Szilard's Petition Analysis

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Critical Evaluation of Szilard’s Petition The use of nuclear weapons on Japan in 1945 was not a popular decision amongst experienced scientists. A Petition to the President of the United States by Leo Szilard and Cosigners in 1945 was a plea to the president from experienced scientists who not only assisted in developing the atomic bomb but they wished for other options instead of using it. The approach of this appeal to the president deemed it unsuccessful and the bombs were utilized without the blink of an eye. Leo Szilard was born in Hungary, immigrated to the United States in 1938 where he eventually assisted in organizing research into developing the atomic bomb (Chambers 1). As an experienced scientist in the field of atomic research, …show more content…
Szilard relied on his name itself and assumed the reader would know and respect him without any explanation of his credentials. This mistake be Szilard was a small fallacy in his simply written petition. Szilard could have laid out his pedigree and his specific history in dealing with nuclear research to better capture the attention and respect of the president. For most of Szilard’s petition he played to the president’s emotions and utilized the pathos appeal in his historical petition. Szilard repeatedly explained his thoughts and outlook on the world post-atomic bomb. He projected the use of atomic bombs would change the way war is looked at and strategized for the future if these weapons were used (Szilard 1). Szilard described the atomic bombs as “primarily a means for the ruthless annihilation of cities” (Szilard 1). Szilard used a logical approach or a “logos” appeal as well. “Thus a nation which sets the precedent of using these newly liberated forces of nature for purposes of destruction may have to bear the responsibility of opening the door to an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale” (Szilard 1). With this statement he made a reasonable comparison to the possibilities facing our nation if these bombs were …show more content…
There is no way of confirming the truth of his argument but the likelihood is certainly present. A scientific argument relies mostly on history and past observations. In this case, nuclear weapons were never used in the past so Szilard was relying on his scientific knowledge which made his approach unsuccessful. The approach of explaining the results and/or aftermath of using the atomic bombs was a tactical approach at utilizing the pathos appeal of persuasive writing. This is the angle that Szilard excelled at. The explanation of the destruction these weapons could cause was a genius way of hooking the reader into the petition and tugging at their emotions. Hinting at the killing of innocent Japanese people and the possibility of retaliation against innocent Americans would have been an exemplary maneuver by Szilard if the president ever did read this

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