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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