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Kaplan, Irving (1912-1997) Preliminary statement of the Association of Manhattan District Scientists

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03152.02 Author/Creator: Kaplan, Irving (1912-1997) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Typed manuscript Date: circa August 1945 Pagination: 4 p. ; 27.4 x 21.4 cm.

Summary of Content: Typed by Mildred Goldberg, who was working as a secretary for the Substitute or Special Alloy Metals (S.A.M.) Laboratory at Columbia University. Goldberg notes that this manuscript was created "two or three days" after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan (GLC03152.01). Outlines the scientists' responsibility due to their "awareness of the possibilities of energy... it is particularly important for us to indicate the grave danger that lies ahead and the catastrophic results that may eventually follow a wrong decision by the leaders of our government." Discusses problems pertaining to the bomb. In relation to the "secret" of science behind the bomb, states: "There is no 'secret of the atomic bomb,' but only a large number of solutions to detailed technical problems." Continues, "Secrecy will act as a deterrent to scientific research and development in the United States," and "Secrecy will inevitably lead to an atomic armaments race." Covers the "tremendous destructive possibilities" of the atomic bomb, noting "During the war years, all of our effort on the application of nuclear energy has been directed toward its destructive possibilities... there is very little scientific information available on the subject of the constructive possibilities of the utilization of nuclear energy. However, we have been made strongly aware of the dangers inherent in the mishandling of this tremendous force by the peoples of this world." Discusses the danger of use of the bomb by an enemy power, listing offensive and defensive measures for preventing enemies' use of the bomb. Offers a dire picture of the potential for an arms race, atomic war, and a decentralized society where "we would live in a world of suspicion, fear and even panic..." Contains corrections written in pencil.

People: Goldberg, Mildred, b. 1923.
Kaplan, Irving, 1912-1997.
Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893-.
Kaplan, Irving, 1912-1997.
Dunning, John Ray, 1907-.
Bonner, Francis T., fl. 1942-1946.
Levi, Howard, 1916-.
De Bethune, Andre J.
Nierenberg, William Aaron, 1919-2000.
Jacobson, Homer.
Kaplan, Ruth Stern.
Present, Richard David, 1913-.
Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967.
Meitner, Lise, 1878-1968.
Groves, Leslie R., 1896-1970.

Historical Era: Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

Keywords/Subjects: Manhattan Project, Neutrality, Atomic Energy, Science and Technology, Weaponry, Military History, World War II

Sub Era: World War II Postwar Politics and the Origins of the Cold War