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Historical

How The US Urged Japanese Physicists To Stop The War And Prevent A Second Nuclear Attack

Charles Pellegrino, author of 'To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima,' discusses with show host John Batchelor the Japanese race to the atomic bomb, and the letter inside an encased measuring instrument dropped by a U.S. plane performing an observation role as Hiroshima was bombed, warning of additional bombs and calling on Japanese physicists to urge their leaders to stop the war. Three days later, the pilot of that observation plane, Maj. Gen. Charles Sweeney, dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

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"Tell the people who are running this war to stop"

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Photo Credits : (GettyImages)
Keystone Hulton Archive London Express U.S. Air Force Central Press
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

There are a number of people who knew exactly what happened, in and in the the outskirts of the city because the Japanese atomic bomb program was no secret. It was not a secret as ours mainly probably because many of the people, the key scientists were working on it had figured with their cyclotrons and even with all the energy of the country, it would be impossible to obtain enough uranium two thirty five to make a bomb. - Until 2020, that was their estimate. So they believed it was at least seventy five, eighty years into the finishing. - And the Germans were better at finding the uranium and also they didn't know how to build a bomb. They were either intentionally or unintentionally misled by Heisenberg led by a bomb that would've killed them if they tried to assemble it. But Dr. Nishina's bomb was actually a bomb design that would've worked, but they didn't have the uranium. - Let's mention Nishina now. Alguras and Charles Sweeney had dropped a note to Nashina in one of those instrument packages. What did it say? - It told them that you know, it told the Japanese scientists you've never seen that, you knew already that if a country had the resources to create the right materials because its the materials that go into the core of the bomb that really take the efforts of the entire nation to produce. And now that you have seen that we can do this, tell your leaders, tell the people who are running this war to stop. We regret the use that a major beautiful new discovery is first being applied, but the war has to stop.