Author Frank Settle to Discuss the Race for the Atomic Bomb

Author and lecturer Frank Settle will discuss the race to develop the atomic bomb during World War II. His talk begins at 5:30 pm in the Pogue Auditorium at the Marshall Foundation in Lexington.

What began as a race with Germany to build an atomic bomb concluded with a race to use it on Japan. As Chief of Staff of the Army, General George C. Marshall oversaw the Manhattan Project that produced the bomb in just over two years. As de facto head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marshall advised President Truman on the options for defeating Japan. Dr. Settle will describe Marshall’s role in both the Manhattan Project and obtaining Japan’s surrender.

Dr. Settle’s new book, General George C. Marshall and the Atomic Bomb, published recently by Praeger, provides the first full narrative describing General Marshall’s crucial role in the decades-long development of nuclear weapons that included the Manhattan Project and the use of the atomic bomb on Japan. Attendees can buy copies after the lecture, and Dr. Settle will be on hand to sign them.

Reservations are required by calling Leigh McFaddin at 540-463-7103, ext. 138 or by email to Seating will be first come, first served. Members and students will be admitted free; non-members will pay $15 at the door.

Guests are invited to see the special exhibition, “From Machine to Man,” that will be on display in the Lower Gallery through August

Frank A. Settle, Ph.D., professor emeritus of chemistry, Washington and Lee University and director of the ALSOS Digital Library for Nuclear Issues, was professor of chemistry at the Virginia Military Institute from 1964 to 1992. Before coming to W&L in 1998, he was a visiting professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a consultant at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a program officer at the National Science Foundation. He is a co-author of Instrumental Methods of Analysis and the editor of The Handbook of Instrumental Analytical Techniques. He has published extensively in scientific, educational, and trade journals. At W&L he developed and taught courses on nuclear history, nuclear power, and weapons of mass destruction for liberal arts majors.

His new book, researched at the Marshall Library, describes how Marshall encountered, assessed, addressed and utilized the most powerful weapon in the history of warfare. The narrative begins in 1941, with President Roosevelt’s appointing Marshall to his advisory committee for atomic energy. It continues with his critical involvement in the production and use of the bomb and concludes with his post-WWII service as secretary of state and secretary of defense. The work provides insights into Marshall’s evolving views of the bomb before, during, and after its use. It also illustrates his ability to lead the collaborative efforts of scientists, military personnel, congress, two presidents, the British and the Soviets.

This event is a part of the Speed and Fury sequence of the Marshall Legacy Series and is being presented with sponsorship from L-3 and the Richard & Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

The George C. Marshall Legacy Series interprets General Marshall’s legacy through a multi-year series of exhibitions, speakers and programs centered on key themes or episodes from General Marshall’s career.