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” At first I was awkward in trying to answer these questions but with passing years, increased knowledge, and much reflection I now feel more comfortable addressing them.With accumulating experience in a scientific career, you often learn that the questions you and others initially thought to be important may not be the ones that the facts address and that there may be much more interesting issues behind the obvious ones.
Over this time I must have looked at thousands of archived documents and held hundreds of real and electronic conversations with other scientists, historians, and writers whose interest in this pivotal event parallels my own.
While my knowledge of the Project is certainly not and never will be complete, I have learned much about it over the last 20 years. ” “Did President Truman and his advisors really understand the power of the bombs and the destruction they could cause?
This “Interim Committee” comprised eight civilians, including three scientists intimately familiar with the Manhattan Project: Vannevar Bush, James Conant, and Karl Compton.
In a meeting on May 31 which was attended by Army Chief of Staff General George C.
As anybody that comes to this topic in more than a casual way will attest, it can grow into an obsession.
I have now published two books on the Project, well over two dozen articles and book reviews in technical, historical, and semi-popular journals, and have made a number of presentations at professional conferences.I began my professional life by obtaining degrees in physics and entering a conventional academic career in teaching and astronomical research, but I had always been curious about the physics of the Manhattan Project and its role in ending World War II.With grants, publications and tenure established, I began to indulge this interest as a legitimate part of my work and about 20 years ago, to explore it in depth.An experiment in the New Mexico desert was startling – to put it mildly.Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower 1/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away.I have no doubt that Stimson, Marshall and Truman were well aware of the revolutionary nature of the bomb and the possibility (indeed, likelihood) that a postwar nuclear arms race would ensue.Any notion that Truman was a disengaged observer carried along by the momentum of events is hard to believe in view of the above comments.The invasion of Kyushu was scheduled to begin on November 1, 1945.Had this occurred, the number of casualties might well have exceeded the number of deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, let alone those which would have occurred in the meantime.Marshall, Stimson opened with a statement as to how he viewed the significance of the Project Minutes of Interim Committee meetings can be found at https:// Secretary expressed the view, a view shared by General Marshall, that this project should not be considered simply in terms of military weapons, but as a new relationship of man to the universe.This discovery might be compared to the discoveries of the Copernican theory and of the laws of gravity, but far more important than these in its effect on the lives of men.