The Manhattan Project was a United States government research project where they produced the first atomic bomb. The project started in 1942, with only six thousand dollars in funding, and ended in 1945, when the first atomic bomb was produced. “ The atomic bomb took four years to produce about two billion dollars” (Moss 22). Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified, that is why we dropped the bombs. The dropping of the atomic bombs saved many American lives, as well as many Japanese lives. Dropping the atomic bombs also ended World War II. Why shouldn’t we have dropped the atomic bombs on Japan? After all, Japan did not want to surrender and they were the hated enemy of the United States.
A few other countries had already thought of the idea of making an atomic bomb, such as, England. Japan had already started the actual procedure of making an atomic bomb. The United States was curious and worried about how the Germans were doing on their construction of the atomic bomb. The United States knew nothing about the production of the atomic bomb by the Germans nor the Japanese. “An assumption commonly made about the Japan and why they did not finish the bomb first was that they did not have the men nor the sources to mount a project as big as this one” (Wilcox, 55).
Bunsaku Arakatsu, a personal friend and former student of Albert Einstein, had the most powerful branch of the navy secretly advance him some money for a project on a uranium bomb. Arakatsu had theorized the great energy of an atom. In 1939 Albert Einstein wrote a letter to the president of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt. In the letter, Roosevelt warned that it was possible that the Germans were ahead of the United States in the production in the bomb. After the letter was written , a lab in Chicago was set up. “Chicago ended up being the primary research site for the atomic bomb” (Wilcox, 82).
In July 1941 began a race to produce an atomic weapon ahead of the Germans and in time to be used during the war. A director of a research, Nobel prize winner, Arthur H. Compton, made a time schedule for the project in January 1942:
-By July 1942, to determine whether a chain reaction was possible.
-By January 1943, to achieve the first (controlled) chain reaction.
-By January 1944, to extract the first element 94 from uranium.
-By January 1945, to have a bomb. ( Spector, 551)(Hewlett and Anderson, The New World ).
In February 1940, research in the United States Started. “On December 6th, 1941, President Roosevelt authorized funds for the actual creation of the Manhattan Project.”
( Wilcox, 82). Six thousand dollars was available to start the research on the bomb. (Moss, 22).
The Manhattan Project was put under the direction of the Office of Scientific Research and Development. This was headed by the president’s top scientific advisor, Vannevar Bush. “In July 1941, Bush reported that if one should be perfected, an atomic explosive appeared feasible, its use in a war could quite possibly determine the outcome of the war.”( Spector, 551). The Original members of the Atomic Energy Commission of independent agency initially did not tell the military either the number or how big the bombs that were being made were. (Hersh, 84). Now that the United States had started their production of the atomic bomb, it was a race with the Germans, who were perceived to have a two year advantage on America. “Manhattan Project” became the code name for the research work that would attend across country. “It was originally referred to as the wartime atomic bomb program.” (Moss, 22).
The first development program for the atomic bomb started in Britain. The British program and the American program for atomic bombs were joined together. The two moved the research to the United States. They did this so that they can take advantage of the resources of the American Industry. Also, it was safe from the German bombing. There was a little angry exchange of words between Churchill and Roosevelt during the alliance of wartime. Britain was upset with the United States because of a refusal to share information with British atomic scientists.
On July 16, 1945 at 5:30 A.M., the first atomic bomb was successfully exploded in a remote section on the Alamogordo Air Force Base in the New Mexico desert, 120 miles south of Albuquerque. The American scientists had won their race with the Germans. It was not even a race, the Germans had not even produced a self sustained chain reaction. “They gave up on even making an atomic bomb to use in war” (Spector, 552). The Manhattan Project ended in 1945 when the atomic bomb was produced. At 8:16 A.M. on August 6, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan. It destroyed the city. The explosion was unbelievably huge. The second atomic bomb was dropped over the city of Nagasaki. The bomb was dropped in the late morning on August 9, 1945. It, too destroyed the city. The destruction caused by the atomic bombs on these two city’s ended World War II, saving American and Japanese lives. (Doug Long http://www.he.net/-douglong/hiroshema.htm).
The bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. First off, if the United States had not dropped the bombs who knows when World War II would have ended?
The President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, threatened to use the atomic bombs on Japan. Japan still did not surrender, so the Americans dropped the bombs.
When The United States dropped the bombs they were not exactly thinking about the future and the long term effects. The United States bombed Hiroshima on short term factors. Such as, saving thousands of American lives. For maximum psychological impact, both bombs were used in quick succession, one over Hiroshima and one over Nagasaki. These cities had not been previously bombed, and therefore the bombs’ damage could be accurately assessed. The United States estimates the number of killed in Hiroshima at 66,000 to 78,000 and in Nagasaki at 39,000. The Japanese estimates gave a combined total of 240,000. “The alternative for the United States would have been to try to invade the main island of Japan, where many more American lives would have been taken.” (Moss , 22). The dropping of the bomb on Nagasaki was the final scare from the United States to Japan.
Another reason why the bombing was justified, was because the Japanese would not surrender. Hundreds of Japanese soldiers were jumping of cliffs on the island Iwo Jima. They were committing suicide instead of surrendering. Even civilians were committing suicide. I do not understand how soldiers and civilians could kill themselves instead of surrendering. “All they were saying is that they were going to lose the war anyway, so what was the big deal about pride.” (Hersh, 85).
Another reason for bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was because of their Kamikaze planes. If you were the president of a country and other countries had people in planes crash into your ships killing thousands of your soldiers, wouldn’t you drop the atomic bombs on them if you could? Japan had Kamikaze planes crashing into the United States naval vessels. Kamikaze planes with tons of explosives on them and the plane is flown into the enemies naval vessels and everything blows up. The Japanese destroyed many of the United States naval vessels. This killed many Americans.
A strong reason the United States had for bombing Japan was that the Soviet forces started to take territories the Japanese occupied. It was already bad enough for the United States that Europe was going to have to be shared by the two superpowers without having to distribute Japan and Southeast Asia amongst them. The United States liked the thought of ending the war before the USSR could claim any part of Japan. ( Chris Ward http://www.enviorlink.org/issue/nuketesting/altwarnuke/0036.html)
The obstacles for getting the Manhattan Project started were huge, the remaining problems, before the United States was finished, were mind boggling, and the project itself grew quickly into the biggest most expensive weapons research-and-development operation of World War II. Overall, the Manhattan Project was an excellent project for the United States. The production of the atomic bombs was a war ending success for the United States. Though the atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed and injured many people, the United States had to drop the bombs. Japan refused to surrender. People were committing suicide rather than surrendering, so the United States dropped the bombs crushing Japan’s will to fight, saving American lives as well as Japanese lives, and putting an end to World War II.
Farris, John. Hiroshima. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc., Copyright 1990. Hersh, Seymour M. The Samson Option. United States: Random House, Inc. New York,
And simultaneously Canada: Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, Copyright 1991.
Moss, Norman. Men Who Play God. New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, Copyright 1968 Spector, Ronald H. Eagle Against The Sun. New York: A Division Of Macmillian, Inc, Copyright 1985. Ward, Chris. “Re: Stalin, WWII, Manhattan Proj.”
http:/www.environing.org/issues/nuke testing/altwarnuke/0036.html.“11/20/2002” Wilcox, Robert K. Japans Secret War. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., Copyright 1985.