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.
Lawrence O'Rourke SAM badge. Courtesy Larry O'Rourke.

Manhattan Project Begins - 1942

The summer of 1942 proved to be troublesome for the fledgling bomb project.
Santa Fe New Mexican on August 6, 1945

Media Censorship

During World War II, partly thanks to media censorship, the United States government kept the best-held secret: the building of the atomic bomb.
Vannevar Bush and Arthur Compton

Moving Forward - 1941

With the US now at war, a sense of great urgency permeated the government's scientific enterprise.
The atom. Image courtesy of Colin M. Burnett, Wikimedia Commons.

Mystery of the Atom - 1900-1939

During the early part of the twentieth century, physicists and chemists toyed with the idea of obtaining energy from atoms.
Maria Montoya Martinez and her grandchild with Enrico Fermi. Photo courtesy of the Robert JS Brown Collection.

Native Americans and the Manhattan Project

Many of the communities established during the Manhattan Project relied on Native American cooperation.
U.S., Russian Delegations Meet at Bilateral Consultative Commission on New START Treaty

Non-Proliferation, Limitation, and Reduction

This article summarizes multilateral and bilateral treaties dealing with non-proliferation, limitation, and reduction of nuclear weapons.
The American nuclear football

Nuclear Briefcases

During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union created briefcases that allowed their respective leaders to order a nuclear attack within minutes.
A map used for briefing in Autumn Forge 83

Nuclear Close Calls: Able Archer 83

The election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980 saw of the return of heightened Cold War tensions after a period of détente during the previous decade. The zenith of this escalation arguably came in 1983, when a NATO training exercise almost prompted nuclear war.

 

A Soviet R-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile in Red Square, Moscow

Nuclear Close Calls: The Cuban Missile Crisis

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were largely prevented from engaging in direct combat with each other due to the fear of mutually assured destruction (MAD). In 1962, however, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world perilously close to nuclear war.

Pages