Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/08/24

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Subject: Re: [Leica] kodachrome query
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 22:25:27 EDT

In a message dated 08/24/1999 6:52:45 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

Marc you say:  There were no "unjust means" applied here.  The Germans lost 
the War, and  the Allies took as war reparations -- note:  REPARATIONS -- a 
slew of
 unpatented, secret technology.  The committee which ran this was, oddly
 enough, the Inter-Allied Committee on Optical Reparations.  It's chairman
 was Doctor (and Colonel) Carl Nelson, who still lives in St George, Utah,
 and is quite accessible."  

The Allies did not pay for the technology but took it at gun point.  If that 
is done by private citizens, it is a felony whether you like it or not.  
Thus, in my books, the technology was "stolen."  It most certainly was not 
developed by Americans.  However, some good criminal defense lawyer may 
decide to use your "reparations" theory to spring his client charged with 
armed robbery. 
Marc you say: Von Braun did not develop the work of Goddard and, in fact, 
knew nothing of it until his own ideas were quite well advanced.  You 
probably should read Willy Ley's ROCKETS, MISSILES, AND SPACE TRAVEL for 
details.  It might be a  good idea for you to consider getting your facts in 
order before you engage in diarrhea of the keyboard.

It is my recollection from listening to Dr. Von Braun that he credited Dr. 
Robert H. Goddard with providing the basic work in the development of liquid 
fueled rockets.  Dr. Von Braun did pretty well for a kid who flunked math.  
Marc you say: Similarly, German scientists played virtually no part in the 
development of the Atomic Bomb.  Einstein remained outside the loop 
completely.  The driving force was Fermi (Italian), Lawrence (American), 
Teller and Szilard
 (Hungarians).  None were war refugees.  Neils Bohr was seized by the Allies 
and taken from Denmark but, again, played no part in the A-bomb project.

Nothing could be further from the truth and I am surprised at your lack of 
knowledge on this subject.  Einstein was at the very heart of the atomic 
bomb.  It was his influence and stature that convinced Franklin D. Roosevelt 
(Marc, FDR was president when the government was contemplating development of 
the A-bomb) to give the go-ahead to spend the money in the effort to develop 
the bomb.  Teller and Szilard were most concerned that Germany was developing 
the A-bomb and the US better get it first.  If not for Einstein's convincing 
letter to FDR, the project may have been delayed and others may have beaten 
us to that development.  

You again say that no Germans refugees were involved.  What about Lise 
Meitner who was forced to flee Germany and developed the foundation for the 
discovery of nuclear fission of heavy nuclei.  Hans Bethe was another German 
forced to flee Nazi Germany and discovered the process of fusion which was 
one jump ahead of fission but he was so far ahead of the rest that he was 
installed as leader of the theory section at Los Alamos.
 For that matter, the Germans did virtually no work on the development of
 t >>
When I have time I will be happy to look up Von Braun's quote and send it to 
you.  In the meantime, I am including a copy of Einstein's letter to FDR.


Albert Einstein
Old Grove Road
Peconic, Long Island
August 2nd, 1939


F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.

Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to 
me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned 
into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain 
aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and 
if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe 
therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts 
and recommendations. 

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable through the 
work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America--that it may 
be possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by 
which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements 
would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved 
in the immediate future. 

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is 
conceivable--though much less certain--that extremely powerful bombs of this 
type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and 
exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some 
of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove too 
heavy for transportion by air. 

The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities. 
There is some good ore in Canada and former Czechoslovakia, while the most 
important source of uranium is in the Belgian Congo. 

In view of this situation you may think it desirable to have some permanent 
contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists 
working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this 
might be for you to entrust the task with a person who has your confidence 
and who could perhaps serve in an unofficial capacity. His task might 
comprise the following: 

A) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of further 
development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving 
particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore for 
the United States. 

B) to speed up the experimental work, which is at present being carried on 
within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing 
funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons 
who are willing to make contributions for this cause, and perhaps also by 
obtaining co-operation of industrial laboratories which have necessary 

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the 
Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken 
such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of 
the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsacker, is attached to the 
Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, where some of the American work on 
uranium is now being repeated. 


Albert Einstein