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.
Joe-1 (replica)

Soviet Atomic Program - 1946

Soviet physicists paid close attention to the news of the discovery of fission in Germany in 1938, and began research shortly thereafter.
Joe-4

Soviet Hydrogen Bomb Program

The successful test of RDS-1 in August of 1949 inspired the Soviet government to institute a major, high-priority program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
World War II poster

Special Engineer Detachment

The Army tapped the vast pool of GIs possessing scientific and technical backgrounds, assigning them to the Special Engineering Detachment.
The Nagasaki survey team, including Japanese interpreters and guides

Surveys of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Manhattan Project members participated in early missions to survey the two atomic bombing sites—Hiroshima and Nagasaki—after the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

The British Atomic Bomb Project

The United States and the United Kingdom have long enjoyed a “special relationship” of close partnership, so it seemed natural that the two nations should work together to develop an atomic weapon. Nevertheless, the story of U.S.-U.K. nuclear partnership is one of both collaboration and division.
Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard working on the famous letter

The Einstein Letter - 1939

In 1939, Albert Einstein sent FDR a letter urging the US conduct research into an atomic bomb.
J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves after the Trinity Test

The Unlikely Pair

General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer were a study in contrasts, yet both were key to the Manhattan Project's success.
The famous photo of the Trinity test, taken by Jack Aeby.

Trinity Test -1945

At 5:29:45 on July 16, 1945, "Gadget" exploded and the Atomic Age began.
Tsar Bomba (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Tsar Bomba

On October 30, 1961 the Soviet Union detonated the largest nuclear device in human history. The weapon, nicknamed Tsar Bomba, yielded 57 megatons of TNT, four times larger than any nuclear device tested by the United States.

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