The Manhattan Project was an operation during World War Two that is best known for building and dropping two nuclear bombs on the Empire of Japan. It was an instrumental part of the war effort in forcing Japan to surrender, but many people fail to see just how large it truly was.
The Manhattan can thank German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, who made the discovery of Nuclear Fission for its origins. This and several other successes in nuclear physics inspired the newly founded Nazi Germany to work on weaponizing nuclear energy. Two physicists, Eugene Wigner and Leó Szilárd wrote a warning to the United States and had it signed by well known Jewish-German physicist Albert Einstein telling the United States of Germany’s plans. Luckily the warning was heeded as Americans followed suit in study of nuclear energy.
The US began creating large stockpiles of the Uranium to research the feasibility of the weaponizing of nuclear fission. They also sent in spies to steal information on the German Nuclear Weapons Program.
In return for aid in the blockade of the English Channel Britain also shared their information on nuclear science with the Americans. This was a major necessity after Britain’s breakthrough with Uranium-235.
The bomb was completed after 3 years of research. Test drops were conducted and for the first time people actually saw the sheer power of nuclear annihilation. After great deliberation it was decided to use the nuclear bomb for the first time in battle to drop on the strategic point of Tokyo, however due to low visibility of Tokyo from cloud cover, the target was changed to Hiroshima. The destruction was unimaginable and the death toll in the hundreds of thousands. A nuclear bomb was also dropped on Nagasaki which finally led to the surrender of the Japanese.
The Manhattan project employed around 120,000 people and cost nearly $2 billion dollars to accomplish. 90% of that money went to building factories and materials. Only 10% was actually used to build bombs.
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