It was a remarkably prescient document—the first technical description of a workable atomic bomb. The authors were Austrian-British physicist Otto R. Frisch and German-British physicist Rudolf E. Peierls, University of Birmingham. They conceived of this “super-bomb” five-and-a-half years before Hiroshima. They realized that “the most effective reply” to a foe’s possession of such a weapon would be “a counter-threat with a similar bomb”—i.e., deterrence. The memo lent great impetus to US and British nuclear efforts and helped lead to the Manhattan Project.
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