The Bombing of Hiroshima

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In the summer of 1945, World War II was coming to a close. The Nazis had surrendered, causing the Allies to focus on defeating Japan and finally ending the war. President Harry S. Truman called for the “unconditional surrender of all Japanese forces,” but the Japanese would not oblige. At first, Truman considered invasion of the Japanese main island, Honshu, but too many American soldiers would have died. The military turned to The Manhattan Project, the secret multi-billion dollar military project that had been developing nuclear weapons for four years, and asked for a way to destroy Japan efficiently. They took a uranium bomb, nicknamed Little Boy, and dropped it on a large military town on the coast of the main island, Hiroshima. The outcome was exactly what they wanted and maybe even more.

Leo Szilard, a Hungarian physicist, discovered the possibility of nuclear chain reaction in 1933. He shared his theories with the famous American physicist, Albert Einstein, and they contemplated the idea of this new discovery leading to powerful nuclear weapons. In 1939, they sent a letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt under Einstein’s name, informing him of their fear of Germany creating a nuclear weapon first, and therefore gaining an extreme advantage over the Allies. To prevent such a disaster, FDR designated the Army Corps of Engineers to create a secret nuclear project. On August 11, 1942, they gathered various atomic projects into one Manhattan Engineering District, more commonly known as the Manhattan Project.

Army Brigadier General Leslie Richard Groves was chosen to head the whole Manhattan Project. He had the responsibility of choosing many of the sites for research and testing, including the “secret cities.” These “secret cities” were remote towns built with prefabricated homes established specifically for the engineers working to separate uranium or plutonium isotopes. In choosing these cities, General Groves “sought out a relatively undeveloped...
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