Albert Einsteins brev i 1939 til Præsident Roosevelt
angående muligheden for at udvikle en atom-bombe
Old Grove Road
August 2nd, 1939
President of the
Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations.
In the course of the last four months it has been made probable through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America--that it may be possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future. This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable--though much less certain--that extremely powerful bombs of this type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove too heavy for transportion by air.
a) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore for the United States.
b) to speed up the experimental work, which is
at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University
laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his
contacts with private persons who are willing to make contributions for this
cause, and perhaps also by obtaining co-operation of industrial laboratories
which have necessary equipment. I understand that
Yours very truly,