The History Behind the Atomic Bomb

Boom! Crash! Bang! The atomic bombs created by the United States of America were some of the most destructive weapons used in a war. The areas they were dropped on are still unuseable to this day, 73 years later. The bombs were so feared, that Germany surrendered before the United States needed to use the atomic bomb on the country. The history of the atomic bomb is amazing and should be learned about by all because of their teamwork and hard work used to create such a weapon.


Knowledge about atomic reactions was slow coming until one major event, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States pushed harder to find out about atoms and their potential energy. Because the United States government was practically three years behind Nazi Germany, President Roosevelt was willing to support creating the atomic bomb, therefore, the Manhattan Project was born. Although most of the world powers of the time thought that atomic weapons were impossible, Nazi Germany and the United States were both major leaders in the creation of them. Reactors were built in order to start learning about the energy of atoms, as well as colleges letting their students learn about them.


Due to The Manhattan Project, US History,The idea for the Manhattan Project was first introduced to President Roosevelt by Albert Einstein. He wrote a letter advising Roosevelt to allow for the development of an atomic research program. Although Roosevelt denied Einstein’s proposal at first, saying that he didn’t see the necessity or the utility for such a program . He agreed to have the project anyways, but proceeded slowly. The Manhattan Project was the codename of an American-led effort in order to create working nuclear weapons during World War II. (Manhattan Project, U.S.)


By looking at The Manhattan Project and the Invention of the Atomic Bomb, the government was willing to find out if the nation would be able to learn more about atoms through a few colleges. The students at the University of Chicago, U. C. Berkeley, and Columbia University got first hand teaching when trying to figure out what would work the best in an atomic bomb. These students experienced some of the smartest scientists of their time and the evolution of nuclear science. With the help of Enrico Fermi, the University of Chicago created the very first successful chain reaction, were the atoms were split in a controlled environment. Whenever the project was thought to be too dangerous for a city of innocent people, everything except the students got packed up and went to Los Alamos, New Mexico. (The Manhattan Project and the Invention of the Atomic Bomb)


According the Who Built The Atomic Bomb, under the leadership of General Leslie Groves, Physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi, DuPont’s Crawford Greenewalt, Kellogg’s Percival Keith, MIT’s Vannevar Bush, Harvard’s James B. Conant, and Berkeley’s Ernest O. Lawrence, the Manhattan Project set out to prove that atomic weapons were not fictional anymore. The group was able to complete the impossible in a short twenty-seven months, from 1942 to 1945. This group of people were some of the most renowned in the world, all working for the United States on the most crucial project up to that time. (Who Built The Atomic Bomb)


Because the United States of America was one of the few countries in the world allowing refugees at the time, there were over 100 scientists that fled from the Nazi regime and came to help with the Manhattan Project. Some of these refugees are the Martians. Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, and Leo Szilard make up the Martians, who were a group of amazing scientists that were born in Budapest.


The bombs were going to be a primarily uranium based weapon at the beginning. With them containing Uranium, the bomb would leave an area covered in radiation, making it inhospitable. The idea to use Uranium changed when there became a larger inventory of Plutonium. Although the Plutonium needed an implosion-type device, which was much more complex and difficult to make, it was more cost efficient to use because of the quantity.


When the first atomic weapons test was conducted at Los Alamos, the flash was so bright that people in neighborhoods hundreds of miles away say that it seemed as though the sun rose twice that day. There is even an account from a blind girl who says that even she saw the flash from the bomb, and she was 120 miles away. After this test, the men who made the bomb were awestruck. Physicist Isidor Rabi showed worry for mankind, saying that man became a threat and had disturbed the balance between man and nature.


The atomic bomb was finally used at the end of World War II. The first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, onto the city of Hiroshima, Japan, which instantly killed over 66,000 people, injured around 69,000 more, and most of the injured would be killed from radiation poisoning in the coming days. The bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945, on the smaller city of Nagasaki, Japan, immediately killing over 39,000 people and injuring 25,000.


The atomic bombs that were made by the United States have been the most destructive weapons to be used during a war. The effects of them were immediately felt miles away, and seen from even further. These weapons led to the creation of nuclear agreements between countries, preventing the bombs from being used on each other. This being said, the teamwork in which helped to create such a destructive weapon should never be forgotten or overlooked.


Work Cited

  1. Hickman Kennedy, and Military. The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb. ThoughtCo, Accessed 20 Oct. 2018.
  2. Manhattan Project, A&E Television Networks, Accessed 19 Oct. 2018.
  3. The Manhattan Project. US History, Accessed 19 Oct. 2018.
  4. Schwartz, Shelly. The Manhattan Project and the Invention of the Atomic Bomb. ThoughtCo, Accessed 17 Oct. 2018.
  5. Who Built the Atomic Bmb? Atomic Heritage Foundation, 16 June 2014, Accessed 19 Oct. 2018.
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The History Behind The Atomic Bomb. (2019, Jul 26). Retrieved October 24, 2021 , from

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