Brilliant refugee scientists fleeing the terrors of Europe. Government and military leaders. An army of construction and factory workers with no idea what they were working on. A tossed salad of humanity, united and driven by urgent necessity. Battling the clock, bureaucracy and each other to beat Hitler to the weapon that would decide the war. Only once Germany had surrendered did focus shift to Japanese cities. By then the project had grown too big to stop. But one man did try to stop it.
Where did the idea come from? I grew up in the 60s, when the prospect of nuclear war was very real. As a child, I remember reading a guide on how to build a backyard nuclear fallout shelter. No horror movie ever scared me as much as those pragmatic pages. Decades later, I was curious about how the bomb that had haunted my childhood originated. So, I did some reading and came across Leo Szilard, the scientist who began the race for the bomb and then tried to stop it. Neither had anyone I knew. I thought his story worth telling, and hoped someone would make a feature film about him.
The atom bomb's creation during WWII was an unprecedented collaboration of minds. America's brightest academics. Brilliant refugee scientists fleeing the terrors of Europe. Government and military leaders.
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