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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

OFFICE FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
1530 P STREET NW.
WASHINGTON, D.C.

Vannevar Bush
Director
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.

Sir,

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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