempt to produce the atom bomb. Scientist Martin Eliot initially refuses to work on the project, but is persuaded by his civil servant brother. After the American bombing of Hiroshima, Martin tries to protest against American ruthlessness, and is again argued out of doing so by brother Lewis. The implication was that Martin had allowed his moral values to be corrupted by his brother's intellectual arguments.

Snow had himself been part of a group set up in 1939 at the outbreak of war to advise on the most efficient use of the nation's scientific resources. The play caused some consternation in the press, with many critics outraged at the author's support of unilateral disarmament.