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June 15, 1940

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In July 1944 the Los Alamos laboratory abandon...
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I have written elsewhere that my father made his way out of Paris by the 12th of June, 1940. That was one or two days before German troops entered Paris triumphantly after giving the combined forces of England, Holland, Belgium and France a horrible thrashing.

It is very likely that I was with my mother and siblings at that time making our own way to Cognac, probably by train in truly disastrous circumstances. We expected that my father would join us by June 16.

I have been reading about happenings in France during that last week, from June 10 till June 17 when Petain took over the reins of the French government to make peace with Hitler. The book’s title is “The Week France Fell” and it was written by Noel Barber, an Englishman who lived in France before and after WW II.

Barber makes one important historical connection between the US and France. During that week there were several exchanges between the US President, Roosevelt and the French Premier, Reynaud with the latter imploring Roosevelt to declare war on Germany. Given the political situation in the US such a decision was impossible.

But one thing was possible for Roosevelt. On the night of June 15, 1940 he signed the first letter that led to the setting up of the Manhattan Project which led to development and building of the first atomic bombs that were dropped in 1945 on Horishima and Nagasaki.

Fateful times, June 1940. France fell and nuclear development was officially initiated!

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