Free Essay: The Manhattan Project
The world’s scientific community made an important discovery in early 1939. It discovered that German physicists had learned all the secrets of splitting a uranium atom. As a result, there were fears over the possibility of Nazi scientists exploring all possible means to produce a bomb that is capable of unspeakable mass destruction.
Albert Einstein was one of the most renowned scientists during the period and fled Nazi execution worked with Enrico Fermi, a scientist who also escaped Fascist Italy. The two agreed the president of the US must be informed of the looming dangers based on atomic technology in the hands of axis. They were living in the US and Fermi had to travel to Washington DC to communicate his concerns to relevant officials.
Albert on the other hand wrote a letter to President Roosevelt where he urged for the development of a research program on atoms and atomic technology. The president couldn’t find the necessity of the program but he agreed to it. American efforts in late 1941 to design and build atomic bomb were later branded the Manhattan Project.
The Manhattan Project was a very crucial research and it was based in a few universities including
- The University of Chicago
- The University of California at Berkeley and
- Columbia University
There was a breakthrough on the program in 1942 when Fermi with a group of physicists produced the first nuclear chain reaction. This was under the grandstands of Stagg field, University of Chicago. It was a major milestone in the scientific field and it saw the government allocate more resources and funds to the project. As a result, the project progressed at an incredible breakneck speed.
Nuclear facilities were also built in Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The main assembly plant was however built in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Robert Oppenheimer was also selected as the in charge of Alamos as he put together all the pieces of the project.
Additionally, a final bill, totaling $2billion was signed towards research and development of an atomic bomb. With the funds and resources, the Manhattan project became quite successful employing up to 120,000 Americans. Secrecy was the most important thing and with the virtue, Japanese and Germans could not learn of the Manhattan project.
Churchill and Roosevelt also maintained secrecy throughout and they agreed to keep Stalin in the dark. What’s more, there was no debate and public awareness on the project. Only inner scientists and small privileged cadre learned of the project and even the then deputy president Truman was not aware of the project. He learnt of it when he became the president.
Axis powers also remained in the dark on the project. American leaders later found out that Klaus Fuchs, Soviets spy had penetrated in the scientist’s inner circle. By 1945, Oppenheimer had made a major progress and it was therefore ready to test its first bomb. In July the same year scientists of the Manhattan project were ready to watch the detonation of the first atomic bomb in the world.
A binding flash that was visible across 200miles lit up the sky during the detonation. Windows of civilian homes were blown out by a mushroom cloud that reached 40,000feet and when it returned to earth, it created metamorphosing crater sand and into glass. The Manhattan project was complete, successful and the world entered nuclear age.
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