Essay about The Manhattan Project

Submitted By laxbull5
Words: 1792
Pages: 8

The United States needed a quick solution to end the hard fought war known as World War II. There was talk that something life changing was going to be created, a secret weapon was in the making. Some of the world’s most renowned scientists, chemists and, physicists gathered to discuss a possible solution of creating a nuclear weapon. It was understood that the secrecy of this project was vital to reaching their goal. The Manhattan Project was underway and construction began in many secure locations with the most well-known being Los Alamos, New Mexico. Here is where Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, Leo Szilard and General Leslie R Groves Jr. would push the boundaries of science and technology of the 1950’s. These men along with others would help develop a nuclear weapon that was necessary to end WWII. America tried to do everything they could without getting involved in WWII but it proved too difficult of a task. After Germany and the Ottoman Empire had surrendered, Japan was the last central power left in the war. Japan was not known for surrender, they believed in fighting until the last man died. This concerned Franklin D. Roosevelt who was the president at the time. It came to his attention that something needed to be done to end the war. Dr. Leo Szilard informed Albert Einstein about possible atomic weapons being created in other countries. Szilard knew he had to get the information to the government, so he visited Einstein, because he knew Einstein was well respected by Roosevelt. Einstein wrote the letter and Alexander Sachs delivered it to President Roosevelt. Roosevelt took the contents of the letter seriously and started the Advisory Committee of Uranium (Cohen 13-20). The Advisory Committee of Uranium recruited various physicists, chemists, and scientists to join them in their nuclear research. Leo Szilard was a Hungarian physicist who created the concept of a nuclear chain reaction. Szilard and Enrico Fermi successfully controlled a nuclear chain reaction for the first time in U.S. history. Still to this day, they are most credited with getting the Manhattan Project started. Eugene Wigner was a Hungarian physicist who had spent his life studying quantum mechanics. In 1945, Wigner created production reactors that would help in the process of making the atomic bombs. He later won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 for his contributions to the Manhattan Project. Edward Teller was involved at the Los Alamos Laboratory in the theoretical physics department. He believed that he could create a fusion weapon but it was too low of a priority to the government at the time. Robert Oppenheimer was known to those in America as the father of the atomic bomb. He supervised and oversaw the entire Manhattan Project from the inside and out (History). After the first successful test of the atomic bomb Robert Oppenheimer said, “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one and now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds” (Science).
American military leaders decided they needed to build a place to create a nuclear weapon. They searched for a location 200 miles from any coastline or international border. The site had to be sparsely populated because there might be horrendous damage. They settled on a secluded school for boys in the deserts of Los Alamos, New Mexico. (Sonneborn 17)
There were over thirty sites and almost everyone had its own job that worked toward creating the atomic bomb: laboratories, manufacturing plants, test sites, theory and formula sites. Each site worked toward a common goal, which was to create a nuclear weapon (Gonzales 43).
The plutonium factory, site W, would be built on the Colombia River near Hanford, Washington. This was another sparsely populated area of the United States, and the government soon informed the few families who lived nearby that they had to leave their homes.