Essay about pivotal event in US history- The Manhattan Project

Submitted By jturner4810
Words: 1526
Pages: 7

THE MANHATTAN PROJECT A pivotal event in the past is one, that has caused a significant change in the course of history. Significant events have and will always have an influence on the continuation of time and this in a way makes every event pivotal. What sets apart the critical turning points of history from day to day occurrences is the long term effects of these events. The most pivotal events in history are ones, that have the most drastic long-term effects. World War II was a pivotal event in US history but every large event can be broken down into smaller key events. The single key event that brought the end to this awful war and can be argued as the most glorifying or the most evil event in US history, was the detonation of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The act alone of detonating these weapons of unfathomable destruction can be considered a pivotal event in itself. However these weapons did not just come from out of the blue. The technology for this new and exponentially more powerful weaponry than had ever existed emerged from an even more influential event, the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project is truly one of the most pivotal events in US history because its discoveries had extreme long-term effects that drastically changed the history of the US as well as shaped the world today. On, October 11, 1939, a letter from Albert Einstein was delivered to President Roosevelt that provided the context for the development of the Manhattan Project. The letter warned Roosevelt about the existence of the German nuclear energy project. At this point the United States was neutral in the war, however Einstein made clear the dangers of the possibility of an atomic bomb in the hands of the Germans and advised Roosevelt to have the US begin research in nuclear technology. In response, Roosevelt organized the Uranium Committee whose job was to study the possibility of using enriched Uranium to create an atomic bomb. Two years later in October of 1941 the National Defense Research Committee also began research on nuclear technology. Just a few months later the US declared war on Japan then Germany and Italy. The US needed more than just research in nuclear technology and in response the Manhattan Project was created in August 1942. The Manhattan project was a secret program established in order to develop and test atomic weaponry for the US and its allies. The head production plant for enriched Uranium was created in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Development of the only other fissionable material known, plutonium-239 began in a laboratory at the University of Chicago. Production of these materials and constant research continued and in February of 1945 the first bomb was completed. The first bomb made use of an internal gun that fired a sphere of Uranium-235 into a second mass of U-235. This allowed for critical mass of U-235 to be surpassed allowing for the fission reaction to begin. In July of 1945 the bomb was detonated in the trinity test which was a success. At this point Germany had already surrendered and the focus for the bomb shifted to Japan. Eventually both a new gun type bomb known as little boy and an implosion type bomb, which made use of plutonium, were ready for use against Japan. The short-term effects of the Manhattan Project were devastating. The first bomb, little boy was dropped on Hiroshima and three days later the second bomb, which came to be known as fat man, was dropped on Nagasaki. Well over 100,000 civilians were killed. Most were vaporized, crushed, or burned in the blasts and many others died in the weeks following as a result of radiation poisoning. Many more people died a slower death from diseases caused by the radiation poisoning in the years following. The immediate effects of the Manhattan project marked a major “pivoting” point in US history. The devastation caused by the two bombs almost immediately lead the Japanese to surrender, ending World War