August 2, 1939: Einstein Sends Letter to FDR Urging Atomic Action
On this day in 1939, German-born physicist Albert Einstein wrote a letter to then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt expressing his concern that Nazi Germany had already begun to create an atomic bomb with the use of uranium.
In his letter, Einstein suggested that immediate action should be taken to advance experimental atomic research – an effort that eventually resulted in the development of the nuclear weapons used by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Einstein grew to regret his letter to FDR, and founded the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists to warn the public of the dangers of nuclear weapons, promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and ultimately work toward world peace.
Read Einstein’s influential letter here.
Photo: Library of Congress