Franck Report and dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

James Franck (26 August 1882 – 21 May 1964) was a German physicist and Nobel laureate. He was also the chairman of the Committee on Political and Social Problems regarding the atomic bomb; the committee consisted of himself and other scientists at the Met Lab, including Donald J. Hughes, J. J. Nickson, Eugene Rabinowitch, Glenn T. Seaborg, J. C. Stearns and Leo Szilard. The committee is most known for the compilation of the Franck Report, finished on June 11, 1945, which was a summary of the problems regarding the military application of the atomic bomb.

The Franck Report of June 1945 was a document signed by several prominent nuclear physicists recommending that the United States not use the atomic bomb as a weapon to prompt the surrender of Japan in World War II.

The report was named for James Franck, the head of the committee that produced it. The committee was appointed by Arthur Compton and met in secret, in all-night sessions in a highly secure environment. Largely written by Eugene Rabinowitch, the report spoke about the impossibility to keep the United States atomic discoveries secret indefinitely. It predicted a nuclear arms race, forcing the United States to develop nuclear armaments at such a pace that no other nation would think of attacking first from fear of overwhelming retaliation. This did, in fact occur. The report recommended that the nuclear bomb not be used, and proposed that either a demonstration of the "new weapon" be made before the eyes of representatives of all of the United Nations, on a barren island or desert, or to try to keep the existence of the nuclear bomb secret for as long as possible.

In the first case, the international community would be warned of the dangers and encouraged to develop an effective international control on such weapons. In the later case, the United States would gain several years time to further develop their nuclear armament, before other countries would start their own production. The Franck Report was signed by James Franck (Chairman), Donald J. Hughes, J. J. Nickson, Eugene Rabinowitch, Glenn T. Seaborg, J. C. Stearns, and Leo Szilard.

Franck took the report to Washington June 12, calling on President Truman to conduct a public demonstration of the atomic bomb witnessed by the Japanese rather than engaging in a surprise attack. Truman instead proceeded to drop two bombs, on August 6 and 9, a uranium bomb on Hiroshima and a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki respectively.

The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 rose some 18 kilometers (11 miles) above the bomb's hypocenter.
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