In the twenties and thirties, Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein, a youngster named Feinman, and
a professor named Oppenheimer, and at least twelve other scientists, all of whom had the concept of the power in the atom firmly in mind...were appalled when Harry Hopkins and a few other governmental representatives approached them, asking Oppenheimer to chair a study of the possible military use of the atomic theory.
Simultaneously, in Germany, France, Russia, and Japan, and much later ,China, nuclear scientists were frantically searching for the same outlet...how to take the dreaded (theoretical!) power and convert it to a killing form.
In 1941, The U.S. Was attacked by Japan, a Japan fed up with a generation of economic sanctions placed upon her by the U.S., plus the McCarran Act of 1921, which blatantly looked upon orientals as third-class-humans.
Six months into the war, Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt stating that he and Oppenheimer and the young Feinman (no names mentioned in the letter) had arrived at a theorem that supported by millions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of people, might open the power of an atom, and exploit the resultant energy as a weapon.
The same type of rush to atomic power was taking place in the above countries.
ALL of the above nations, recognizing the superiority of the American scientists(most of whom had come from those countries!) set up espionage rings at once to attempt to get the American secrets.
GERMANY was the closest to getting a bomb, and among the persons working on the calculations was Lise Meissner, a Jew. She recognized the danger of Germany succeeding in the arms race, and slipped away to Switzerland and then to the United States. She was motivated by knowledge of the holocaust.
Meissner supplied the last needed calculations, and the final work was done at Los Alamos, New Mexico, a site chosen for a lessened danger to large populations, and for a proximity to the radioactive ores needed for the bomb.
Finally, fission having been shown earlier in the experiments at the University of Chicago
through application of gigantic electric charges, a trigger was set for an experimental explosion or "bomb" at Los Alamos. Oppenheimer was in charge.
The explosion or "fission" was wildly successful. THREE bombs were made and thought functional, while hundreds of others would follow.
It was now August of 1945, and President Roosevelt had died. President Harry Truman, his VP and successor, had NOT been told of the work on the bomb until becoming President!
He was in a quandary. He looked at the many films of the tests, and walked back and forth in his office.
On the day before the FIRSt bomb was used on Hiroshima, that bomb being aboard the airship Enola Gay and ready to leave the air base to Japan in a B-29, Truman phoned Oppenheimer in his home in Georgetown near Washington DC and said:
"Oppenheimer, should I go ahead with this dreaded thing?"
Incnensed, Oppenheimer curtly replied,"Thats YOUR decision, NOT mine!" "I made that thing with much help, YOU are the President. You decide whether to use it or not!" He then hung up on the President!
A few minutes later, the phone rang again, and an enraged Harry Truman yelled,"[email protected]@$$ bastard! I want your help!"
Oppenheimer went into the kitchen and spoke to his wife. "What should we do?"
She sighed, and said""I think it would save many many American soldier's lives."
Oppenheimer phone the President and said,"We think it best to go ahead." He then hung up and burst into tears.
(The above story was told to Esther Duncan, reporter, at the Washington Press Club after the two bombs were dropped. Oppenheimer related the story and made her promise not to publish that story until after his death. This writer received it verbatim as above from Mrs. Duncan who still lives retired in Wisconsin, an accomplished and very aged writer!
The "secret" was not a secret in a few years and the nations having enough money soon had bombs. The proliferation is the only security the world has against amonstrous possibility.