11. FDR and the A-Bomb: Intellectual Excellence

  1. Al Gini1 and
  2. Ronald M. Green2

Published Online: 25 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118551653.ch11

10 Virtues of Outstanding Leaders: Leadership and Character

10 Virtues of Outstanding Leaders: Leadership and Character

How to Cite

Gini, A. and Green, R. M. (2013) FDR and the A-Bomb: Intellectual Excellence, in 10 Virtues of Outstanding Leaders: Leadership and Character, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118551653.ch11

Author Information

  1. 1

    Loyola University Chicago, USA

  2. 2

    Dartmouth College, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 9 APR 2013

Book Series:

  1. Foundations of Business Ethics

Book Series Editors:

  1. W. Michael Hoffman and
  2. Robert E. Frederick

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470672303

Online ISBN: 9781118551653



  • Adolph Hitler;
  • atom bomb;
  • education;
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR);
  • intellectual curiosity;
  • intellectual excellence;
  • leadership;
  • political leader


This chapter talks about the importance of intellectual excellence in leadership. Intellectual curiosity and breadth of knowledge are as important in a political leader as tactile skills in a surgeon or strength in an athlete. Experience over the past century in the business and political sectors offers countless illustrations of these truths, but one historical episode stands out: the events of the late 1930s and early 1940s surrounding the advent of nuclear energy and the decision to build an atomic bomb. Yet Franklin Delano Roosevelt, because of his background, education, and temperament, kept an open mind for the new currents in science and culture around him, whereas, Hitler, as a result of his background and ideology, deliberately shut himself off from new and challenging ideas. The differing fates of the American and German bomb projects reveal how important curiosity, education, and the virtue of intellectual excellence are to outstanding leadership.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

education; leader; leadership