The Letter That Started The Cold War Essay

792 Words Aug 6th, 2014 4 Pages
The Letter that Started the Cold War (CH:8 Choice Read) In 1933 Leo Szilard, a German scientist, came up with the theory of nuclear fission. Nuclear fission remained to be a theory up until 1939, when Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann were able to split a uranium atom half, creating nuclear fission. Once Leo Szilard learned of their accomplishment, he became wary of possible ramifications from his breakthrough. During this time, Hitler was rising to power, and he was stopping the exports of uranium ore. (When a Uranium atom is split, energy is released. This is known as nuclear fission.) Leo Szilard realized Hitler’s intentions, and the potential danger presented if Hitler were to successfully create a nuclear bomb. Leo Szilard decided to inform one of the most well-known physicists at the time, Albert Einstein. On July 16, 1939, Leo Szilard accompanied by Eugene Wigner drove to Einstein’s secluded cottage. As the pair explained the concept of nuclear fission, and the technological advances in the field, Einstein immediately understood the ramifications of Hitler gaining such a power. That day, Einstein dictated a letter to be sent to his contacts in Belgium and State Department. The letter was passed to Alexander Sachs, a personal friend of President Roosevelt. On October 11, 1939 Sachs was able to meet with the President, but it wasn’t until his second meeting that the Einstein’s warning was taken seriously. A scientific-military cooperation to create a nuclear weapon…

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