Few modern discoveries have influenced mankind so rapidly and so profoundly as has nuclear fission, and few have had such an intricate history. Thus it is natural that the discovery of fission by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann in December 1938 is remembered and commemorated in many places on its 50th anniversary. I participated in the early experiments in Rome, and later in the US, and I knew most of the principals well, except for Strassmann. I will try to present a brief outline of the discovery and its antecedents.

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