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1. An earlier version of this paper was presented in June 2000 at a Siena College conference on 'World War II: After 60 Years' in Loudonville, NY. The author wishes to thank Matthew Costello and Byrne Memorial librarians David Kohut and Ursula Zyzik of Saint Xavier University for their assistance. Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of the American Myth (New York, 1995), 531-32; Barton J. Bernstein, “The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered,” Foreign Affairs, Jan-Feb 1995, 147.

2. Of that total, Leo Szilard, James J. Nickson, and George W. Parker signed more than one document, resulting in 168 different signatures.

3. The name “Metallurgical Laboratory,” was a ruse that served as a “convenient blind.” Arthur H. Compton to Irwin Stewart, April 30, 1943, roll 10, file 156, Bush-Conant File Relating to the Development of the Atomic Bomb, 1940-1945, Records of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Record Group 227; National Archives—Great Lakes Region (Chicago).

4. Michael B. Stoff, Jonathan F. Fanton, and R. Hal Williams, eds.,The Manhattan Project: A Documentary Introduction to the Atomic Age (New York, 1991), 140-47. In addition to Franck, the other committee members were Donald J. Hughes, James J. Nickson, Eugene Rabinowitch, Glenn T. Seaborg, Joyce C. Stearns, and Leo Szilard.

5. Barton J. Bernstein, ed., The Atomic Bomb: The Critical Issues (Boston, 1986), 25.

6. Ibid., 26-27. “Horror and revulsion” did not represent the Franck Report’s own reaction to a possible atomic attack on Japan, but those of the American public and the international community.

7. The use of the term “demonstration” has often confounded students of the war because of the myriad applications of the term. Frequently, it referred to the use of the atomic bomb in a non-combat mode such as an uninhabited area in Japan or even the United States. A “technical” or a “test” demonstration’s purpose was to induce Japan’s surrender or to gain international support should a combat use against urban areas subsequently ensue. The term “military demonstration” could suggest a “limited” counterforce attack against a military target that would produce minimal “collateral damage” to civilians. “Military demonstration,” however, was frequently used as a euphemism for strategic nuclear bombing of a full range of military and non-military assets.

8. Stoff, et al., eds., Manhattan Project, 143. The term “fission,” based on cell division in biology, refers to a neutron splitting of a uranium (or plutonium) nucleus into two smaller and similar-sized nuclei. Physicists Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch coined the term in 1938.

9. Ibid.

10. Stoff, et al., eds., Manhattan Project, 144. For support of the development of the atomic bomb and the Franck Report’s, misspelled as “Frank,” surrender ultimatum as a means of “transferring the burden of responsibility to the Japanese themselves,” see Norman Cousins and Thomas K. Finletter, “A Beginning for Sanity,” The Saturday Review of Literature, June 15, 1946, 6-7.

11. Ibid., 147.

12. National Archives Microfilm Publications Pamphlet Describing M1108, “Harrison-Bundy Files Relating to the Development of the Atomic Bomb, 1942-1946,” (Washington, D. C., 1982), 1. In addition to Stimson and Harrison, other members of the Interim Committee were Ralph Bard, Vannevar Bush, Jimmy Byrnes, William L. Clayton, Karl T. Compton, and James B. Conant. Bard, undersecretary of the navy, authored a memorandum that has also been erroneously portrayed as a great departure from the Interim Committee’s consensus on using the atomic bomb “as soon as possible, on a war plant surrounded by workers’ homes…” While recommending an atomic warning, bilateral talks “somewhere on the China coast,” and an offer to retain the emperor, Bard proposed a mere two-to-three day bombing delay to induce Japan’s surrender on these terms. Notes of the Interim Committee Meeting, June 1, 1945; roll 4, file 3; Correspondence (“Top Secret”) of the Manhattan Engineer District, 1942-1946, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Record Group 77; National Archives—Great Lakes Region (Chicago). [Emphasis in original]; Ralph A. Bard, “Memorandum on the Use of S-1 Bomb,” June 27, 1945; roll 6, file 76, Harrison-Bundy Files Relating to the Development of the Atomic Bomb, 1942-1946, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, Record Group 77; NA—Great Lakes Region (Chicago). [Hereafter referred to as H-B Files]. S-1 was one of several code names used for the Manhattan Project during the war.

13. Compton to Secretary of War--Attention: Mr. George Harrison, June 12, 1945, 1-2, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files.

14. Martin J. Sherwin, A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance (New York, 1975), 305.

15. Bernstein, Atomic Bomb, 26-9; Jeffrey Porro, Paul Doty, Carl Kaysen, and Jack Ruina, eds., The Nuclear Age Reader (New York, 1989); 11-13, William L. Sweet, The Nuclear Age: Atomic Energy, Proliferation, and the Arms Race, 2nd ed. (Washington, 1988), 9.

16. National Archives Microfilm Publications Pamphlet Describing M1392, “Bush-Conant File Relating to the Development of the Atomic Bomb, 1940-1945,” (Washington, D. C., 1990), 2.

17. Albrecht Fölsing, Albert Einstein: A Biography (New York, 1997), 719-20.

18. Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1939 to the Present (New York, 1987), 18. Joseph Rotblat, 1995 Nobel Peace laureate, left Los Alamos in 1944 upon learning that Germany was not developing an atomic bomb. His moral opposition to continued atomic-weapons development was, however, a solitary act of protest and not part of any organized effort. He was threatened with arrest if he discussed his anti-bomb beliefs and, therefore, dissembled that family reunification in Europe was his reason for leaving the Manhattan Project. See Joseph Rotblat, “Leaving the Bomb Project,” in Ending War: The Force of Reason, Essays in Honour of Joseph Rotblat, Maxwell Bruce and Tom Milne, eds. (London, 1999), 12-13; Susan Landau, “From Fission Research to a Prize for Peace,” Scientific American, January 1996, 39.

19. “Szilard Petition Cover Letter,” July 4, 1945, roll 9, file 108, H-B Files.

20. “A Petition to the President of the United States,” July 3, 1945, roll 9, file 108, H-B Files.

21. Lawrence S. Wittner, Resisting the Bomb: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1954-1970 (Stanford, 1997), 256.

22. “Petition to the President,” July 3, 1945.

23. Ibid. [Emphasis Added).

24. Oak Ridge Petition, July 13, 1945.

25. Ibid. [Emphasis added]. This would have contrasted significantly with the Potsdam Declaration of July 26 which did not specify an atomic weapon in its warning of “prompt and utter destruction.”

26. Arthur Holly Compton, Atomic Quest: A Personal Narrative (New York, 1956), 243. Compton belonged to the Scientific Advisory Panel that found no “acceptable alternative to direct military use.”

27. George W. Parker to Arthur Holly Compton, July 16, 1945; roll 6, file 76, H-B Files. M. D. Whitaker’s name appears just below Compton’s as an addressee in whose care the letter would be sent to Compton. On atomic diplomacy see Alperovitz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam, the Use of the Atomic Bomb and the American Confrontation with Soviet Power (New York, 1985); Alperovitz, Decision to Use; Powaski, The Cold War: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 (New York, 1998), 67.

28. Parker to Compton, July 16, 1945.

29. “A Petetion [sic] to the Administration of Clinton Laboratories,” ND, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files.

30. William Lanouette, “A Note on the July 17th Petition,” Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, eds., Hiroshima’s Shadow (Stony Creek, Conn. 1998), 558-59.

31. “Petetion [sic] to the Administration.” DSM stood for Development of Substitute Materials which was yet another code name for the secret atomic-bomb project. Shortly after the war, Ballantine became more circumspect in his overt support for nuclear weapons when he signed a Clinton petition that criticized General Leslie R. Groves for publicly dismissing the possibility of nuclear proliferation and claiming an American nuclear monopoly would guarantee victory in a future war. “To the Interim Committee on Nucleonics,” September 24, 1945, roll 6, file 77, H-B Files. I was informed about the September petition by Gene Dannen e-mail to the author, July 12, 1999. Dannen’s website, http://www.dannen.com/szilard.html contains a very useful annotated chronology of many documents from Manhattan Project scientists that involve the decision to use the atomic bomb.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid. While it accurately assessed in principle the conditional-moral argumentation of Szilard’s petition, the latter claimed, after Germany’s surrender, that the initial rationale of DSM to prevent a German atomic monopoly was “averted.”

34. Ibid.

35. Interview with Dr. Albert Wattenberg, April 24, 1992, 24, Argonne National Laboratory History Project, Albert Wattenberg Papers, National Archives—Great Lakes Region (Chicago). This is a transcript of an oral history with Wattenberg, a Metlab physicist, who signed the Szilard petition.

36. Arthur H. Compton to Colonel K. D. Nichols, July 24, 1945, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files.

37. “A Petition to the President of the United States,” July 17, 1945, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files. The copies varied in numbers of signatures from two to fourteen.

38. Leo Szilard to Arthur Holly Compton, July 19, 1945 and August 6, 1945, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files; See also Leo Szilard to Matthew J. Connelly, August 17, 1945; Leo Szilard to Robert M. Hutchins, August 29, 1945, in Spencer R. Weart and Gertrude Weiss Szilard, eds., Leo Szilard: His Version of the Facts, Selected Recollections and Correspondence (Cambridge, Mass., 1978) 215-16, 220.

39. F. L. Parks to A. J. Muste, May 31, 1946, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files.

40. “President Truman Did Not Understand,” U.S. News and World Report, August 15, 1960, 69.

41. Lloyd C. Gardner, Architects of Illusion: Men and Ideas in American Foreign Policy, 1941-1949 (New York, 1970), 182. The Franck Report initially was published in “Before Hiroshima,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1, 1946.

42. Alperovitz, Decision to Use, 190.

43. Bird and Lifschultz, “Editors’ Note,” 552. In addition to the seventy signatures on the Szilard petition, eighty-seven names appear on Clinton Laboratories petitions. These figures exclude the July 3rd petition that was superseded by the July 17th version. However, Szilard later claimed he obtained “about fifty-three signatures” on the July 3rd draft. See Weart and Szilard, Leo Szilard, 187.

44. The list is untitled and contains only the date of the Szilard petition: July 17, 1945, roll 9, file 108, H-B Files. Ten women signatories appeared, in the following order, on the petition’s composite list: Ethaline Hartge Cortelyou, junior chemist, Katharine Way, research assistant, Mary Burke, research assistant, Mildred C. Ginsberg, computer, Hoylande Young, senior chemist, Information Section, Miriam P. Finkel, associate biologist, Mary M. Dailey, research assistant, Margaret H. Rand, research assistant, Health Section, Marguerite N. Swift, associate physiologist, Health Group, and Marietta Catherine Moore, technician. Of the eighty-seven Clinton personnel who signed petitions, all appear to be male.

45. The revised composite is untitled and contains only the date of the Szilard petition: July 17, 1945, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files. A handwritten note with unrecognizable initials accompanied it: “This is a list of people who signed the Szilard Petition of 17 July 45 to the President. There is included in brief the information on each person available in the Chicago area files.” July 2, 1947, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files.

46. For a comprehensive treatment of Cold War repression of liberal scientists see Jessica Wang, American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism, and the Cold War (Chapel Hill, 1999).

47 “Petition to the President,” July 3, 1945; “Petition to the President,” July 17, 1945. [Emphasis added].

48. Ibid. [Emphasis added].

49. Ibid.

50. Donna Gregory, ed., The Nuclear Predicament: A Sourcebook (New York, 1986), 5.

51. R. Gordon Arneson, “Memorandum for the Files,” May 24, 1946, 4, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files. While recording secretary, Arneson was then a second lieutenant. See also Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York, 1988), 634, 644.

52. “Notes for Possible Use of Secretary Patterson In Talking to Mr. Charles Ross,” ND, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files. Robert Patterson followed Stimson as Truman’s secretary of war and Ross was the White House press secretary. These notes were certainly written by Arneson, because entire passages of these “talking points” appeared verbatim in his “Memorandum for the Files.”

53. Compton to Nichols, July 24, 1945. [Emphasis added].

54. Compton, Atomic Quest, 241.

55. Ibid. These “known conditions” were not defined in the petition but presumably left for the Truman Administration to determine.

56. K. D. Nichols to Leslie R. Groves, July 25, 1945, roll 6, file 76, H-B Files.

57. Szilard to Compton, July 19, 1945.

58. Ibid.

59. Ibid.

60. William Lanouette, with Bela Silard, Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, The Man Behind the Bomb [Chicago, 1992), 274. Silard, Szilard’s brother, shortened his surname.

61. Arthur H. Compton and Farrington Daniels, “A Poll of Scientists at Chicago, July 1945,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 1948, 44, 63.

62. “Notes for Possible use of Secretary Patterson.” The president was out of the country, due to the Potsdam Conference, from July 6 to August 7. See Arneson "Memorandum," 3. It is possible that Truman may have seen an antibomb letter from an O. C. Brewster, from New York, an engineer with the Manhattan Project. See Robert J. Donovan, Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948 (New York, 1977), 69-70; Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey, “The Fight Over the A-Bomb,” Look, August 13, 1963, 20-21.

63. Raymond Swing, In the Name of Sanity (New York, 1945, 1946), 74. Since the Franck Report was completed five weeks before Trinity, one may conclude he was referring to a Szilard petition. On his internationalist perspective see especially chapters 1-2, 18-21. On Swing’s critique of nuclear weapons see John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (New York, 1972), 269.

64 Knebel and Bailey, “Fight Over the A-Bomb,” 22.

65 Ibid. [Emphasis added].

66 Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man (Boston, 1973), 370; Arthur Steiner, “Scientists and Politicians: The Use of the Atomic Bomb Reexamined,” Minerva, (Summer, 1977), 258-59.

67 Martin Harwit, An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay (New York, 1996), 234-35.

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Peter N. Kirstein is professor of history at Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, USA. He earned a Ph.D. in history at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missosuri, and has taught at St. Louis Community College and Saint Louis University. He is the author of Anglo Over Bracero: A History of the Mexican Worker in the United States from Roosevelt to Nixon (1978) and numerous articles and research papers. Dr. Kirstein can be reached by e-mail at kirstein@sxu.edu. Alternatively, comments to him can be directed through the editor of American Diplomacy at hmattox@mindspring.com.

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