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Decision To Fund The Atomic Bomb Essay

"No man-made phenomenon of such tremendous power had

ever occurred before. The lighting effects beggared

description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light

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with the intensity many times greater than that of the midday

sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue..

."( Groueff

355). The words of Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell

describe the onset of the atomic age, which began on July

16, 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This was the site of

the first large-scale atomic test, which utilized the tool of

destruction that would soon decimate the populations of

Hiroshima and Nagasaki less than a month afterwards. This

test consummated the years spent developing the bomb, and

was the end result of the efforts of nuclear scientists who

constructed it, and those of President Franklin Delano

Roosevelt, who made the decision to fund the so-called

Manhattan Project.

In a letter dated August 2nd, 1939, Albert Einstein first

informed President Roosevelt of the research that had been

done by Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard with unstable

Uranium which could generate large amounts of power and

energy (Einstein1 PSF Safe Files). Einstein also included

another possible use for the uranium- the construction of

extremely powerful bombs, which were capable of

destroying a seaport and the surrounding territory. This

information may have come precisely at the right time, for in

October of 1938 Roosevelt asked Congress for a $300

million military appropriation, and in November instructed

the Army Air Corps to plan for an annual production of

twenty thousand planes. Later, in 1939, Roosevelt called for

actions against "aggressor nations," and in the same year

submitted to Congress a $1.3 billion defense budget (Boyer

861). In an accompanying memorandum that was sent with

the Einstein letter, scientist Leo Szilard explained the

technical science of nuclear fission and stressing the

importance of chain reactions (Walls 1 PFS Safe Files).

Both documents, the Einstein letter and the Szilard

memorandum, were to be delivered by Alexander Sachs, an

adviser to Roosevelt’s New Deal since 1933 who would

know how to approach Roosevelt and the government

(Lanouette 200). It was not until mid-October 1939 that

Sachs wangled an invitation to get in to see the President

over breakfast (Burns 250). Though Roosevelt found the

documents interesting, he seemed hesitant about committing

government funds to such speculative research. But after

Sachs reminded him of Napoleon’s skepticism of Robert

Fulton’s idea of a steamship, Roosevelt agreed to proceed.

Regarding the steamship issue, Sachs went on to comment,

;This is an example of how England was saved by the

shortsightedness of an adversary,;; this insight made

Roosevelt greatly consider the creation of the bomb.

President Roosevelt authorized a study, but the decision to

devote full energy to the production of the bomb was not

made until December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese

attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was the influence of Leo Szilard, along with that of

Alexander Sachs, that swayed Roosevelt’s decision to fund

and construct the bomb. To aid the presentation to President

Roosevelt, Szilard contacted aviator Charles Lindbergh, to

discuss how "large quantities of energy would be liberated"

by a "nuclear chain reaction," and also wanted to discuss

how "to make an attempt to inform the administration (of the

project)." Soon after, however, they discovered that the

anti-arms Lindbergh was not one to help them in their

request to the President (Lanouette 208). Szilard then went

on a mission to find pure graphite for the experiment, (which

would be based on Einstein’s E=mc2), by exchanging

dozens of letters with chemical, carbon, and metallurgical

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companies, and bargained with manufacturers for contracts

of fresh material (Lanouette 209). During this time, Szilard

was creating a decisive difference between U.S.

and

German nuclear efforts. Szilard also inquired to Colonel

Keith F. Adamson of the U.S. Army as to funding of the

graphite and uranium needed for a large scale experiment,

and Adamson estimated that it might only cost $6,000,

though this sum eventually swelled to more than $2 billion

dollars of funds from the U.S.

government (Lanouette 211).

Although Einstein later said that he ;really only acted as a

mailbox; for Leo Szilard, in popular history his famous

equation E=mc2 and his letter to President Roosevelt are

credited with starting the American effort to build atomic

weapons (Lanouette 206).

Fission was discovered in 1938 by German scientists, which

led to the fear of American scientists that Hitler might

attempt to develop a fission bomb.

(http://yourpage.blazenet.net/aljadam/atomicmain.

html).

Because of German aggression throughout Europe in

1938-39, Roosevelt and the scientists thought it necessary to

develop the bomb before the Germans. Fortunately for the

United States bomb effort, many of the world’s top

scientists, from both Europe and the U.S. pooled .

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Decision To Fund The Atomic Bomb Essay
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"No man-made phenomenon of such tremendous power had ever occurred before. The lighting effects beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times greater than that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue..

."( Groueff 355). The words of Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell describe the onset of the atomic age, which began on July 16, 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This was the

2019-02-12 07:15:28
Decision To Fund The Atomic Bomb Essay
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