Author Frank Settle to Discuss Marshall and the Atomic Bomb

On August 6, the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, author and lecturer Frank Settle will discuss some of the interesting information he uncovered while researching his book about George C. Marshall’s role in developing this new weapon. His talk begins at 5:30 pm in the Pogue Auditorium at the Marshall Foundation in Lexington.

Dr. Settle’s book, General George C. Marshall and the Atomic Bomb, to be published in early 2016 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.

Col. Keith Gibson, Director, VMI Museum System, will talk about special related objects from the VMI Collection that will be on display that evening.

This event is a part of the “Weapons” of War sequence of the Marshall Legacy Series and is being presented in partnership with Virginia Military Institute.

The public is invited and must register by calling Leigh McFaddin at (540) 463-7103, ext. 138.

Guests can see the exhibition, “The Art of War,” that features examples of conventional weapons as well as examples of “paper bullets,” which are posters, leaflets, brochures, film and editorial cartoons that were used to influence public opinion during WWI and WWII.

General Marshall is best known today as the architect of the plan for Europe’s recovery in the aftermath of World War II—the Marshall Plan. He also earned acclaim as the master strategist of the Allied victory in World War II. He mobilized and equipped the Army and Air Force under a single command; he served as the primary conduit for information between the Army and the Air Force and the president and secretary of war; he developed a close working relationship with Admiral Earnest King Chief of Naval Operations; he worked with Congress and leaders of industry on funding and producing resources for the war; and he developed and implemented the successful strategy the Allies pursued in fighting the war. Last but not least of his responsibilities was the production of the atomic bomb.

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.

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