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Manhattan Project Engineer Writes President Truman

Dated May 24 1945, the letter was from an unknown engineer named O.C.Brewster of 23 East 11th Street, New York City. He worked on uraniumisotope separation for S-1, but who, since the defeat of Germany, had been tormented over what the release of the energy “locked up in the atom” might mean for the future of the world.

“Dear Mr. President,
The idea of the destruction of civilization is not melodramatic hysteria or crackpot raving. It is a very real and, I submit, almost an inevitable result. Obviously, however, so long as there was any chance that Germany might succeed at this task there was only one course to follow and that was to do everything in our power to get this thing first and destroy Germany before she had a chance to destroy us…So long as the threat of Germany existed we had to proceed with all speed….

With the threat of Germany removed we must stop this project.

I do not, of course, want to propose to jeopardize the war with Japan, but horrible as it may seem, I know it would be better to take greater causalities now in conquering Japan than to bring upon the world the tragedy of unrestrained competitive production of this material….

In the name of the future of our country and of the peace of the world, I beg you, sir, not to pass this matter off because I happen to be known,without influence or name in the public eye.

O. C. Brewster
May 24th, 1945″

In the early stages of the project, like many others, Brewster had hoped it would prove to be conclusively impossible. The letter was addressed to President Harry Truman prior to the president’s approval of the“atomic bomb” attack on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Brewster urged a demonstration of one “atomic bomb” on a target in Japan, but then no  further production of nuclear material.


It was 1945 and the aircraft carrier INTREPID, was operating off the coast of Japan with Task Force 38/58. The VBF Squadron was flying F4U4s in preparation for the invasion of Japan when we learned that President Truman had approved of the use of an atomic bomb. The Enola Gay, a B-29, and crew had departed Saipan armed with one nuclear bomb. They dropped a single bomb and “nuked” the Japanese city of Hiroshima; killing hundreds of thousands of people and totally destroying the city.

On board  the INTREPID there were cheers, shouts, and celebrations. “How to go Harry!” We won’t have to invade Japan! World War ll in the Pacific was over.

It took the Allies years during World War ll at a cost of millions of lives, millions of tons of bombs, and tens of thousands of aircraft to subdue Berlin, the German capitol and ultimately end World II in Europe.

A single B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, and its crew armed with an “atomic bomb” totally destroyed Hiroshima, a major Japanese city, and killed and maimed millions ofJapanese in a single day and ended World War II in Asia.

A new and dangerous world was born. Today, every American Citizen, our Nation and the Free World are threatened as O.C Brewster predicted sixty three years ago with “unrestrained competitive production of this material”….

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