A Petition to the President of the United States
I chose Leo Szilard’s Petition to the President because I find it to be both interesting and relevant to what we’re facing today. The purpose of the article is to petition the president of the United States of potentially using the atomic bomb on Japan. Szilard states his thesis towards the end of the petition: “Thus a nation which sets the precedent of using these newly liberated forces of nature for purposes of destruction may have to bear the responsibility of opening the door to an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale.”
Szilard starts off his petition by first hooking his audience and reiterating to the president how much power, as Commander-in-Chief, he has in the use of atomic weapons and then the background of who he and his colleagues are. By Szilard stating who he is, a scientist, this might help him build some credibility or ethos so that the president might listen to his claim. The next four paragraphs can be considered the body of the petition. This includes Szilard explaining how the use of atomic weapons can never be justified. He uses the example of Germany bombing English cities and how critical the American public was towards the Germans. He basically concludes his petition with his thesis statement and in my opinion, was a great place for his thesis statement to be.
If he didn’t structure his petition the way he did, his thesis statement would not have had as much meaning. Szilard wrote in a very short and to the point manner. Petitions shouldn’t be long and unproductive. He wanted to get his point across quickly and efficiently.
Sadly, this petition was never submitted to the president despite having 59 signatures from the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory. Szilard’s thesis is indeed the truth. The United States used atomic bombs and now we are having to bear the responsibility. The entire Cold War and now Iran and North Korea have been threats of using nuclear weapons.