Manhattan Project Essay, Research Paper
Date: 15 May 1945
To: President Harry S. Truman
From: James Wheeler
Rhenium: Manhattan Project Briefing
You have asked me to supply you with a summary/ analysis of the authorities undertaking nicknamed the Manhattan Project. I have reviewed exhaustively all of the pertinent literature and certification pertaining to the formation and go oning research and development of the Manhattan Project. I have enclosed an overview of all necessary information for which you should be familiar. However, since the undertaking is ongoing and the concluding merchandise uncomplete as of today, the result of the most close undertaking is as yet ill-defined.
The Manhattan Project is the codification name of the effort to bring forth an atomic bomb. It was named for the Manhattan Engineer District of the US Army Corp of Engineers, because much of the early research was done in New York City. The Manhattan Project is run by Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves, who is responsible to a Military Policy Committee chaired by Dr. Vannevar Bush ( Conant, pg. 1 ) .
I feel it necessary to take you through the developments in atomic research which led to the demand for such an huge project of clip and money. In December of 1938, scientists in Germany, which has unluckily proven to be the venue for theoretical natural philosophies, discovered atomic fission in Uranium. Fearing that research into atomic fission by the Nazis could take to the building of an highly powerful bomb of unheard of destructive power, physicists Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein wrote letters to President Franklin Roosevelt warning of this possible menace and pressing the US authorities to carry on its ain atomic research ( Szilard, pg. 10 ) . President Roosevelt agrees and research is begun.
The job for scientists turns out to be dividing the isotope U235 ( which is the substance determined to be best suited for the bomb ) from U238. Since no remarkable way is guaranteed to work, many different theories have to be entertained and experimented with. The Office of Scientific Research and Development ( OSRD ) creates the undermentioned guideline for go oning research on May 23, 1943:
1. Construction of a 100 gram/ twenty-four hours extractor works to be completed by January 1944
*The estimated cost of building was $ 38 million.
2.Construction of a gaseous diffusion works on industrial graduated table
*The estimated cost of building was $ 2 million.
3.Construction of a 100 gram/ twenty-four hours electromagnetic works completed by September 1943
*This works will house 100s of Calutrons which are a combination of a mass spectrometer with E.O. Lawrence? s innovation, the Cyclotron. It uses magnetic Fieldss to screen isotopes by weight and roll up them.
*The estimated cost of building was $ 12 million.
4.Construction of one or more? hemorrhoids? to bring forth element 94 completed by January 1944
*Element 94 ( Plutonium ) is a proposed option to U235 for usage in the atomic bomb.
*The estimated cost of building was $ 25 million.
5.Construction of a heavy H2O works
*Heavy H2O ( heavy hydrogen ) is a? moderator? or a substance which will be used to command the concatenation reaction.
*The estimated cost of building was $ 2.8 million.
The OSRD? s proposal cost $ 80 million up front with an one-year operating cost of $ 34 million. At this point, no 1 yet cognize if the bomb was even possible. There is besides small cognition of German advancement so hastiness is considered to be of the extreme importance. This proposal is considered to be far excessively big for the OSRD budget, hence Dr. Bush decides that production would be turned over to the Army. On September 17, 1942, General Groves was chosen to take the undertaking. He, in bend, chose physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to take the scientific squad.
Immediately, Groves pushes the undertaking in front at a speedy gait. He calls for the building of three? secret metropoliss? which will house the above referenced mills and workss every bit good every bit helping as
the centres for the research. One metropolis is Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the K-25 works ( the largest mill in the universe ) produces multiple elephantine Calutrons. Hanford, Washington and Los Alamos, New Mexico are the other two sites. Oppenheimer scoured the United States in hunt of the best physicists to help him in research at Los Alamos. Among those persuaded to fall in the undertaking were Leo Szilard, Arthur H. Compton, Ernest O. Lawrence, Neils Bohr, and Enrico Fermi. Many of them are Nobel Prize victors, so the most superb heads in the universe were brought in and have been working for the last few old ages to make the atomic bomb.
General Groves has had a strong finding to immerse in front with research in order to avoid any opportunity that the war might reason before the bomb can be used. Although the original intent of the Manhattan Project was to crush the Nazis in the race for the bomb, General Groves now needs to finish the undertaking before Japan loses or resignations. One of import ground for the hastiness is his fright of? the greatest congressional probe of all clip ( Lifton, pg. 122 ) ? that might happen in connexion with the tremendous sum of money already spent for a undertaking which might ne’er come to fruition or even be possible. The bomb was ne’er truly intended for Germany ; at least non while General Groves has been in charge. In 1943, General Groves decided that the B-29 would be the bringing plane. The B-29 was ne’er designed to be used in the European theatre, which may intend that the determination has already been made to utilize the bomb against Japan.
I am incognizant how much you already know about the Manhattan Project, since you were briefed by General Groves three hebdomads ago ( Lifton, pg. 120 ) . However, with the passing of President Roosevelt, the load of the Manhattan Project now lies with you. The measure for the undertaking is now at about $ 2 billion, of which Congress knows really small about. Fundss have been hidden in the federal budget ( Thomas, pg. 8 ) . What the US has bought for that amount is, should the undertaking be successful, the determination whether or non to drop the atomic bomb on a Nipponese metropolis, in which the estimated deceases will be in the 10s of 1000s, including both military and civilian.
From the beginning, the Manhattan Project has been seen as necessary because of the menace of the Germans unlocking the secret of atomic energy foremost. Now that the menace is void and nothingness, the chief motive seems to be merely to finish the undertaking, or pay the effects of replying to Congress if it is a failure. How many American lives will be saved if we end the Pacific War? No 1 is certain that dropping the bomb will even stop the war. There were vacillations voiced about dropping an atomic bomb on Germany for fright of contrary technology. What? s to state that Japan couldn? Ts do the same thing if the bomb doesn? t detonate. There is besides some resistance from some members of the scientific community of which you should be cognizant. Leo Szilard and Neils Bohr have argued repeatedly that utilizing the atomic bomb in combat without anterior notice to the Soviets could unleash a postwar atomic weaponries race, no affair who the master ( Szilard, pg. 13 ) .
I consider it of the extreme importance that you have every bit much background information as possible so as to be to the full knowing when make up one’s minding the hereafter of the Manhattan Project, particularly if it proves to be successful in its effort to make the most powerful weapon of all time known to mankind. The Nipponese onslaught on Pearl Harbor had forced America into what, until now, it did non hold: a war as ground for doing the bomb ( Thomas, pg. 7 ) . But, will Pearl Harbor besides provide the justification for utilizing it?
James Wheeler, White House Intern
1.Conant, James B. ? A History of the Development of the Atomic Bomb. ? Record
Group 227, Documents of the Manhattan Project, S-1, Reel 1
2.Lifton, Robert Jay, and Greg Mitchell. Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial. New York: Avon Books, 1995.
3.Szilard, Leo. The Voice of the Dolphins. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1961.
4.Thomas, Gordon, and Max Morgan Witts. Ruin From the Air. Scarborough House Publishers, 1977.