[We would like to thank Robert S. Norris, author of the definitive biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man, for taking the time to read over these transcripts for misspellings and other errors.]
Race for the Atomic Bomb
Stephane Groueff: Recording of interview with Dr. Lauchlin Currie, C-U-R-R-I-E; New York, May 13, 1965.
Dr. Lauchlin Currie: When the war broke out I was superintendent of the Bakelite Plant at Bound Brook, New Jersey. As a reserve officer then, I got reassigned to work on the proximity fuse program.
Groueff: You were in uniform?
Currie: Oh no.
Groueff: You were just Major of the—
Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly and we have our guest, Robert S. Norris.
Stan Norris: Right.
Kelly: Do you want to say your name and spell it?
Norris: I am Robert S. Norris, R-o-b-e-r-t, middle initial S, last name Norris, N-o-r-r-i-s. It is February 13, 2013. We are here in the offices of the Atomic Heritage Foundation.
Cindy Kelly: We are with Richard Rhodes at Atomic Heritage Foundation’s studio in Washington, D.C. Can you start by telling us your name?
Richard Rhodes: I’m Richard Rhodes.
Kelly: Can you spell that, please?
Rhodes: Yes, R-H-O-D-E-S.
Kelly: And Richard spelled the usual way?
Cindy Kelly: This is Wednesday, February 13, 2013. I’m Cindy Kelly, and we have with us Alex Wellerstein. Alex, could you say your name and spell it, please?
Alex Wellerstein: Alex Wellerstein, W-E-L-L-E-R-S-T-E-I-N, and it’s just Alex, nothing fancy.
Kelly: Great. Thank you, Alex. Alex, give us a little background as to your education and how you come to know about the Manhattan Project and related subjects.
Charney: Where shall I start?
Groueff: Tell me how you got involved in the whole project and your first meeting with all those people and where you came from. Start from the beginning.
George Allen: Alright. This is in Alexandria, Louisiana at the city park. My name is George Allen. G-E-O-R-G-E, A-L-L-E-N.
Interviewer: Alright and where was your place and date of birth?
Allen: I was born right in Alexandria on September the 10th, 1925.
Interviewer: Okay. How did you first become involved with the Army Air Force?
Stephane Groueff: Interview with Dr. James Conant. Dr. James Conant, New York, October 11, 1965.
S. L. Sanger: This is Hefner on June 11, 1986, interviewed at his residence in Richland.
Jack Hefner: The plant at Oak Ridge was operating to make enough samples of plutonium, so they could learn how to separate here at Hanford. Very few people said a great deal about that and knew much about it. And we only had this manner of need to know. So all our job was keep the plant operating. And the operating people was crank the plutonium out the door.
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly from the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Friday, April 11, 2014, and I have with me William Lanouette who is going to be talking about Leo Szilard. Why don’t you start by actually saying your full name and spelling it?
Bill Lanouette: I’m William Lanouette, L-A-N-O-U-E-T-T-E.
Kelly: Tell us about Szilard. Who was he? What’s his background?