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.
South African nuclear bomb casings, courtesy of Mungo Poore

South African Nuclear Program

South Africa is the first and only country to have successfully developed and then dismantled nuclear weapons.
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.
A checkpoint in Zheleznogorsk, a closed city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia

Soviet Closed Cities

The sprawling nuclear complex across the Soviet Union included entire cities that were kept closely guarded secrets.
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 Engineer Detachment.
The official logo of the Strategic Defense Initiative

Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

During the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan initiated the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), otherwise known as "Star Wars," an anti-ballistic missile program that was designed to shoot down nuclear missiles in space.
Manhattan Project Survey Team in Hiroshima. Photo courtesy of the Patricia Cox Owen Collection, AHF.

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 Hiroshima Atomic Dome, the only building left standing near the epicenter of the bombing.

Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By the end of 1945, the atomic bombings of Japan had killed an estimated 140,000 people at Hiroshima and 74,000 at Nagasaki. Often lost in those numbers are the experiences of the survivors, known as the hibakusha.
Hiroshima Memorial Cenotaph

Technologies for Peace Tourism

Since the late 1940s, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been pushing back against the culture of “dark tourism” that began almost as soon as the atomic bombs exploded. American military tourism promoted the cities as nuclear wastelands that showcased the “mighty power of the

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