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Manhattan Project Essay Research Paper The research

Manhattan Project Essay, Research Paper

The research for the first Atomic bomb was done in the United States, by

a group of the best scientists; this research was given the name of ?The

Manhattan Project?. On Monday July 16th, 1945, a countdown for the detonation

of the first atomic bomb took place near Los Alamos, New Mexico. This atomic

bomb testing would forever change the meaning of war. As the atomic bomb was

detonated it sent shock-waves all over the world. There was endless research

done on the bomb in the United States. The research was called ?The Manhattan

Engineer District Project? but it was more commonly known as "The

Manhattan Project."1 The Manhattan Project was brought by fear of Germany

and it’s atomic research. On account of the fear of Germany the United States

took action upon testing their own atomic bomb. Once the bomb was tested, the

United States had to decide whether it should be used and if so, where? Then

there was the process of dropping the bomb. The Manhattan Project was overall

one of the highest and most significant projects ever done in the United

States.2 The United States government was shocked by the news of German

scientists discovering nuclear fission. The news came to the United States from

Albert Einstein. Einstein found out the nuclear fission information from a

German physicist named Leo Szilard. He then told it to President Franklin D.

Roosevelt and urged him to start an investment toward atomic research. 3The

research would then help construct an atomic weapon of mass destruction.

Roosevelt was not especially concerned about investing in atomic weapon research

because he didn’t plan on getting involved in the War. When Pearl Harbor was

attacked by the Japanese, Roosevelt entered the war and sent significant funds

to the construction of the atomic weapon. Roosevelt speeded up the process of

research by having General Groves setup a committee of the brightest minds from

all around the world. Because most of the work done on research of the bomb was

done in the Manhattan District of New York, at the US Army Corps of Engineers,

the name given to the lay out was "The Manhattan Project".3 The man

that General Grooves chose to head the Manhattan project was Robert J.

Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was a Jewish born child who was raised in Manhattan.

Oppenheimer went to Harvard University to complete a four-year chemistry program

in three years. After Harvard, Oppenheimer went to Cambridge University to get a

degree in Subatomic Physics. Then he went to teach at Berkley University.4

Another main person in the research project was Enrico Fermi. Fermi was a

graduate of the University of Pisa, where he received his Ph.D. Fermi then went

to the University of Rome teaching chemistry and biology. Fermi played a major

role in the development of the bomb by creating a sustained nuclear fission

chain reaction, which was critical to making the atomic bomb.4 Richard Feyman

was another scientist which worked on the atomic bomb. Feyman graduated from

Princeton where he excelled in physics and other scientific studies. Feyman’s

big duty on the Manhattan Project was to break big problems into smaller easier

to do problems.4 The Manhattan Project, also had to have facilities for the

research and testing of the atomic bomb. Some of the facilities built by U.S.

Army Corps of Engineers included: power stations, factories, steel works,

hospitals, laboratories, and housing for everybody that worked on the project..

Other facilities that were built for the construction of the bomb were plants to

make the radioactive material needed to construct the bomb. Oak Ridge, Tennessee

was used to make uranium which was used as an explosive to react with plutonium.

The plutonium itself was made in Hanford, Washington.5 To make this explosion

possible, a piece of uranium was fired at another piece of uranium to make the

critical mass that was needed for an explosion. Critical mass is the exact

amount of fissionable material needed to maintain a fission chain reaction. Once

Critical mass was obtained it compressed Plutonium and when the Plutonium was

compressed enough, atoms from plutonium were split and it made an explosive bomb

that could destroy a medium sized city.3 Security was tight on the Los Alamos

site because there was fear that bomb secrets would be spread outside of the

work place. There were many people that worked on the bomb that didn?t even

know they were working on it, they just thought it to be another regular

government job. The workers that were there could not use their given names

outside of the Los Alamos base. Any mail that was sent was to be read before

delivered and vise versa.5 The creation of the bomb that was believed to work

and now only needed to be tested The Manhattan Project was the most funded

project done up to this time, so it had to be tested to see if the scientific

research had gone to good use. Testing for the first atomic weapon took place on

July 16, 1945, at the Trinity test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico.3 The first

atomic bomb was detonated. Small amounts of plutonium made a destructive force

equal to 25,000 tons of TNT. The bomb vaporized the tower where it was dropped

from. The bomb reached new heights by a mushroom cloud that was 41,000 feet high

and shock-waves from the bomb were felt from at least 10,000 feet away from the

test site. The blast was also heard or seen from at least 50 miles away. After

the testing, and succession of this first atomic weapon, the world was changed

forever on its ways of battle.3 Now that the bomb that was tested, it was ready

to use for war. Another thing that now needed to be done with The Project, was

what to do with the atomic bomb. By the time the atomic bomb was finished, the

presidency had changed. President Roosevelt died of polio, so Harry S. Truman

was left in charge of the decisions involving the bomb. The focus of the war was

changing. Germany was starting to lose in the war day by day. So the U.S.

decided to focus much of their attention on the war with Japan. A committee was

formed to advise the president on the best course of action to easily defeat

Japan with the lowest loss of American lives. The committee came up with some

choices. The first was to negotiate a peace treaty. Second, to cooperate with

the Russians and continue fighting the war as they hoped for a quick end. The

third decision was to organize a full out invasion with the cooperation of the

Army, Navy and other military divisions. Another choice was to use the bomb in a

test on an unpopulated island to show the Japanese its capabilities for

destruction. Their last choice was to drop the bomb on a major city in Japan.1

There were many disadvantages to all of these decisions that could be made. The

U.S. was not to accept anything less than a surrender, and the Japanese were

insisting that they keep their emperor and current government. To cooperate with

Russia meant the U.S. would be in debt and would possibly be in an undesirable

situation with the Russian Communist rule. The invasion of the Japanese mainland

would, like the previous choice, sacrifice hundreds and thousands of American

soldiers. A problem with showing the testing of the bomb was the possible

failure of the bomb. As we know choice five was chosen. The choice of dropping

the bomb took about a month to decide from the time of the first initial

testing.1 & 2 Five places had been chosen as good targets in Japan. They

were Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Yokohama, and Kokura Arsenal. The last thing

the U.S. now had to do was get the bomb dropped on their picked primary targets,

which were chosen as Nagasaki and Hiroshima.1 A new leader, General Carl A.

Spaatz, commanding officer in Pacific operations, received notice that the first

atomic bomb was to be dropped on Hiroshima. The actual dropping of the bomb was

delayed several times due to predictions of nasty weather. The plane that

carried the bomb was named "Enola Gay" and weighed 65 tons at

take-off, a total of 8 tons over the normal operating weight of a B-29 bomber.

In case of a crash during takeoff, which would have blown up the whole naval

base, it was decided that the bomb would have to be armed in the air. Captain

William S. Parsons, a Navy ordinance expert, was the man in charge of arming a

bomb during flight.5 On August 6th, the bomb named "Little Boy,"

completely flattened about four miles of Hiroshima. It was estimated that a

total of 78,000 died in the explosion, but that number does not include people

who died from radiation poisoning. Three days later on August 9th, the bomb

named "Fat Man", dropped on Nagasaki. It did not cause the devastation

of Hiroshima because of different land features. But it still resulted in about

39,000 deaths.5 The second bomb was under suspicion that it was only dropped

because the U.S. wanted to try a new type of bomb. Some others thought it was

needed to claim victory in the Second World War. Either way both bombs were the

most monumental in history to this time. 4 In conclusion The Manhattan project

was one of the most important and expensive projects ever done in the United

States to this time. The drip of the bomb probably could have been stopped but

the US decided to take the action which killed thousands and injured millions.

The dropping of the bomb forever changed the meaning of war for all citizens of

the world.



Atomic Bomb : Decision ? Target Committee — http://www.dannen.com/decision/targets.html#E

2 Atomic Archive – Explore the History, Science, and Consequences of the Atomic

Bomb ? http://www.atomicarchive.com/main.shtml 3 CD-ROM and Online Encarta

Encyclopedia 99 4 The Manhattan Project — http://www.gis.net/~carter/manhattan/

5 The Avalon Project : The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/abomb/mpmenu.html

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