AUTHORSmith, Alice Kimball
TITLEBehind the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: Chicago 1944-45
PERIODICAL TITLEBulletin of the Atomic Scientists
DATE PUBLISHED1958
VOLUME NUMBER14
ISSUE NUMBERSeptember
PAGE NUMBERS288-312
ISSN0096-3402


This article describes how the group of scientists working in Chicago on the Manhattan Project, called the Metallurgical Laboratory (Met Lab), tried to influence the use of the first atomic bombs. Recognizing that the implications of atomic weapons were profound, and interested in the future of atomic energy, the scientists felt a sense of social responsibility, and eventually felt the need for political action. The article discusses actions, reports and meetings of scientis at the lab in the crucial months before the detonation of the first atomic bomb and in the weeks following it, including the Jeffries report, the seminars the scientists held, the Interim Committee with its scientific panel, the Franck report, the Smyth report, and Leo Szilard’s petition. There is also information on a poll taken by scientists at the Met Lab on July 12th, 1945 about how the atomic bomb should be used.


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