1945: Building the Bomb

1945: Building the Bomb

Timeline Image: 
Oppenheimer and Groves

1945 Apr 27

The first meeting of the Target Committee to select targets for atomic bombing. Seventeen targets are selected for study: Tokyo Bay (for a non-lethal demonstration), Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Kokura, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Sasebo (some of these are soon dropped because they had already been burned down).

1945 Apr 12

Otto Frisch completes criticality and "zero-yield" experiments with U-235 at Los Alamos, NM. Also, President Roosevelt dies and Harry S. Truman become president.

1945 Mar 11-18

During these eight days fire raids with similar tactics are launched on Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe; the second, third, and fourth largest cities in Japan. An additional 16 square miles of city are burned, killing more than 50,000 people.

1945 Mar 9-10

General Curtis LeMay launches an all-out low altitude firebomb raid on Tokyo with 334 B-29s. Flames engulf 15.8 square miles of the city, killing about 100,000 people and injuring 1,000,000 (41,000 seriously).