I. Events leading up to the Manhattan Project

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The Manhattan Project

I. Events leading up to the Manhattan Project

  1. Germany’s Occupation of Europe

  2. Albert Einstein’s letter to President Roosevelt

  1. Germany’s interest in uranium

  2. Possible development of a new weapon

  3. United States should become involved in the new weapon technology

  1. Japan’s concern over the spread of American imperialism in the Pacific region

II. Manhattan Project

  1. Secret project formed by the United States Government in 1942

  2. Project’s responsibility

  1. Design and build an atomic bomb

  2. Beat the Germans, who it was believed were building their own atomic bomb

III. Project created three large facilities

  1. Oak Ridge, Tennessee

  1. Huge gas diffusion and electromagnetic processing plant

  2. Its job was to separate uranium 235 from its common form of uranium 238

  1. Hanford, Washington

  1. Became the home for nuclear reactions which produced a new element called plutonium

  2. Both the uranium 235 and the plutonium being produced at these two new sites were used to produce an atomic explosion

  1. Los Alamos, New Mexico

  1. Site chosen for research and testing at a remote New Mexico site

  2. Research facilities were housed in a former school for boys

  1. During the Depression the school fell on hard times and the owners were eager to sell the property

  1. Job of this facility was to design and build the bomb

  2. Los Alamos brought together many of the great scientific minds of the day

IV. Projector’s Directors

  1. Research Director – Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer

  1. Involved in every aspect of the project

  2. In the end became an advocate for nuclear arms control

  1. Project/Facilities Director – General Leslie Groves

  1. Had experience in large scale projects – was in charge of building the Pentagon

  2. Assigned to head a “Top Secret” weapons project

  3. Under Groves the project was renamed the “Manhattan Project”

V. Development of the Bomb

  1. Took place between 1942 – 1945

  2. Three years of hard work and theoretical calculations

  3. Finally scientists were ready to test the bomb

  4. A site was chosen – the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Site an isolated area in the New Mexico desert

  5. Fall of 1944 U. S. Army Soldiers arrive to prepare the actual test site

VI. Controversy before the test

  1. Death of President Roosevelt in April 1945

  1. Manhattan Project was so secret that Vice-President Harry Truman knew nothing about it

  2. Once Truman took the oath of office he could be informed and briefed of the upcoming test

  1. Surrender of Germany

  1. Doubts arose over the use of the bomb with Germany’s surrender

  2. Japan refused to surrender

VII. Day of the test

  1. Test scheduled for July 6, 1945

  1. Delayed because of thunder storms

  2. Finally at 4:00 a.m. the weather had cleared and scientists began turning on their monitoring/test devices

  3. Dr. Oppenheimer named the test “Trinity”

  1. Observers placed in bunkers

  1. Observers placed in bunkers 10,000 yards away

  2. Ordered to lie flat, face down on the floor

  3. Most ignored the order

  1. Put on welder’s glasses and sun tan lotion

  1. 5:29:45 device was exploded

  1. To observers the brilliant light overshadowed the shock or sound

  2. Trinity Test was a success

  3. First atomic bomb had been detonated

  4. One observed remarked:

“Suddenly, not only was there a bright light where we were, but 10 miles away, there was the heat of the sun on our faces…Then, only minutes later, the real sun rose and again you felt the same heat to the face from the sunrise. So we saw two sunrises.”

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