Ten years hence, an atomic bomb containing perhaps 20 kg ofactive material, may be detonated at 6% efficiency, and thus havean effect equal to that of 20,000 tons of TNT. One of these maybe used to destroy something like 3 square miles of an urbanarea. Atomic bombs containing a larger quantity of activematerial but still weighing less than one ton may be expected tobe obtainable within ten years which could destroy over tensquare miles of a city. A nation which is able to assign 10 tonsof atomic explosives for the preparation of a sneak attack onthis country, can then hope to achieve the destruction of allindustry and most of the population in an area from 500 squaremiles upwards. If no choice of targets, in any area of fivehundred square miles of American territory, will contain a largeenough fraction of the nation’s industry and population to maketheir destruction a crippling blow to the nation’s war potentialand its ability to defend itself, then the attack will not pay,and will probably not be undertaken. At present, one could easilyselect in this country a hundred blocks of five square miles eachwhose simultaneous destruction would be a staggering blow to thenation. (A possible total destruction of all the nation’s navalforces would be only a small detail of such a catastrophe.) Sincethe area of the United States is about six million square miles,it should be possible to scatter its industrial and humanresources in such a way as to leave no 500 square miles importantenough to serve as a target for nuclear attack.
Another argument which could be quoted in favor of usingatomic bombs as soon as they are available is that so muchtaxpayers' money has been invested in these Projects that theCongress and the American public will require a return for theirmoney. The above-mentioned attitude of the American publicopinion in the question of the use of poison gas against Japanshows that one can expect it to understand that a weapon cansometimes be made ready only for use in extreme emergency; and assoon as the potentialities of nuclear weapons will be revealed tothe American people, one can be certain that it will support allattempts to make the use of such weapons impossible.
Albert Einstein and the Atomic Bomb - Doug Long
The answer to the first suggestion is that although weundoubtedly are at present ahead of the rest of the world in thisfield, the fundamental facts of nuclear power are a subject ofcommon knowledge. British scientists know as much as we do aboutthe basic wartime progress of nucleonics - with the exception ofspecific processes used in our engineering developments - and thebackground of French nuclear physicists plus their occasionalcontact with our Projects, will enable them to catch up rapidly,at least as far as basic scientific facts are concerned. Germanscientists, in whose discoveries the whole development of thisfield has originated, apparently did not develop it during thewar to the same extent to which this has been done in America;but to the last day of the European war, we have been living inconstant apprehension as to their possible achievements. Theknowledge that German scientists were working on this weapon andthat their government certainly had no scruples against using itwhen available, was the main motivation of the initiative whichAmerican scientists have taken in developing nuclear power onsuch a large scale for military use in this country. In Russia,too, the basic facts and implications of nuclear power were wellunderstood in 1940, and the experiences of Russian scientists innuclear research is entirely sufficient to enable them to retraceour steps within a few years, even if we would make all attemptsto conceal them. Furthermore, we should not expect too muchsuccess from attempts to keep basic information secret inpeacetime, when scientists acquainted with the work on this andassociated Projects will be scattered to many colleges andresearch institutions and many of them will continue to work onproblems closely related to those on which our developments arebased. In other words, even if we can retain our leadership inbasic knowledge of nucleonics for a certain time by maintainingthe secrecy of all results achieved on this and associatedProjects, it would be foolish to hope that this can protect usfor more than a few years.
The Atomic Bomb Considered As Hungarian High …
The Franck Report was the product of intense meetings in early June, 1945 at the Manhattan Project“Metallurgical Laboratory” at the University of Chicago. The report itself was drafted by Eugene Rabinowitch, who later wrote that,“the emphasis on the use (or rather, non-use) of the bomb in Japan, which hasgiven the report its main historical significance, was due to James Franckand Leo Szilard.”
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Thus, from the “optimistic” point of view - looking forward toan international agreement on prevention of nuclear warfare - themilitary advantages and the saving of American lives, achieved bythe sudden use of atomic bombs against Japan, may be outweighedby the ensuing loss of confidence and wave of horror andrepulsion, sweeping over the rest of the world, and perhapsdividing even the public opinion at home.
Documentation and Diagrams of the Atomic Bomb
Was it to distract the media from discovering a far more important story?
The distraction, of course, was the Germans having detonated a nuclear bomb, a major game changer for the Third Reich depending on what their intent was relative to its use.