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 Chapter Seven Illustration
Chapter Seven

AN IMPOSING SUBJECTů AN IMPORTANT PICTURE

"THE BEGINNING OR THE END"
has been described as the story of the atom bomb. It is also the story of the men and women who solved the atomic mystery, and who helped American win a life and death race to become the first nation to build an atom bomb. And, possibly most important of all, it is a story that tells all the peoples of the world just what they face today - the crucial problem of whether atomic energy is to be used for good or evil.
 
It is a story of our own times that is so vital and so spectacular that no fiction could match.
 
Yet, Hollywood has not made a straight documentary film story of it. Believing that an entertaining drama will carry far more influence and appeal to audiences in general, a handful of fictional characters have been introduced to give the story a cohesiveness that might otherwise be lacking. Each of these characters, however, is in actuality a composite figure drawn from real-life persons who served their country in its greatest crisis. Each has a distinct significance.
 
Tom Drake, for example, representing the young scientists in his role, can be interpreted as expressing the conscience of mankind faced with releasing atomic energy in wartime. His character was drawn from dozens of young scientists interviewed at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos by the studio officials. Robert Walker, as a young military officer, can be regarded as typifying the duty of man in wartime. His is the job to end a terrible conflict as quickly as possible.
 
Through these two and their contrasting impulses, the whole drama is told from the earliest atomic research in Europe and America to the bombing of Hiroshima and the return of peace.
 
Included in the exciting highlights are the arrival of British scientists in America to work on the project, the appeal by Professor Einstein to the late President Roosevelt for government support of atomic development, the historic Chicago "brickpile" test that saw the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction known to man, the combining of scientists. military men and industrialists on the vast project, the growth of Oak Ridge, the New Mexico bomb test, the exciting take-off of B-29s from Tinian and the blasting of Japan.

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