E – Einstein

Albert Einstein During WWII

Albert Einstein played a vital role in World War Two. However, it is a common misconception that Einstein helped build the atomic bombs that were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bomb wasn’t even based off of his famous equation E=MC² (although the bombs clearly demonstrated it). He did indeed help with the bombs, though it was only through influencing the President. Through a series of letters, he informed the FDR where to obtain uranium, how the bombs would work, and what decision would be most wise. His last letter to FDR did not arrive until after the President’s untimely death. Besides that, Einstein also gave speeches in the early 1930s on stances for WWII. In a speech in London, he said that pacifism could not work in every situation, especially with the Nazis. But, after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Einstein felt tremendous guilt over the lives lost. He expressed his feelings to Linus Pauling, a celebrated chemist and peace activist, in a sit down talk nine years after the atomic bombings.

“I made one great mistake in my life, …when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification – the danger that the Germans would make them.”

Einstein also went on to say that if President Roosevelt was still alive, he would not have chosen to drop the bombs.