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The Manhatten Project

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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. The endless research done on this bomb had a name and it was "The Manhattan Project."

The Manhattan Project was brought by fear of Germany and it's atomic research. Next, was the people who were behind the production of the bomb. After the fear of Germany the United States took action and tested 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 getting the bomb dropped.

The Manhattan Project was overall one of the biggest and most important projects ever done in the United States. 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 information of nuclear fission from a German physicist named Leo Szilard, and then told it to President Roosevelt and urged him that there should be investments made into research to help construct an atomic weapon of mass destruction. Roosevelt didn't really care about investing in atomic weapon research because he didn't plan on getting involved in the War.

When Roosevelt entered the war, he sent major funds to the construction of an atomic weapon when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. Roosevelt speeded up the process of research by having General Groves setup a committee of the brightest minds from all around the world.

The name given to the project was called "The Manhattan Project", because most of the work done on research of the bomb was done in the Manhattan District of the US Army Corps of Engineers in New York City. Groves picked his front man for the project, it was to be Robert J. Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer, after being picked to supervise the construction of the bomb, chose Los Alamos, New Mexico to be the first test site of the first atomic weapon of mass destruction. The Germans having atomic research and President Roosevelt investing into atomic research and naming General Groves as the leader of the project is one reason why the Manhattan Project was one of the biggest and most important projects ever done in the United States.

Another reason why the Manhattan Project was overall one of the biggest and most important projects ever done in the United States was the main characters who were involved in the process of making an atomic weapon. The man that General Grooves chose to head the Manhattan project was Robert J. Oppenheimer. Robert J. Oppenheimer was a Jewish born child that 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. After that he went to teach at Berkley University.

One of the other main people in the research project was Enrico Fermi. Fermi was a graduate of the University of Pisa, where he received his Ph.D., Magna Cum Laude. Fermi then taught at 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.

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.

Having people with incredibly smart minds is another reason why the Manhattan Project was one of the biggest projects in the U.S.. One of the biggest projects that was ever done in the U.S., also had to have facilities for it. 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.

Security was tight on the Los Alamos site because there was fear that bomb secrets would be spread outside of the work place. There was many people that worked on the bomb the whole time and never knew that they were working on the bomb and just thought it to be a 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 to was read before delivered and vise versa.

Other facilities that were built for the construction of the bomb were plants to make the radioactive material needed to construct the bomb. Places like 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. 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 a explosive bomb that could destroy a medium sized city.

Creating a bomb that was believed to work and now only needed to be tested is another reason why I believe the Manhattan Project was one of the biggest U.S. projects ever done. The biggest project that the U.S. ever funded, had to be tested to see if the scientific research had gone to good use. Testing for the first atomic weapon of mass destruction took place on July 16, 1945. After the testing of this first atomic weapon, the world be changed forever on it's ways of battle.

At the Trinity test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was detonated. Small amounts of plutonium made a destructive force equal to 25,000 tons of TNT. The bomb



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