The Manhatten Project Essay, Research Paper
The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was born into a “World in Crisis” (Snyder, 356). The terrible Adolf Hitler had come to power in Germany, and Italian armies sought control in Europe. “In the summer of 1939 war broke out in Europe. Within a year German and Italian armies controlled a large part of the continent[Europe]” (Killingray, 6). Japanese forces were also fighting to attain control in the large continent of Asia.
In 1938, Enrico Fermi, a German scientist, discovered nuclear fission. Many scientist feared that Germany and worse, Hitler, would obtain the power of a nuclear bomb. “With such a powerful weapon, she [Germany] would be able to win the war and become the most powerful state in the world.” (Killingray, 6).
Many scientist, some refugees from Germany and Italy, feared Germany would build the first atomic bomb. They convinced president Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish a research program. This was the start of the atomic race, and America sought to win it. Albert Einstein urged the U.S. and Britain to do joint research as Allies. They both agreed though the U.S. didn?t officially enter the War until 1941.
There were many big-name scientist involved in this effort. Vannevar Bush was the head of ORSD and “Coordinated all work on atomic fission.” (”Perspectives” NP). Authur Compton and his team produced the first controlled chain reaction in uranium. This was December 1942 in Chicago. Robert J. Oppenheimer was the head of the new research facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico. When the project came under military control, Oppenheimer became the new director. “Other notable scientist include Leslie Groves, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller.”(”Perspectives” NP).
The Manhattan Project, and all aspect of nuclear fission tested many revolutionary theories. The basic theory for all it all, however, was based on Einstein?s theory that mass could be converted into energy. Another theory to test is weather a chain reaction could actually be achieved this was only a theory based in the fact that when bombarded by neutrons, radioactive elements form supercritical masses, and also give off new neutrons, the theory states that these new neutrons would begin the process over again- a chain reaction.
The Manhattan Project produced many landmark accomplishments before the bomb was developed, the first was the 1942 chain reaction in Chicago. The bridge between the chain reaction and the final product was the gun-type atom bomb. This fired two pieces of uranium at one another to for a supercritical mass that would explode. Obviously, true landmark was the finished product: The Atom Bomb.
The Manhattan Project had a great impact on the war, because of the threat of this powerful weapon. The Allies were scared of Hitler obtaining an atom bomb, Hitler on the other hand wanted this power. The first to attain it would certainly win the war.
This desire led to a tremendous race for the bomb. This was the Atomic Race. At the start of the war many countries had atomic research programs. The United States and Germany emerged as the front-runners in this “Atomic Race”. This was a deadly race, a race for supremacy and a race for the war. America won the war almost by default, as many scientist fled Germany and their supplies were destroyed, they dropped out of the race.
One of the most questioned aspects of them Manhattan Project was the decision to drop the bomb. This responsibility rested on the shoulders of new president Harry Truman. After the test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, the new question was how to use the bomb. Harry S. Truman ordered the first ever atomic bomb to be dropped on the Japanese city Hiroshima.
The first city that was attacked was Hiroshima, a gun-type bomb, named “Little Boy” was selected for Hiroshima. When the blast hit Hiroshima on August 6 1945, it instantly killed 66,000 people and injured even more. The city was ravaged and would be radioactive for weeks.
After Hiroshima, Japan still refused to surrender, so Truman ordered “Fat Man”, a plutonium bomb, dropped on Nagasaki. Nagasaki, a smaller city, was equally devastated. As the blast hit on August 14, 39,000 were killed, and 25,000 were injured.
The Manhattan Project also ushered in the Atomic Age. The Atomic Age has brought us many things some good, but some bad. The Nuclear Age has brought new sources of power, as well as more efficient tools in all aspects of life. The Atomic Age has also horrified millions, and meltdowns have hurt many people.
After the conclusion of the Manhattan Project the following countries developed atomic technology: USSR(1949), England(1954), France(1960), China(1964), and India(1947). Other countries, such as Pakistan and Israel are suspected of being capable of readily producing atomic weapons.
The widespread development of nuclear technology led to the “Cold War”. It was an undeclared standoff between all atomically equipped nations. This was particularly hostile between communist and non-communist nations. During this bleak period in history, nations manned stations around the clock with weapons of mass destruction aimed at one another, only waiting to begin the “Nuclear Holocaust.”
All in all, the Manhattan Project was a huge success, but what has been gained? Over 200,000 civilian lives were destroyed in a country that was defeated anyway, two cities were left in ruins, people were caused to fear new and more powerful weapons, and this fear of one another led to a standoff between civilized nations. On the contrary, we have found new sources for energy, but one is still left to wonder was the world really ready for this power?