World War II – Document #7


“The opinions of our scientific colleagues on the initial use of these weapons are not unanimous: they range from the proposal of a purely technical demonstration not that of the military application best designed to induce surrender. Those who advocate a purely technical demonstration would wish to outlaw the use of atomic weapons, and have feared that if we use the weapons now our position in future negotiations will be prejudiced. Others emphasize the opportunity of saving American lives by immediate military use, and believe that such use will improve the international prospects, in that they are concerned with the prevention of war than with the elimination of this special weapon.”


Source: Report of a Scientific Panel [composed of nuclear physicists A.H. Compton, Enrico Fermi, E.O. Lawrence and J.R. Oppenheimer] to the Secretary of War [June 16, 1945]