Once the bomb was tested, the United States had to decide whether it should be used and if so, where? Then there was the process of dropping the bomb. The Manhattan Project was overall one of the highest and most significant projects ever done in the United States.2 The United States government was shocked by the news of German scientists discovering nuclear fission. The news came to the United States from Albert Einstein. Einstein found out the nuclear fission information from a German physicist named Leo Szilard.
The Germans tried to use this energy, as did the United States and Russia. Americans spent billions of dollars on the Manhattan Project, headed by J. Robert Oppenheimer. This project was held in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The bomb produced a huge explosion. Although this explosion was spectacular, the deadly force of an atomic bomb was shown when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during War II.
John D. Cockcroft and Ernest Walton confirmed this by experiments in 1932. Then in 1938, nuclear fission was discovered by German scientists, and it was feared by many of the U.S. scientists, that Hitler would try to build a fission bomb. Three Hungarian-born physicists, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller asked Albert Einstein to send a letter to Franklin Roosevelt. Compelled by the letter in late 1939, Roosevelt ordered an effort to obtain an atomic weapon before Germany. At first, this program was led by Vannevar Bush, head of the National Defense Research committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development.
The decision to create the bombs was that of United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt under a secret military project that was called The Manhattan Project. The Beginnings of the Manhattan Project In 1939, after German dictator Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, German scientists shocked the scientific world when they announced that they had split uranium atoms by man-made means for the first time. Upon hearing this news, a nuclear physicist, Leo Szilard, was convinced that a chain reaction of this process could be used as a weapon to release an awesome burst of power. Szilard knew that this knowledge was now in the wrong hands of the enemy Germans. On a July day in 1939 Szilard and his associate, Edward Teller, drove to the Long Island home of Albert Einstein to alert him of their findings.
The Manhattan Project was founded in 1942 by the United States government to create a fission (nuclear) bomb (Kroenig). The first idea of a fission bomb was during 1938 when two scientist named Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard discovered the power of fission in uranium (Astore). In 1939, there was a possibility that Germany had the same idea and started researching on making a fission type bomb in an Arms race competition. An Arms race is when a country battles another country for status by having stronger and better weapons. In this race, it was for the creation of the fission bomb.
Albert Einstein, Edward Teller, Leo Szilard and the rest of his colleagues wrote a letter in August 1939 to warn the United States that Germany was researching and developing nuclear weapons. They were afraid that once Germany finished building the bomb, they would use it on the United States. (Cayton, Perry, Winkler, 1995, pg. 786) When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt received the letter, he was both amazed and scared. He was amazed that science could make such a devastating weapon, a weapon that could destroy an entire city.
German chemist Martin Klaproth discovered uranium in 1789 (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1). Albert Einstein in 1905 discovers theory of E=mc2. In 1939 Hahn and Strassman show developments in harnessing nuclear fission (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1). They showed that fission not only released a lot of energy but also released additional neutrons which led to a greater release of energy (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1). British and US scientists concentrated on fission of U-235 which would lead to a new element of mass U-239 an atomic number of 94 in which would lead them to discover neptunium #93 and plutonium #94 which was based off the finding of the uranium element (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1).
The Creation of the Worlds Deadliest Bomb The research for a weapon which could end the world’s most devastating war World War II started almost immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor got sneak attacked by Japan which entered the United States to the allied side of World War II. In 1938 some german scientists discovered that if you bombard Uranium with neutrons you could split the Nucleus of an atom. When the war started scientists thought about military uses of this new discovery. When the atoms split it releases energy and if you put billions of these atoms together it could start a chain reaction and make a massive explosion.
On August 2nd 1939, just before the beginning of World War II, Albert Einstein wrote to then President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Einstein and several other scientists told Roosevelt of efforts in Nazi Germany to utilize a rare element, U-235, which might in turn be used to build a weapon. This weapon would be capable of power totally beyond the scope of mans’ vision. Ironically and sadly, it was shortly thereafter that the United States Government began the serious undertaking known only then as “The Manhattan Project.” Through the harness and development of the atom’s power, the Manhattan Project stands as a marker for man’s passage into an exciting and also terrifying age of nuclear power. Simply put, the Manhattan Project was committed to quick research and production that would yield a workable atomic bomb.
However, more important influences of this project can be seen following the detonation of the first bombs. The emergence of the United States as a world superpower following World War II, the tensions derived from the arms race during the Cold War, and current day struggles over the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are all effects derived from the Manhattan Project. According to the US Department of Energy, President Roosevelt provided a government organization and mild funding for uranium research, following the release of information that Germany may have the capabilities of building an atomic weapon. The fear of an atomic weapon falling into the hands of Nazi Germany led to fear of the annihilation of the Western World. The Manhattan Project was escalated following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Roosevelt gave the tentative okay to build an atomic weapon.