1954 May 27

AEC Denies Oppenheimer Appeal Over Security Clearance


Nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer has been generally referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb” because of his key role in the Manhattan Project, which developed the bomb during World War II. Because of some left-wing political associations, his security clearance was withdrawn by the Atomic Energy Commission on December 23, 1953. There was never any proof that he had been a member of the Communist Party or done anything disloyal to the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s case was one of the major controversies during the Cold War. The loss of his security clearance ended his ability to work on government-related projects. He finished his career at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University.

Watch an interview with Oppenheimer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVCL3Rnr8xE

Read: Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2006)

Learn more about Oppenheimer at the Atomic Archive:

Learn more about the ACLU in the Cold War and other Times of National Crisis: https://www.aclu.org/aclu-history-rooting-out-subversives-paranoia-and-patriotism-mccarthy-era

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