American History since 1865
30 September 2009
The Manhattan Project and its legacy
In 1902 the man known as the “father of the nuclear age” Ernest Rutherford began a series of experiments. During this same time frame, Albert Einstein came up with the most famous equation in history E=MC2, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. This was the time of enlightenment for all physicists andthe world. Mostly concentrated in Europe and Britain,physicists knew each other and shared information freely back and forth. This was commonplace until the late 1903’s. At this time Europe was beginning to become embroiled in fascism and Nazism. The physicists that lived in Europe during this time were scared of becoming prisoners. They found refuge in the United States. The most famous of these was Albert Einstein.
Einstein enlisted the help of a friend of his Alexander Sach’s. He was also a very good friend of President Roosevelt. He told Sach’s in layman’s terms about the Germans and that the President needed to be made aware of it. Sach’s was finally able to get in to see the President in October 1939. He described to the President what Einstein had told him, and the severity of the situation. What effect the Germans having a nuclear bomb could do to the rest of the world. The President quickly realized that this was something that required immediate attention. What happened next set in motion the Manhattan Project.
Then December 7th, 1941 happened. Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese and suddenly the United States was faced with war. Without a doubt the work and development of an atomic bomb was a top priority. In the months following Pearl Harbor, the Manhattan Project as it was named took on a fast paced workload. At this time the Army was in charge of the project, but it needed someone to be more involved in the day to day operations. That person was Colonel Leslie RichardGroves. The Colonel was not happy with the assignment. He had just been...