The Manhattan Project and the Bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki

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The Manhattan Project and the Bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki

When people hear the word nuclear bomb, the image of a towering mushroom cloud of destruction

instantly comes to mind. This device, capable of inflicting an unimaginable amount of damage in a split

second, is the culmination of the human quest for bigger and better weaponry. On August 6th an earth-

shattering event happened that would change the course of the world. As a result of President Truman's

decision, the first fission bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”, was dropped on the unsuspecting Japanese

city of Hiroshima. This act signified the largest number of people to die in a single instant in all of

modern history. The ethics of this act are very questionable, and the decision should be criticized

severely, because the consequences of this action stretch far beyond anything that was ever expected.

On August 2, 1939, just before the beginning of World War II, Albert Einstein wrote to then President

Franklin D. Roosevelt. Einstein and several other scientists told Roosevelt of efforts in Nazi Germany

to purify uranium-235, which could be used to build an atomic bomb. It was shortly thereafter that the

United States Government began the serious undertaking known then only as "The Manhattan Project."

From an office at the federal building at 90 Church Street in Manhattan, to a basement underneath

Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, to the secret Los Alamos Facility in New Mexico the

Manhattan Project grew to eventually employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly $2 billion. It

was from this program that the first two atomic bombs were produced, Fat Man and Little Boy.

At 8:15 local time, a B52 bomber named Enola Gay released the Little Boy bomb on Hiroshima. The

city was an important military center, containing about 43,000 soldiers. As many as 400,000 civilians

also lived and worked in the city and outlying areas....
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