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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was born in Hyde Park, New York on January 30, 1882. He received his bachelor degree from Harvard in 1903 and enrolled in law school at Columbia University in 1904. He was elected Senator of New York in 1910 and reelected in 1912. In 1912, FDR resigned his senatorial position to become the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. FDR contracted poliomyelitis in 1921 and lost his ability to walk. From 1928 to 1932, he served as governor of New York, after which he was nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate for the upcoming election. FDR took office in 1932 and served until his death in 1945, being elected again in 1936, 1940 and 1944. He led the US through two of the nation's biggest crisis-the Great Depression and World War II.

On October 11, 1939, Alexander Sachs, an economist born in Russia and educated at Harvard, presented FDR with a letter signed by Albert Einstein and prepared by Dr. Leo Szilard. The letter

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warned FDR of the existence of new technologies that could create a nuclear weapon and urged him to develop the technology before Germany. FDR perceived a great catastrophe if Germany developed an atomic weapon before the US and responded with urgency. On October 21, 1939, Roosevelt ordered the First meeting of the Briggs Uranium Committee where physicists such as Edward Teller and Dr. Leo Szilard argued for urgent government attention and funding for atomic bomb development. However, the secret program which became known as the Manhattan Project was not established until 1941.

FDR died on April 12, 1945. Shortly after his death, the US conducted the first atomic explosion, Trinity, on July 16, 1945 at Alamogordo Air Base, New Mexico.