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Manhattan Project Scientists & Leaders

Manhattan Project Scientists & Leaders

Meitner & Frisch On Nuclear Fission

From The Uranium People by Leona Marshall Libby

In the spring of 1938, Lise Meitner, being a Jew, had to leave Berlin and went to a job offered her by Manne Siegbahn in the Nobel Institute of Stockholm. Being Austrian, she had not up until then been seriously affected by Hitler’s persecution of Jews; however, in the spring of 1938, Austria was annexed by Hitler and she had to get out of the country. Dutch colleagues smuggled her into Holland without a visa and thence to Sweden. The German team would have to carry on without her.

Frisch-Peierls Memorandum

The attached detailed report concerns the possibility of constructing a “super-bomb” which utilizes the energy stored in atomic nuclei as a source of energy. The energy liberated in the explosion of such a super-bomb is about the same as that produced by the explosion of 1000 tons of dynamite. This energy is liberated in a small volume, in which it will, for an instant, produce a temperature comparable to that in the interior of the sun. The blast from such an explosion would destroy life in a wide area.

Bush-FDR Letter


Vannevar Bush
March 9, 1942

The President,
The White House,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

On October 9, 1941, Mr. [Henry] Wallace and I presented to you the status of research in this country and Great Britain on a possible powerful explosive.

In accordance with your instructions, I have since expedited this work in every way possible. I now attach a brief summary report of the status of the matter.

Bohr Letter to Churchill

22nd May 1944 

The Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill, C.H., M.P.


In accordance with your kind permission, I have the honour to send you a brief report about my impressions of the great Anglo-American enterprise, in the scientific aspects of which I have been given the opportunity to participate together with my British colleagues.


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