Einstein's Letter - Summary

Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt on August 2, 1939. In it he observed, among other things, that: “...it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated ... This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs...”

When Einstein sent his letter to President Roosevelt, scientists were still learning about nuclear energy. No one had yet built nuclear power plants, atomic bombs or nuclear-powered submarines. Einstein urged Roosevelt to “have some permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America.”

Initially preoccupied with Hitler’s invasion of Poland (which started World War II), Roosevelt was proceeding cautiously. By fall, he asked for advice from a newly formed “Advisory Committee on Uranium” which first met on October 21, 1939. Ultimately, the advice he received led to the “Manhattan Project” and the world’s first atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In this story about the Manhattan Project, and Einstein’s letters to FDR, learn how nuclear energy works and how radiation exposure can cause serious illness. Meet Robert Oppenheimer, and other scientists, who created the world’s first weapons of mass destruction. See videos of the “Trinity Test,” where the explosive power of the atomic bomb was first revealed. Hear Oppenheimer describe what it was like to be involved.

Examine records from 18 June 1945, when President Truman first decided he might use the as-yet untested weapon against Japan. See his note (written the next month) giving permission to drop the bomb. Observe the Enola Gay (which delivered “Little Boy” to Hiroshima) and Bockscar ( which delivered “Fat Man” to Nagasaki). Take a virtual trip to both cities to see what happened via photos, and a rare film clip, from Japan’s national archives.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Dec 17, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Einstein's Letter" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2007. Oct 23, 2017.
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