The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project
This operation began in 1942 and its sole mission was to create a weapon so powerful it could wipe out cities in an instant. The Manhattan Project was created by the U.S. military in fear of such power being first discovered by the Nazis, their enemy. The base site was stationed in Manhattan, New York but eventually branched out across the country. The head directors of this project were U.S. physicist Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director, and General Leslie R. Groves, military head of the project; they had recruited many of the best mathematicians and engineers within the nation. A number of European scientists participated in this project as well, such as Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard. A few years of non-stop testing and experimenting in the science of splitting atoms and creating atomic energy the scientists had finally made it work. Once their Trinity test proved successful the U.S. began developing more atomic bombs to be used on Japan. This project was top secret but infiltrations of Soviet atomic spies still happened and they were able to leak vital information to the axis powers. The "Fat Man" and the "Little Boy" were dropped and Japan surrendered. This controversial decision closed the gap and hastened the ending of the war. The bombs had to be dropped! Japan wouldn't have surrendered and Germany would have eventually developed their own atomic bombs. It would have taken a lot of time, effort and money to do it more peacefully. The Manhattan Project won the war for the Allies and saved the world from a potential dictatorship.
The discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 opened up the scientific world to the possibility of atomic energy. Thoughts on atomic energy were released to the public through newspapers and magazines however many scientists didn't believe it could be done. Leo Szilard, a highly intelligent physicist and close friend of Einstein, a genius in mathematics and physics, was shocked at how the U.S. wasn't taking any action in this field of research. He had gotten word that the Nazis discovered nuclear fission and were trying to build a terrifying weapon from it. Szilard wanted to do something about it. He wanted to send a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt explaining the potential discovery of an atomic bomb and how the U.S. should invest in a program to further the research and development. This letter was constructed by Albert Einstein on the 2nd of August 1939 which explained the importance of atomic research with uranium and how the U.S. needs to implement it into its scientific community. He also stated that Germany had been shutting down uranium mines in Czechoslovakia and were being taken over. “I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which one has taken over.”(dannen). The letter did not have much effect and didn’t reach the president until October 11th of that year. The president created a “Uranium Committee” however it only put forward $6,000 to purchase graphite and uranium for the necessary experiments. The country still was skeptic of the project up until 1941 approximately one day before the tragedy at Pearl Harbor. The project was formally named “The Manhattan Project” a year later in August of 1942. This was the largest secret ever kept from the public in U.S. government history.
The Manhattan Project consisted of over 30 different sites across the country. It also employed many thousands of Americans to work in all of the sites. This helped the people with helpful skills to get pay and to help out their country. Most of the workers however never really knew what the purpose was for what they were doing. The most prominent of them were Hanford, Washington, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico. Oak Ridge was one of the three secret cities chosen by General Leslie Groves. The area only had 60,000 acres of farmland right near the Appalachian Mountains and was...
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