History

History

This section provides an overview of the history of the Manhattan Project, the key organizations involved, the science behind the bomb, and more.
The World Set Free

Early Atomic Science

In 1914, novelist H. G. Wells envisioned an atomic bomb that would produce a continual radioactive explosion in his book "The World Set Free."
E. O. Lawrence, A. H. Compton, V. Bush, J. B. Conant, K. Compton, and A. Loomis in March 1940 at UC Berkeley meeting.

Early Government Support - 1939

By late 1939, there was still a lack of an overall "sense of urgency" among other government officials on atomic research.

Effects of Radiation

The first concerted effort to understand and study the effects of radiation on humans began in Chicago in 1942.
Clinch River

Environmental Consequences

Both the Oak Ridge and Hanford sites were chosen for their isolation and access to hydropower from surrounding river systems.
A World War II poster

Espionage

Espionage was one of General Groves' main concerns during the Manhattan Project.
Haigerloch Nuclear Pile

German Atomic Bomb Project

“I don't believe a word of the whole thing,” declared Werner Heisenberg, the scientific head of the German nuclear program, after hearing the news that the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The Enola Gay on August 5, 1945

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombing Timeline

A detailed timeline of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Enola Gay on August 5, 1945

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Missions - Planes & Crews

A list of the planes and the crews that flew on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing missions.
Former HUAC Chairman J. Parnell Thomas

HUAC and the Manhattan Project

Many scientists associated with the Manhattan Project were eventually investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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