This study will explore the shape and scope of the Manhattan Project scientists’ political movement

700 Words3 Pages
This study will explore the shape and scope of the Manhattan Project scientists’ political movement between 1942 and 1945. It will examine the messages they brought into the political realm and investigate how they approached political questions. It will further examine why the scientists were unable to influence wartime policy regarding the use of nuclear weaponry.

In fear that Nazi Germany was developing an atomic bomb, on December 6 1941, scientists, engineers and the army raced to build the first man-made atomic bomb. These combined efforts provide the United States with wartime military advantage was dubbed ‘The Manhattan Project’. However, when by late 1944, concrete intelligence confirmed that Germany’s work on atomic weaponry had
…show more content…
The things we are working on are so terrible that no amount of protestations or fiddling with politics will save our souls’. Teller continued, ‘The accident that we worked out this dreadful thing should not give us the responsibility of having a voice in how it is to be used’. With more confidence than Teller, Richard Feynman explained that a colleague ‘gave me an interesting idea: that you don't have to be responsible for the world that you're in. So I have developed a very powerful sense of social irresponsibility as a result’. Nevertheless, Teller and Feynman’s attitude towards politics is not wholly indicative of the zeitgeist among the other scientists of the Manhattan Project, for many embarked upon a wartime crusade. The widening gap between advances in science and technology and static political institutions posed a problem for which two solutions suggested themselves: ‘the first, to take a step backward and abandon nuclear developments, thus courting national suicide; the second, to combine intensive development of nuclear energy and all its potential benefits, with an effort to solve political problems on a world-wide scale’. They resolved to approach the second option.

This episode thus represents a key moment in the convergence between scientists and politics. However, the significance of the scientists’ wartime political dialogue has been largely

More about This study will explore the shape and scope of the Manhattan Project scientists’ political movement

Get Access