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Also Available: The United States
Department of Energy: A Summary History, 1977-1994

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F.G. Gosling
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Executive Secretariat
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]January 1999 edition

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and achievements of a predecessor agency or a major program of the Department of Energy. With these programs came a score of organizational entities. Terry Fehner. Each explains the history. Alice Buck. He also wishes to thank Glenn Seaborg for a thorough critique that improved the final product. . Hewlett. The History Division has prepared a series of monographs on The Origins of the Department of Energy. from a dozen departments and independent agencies. nationwide enterprise that took science from the laboratory and into combat with an entirely new type of weapon. 111 .. and Sheila Convis. The author wishes to thank Richard G. “The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb” is a short history of the origins and develop- ment of the American atomic bomb program during World War H. and the founding of the Atomic Energy Commission. Betsy Scroger for a first-class editing job. Jack M. goals. the monograph details the role of United States government in conducting a secret. . Finally. Beginning with the scientific develop- ments of the pre-war years.Foreword The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 brought together for the first time in one department most of the Federal Government’s energy programs. and Sheila Convis for project support. the debate over the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. each with its own history and traditions. the author thanks La Shonda Steward for research support. Others who read and commented on the manuscript include Roger Anders. Hell. Betsy Scroger. and Thomas Comwell for reviewing the manuscript and making numerous valuable suggestions.The monograph concludes with a discussion of the immediate postwar period.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Part N The Manhattan Engineer District in Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .— —. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Manhattan Project Chronology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Select Bibliography . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . 45 Part VI: The Manhattan District in Peacetime . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vu Part I: Physics Background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1919-1939 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 v . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Part II: Early Government Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Part V The Atomic Bomb and American Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Manhattan Project Chart . . . . . .Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Part III: The Manhattan Engineer District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introduction:The Mnstein Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


” 1 Allied fears that were not dispelled until the ALSOS was conceivable. In fact. vii . informing the physicist that he had setup a committee consisting of Sachs and representatives from the Army and Navy to study uranium? Events proved that the President was a man of considerable action once he had chosen a direction. The Japanese mmanaged to build several energy. Wall bomb effort that succeeded in World War II--the Street economist and longtime friend and unofllcial Manhattan Project.” was merely the frost decision among many that Introduction: The Einstein Letter ultimately led to the establishment of the only atomic On October 11.4 was noncommittal and expressed concern over The Russians built a program that grew increas- locating the necessary funds. Einstein had resources to pursue a full-fledged atomic bomb written to inform Roosevelt that recent research on reseafch program while fighting for their survival. met The British. The Germans. Alexander Sachs. Initially the President success. 1939. Szilard was among the most vocal of fission from the laboratory to the battlefield and of those advocating a program to develop bombs gain a shortlived atomic monopoly.. based on his belief that the United States could not take the risk of allowing Hitler to achieve unilat- eral possession of “extremely powerful bombs. a number of European scientists who had fled to the late entrants into World War II and protected by United States in the 1930s to escape Nazi and oceans on both sides. Roosevelt wrote Einstein back on October 19. cyclotrons by war’s end. but the meeting over breakfast the next morning Roosevelt first successful Soviet test was not conducted until became convinced of the value of exploring atomic 1949. to that large amounts of power could be produced by American leadership and sent scientists to every a chain reaction and that. based on recent findings in nuclear physics and Introduction chemistry. but the government’s prepared and briefed Roosevelt on the main points attempts to forge a coherent strategy met with little contained in Einstein’s letter. Those like Szilard and fellow Hungarian refugee physicists Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner regarded it as their responsibility to alert Americans to the possibility that German scientists might win the race to build an atomic bomb and to warn that Hitler would be more than willing to resort to such a weapon. one of the face of increasing scarcities.. the British acceded. German scientists likewise. Sachs read from a cover letter he had pursued research on fission. but the atomic bomb Einstein drafted his famous letter with the help of research effort could not maintain a high priority in the Hungarian emigre physicist Leo Szilard. Roosevelt’s approval of uranium research in October 1939. despite the construction of “extremely powerful bombs. did not have the Albert Einstein the previous August. who made significant theoretical con- with the President to discuss a letter written by tributions early in the war. Manhattan Project facility. took over two months to meet with Sachs after receiving Einstein’s letter. Szilard and his col- leagues interpreted Roosevelt’s inaction as unwelcome &idence that the President did not take the threat of nuclear warfare seriously. preoccupied with events in Europe. advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. but at a second ingly active as the war drew to a conclusion. chain reactions utilizing uranium made it probable Consequently. by harnessing this power. managed to take the discovery Fascist repression. Einstein believed the German mission in 1944? were little nearer to producing government was actively supporting research in this atomic weapons at the end of the war than they had area and urged the United States government to do been at the beginning of the war. Only the Americans. But Roosevelt. 1939. reluctantly.

and Niels became more complicated when chemists discovered Bohr regarded particle bombardment as useful in that many elements existed at different weights even furthering knowledge of nuclear physics but believed 1 . miniature solar system. The year 1932 produced other notable events in atomic physics. which is found only in traces in the heavy metal. Van de Graaff at nucleus. Cockroft and the Irishman E. The proton. in orbit around the much heavier positively charged nucleus. The slight difference in atomic weight between the uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes figured greatly in nuclear physics during the 1930s and 1940s. Rutherford’s colleague at Cambridge. These different classes of atoms of the same element but with varying numbers of neutrons were designated isotopes. Even high-speed protons nucleus. with ninety-two protons. only approximately once in a million tries. has 146 neutrons in its nucleus. This simple scheme ly. D. Walton. Ernest Rutherford. were particle accelerators named. beams and alpha particles as sources of energy. Another addition came in 1932 when James to disintegrate atoms. the neutron. Moonshine In the process of changing nitrogen into oxygen. Attempts of the early 1930s. Chadwick. Ernest O. however. and alpha particles scored direct hits on a nucleus ment’s atomic number. joined the electron in the miniature solm designed to bombard the nuclei of various elements system. which accounts for over ninety-nine percent of natural uranium. in England. The three isotopes of uranium. containing both chm-ged. Scientists found that the Physics Background. T. required huge amounts of energy to split identified a thwd particle. Hydrogen. developed by Robert J. Not surprising- last on the periodic table. circled by negatively charged positively charged target nucleus when they attemp- electrons equal in number to the protons in the ted to penetrate atoms. while displaying identical chemical properties. they met substantial resistance from the protons and neutrons. working in generated by a particle accelerator and changed the the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University resulting lithium nucleus into two helium nuclei. the atom was conceived as a Berkeley campus of the University of California. The number of protons determined the ele. called electrons. S. achieved the fust artificial transmutation Also in that year. all have ninety-two protons in their nuclei and ninety-two electrons in orbit.7 percent of natural uranium) and 142 neutrons in uranium-234. At the time of Rutherford’s successfully operated the first cyclotron on the breakthrough. compared with 143 neutrons in the rare uranium-235 (. The Englishman J. with one proton. Stanley Livingston and Milton White nitrogen into oxygen. Since protons and alpha particles are positively sist of a positively charged nucleus. as this subatomic particle was Princeton University. Most came first and uranium. Lawrence and his col- of an element when he changed several atoms of leagues M. the Cockroft-Walton Rutherford detected a high-energy particle with a machine. By the early 1930s the atom was thought to con. with extremely light “ negatively charged particles. simply passed by the target nucleus. working jointly at The Atomic Solar System the Cavendish Laboratory. 1919-1939 weight discrepancy between atoms of the same ele- ment resulted because they contained different numbers of neutrons. Lawrence’s cyclotron. It was Part I: Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron in 1932 that explained this mystery. and the Van de Graaff electrostatic positive charge that proved to be a hydrogen generator. Albert Einstein. so-named atoms because the first accelerators used proton because it had no charge. were the fwst to split the The road to the atomic bomb began in 1919 when atom when they bombarded lithium with protons the New Zealander Ernest Rutherford. But uranium-238. for instance.

the Italian physicist their findings. 2 .zdn. with the answer coming out of ly emitting energy. This was produced in this transmutation. attempts to identify these substances atoms and release more neutrons. continuous- scientific community. they were lighter elements. For it folIowed from Einstein’s equa- Enrico Fermi began bombarding elements with tion that the loss of mass resulting from the splitting neutrons instead of protons. Fermi paid little attention to the possibility former colleague. nucleus. Lise Meitner. It soon became clear that the process of fission One element Fermi bombarded with slow discovered by Hahn and Strassmann had another neutrons was uranium. did more than resemble lighter elements. uranium nuclei changed anytime in the near future. radioactive ones? They also found that carbon and Fermi had produced f~sion in 1934 but had not hydrogen proved useful as moderators in slowing recognized it. Beginning with a single uranium Nazi Germany just before Christmas 1938. In a 1933 interview greatly and broke into two roughly equal pieces. Calculations made by Hahn’s the time. and result in the release of huge amounts of energy Otto Fnsch. Fermi was himself uncert. a refugee from that matter might disappear during bombardment Nazism then staying in Sweden. The substances Fermi had created in his ex- periments. to “boil off” the two main fragments as they flew perties of the substances resembled those of lighter apart. E= m&. energy had been released that a previously un- which stated that mass and energy were equivalent. in turn smashing dominated the research agenda in the international into other atoms and. discovered kind of process was at work. Einstein.For the next these secondary neutrons might collide with other several years. the but radioactive ba-ium isotopes (barium has the Danish Nobel laureate. A controlled self-sustaining reaction Strassmann were bombarding elements with could make it possible to generate a large amount of neutrons in their Berlin laboratory when they made energy for heat and power. process must have been converted into energy in the wick’s uncharged particles could pass into the form of kinetic energy that could in turn be con- nucleus without resistance. at the same time. Like other scientists at verted into heat.I Part k it unlikely to meet public expectations of harnessing nuclei of most elements changed somewhat during the power of the atom for practical purposes neutron bombardment. From Protons to Neutrons: Fermi the products of the Hahn-Strassmann experiment Rutherford.b itself. The energy released when the resulting substances were new “transuranic” fission occurred in uranium caused several neutrons elements. while Bohr. while others noted that the chemical pro. Beginning in 1934. and the proof was not long nucleus. bor- Fermi and his colleagues bombarded sixty-three rowing the term for cell division in biology-binary stable elements and produced thirty-seven new fission-named the process fission! For his part. led to the conclusion that so much in accordance with Einstein’s formula.”5 They split and became not the new transuranic Einstein compared particle bombardment with elements that some thought Fermi had discovered shooting in the dark at scarce birds. and herein lay the primary significance of in coming. Importantly. the heaviest of the known important characteristic besides the immediate elements. that is. theorizing that Chad. fission could not only produce substantial amounts of energy but could also lead to a reaction creating ever-increasing amounts of ener~. Scientists disagreed over what Fermi had release of enormous amounts of energy. Given the right set of circumstances. agreed that the chances of atomic number 56) and fragments of the uranium taming atomic energy were remote. Rutherford called such expectations “moonshine. They found that while the reaction could create an explosion of huge force. The The DEcovery of IIAon: possibility of such a “chain reaction” completely Hahn and Stiwxwnann altered the prospects for releasing the energy stored The radiochemists Otto Hahn and Fritz in the nucleus. while an unchecked an unexpected discovery. the bombarding neutrons and that slow neutrons produced the best results since neutrons moving more slowly remained in the vicinity of the nucleus longer and were therefore more likely to be Chain Reaction captured. and her nephew. and Bohr proved to be weighed less than that of the original uranium wrong in this instance. Some thought that the emission of neutrons. Frisch. perhaps elements.

Bohr confined the validity of the findings American leadership when he built his fwst particle while sailing to New York City. accom- panied by Fermi. attempts to confm and extend Hahn’s and tance of Bohr’s message.1919-1939 r -. D. and from then January 16.C. Wheeler advanc- ty. which dominated nuclear developed into an accomplished scientific communi. the cyclotron. Ten days later Bohr. physicists better than Ernest O. communicated the latest on Americans led the way in producing equipment developments to some European emigre scientists for nuclear physics and high-energy physics research who had preceded him to this country and to later. while Fermi and in experimental physics. Fission Comes to America: 1939 replaced individualism in laboratory research. Zinn and 3 . members of the American scientific community at the opening session of a conference on theoretical Early American Work on Fission physics in Washington. Lawrence staked his claim to England.Department of Enew. ed the theory of fission in important theoretical Americans made their most significant contributions work done at Princeton University. No News of the Hahn-Strassmann experiments and one epitomized the “can do” attitude of American the Meitner-Frisch calculations spread rapidly. Van de Graaff followed with his generator in 1931. — PhysicsBackground. where teamwork had Szilard collaborated with Waker H. physics in 1939. in 1930. 1939. NE \ \ @ U-235 FISSION PRODUCT Uranium235FwiionChainReaction. Bohr and John A. While involved in important theoretical work.. American scientists became active participants in American physicists quickly grasped the impor. who was in Copenhagen preparing to Laboratory the unofficial capital of nuclear physics depart for the United States via Sweden and in the United States. arriving on accelerator. whose in- Meitner and Frisch communicated their results to genuity and drive made the Berkeley Radiation Niels Bohr. Lawrence. having by the 1930s Strassmann’s results.

a vestigating the possibility of producing a nuclear process that posed serious problems. uranium-238 and concentrated into a critical mass. in which of the three isotopes nuclear power but not necessarily a bomb. had demonstrated blow itself apart. The crucial question uranium-238 as Fermi had guessed. a chain reaction using slow neutrons Columbia University. By already known that a bomb would require fission by March 1940 John R. but enriched samples of uranium-235. if so. It was of the rare metal it was most likely to occur. for it meant that a chain reaction using neutrons in a chain-reacting manner. damage. the question became amounts of natural uranium in a pile formation. if any. scientists could only if the isotope could be separated from the not perform the necessary experiments. conclusively that uranium-235. This finding was was whether uranium-235 could fission with fast important. whether or not a chain reaction in uranium was Dunning’s and Nier’s demonstration promised possible. and. Fermi con- chain reaction. but without the slightly lighter uranium-235 was possible. was the isotope that not sustain a chain reaction because it required fissioned with slow neutrons. Dunning and his colleagues at fast neutrons. causing little. 4 . collaborating with Alfred Nier might not proceed very far before the metal would of the University of Minnesota. not the more abundant neutrons with higher energy. Anderson at Columbia University in in. Given that uranium emitted neutrons tinued to try to achieve a chain reaction using large (usually two) when it fissioned. present in only 1 in Uranium-238 fissioned with fast neutrons but could 140 parts of natural uranium.Herbert L.

The electromagnetic method as it existed in 1940. OscarE. head of the Advisory Committee on Uranium. The committee. Atoms of the lighter isotope would be deflected more by the magnetic field than those of the heavier isotope. 1939.Part II: The Uranium Committee President Roosevelt responded to the call for Early Government Support government support of uranium research quickly but cautiously. a lighter isotope would pass through a porous bar- 5 . resulting in two streams that could then be collected in different receivers. thousand years would have been required for a + single spectrometer to separate one gram of DEPLETED MATERIAL uranium-235. Nier of the University of Minnesota. thus. scien- tists pressed forward on several complicated techni- ques of physical separation. ReprintedfromRichardG. however. would have taken far too long to separate quantities sufficient to be useful in the current war. director of the National Bureau of Standards. 1939-IM$ VolumeI of A HiWOIYof the United States Atomic Energy Commission Based on the well-known principle that molecules of (University Park:PennsylvaniaStateUniversity Pres. Siice uranium-235 and uranium-238 were chemically identical. to send a stream of charged particles through a magnetic field.. He appointed Lyman J. The Electromagnetic Method The electromagnetic method. finding the most effective method of isotope separation was a high priority. used a mass spectrometer. Bnggs. all based on the small difference in atomic weight between the uranium isotopes. pioneered by Alfred O. In fact. which met for the fust time on October 21. or spectrograph. And with their masses differing by less than one percent.Jr. Anderson.9 SchematicDkrarn of Flowof ProcessGasin Gaseous Gaseous Diffusion DiffusionQ. they could not be separated by chemical means. separation by physical means would be extremely difficult and expensive. In early 1940 the Uranium Committee recommended that the government fund limited research on isotope separation as well as Fermi’s and Szilard’s work on chain reactions at Columbia. including both civilian and military representation.&de. Hewlettand Gaseous diffusion appeared more promising. 1%2). twenty-seven . ENRICHED Isotope Separation PRODUCT Scientists had concluded that enriched samples of t uranium-235 were necessary for further research and that the isotope might serve as a fuel source for an explosive device. was to coordinate its activities with Sachs and look into the current state of research on uranium to recommend an appropriate role for the federal government. Nonetheless. T7reNew World.

000 in repetitions a gas increasingly rich in uranium-235 as February 1940-and reflected the importance attach- the heavier uranium-238 was separated out in a ed to the Fermi-Szilard pile experiments already system of cascades. met with the The Uranium Committee’s fwst report.]3 6 . with John R. it took uncertainty of success. this process could underway at Columbla University. This process. “little likelihood of an atomic bomb. This method. A Szilard could produce large amounts of power and cascade system composed of hundreds. that we were not pursuing a chimera_. the lighter isotope tended to tion. or Centrifuge moderate. of uranium oxide. bomb. for instance). a circulating water jacket and the inner heated by Vannevar Bush. With the outer wall cooled by man invasion of Poland on Set)tember 1. It would take separation of uranium-235 or ed much of the early isotope separation funding!” substantial enrichment of natural uranium with uranium-235 to create a fast-neutron reaction on a small enough scale to build a usable bomb. and after clearing his project with the Limited Government Funding: 1940 armed forces and science agencies. Building upon achieve high concentrations of uranium-235 but. the government should im. 1939. being pursued primarily by vessels. British researchers led the way on gaseous thought that a mixture of the right moderator and diffusion. would be extremely of moderators in producing slow neutrons. Harry Hopkins. Centrifugal force in a cylinder spinning keep a reaction going. Beams at the University of Virginia. Convection would in time carry the lighter would inevitably involve the United States. 1939.I Part IE I rier more readily than molecules of a heavier one. recommended that. was being investigated by Philip Abelson at the Carnegie The National Defense Research Institution. increasing the probability of their causing Many scientists initially thought the best hope for additional fissions in sustaining the chain reaction. perhaps might have military applications (powering naval thousands. Fermi and Szilard increasingly 1940. Dunning and his colleagues natural uranium could produce a self-sustaining at Columbia University joining the effort in late chain reaction. a large theoretical gap mixture of two isotopes since the lighter isotope would be less affected by the action and could be between building a self-generating pile and building a bomb. rapidly on its vertical axis would separate a gaseous There was. Although the pile envisioned by Fermi and drawn off at the center and top of the cylinder. Fermi. nation’s capital and agreed to act as point man in ment methods. it would be too big for a Jesse W. despite the France undoubtedly on Roosevelt’s mind. became convinced of the need for the govern- concentrate near the hot wall and the heavier near ment to marshrdl the forces of science for a war that the cold. like the work performed in 1934 demonstrating the value the electromagnetic method. 11 national science organization.”*2 ing. With the imminent fall of November 1. liquid thermal diffusion. president of the Carnegie Founda- high-pressure steam. however. Fermi costly. the neutrons coming from the fission reaction. Bush struck an alliance with Roosevelt’s closest advisor. in 1939. receiv. While Liquid Thermal Dtifusion certain of the chances of success in his graphite The Uranium Committee briefly demonstrated an power pile. of centrifuges could produce a rich mix- ture. less than ten minutes for Bush to obtain the Presi- mediately obtain four tons of graphite and fifty tons dent’s approval and move into action. focused their attention on carbon in the form of graphite. Perhaps graphite could slow down. Like other enrich. issued on President and Hopkins. Taller columns sounded out other science administrators in the would produce more separation. He isotope to the top of the column. a pile containing a large amount of natural uranium device based on the same principle as the cream could then produce enough secondary neutrons to separator. Into the space between two concentric Committee vertical pipes Abelson placed pressurized liquid Shortly after World War II began with the Ger- uranium hexafluoride. Theoretically. A isotope separation was the high-speed centrifuge. little proof only to conclude that it would not be worth pursu. thought that there was interest in a fourth enrichment process during 1940. This recommendation led to the this approach proposed to produce by myriad fust outlay of government funds-$6. liquid thermal diffusion was at an convincing the Roosevelt administration to set up a early stage of development.

scientists funded primarily by private foundations. and Studies on uranium f~sion fragments by Edwin M. as the Uranium view than Ernest O. tific forces as rapidly as possible. priorities were studies on radar. proximity fuzes. 1939-1946 VolumeI of A History of the United States Atomic Eneigy Commksion (University Park Pennsylvania State University Press. leisurely to the scientific community and failed to reorganized the Uranium Committee into a scientific convince scientists that their work was of high body and eliminated military membership. The National Defense uranium research in 1940. neptunium. By May he had proven that During 1939 and 1940 most of the work done on plutonium-239 was 1. director of the Committee had been. Bush approved the plan isotope of neptunium decayed to yet another tran- and allocated the funds. Retaining programmatic responsibilities for uranium Specitieally what Lawrence had on his mind in researchin the neworganizational setup(amongthe early1941wereexperiments takingplacein hisown National Defense Research Committee’s early laboratory using samples produced in the cyclotron. suraniurn (man-made) element. Seaborg revealed that an for the remainder of 1940. Not priority.1%2). the National Defense Research Radiation Laboratory at the University of California Committee would have more influence and more in Berkeley. anti-submarine warfare). In February. the pace appeared too Research Committee.Jr. the United States was drawn into World War II.ReprintedfromRichardG. Seaborg identified this as element 94. Bush barred foreign-born scien. This finding made the performed in university laboratories by academic Fermi-Szilard experiment more important than ever Fmt MassSpectrograph Componentsin 37-InchCyclotronTank. with Bush at its head. Lawrence was among those who direct access to money for nuclear research. The New World.7 times as likely as isotope separation and the chain reaction pile was uranium-235 to fission. Lawrence. while the chain reaction work continue to receive funding research by Glenn T. Hewlettand OscarE.I EarlyGovernmentSupport I Roosevelt approved in June 1940 the establish. Abelson led to the chemical recommended that isotope separation methods and identification of element 93.. tists from committee membership and blocked the and he wanted the government to mobilize its scien- further publication of articles on uranium research. the Uranium Committee McMillan and Philip H. Anderson. ment of a voice for the scientific community within While the federal government began supporting the executive branch. In the thought that it was merely a matter of time before interest of security. 7 . which he later A Push From Lawrence named plutonium. Certainly few were more inclined to this dependent on the military for funds.

but certainly not before 1945. failed to provide the sity. TheNew Worf~ 1939-1946VolumeI of A Hktou of the United State Atomic EnerO Commission (thdversily Park:Pennsylvania StateUniversity Press. submitted its unanimous report on May 17. spectrograph used a vacuum chamber and elec. pile using plentiful uranium-238 and then separating Though he continued to support the Uranium Com- it chemically. Siice both the cyclotron and the of Sciences to review the uranium research program.KarlLoomis. was not far off the mark. Headed by Arthur Compton of the University of tromagnet. in his report discussed bomb production only in connec- opinion. Chicago and including Lawrence.. however.1%2). demonstrating his characteristic energy appoint Lawrence as an advisor to Briggs-a move and impatience.Jr. even though. they were inferior in both numbers and tion with slow neutrons.JamesConant. both doing radar work for the National practical-minded Bush with the evidence he needed Defense Research Committee and benefiting from that uranium research would pay off in the event Lawrence’s advice in staffing their laboratories. HewlettandOs&rE. Loomis at Harvard Univer. a clear indication that ability. this committee complicated. Compton also noted that the British were ahead point. Anderson. warning that Germany could be dropped on an enemy by 1943. launched a campaign to speed up that quickly resulted in funding for plutonium work uranium research. Lawrence then took his case to Karl T. Bush shrewdly decided to Lawrence. at Berkeley and for Nler’s mass spectrograph at vert his smaller cyclotron into a spectrograph to pro.ReprintedfromRichardG.andAlfredLoomis. much more scientific work remained to be done ErnestLawrence.VannevarBush. Bush recognized that Lawrence’s assessment and simpler than building isotope-separation plants. a pile that was undoubtedly making progress and that Briggs could power naval vessels in three or four years. Surely this would be less expensive mittee. the United States went to war in the near future. a bomb of enormous power at an indeterminate ly. He began by proposing to con. 8 . this conversion would be relatively un. Comp- Compton and Alfred L. and and the Uranium Committee were moving too slow.ArthurCompton. ton’s committee.PartIL as it suggested the possibility of producing large ProgramReview:Summer1941 agIounts of the f~sionable plutonium in a uranium Bush and Lawrence met in New York City. Compton’sgroupthought that increased uranium warded Lawrence’s optimistic assessment on funding could produce radioactive material that uranium research to Bush. Compton for. Minnesota-and also asked the National Academy duce uranium-235. Compton’s of their American colleagues. In. fected by Lawrence’s enthusiasm.

it also served as man troops invaded the Soviet Union-the Office of a sobering reminder that f~sion had been discovered Scientific Research and Development strengthened in Nazi Germany almost three years earlier and that the scientific presence in the federal government. Here were specific plans for that it could promise no immediate applications. and destructive capability. producing a bomb. EarlyGovernmentSupport before an explosive device could be detonated}4 ten kilograms would be large enough to produce an Bushreconstituted theNationalAcademy of enormous explosion. tensive uranium research program. Bush went to see the President. other federal agencies. he had assumed the the production of a bomb in time to effect the out- position of director of the Office of Scientific come of the war. Bush. Co. ticularly with the addition of Fermi as head of nant.17 an engineering standpoint. president of Harvard University. WaUace (briefed on uranium report. Turning the Corner: The MAUD Report Bush’s disappointment with the July 11 National Bush Reports to Roosevelt Academy of Sciences report did not last long. produced by a distinguished The second report. While the MAUD report provided Research and Development. Established by an ex. The By the time Bush received the second National British believed that uranium research could lead to Academy of Sciences report. discussed cost and duration of a bomb to study the possibility of developing a nuclear project. became an theoretical studies and Harold C. On a draft report forwarded from the National Defense October 9 Bush met with Roosevelt and Vice Research Committee liaison office in London. years. was a disappointing group of scientists with high credibfity in the United document from Bush’s point of view?5 States. the electromagnetic The Office of Scientific Research and method. encouragement to Americans advocating a more ex- ecutive order on June 28. Without waiting for Compton’s committee to Several days later he and Conant received a copy of ftish its work. thermal diffusion. 1941—six days after Ger. On July 11 the second Americans had been in touch with the MAUD committee endorsed the frst report and supported Committee since fall 1940. now Institute in Berlin had been set aside for uranium reported directly to the President and could invoke research. Bush summarized the British Committee and set up by the British in spring 1940 findings. This time he gave Compton specific instruc- codenamed S-1 (Section One of the Office of Scien. The President Henry A. Roosevelt fast neutrons!G Building upon theoretical work on instructed him to move as quickly as possible but atomic bombs performed by refugee physicists not to go beyond research and development. partially to verify the MAUD results. prepared by a group codenamed the MAUD research in July). since spring 1940 a large part of the Kaiser Wilhelm Bush. Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch in 1940 and 1941. Urey as head of advisory body responsible for making research and isotope separation and heavy water research (heavy development recommendations to the Office of water was highly regarded as a moderator). now headed by James B. and emphasized the uncertainty of the situa- weapon. tions to address technical questions of critical mass tific Research and Development). and the centrifuge and called for gaseous Development diffusion of uranium-235 on a massive scale. Bush Scientific Research and Development. He also received the President’s permission to critical mass of uranium-235 could fission even with explore construction needs with the Army. was to fmd out if a bomb could be built and the MAUD report estimated that a critical mass of at what cost but not to proceed to the production 9 . like the f~st. then. but it was the July 1941 continuation of isotope separation work and pile MAUD report that helped the American bomb ef- research for scientific reasons. par- Research Committee. maintained that a sufficiently purified tion. not only with Bush and Conant but with the President!s The MAUD report dismissed plutonium production. the prestige of the White House in his dealings with Bush and Conantimmediately wentto work. who had lobbied hard for the new setup. though it admitted fort turn the corner. A bombthissiiecouldbe Sciences committee and instructed it to assess the loaded on existing aircraft and be ready in approx- recommendations contained in the frost report from imately two. The National Defense After strengthening the Uranium Committee. The Uranium asked yet another reconstituted National Academy Committee became the Office of Scientific Research of Sciences committee to evaluate the uranium pro- and Development Section on Uranium and was gram.

Lawrence took electromagnetic and obtaining sufficient supplies was the responsibility of plutonium responsibilities. a trograph he had converted from his thirty-seven-inch chemical engineer with the Standard Oil Company. Abelson. Lawrence. Secretary of War Henry L. At Moving Into Action Berkeley. The race for the bomb ward their findings to Roosevelt under a cover letter was on. 1941. diffusion and centrifuge methods and heavy-water Research on uranium required uranium ore. brought the federal government’s science enterprise. Bush’s was on hand to meet the projected need of 150 tons responsibility was to coordinate engineering and through rnid-1944. Stim. a sense of urgency permeated the Pearl Harbor on December 7. cyclotron. the Although the Americans were less optimistic than situation had changed from one of too little money the British. Bush had set electromagnetic separation using the mass spec- the wheels in motion. and Compton ran chain Murphree and his group. Urey headed up work including facilities. on November 27. who had moved from the Policy Group. OK—returned-I During the frst half of 1942 several routes to a think you had best keep this in your own safe bomb were explored. and son. Italy declared war on the United States three days new scientific information poured in from later). Conant.Partm stage without further presidential authorization. enough ore reaction and weapon! theory programs. but too little time. 1942 when he did.000 to continue his electromagnetic so that the British government could be approached work. Two days later the S-1 Committee gave finance the project and asked Bush to draft a letter Lawrence $400. and mendations for construction contracts. By spring 1942. Murphree. “V. Compton patched together facilities at the in charge of a group responsiblefor overseeing University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory for engineering studies and supervising pilot plant con. December 16 put the seal of approval on these ar- Roosevelt indicated that he could fmd a way to rangements. Vice Carnegie Institution to the Naval Research President Wallace. B. it was as com- mander in chief of a nation at war. Laboratory. plenty of the MAUD committee and convinced Bush to for. Twelve hundred tons of high- scientific efforts and make final decisions on recom. Urey worked on FDR-~Y20 the gaseous diffusion and centrifuge systems for isotope separation in the codenamed SAM (Substitute or Special Alloy Metals) Laboratory. pile experiments aimed at producing plutonium. slowed the Japanese advance in the Pacific with an tion in sufficient quantities could be accomplished. He put Eger V. At Columbia. Compton’s committee concluded that a laboratories to be analyzed and incorporated into critical mass of between two and 100 kilograms of planning for the upcoming design and construction uranium-235 would produce a powerful fission stage. April victory in the battle of the Coral Sea. broad policy decisions relating to the centrifuge and the gaseous and thermal diffusion uranium were primarily the responsibility of the Top processes. Uranium in the form of the National Defense Research Committee. and Compton to move from laboratory experiments to production as program chiefs. Meanwhile Murphree’s group hurriedly studied ways And he appointed Urey. they confirmed the basic conclusions of and no deadlines to one of a clear goal. Roosevelt. Even as United States into World War II (Germany and Bush tried to free-tune the organizational apparatus. struction and any laboratory-scale investigations. as American naval forces bomb and that for $50-100 million isotope separa. I. money.21 Murphree made arrangements with E. “at the top. ”lg With the United States now at war and with the Compton repoited back on November 6. composed of Bush. grade ore were stored on Staten Island. Murphree made arrangements to obtain additional dance with the instructions he received from supplies from Canada and the Colorado Plateau. du Pent de A high-level conference convened by Wallace on Nemours and Company and the Harshaw Chemical 10 . just one fear that the American bomb effort was behind month and a day before the Japanese attack on Nazi Germany’s. Fortunately. Bush removed all uranium work from the only American source. Lawrence continued his investigations on By the time Roosevelt responded. Marshall. From hexafluoride was also needed as feed material for this point forward. was producing small quantities. In accor. Roosevelt did not respond until January 19. and Army Chief of Staff George C. The President’s Continuing Efforts on Isotope Separation hariiten fiote read. and studies.

isotope separation This decision reflected the inability of the committee studks at Columbia quickly confronted serious to distinguish a clear front-runner and its consequent engineering difficulties. a decision made easier by samples of uranium-235 electromagnetically with his Fermi’s increasingly satisfactory results at Columbia converted cyclotron that Bush sent a special progress and Allison’s even better results in Chicago. Robert Oppenheimer at By orchestrating some delicate negotiations Berkeley. In the meantime.This is verymuchof the essence. “Initiallyhe funded Fermi’s pile at choice to build the production facilities envisioned in Columbia and the theoretical work of Eugene the Conant report of May 23. the S-1 leadership quire tens of thousands of centrifuges to produce recommended that all four methods proceed to the enough uranium-235 to be of value. Compton hoped that Allison’s pile would pro- calculations indicating that the critical mass required vide plutonium that could be used as material for a might well be smaller than previously predicted. the new climate of urgency. Not only were the specifica. EarlyGovernmentSupport Company of Cleveland to produce hexafluoride on available supply was a small amount that the British a scale sufficient to keep the vital isotope separation had smuggled out of France. This new arrangement left S-1. but also with due regard to and pile-the committee decided on May 23 to time. and he instructed Conant estimated and expressed more confidence that it to meet with the S-1 section leaders and make could be detonated successfully. where Samuel K. budget.”22 recommend that all be pushed as fast as possible. Compton decided to combine all pile tise of the Corps of Engineers made it the logical research by stages. the only entire project. but. Gaseous diffu. Roosevelt had tion methods demanded the design and construction approved Army involvement on October 9. between the Office of Scientific Research and quisition and arranged for Seaborg to move his Development and the Army. Wigner at Princeton and J. submicroscopic holes per square inch). be ftihed to S-1 meetings beginning in March 1942. including a racket court under the west selection to the Corps of Engineers and to earmark grandstand at Stagg Field. specifically the Corps of Engineers. one of the armed forces. Compton secured space wherever he could materials procurement. engineering design. He appointed Szilard head of materials ac. The need for tolerances not previously imposed on American security suggested placing the S-1 program within industry. In light report to Roosevelt on March 9. Two days later the President responded: “I methods of isotope seprmation then under considera- think the whole thing should be pushed not only in tion-gaseous diffusion. Bush told the of recent calculations that cast doubt on the MAUD President that Lawrence’s work might lead to a report’s negative assessment of plutonium produc- short cut to the bomb. many and Bush had arranged for Army participation at of them never before produced. 1941. and the construction exper- In Chicago. Bush was able to plutonium work from Berkeley to Chicago in April transfer the responsibility for process development. regard to development. Both separa. ceivably hanging in the balance. or $54 million. depending readily available and the outcome of the war con- upon rotor size. especially in light of new tion. weapon. 1942. however. electromagnetic. Bush also emphasized that the efficiency of the By May 1942 Bush decided that production plan- weapon would probably be greater than earlier ning could wait no longer. Allison approximately sixty percent of the proposed 1943 began building a graphite and uranium pile. sion immediately ran into trouble as well. of new technoloses and required that parts. In a decision typical of research going. centrifuge. pilot plant stage and to full production planning. with a 11 . Compton decided to Lawrence was so successful in producing enriched forge ahead with graphite. Analyzing the status of the four 1944. unwillingness to abandon any method. if matters were expedited a bomb was possible in regardless of cost. it was estimated that it would re. An Although it was recognized that heavy water would Army officer would be in overaIl command of the provide a moderator superior to graphite. Bush thought that recommendations on all approaches to the bomb. Fabrica- tion of an effective barrier to separate the uranium isotopes seemed so difficult as to relegate gaseous Enter the Army diffusion to a lower priority (the barrier had to be a The decision to proceed with production planning corrosion-resistant membrane containing millions of led directly to the involvement of the Army. With funds tions for the centrifuge demanding. for these functions. 1942. and site find it.

Briggs. Murphree. in charge of developments that might influence engineering con- only university research and pilot plant studies. Ad. composed of Conant. the nature of the American atomic Committee. bomb effort changed from one dominated by Lawrence. siderations or plant design?3 With this reorganiza- ditional reorganization created an S-1 Executive tion in place. This group would research scientists to one in which scientists played a oversee all Office of Scientii3c Research and supporting role in the construction enterprise run by Development work and keep abreast of technical the United States Army Corps of Engineers. 12 . and Urey.PartE budget of approximately $30 million. Compton.

Further- more.:U. In addition. established by general order on August 13. Groves. and. knew nothing of nuclear physics. GovernmentPrintingOffice. He quickly recognized the talents of Initial Problems Summer 1942—during which the American island- hopping campaign in the Pacific began at Guadalcanal-proved to be a troublesome one for the fledgling bomb project. while the scientists who had been involved in the project from the start were pressing for immediate purchase. Jones. inchding building of the Pentagon. Mar- shall received the assignment of directing the Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Metals. the Army appointed Colonel LeslieR. In one case. Within two days Groves acted to obtain the Tennessee site and secured a higher priority rating for project materials. Marshall immediately moved from Syracuse to New York City. 13 . Marshall. On September 17.C. Groves was an engineer with impressive credentials. for instance. D. Groves moved the Manhattan Erwineer District headquarters from New York to “ Washington. and boded ill for the future of the entire bomb Manhattan: 7%eArmy and the Atomic Bomb (Washington. Groves(promotedto BrigadierGeneralii days later) to head the effort. project. most importantly.ReprintedfromVincentC. there was not yet a mechanism to ar- bitrate disagreements between S-1 and the military. had strong administrative abilities. Marshall delayed purchase of an excellent produc- tion site in Tennessee pending further study.S.Part III: Reorganization of the Manhattan Engineer D~trict: The Manhattan Engineer Groves and the Military Policy District cornInittee Decisions made in September provided ad- ministrative clarity and renewed the project’s sense of urgency. The resulting lack of coordination complicated at- tempts to gain a higher priority for scarce materials GeneralLeslieR. While Bush had carefully managed the transition to Army control. which by now was referred to as the Manhattan Project. Marshall and his Army superiors were dispos- ed to move cautiously. like most other Army officers. where he set up the Manhattan Engineer District. Colonel James C.198S). or DSM. Bush and the Army agreed that an of- ficer other than Marshall should be given the assign- ment of overseeing the entire atomic project.

Stimson. capable of reliable War Henry L. but there was serious laboratory research to development and production doubt as to whether a reliable nickel barrier could in record time. Conant had administrative difficulties were still severe. although the Dunning group at decisions would be made as to which process or Columbia had not yet produced any uranium-235 by processes promised to produce a bomb in the the November meetings. pile research was now being conducted at the ecutive Committee on November 14. Bush hoped that scien. one fully justifying further work on the pile. Though traditional scientific caution be ready in sufficient quantity by the end of the might be short-circuited in the process. Lawrence refined arranged for Nichols to work as “hischief aide and his new 184-inch magnet and huge cyclotron to pro- troubleshooter throughout the war. a organizational deficiencies had been remedied. required scientists to move from didate for barrier material. The exigencies of war. tinued to be the barrier. tion. with the help and authority of Secretary of the University of California. plutonium. setup the Military Policy beam resolution and containing improved collectors Committee. but a full-scale commitment to The meetings of November 12 and 14 confined all four posed serious problems even with the pro. optimism prevailed lost sight of this goal and made all his decisions among the pile proponents at the Metallurgical accordingly. ject’s high priority.Part ~ Marshall’s deputy. Shortages of uranium and graphite delayed construction of the Stagg Field pile-CP-l (Chicago Pile Number One)—but this Isotope Separation Methods: Fall 1942 frustration was tempered by calculations indicating Groves made good on his timetable when he that a completed pile would produce a chain reac- scheduled a meeting of the Military Policy Commit. Each of already concluded that the centrifuge was likely to the four isotope separation processes remained be dropped when he reported to Bush on October 26. stemmed from Seaborg’s inventive work with therefore. as the tanks were called in honor of Bush. The S-1 Executive Committee Seaborg’s team produced a microscopic sample of even toyed with the idea of placing all its money on pure plutonium. Further optimism separation method to be used in the bomb project. When Groves took command in Gaseous diffusion held some promise and remain- mid-September. Colonel Kenneth D. With Fermi’s move to Chicago in April. The scientists Metallurgical Laboratory as Compton had planned. As everyone involved in While the centrifuge was cancelled and gaseous the Manhattan Project soon learned. The 14 . and Throughout the summer and fall. With The centrifuge being developed by Jesse Beams at Groves in overall command (Marshall remained as the University of Virginia was the big loser in the District Engineer. consequently. nickel was the leading can- Groves held. all tee on November 12 and a meeting of the S-1 Ex. including one representative each from for trapping the enriched uranium-235. duce calutrons.24 pilot plant and subsequent production stages ap- During summer and fall 1942 technical and peared impractical in the near future. Bush felt that early severe vibrations during trial runs. where his cautious nature proved November meetings. alternative if a bomb was to be built in time to be used in the current conflict. there was no war. his analysis. and S-1 operated as parallel but separate units. a major chemical achievement and Lawrence but was dissuaded by Conant. Laboratory in Chicago. Westinghouse had been unable usefhl in later decision making) and the Military to overcome problems with its model centrifuge. at each of the institutions doing isotope separation and Fermi and his team anticipated a successful ex- research knew these meetings would determine the periment by the end of the year. Policy Committee in place (the Top Policy Group Parts failed with discouraging regularity due to retained broad policy authority). and the Office of Scientific ecutive Committee visited Berkeley on September 13 Research and Development. he made it clear that by late 1942 ed a live option. the Navy. and subsequently recommended building both a tists would have better access to decision making in pilot plant and a large section of a full-scale plant in the new structure than they had enjoyed when DSM Tennessee. In August method into the lead. Groves never diffusion received mixed reviews. the keen competition among the institu. particukuly his investigations on tions added to the sense of urgency created by the plutonium’s oxidation states that seemed to provide war. The S-1 Ex- the Army. The major problem con- shortest amount of time. Nichols. Berkeley remained a hotbed of activity as a way to separate plutonium from the irradiated Lawrence and his staff pushed the electromagnetic uranium to be produced in the pile. under consideration.

especially in light of the military’s Preserve just outside Chicago. the pile. who was confident that DuPont would take the assignment if offered. One of the fust things Groves did when he took over in September was to begin courting DuPont. The Military Policy Committee. with some enthusiasm. Hans Bethe. Noting that it was not even known if the chain reaction would work. This appraisal did not discourage Groves. DuPont stated that under the best of circumstances plutonium could be mass-produced by 1945. DuPont managers resisted but did not refuse the task. Manley assisted him by coordinating Final input for the November meetings of the nationwide fission research and instrument and Military Policy Committee and the S-1 Executive measurement studies from the Metallurgical Committee came from DuPont. and in the process they provided an objec- tive appraisal of the pile project. The possibility of thermonuclear (fusion) bombs While each of the four processes fought to generated some optimism since deutenum supplies. and it emphasized that it thought the chances of this hap- pening were low. now to be Berkeley was that approximately twice as much fis- built near the Clinch River in Tennessee at Site X. infor- ming the company that the bomb project had high priority with the President and maintaining that a successful effort could affeet the outcome of the war. the consensus emerging at and operation of the production facilities. which still appeared questionable in late enough to take the process into construction and 1942. and Robert Serber. Edward Teller. Oppenheimer did report. He appealed to patriotism. were certainly larger and more fall 1942 equally important theoretical studies easily supplemented than were those of uranium and were being conducted that greatly influenced the plutonium. J. An ex. and its deeisions were ratified by the S-1 Executive Committee two days later. penheimer’s estimates. S-1 immediately authorized basic decisions made in November. but the Metallurgical view that it would take more than one bomb to win Laboratory scientists would have to cede their ckdm the war. eancelled the centrifuge project. sionable material would be required for a bomb would be turned over to a private fm. hoping that the giant chemical fm would undertake construction and operation of the plutonium separation plant to be built in Tennessee. that fusion explosions using The Luminaries Report From Berkeley deuterium (heavy hydrogen) might be possible. This perimental pile would be built in the Argome Forest was disturbing. Reprintedby petilon of the Gaseous diffusion. 1942. demonstrate its “workability” during summer and while not abundant.Despiteinconsistentex- disappointment when they learned that construction perimental results. RobertOppenheimer. and the electromagnetic J.I The ManhattanEngineerD~trict I onlycloudin the Chicagoskywasthe scientists’ Laboratoryin Chicago. Input From DuPont while John H. Time for Decisions The MilitaryPolicy Committee met on Novem- ber 12. headed the work of a group of theoretical physicists he called the luminaries. which included Felix Bloch. seemed even more unrealistic given Op- operation. The goal of mass-producing fissionable to pile technology to an organization experienced material. than had been estimated six months earlier. acting on Groves’s and Conant’s recommendations. RobertOppenheimer MemorialCommittee. Robert Oppenheimer research on other light elements. 15 . method were to proceed directly to full-scale.

In his report. a member of the Lewis authorized to build full-scale gaseous diffusion and committee. and would he knew that gaseous diffusion could not provide in all probability produce plutonium as predicted. The S-1 Executive Committee met to consider the rounding the pile project. The S-1 Executive at a power level of one-half watt (increased to 200 Committee approved these recommendations and watts ten days later). Most of the possibility. at 3:20 plutonium plants and the compromise electro- p. “the Italian navigator has just landed in the lower priority than either the pile or the elec. was justified by sound theory. Greenewalt. just weeks after provided reasonable assurance against such a Allied troops landed in North Africa. This Presidential Approval decision seemed imperative after a brief scare sur. though it made some draft was amended and forwarded to Bush?s organizational recommendations.” To Conant’s question. and fifty tons of uranium oxide achieved the that bombs possibly could be produced during the fust self-sustaining chain reaction. in fact. believing that uranium had satisfy themselves that the pile experiment posed lit. comprised of President. Groves appointed Warren K. it came after the water in case it was needed to serve as a moderator Lewis committee had endorsed moving to the pilot for one of the new piles. the committee traveled from stage for the pile. new world. Lawrence could not produce enough uranium-235 to mittee or Groves. While Fermi’s calculations Lewis report on December 9. any enriched uranium until the gaseous diffusion plant was in full operation.5 program despite an impassioned presentation by billion of which was itemized in Bush’s report sub- Lawrence in Berkeley. Lewis and his colleagues building the experimental pile at Stagg Field. But since the calutron British scientists raised serious questions about the could provide enriched samples quickly. information from be of military significance. the vision of a chain reaction running morning session was spent evaluating the controver- wild in heavily-populated Chicago arose when the sial recommendation that only a small electro- S-1 Executive Committee found that Compton was magnetic plant be built. During the after- On November 18. It tee supported the construction of a small elec- took several days for Groves and a committee of tromagnetic plant.27 Anxious as he was to get moving. 1942. was present at Stagg Field when. more weapon potential than plutonium. 1942. The natives friendly?” Compton answered. “Everyone scientilc committee also asked DuPont to look into landed safe and happy. President Roosevelt ap- committee elevated gaseous diffusion to fwst priority proved the establishment of what ultimately became and expressed reservations about the electromagnetic a government investment in excess of $2 billion. And since tle danger. the S-1 Executive Committee went over a Lewis of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology draft Groves had prepared for Bush to send to the to head a final review committee. In addition. “Were the tromagnetic plant but ahead of a second pile. produce enough One Last Look: The Lewis Committee uranium to build a bomb in 1944. Bush reaffmed his belief metal. Conant disagreed with the Lewis scientists including Lawrence and Oppenheimer to committee’s assessment. No Turning Back: Final Decisions and ting of the decisions of November 12 and 14. mitted on December 16. if all went well.”26 Significant as this mo- methods for increasing American supplies of heavy ment was in the history of physics. the Lewis On December 28.25 As Compton reported to Co- agreed that the gaseous diffusion facility was of nant. Upon returning to Chicago. Fermi’s massive lattice magnetic plant. Groves’s diffusion at Columbia. the commit- feasibility of deriving plutonium from the pile. 1942. It endorsed the work on gaseous promise on the electromagnetic method.I Part m I eliminating the pilot plant stage. The Manhattan Project was Crawford H. a deci. stage and one day after Groves had instructed Du- Pont to move into design and construction on A Brief Scare December 1. $.m. It supported the Lewis committee’s report himself and three DuPont representatives. as well as heavy water production pile of 400 tons of graphite. Groves decided to make one final quality control check before ac. six tons of uranium facilities. During except that it recommended skipping the pilot plant the next two weeks. based their recommendation on the belief that sion he had made without informing either the com. on December 2. After Conant and the Lewis com- New York to Chicago to Berkeley and back again mittee met on December 10 and reached a com- through Chicago. operating initially fwst half of 1945 but cautioned that an earlier 16 . noon. he supported the one method that might.

the country was at war and Much had been achieved in the year between Pearl its scientific leadership-as well as its President-had Harbor and the end of 1942. committed the United States from the commitments made in January of that year to pursuing atomic weapons. and the participation services of some of the nation’s most distinguished of the Corps of Engineers had been approved in scientists. 1941. No schedtde could guarantee Bush’s November 9. report on January 19. principle. The ManhattanEngineerD~trict delivery was unlikely. and a sense of urgency driven by fear. Roosevelt’s approval of $500 million in was inevitable in light of numerous earlier ones that. that the pro- Nosingledecision createdtheAmerican atomic ject couldresultin a significant contribution to the bomb project. 17 . the dent. that the. the essential and stemmed logically from the President’s earliest pieces were in place when Roosevelt approved tentative decisions in late 1939. Funds were authorized. there was a science organization the race for the bomb. the belief. United States wouId overtake Germany in 1942. Roosevelt’s December 28 decision war effort. but by the beginning of 1943 at the highest level of the federal government and a the Manhattan Project had the complete support of Top Policy Group with direct access to the Presi- President Roosevelt and the military leadership. late December 1942 was a step that followed directly in incremental fashion. born of the MAUI) report. In fact. At that time. In addition.


hired the Manhattan Project would be able to produce personnel and subcontractors. and wood dormitories. unproven processes had to be used to freeze design plans for production facilities. Although it dictated remote site locations. one at the time knew that the war would end in works. 1942. let contracts. operation. it had one overwhelming advantage: the previously underdeveloped area. The pilot plant stage was eliminated entirely. Original plans Secrecy made it possible to make decisions with little called for the Clinton Engineer Works. By the end of the war Groves and his staff 1945 or who the remaining contestants would be if had spent approximately $2. work on that. to house approx- Groves knew that as long as he had the backing of imately 13. Despite Bush’s assertion that a bomb could prob- ably be produced by 1945. (Obvious though it materials. the White House money would be available and he trailers. placed orders for open question as 1943 began. he and the other prin- cipals associated with the project recognized the magnitude of the task before them. Secrecy in the Manhattan Part IV: Project was so complete that many people working for the organization did not know what they were . because of the necessity of moving quickly. as well as on research in university laboratories from Columbia to Clinton Engineer Works (Oak Ridge) Berkeley. and established communications net. The and hitherto unknown processes and did so entirely final quarter of 1942 saw the acquisition of the in secret. The Manhattan Engineer working on until they heard about the bombing of District in Operation Hiroshima on the radio.2 billion on production and when the atomic bomb was ready for use). and New Mexico. violating all manufacturing practices and leading to intermittent shutdowns and endless troubleshooting during trial runs in production facilities. would be a major industrial achievement. The need for haste clarified priorities and shaped decision making. The inherent problems of collapsing the stages between the laboratory and full production created an emotionally charged at- mosphere with optimism and despair alternating with confusing frequency. built and maintained bombs in time to affect the current conflict was an housing and service facilities. construction. developed administrative and accounting seems in retrospect. and product delivery in In many ways the Manhattan Engineer District two-and-a-half years (from early 1943 to Hiroshima) operated like any other large construction company. communications. relatively few families on the marginal farmland. even though it was recognized that later findings inevitably would dictate changes. as the regard for normal peacetime political considerations. required and extensive site preparation to provide the subterfuge in obtaining labor and supplies. facilities and towns built in the states of Tennessee. the removal of the Secrecy proved to be a blessing in dis@se. By the time the could devote his considerable energies entirely to Manhattan Engineer District headquarters were 19 . Unfiished research on three separate.000 acres) in the Manhattan Project. and serv. Washington. running the bomb project. military reservation was named. and utility needs of ed as a constant irritant to the academic scientists on the town and production plants that would occupy the project. What made the Manhattan Project unlike By the time President Roosevelt authorized the other companies performing similar functions was Manhattan Project on December 28. it must be remembered that no procedures. the ridges just west of Knoxville. Whether It purchased and prepared sites. For any large The Manhattan Project organization to take laboratory research into design.000 people in prefabricated housing. it the east Tennessee site where the fwst production invested hundreds of millions of dollars in unproven facilities were to be built was already underway. transportation. Speed and secrecy were the watchwords of roughly ninety-square-mile parcel (59.

and the Clinton The Y-12 Electromagnetic Plant: Final Engineer Works was consuming one-seventh of all Decisions the power being produced in the nation?g While the Although the Lewis report had placed gaseous Army and its contractors tried to keep up with the diffusion ahead of the electromagnetic approach. to Oak Ridge. Jones. slightly earlier in 1943 than was K-25. The Y-12 sus on which shims.C.Manhattan: I’7zeArmy and the Atomic Bomb (Washington. rapid influx of workers and their families.S.:U.moved from Washington to Tennessee in the sum. Lawrence and his laboratory of The three production facility sites were located in mechanics at Berkeley continued to experiment with valleys away from the town. estimates for the town of Oak thermal diffusion plat.ReprintedfromVincentC. 20 .1985).000 people. D. though morale re. and his mass spectrograph would eventually mained high in the atomic boomtown. but all three (The name Oak Ridge did not come into usage until were well along by the end of the year. At the end of the war. sources. X-10 area. trying to reach a consen- and containment in case of explosions. predominate. office in Washington and placed Nichols in com. and collectors to incor- area. OovermnentPrintingOffice. site of the gaseous diffusion plant and later the S-50 mand in Temessee). and K-25. which contained the experimental mer of 1943 (Groves kept the Manhati Project’s plutonium pile and separation facilities. home of the electromagnetic plant. after World War II but will be used hereto avoid confusion). services many were still betting in early 1943 that Lawrence always lagged behind demand. This provided security the giant 184-inch magnet. Y-12 and X-10 were begun Ridge had been revised upward to 4045. was closest porate into Y-12 design for the Oak Ridge plant. being but one ridge away to the Research on magnet size and placement and beam south. Farther to the south and west lay both the resolution eventually led to a racetrack configuration ClintonEngineerWorks. Oak Ridge was the fifth largest town in Tennessee.

The ManhattanEngineerD~trict in Operation of two magnets with forty-eight gaps containing two pany. uranium-235 daily. Given that each Oak Ridge. thattankdeignwasMl December 1942. with ten buildings and the Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company. racetrack was 122 feet long. The New World 1939-19/4 VolumeI of A Histoty of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (University Park Pennsylvania StateUniversity Press. after a day of presentations and a in calutron design.SpareMagnetsin LeftForeground. HewlettandOscarE.. 77 feet wide and 15 feet At a meeting of Groves. Anderson.and that chemical extraction facilities also agreed that Stone & Webster would take over design would have to be built. being necessary to provide the 2. while less than shocking. Groves’s demands were little and construction of a 500-tank facility.1%2). vacuum tanks each per building.Repfited fromRichardG. It was hoped that improvements On January 14. Tennessee Eastman Corporation to sign on as plant there simply was not enough time to incorporate operator and arranged for various parts of the elec. with one Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Com. every suggested modification. Y-12 plans took shape. that the completed plant was to be the size of Lotzof Stone&WebsterinBerkeley latein threetwo-story buildings. tractors by insiiting that the fwst racetrack of ninety- but experimental results were inconclusive even as six tanks be in operation by July 1 and that 500 Stone & Webster of Boston. Groves maintained Lawrence’s laboratory would play a supporting role that his schedule could be met~” by supplying experimental data. 21 . the contrac- summit conference on Y-12 took place in Berkeley tors. or placing multiple sources and demonstration of the experimental tanks in the collectors in each tank. It was influx. Nonetheless. the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company. the Y-12 contractor at tanks be delivered by year’s end. on January 13 and 14. and the Army negotiated over the final design. major modification-the inclusion of a second stage Y-12AlphaRacetrackat Clinton.Jr. Y-12 design was tromagnetic equipment to be manufactured by the finalized at a March 17 meeting in Boston. prepared to break ground. Groves had persuaded the While all involved could see possible improvements. might increase efficiency and cyclotron building. Groves stunned the Y-12 con- reduce the number of tanks and buildings required.000 sources and General Eleetric agreed to provide electrical collectors needed to separate 100 grams of equipment. By the time another For the next two months Lawrence. and John R. high. Lawrence.

and the magnets needed so much cop- it as the sole feed material for a second stage of per for windings that the Army had to borrow racetracks containing tanks approximately haIf the almost 15..-. there was always a shortage of Y-12 contractors in May 1943._ .— A—-”. he was impressed by workers skilled enough to perform jobs according to the scaIe of operations.31 Treasury silver (fnst-stage) and Beta (second-stage) tracks. . i ak. ... The Beta facility was actually begun before changes continued to frustrate equipment manufac- formal authorization.7 “<-:’ *. :.:. Groves approved this ar.:.~*. ‘.isto~ of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (University Park:Pennsylvania State University Press. . .:. - —.” & n -“. 1943. .-.. Soon blueprints could not be and other equipment pla~ed the electromagnetic produced fast enough to keep up with construction project and posed the most serious threat to as Stone & Webster labored to meet Groves’s Groves’s deadline. —. _. Replacing copper with silver solved the immediate Construction of Y-12 problem of the magnets and busbars. generators. of the electromagnetic process. on February 18. . but persistent Groundbreaking for the Alpha plant took place shortages of electronic tubes.:?? ~.7 ..1%2).? - ● s . . . . . .000 tons of silver bullion from the United size of those in the fwst...>_ .’. States Treasury to fabricate into strips and wind on rangement and work began on both the Alpha to coils as a substitute for copper. 3 ff~~ ‘.4 ..Jr. Nonetheless.:. last-minute design deadline. (A fhrther complication was Berkeley rededicated to the “awful job” of fiishing that some tasks could be performed only by workers the racetracks on time?2 ‘“it ‘ ~w .ReprintedfromRichardG. HewlettandOscarE. . 22 ..~~ .. Lawrence returned to the rigid specifications. was also used to manufacture the busbars that ran around the to~ of the racetracks.. .. — Y-12 Electromagnetic PlantUnderConstructionat Clinton. Anderson... when Lawrence toured with gressively recruited. Furthermore. The New World 1939-1946 VolumeI of A H.. *. . ‘ ‘ ?.: ‘“* . .* ii t’ . Huge amounts of material second stage was to take the enriched uranium-235 had to be obtained (38 million board feet of lumber. turers. !~ . while laborers were ag. regulators. derived from several runs of the frost stage and use for instance). The purpose of this with special clearances). L___ :.:’::’ : * * ● ‘-s ● * * :.<..

To make certain that Alpha the size of the electromagnetic complex. porated into the Alpha plant. racetracks.1%2). Convinced that the elec- ing this configuration into their edculations. valves. three times more fissionable material would be re- With Alpha technology far from perfected. Groves reported to the Military Policy Com- research on an alternate method at Brown Universi. running behind schedule. Factor. it was possible that they might not pro- tromagnetic process. Z7reNew World 1939-1946. While construction and outfitting proceeded. While the scientists in Berkeley studied changes Lawrence responded to this crisis in characteristic that would be required in the down-sized Beta fashion: He immediately lobbied Groves to incor- racetracks. arrange. porate multiple sources into the racetracks under ed specific design modifications. allowed a four- ment of two tracks of thirty-six tanks each. Oppenheimer’s isolated laboratory in Los Akunos. For a variety of construction and to build more racetracks. would consist of two ty and expanded efforts at Berkeley. Anderson. The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation Design Changes at Y-12 and training operating persomel. Groves let Lawrence talk would minimize the loss of enriched uranium during him into building a new plant-in effect. New Mexico. quired for a bomb than earlier estimates had in- Lawrence and his staff now had to participate in dicated. and tanks. Groves reasons.Jr. set up in spring 1943 to consolidate tion Laboratory picked up additional speed in work on atomic weapons. out because of rust and sediment in the cooling oil. Ten. providing more efficient Warning From Los Alamos use of power.ReprintedfromRichardG. The new had enough feed material. and making But in the midst of encouraging progress in con- h possible to use multiple rather than single struction and research on the electromagnetic pro- beams~3 Meanwhile. rather than oval. mittee on September 9. Work at the Radia. duce enough purified uranium-235 in time. Most seriously.000 operating and maintenance personnel were hired and trained. Vacuum tanks in the fwst Alpha racetrack leaked and shimmied out of line due to Y-12BetaRacetrackat Clinton.. test runs could be performed at Oak Ridge. and operators made frequent Energy Commission (University Park Pennsylvania State mistakes. the magnet coils shorted UniversityPress. Even with satisfactory performance of the planning for an unanticipated stage of the elec. The huge building to house the operating equipment was readied as manufacturers began delivering everything from electrical switches to motors. Oppenheimer warned that March with the authorization of the Beta process. welds failed. Then. 23 . magnetic pressure. including simplicity of maintenance. electrical circuits HewlettandOscarE. after nessee Eastman decided that the Beta plant would receiving favorable reports from both Stone & consist of a rectangular. built prototypes of Alpha and Beta units for testing Shakedown at Y-12 During summer and fall 1943 the fwst elec- tromagnetic plant began to take shape. between October and mid-December. Lawrence arranged for facility. complete experimental models so that training and Lawrence found that hot (high positive voltage) elec. each with two rectangular racetracks of left of his time and money in early 1943 Lawrence ninety-six tanks operating with four-beam sources. engineering work at Oak Ridge prescrib. Webster and Tennessee Eastman. tromagnetic process would work and sensing that Lawrence and his coworkers bent their efforts to estimates from Los Alamos might be revised developing chemical processing techniques that downward in the future. With what was buildings. raced to wajw to improve the electromagnetic process.VolumeI of A Hiwov of the United States Atomic malfunctioned. ahnost 5. doubling Beta production runs. trical sources could replace the single cold (ground- ed) source in future pkmts. decided to build the fwst four as planned but. receiver design evolved quickly cess in July came discouraging news from enough in spring and summer 1943 to be incor. Y-12 paid the price for being a new technology that had not been put through its paces in a pilot plant. beam source in the fifth. reducing insulator failure. Meanwhile Ten- Lawrence and his colleagues continued to look for nessee Eastman.

(2. There was predecessor. matters worse. requiring extensive sion plant upon which so much hope had rested redesign and retooling of tanks. Lawrence. While all tanks on July 4. Technical support would come months late. In September racetracks so that they could process the slightly work began on the cascade building. Lawrence lobbied yet Chalmers with hope that they could be cleaned again for further expansion of Y-12. simply was not enough time. a full four thirty-beam source. 1944. when it was authorized in late 1942. Lawrence was to throw all he had into weapon requirements. gaseous diffusion seemed to be based on sound hot. with the Alpha and Beta racetracks might have been tory that complete redesign was required. In spite of time even the British had given up on gaseous diffu- precautions aimed at correcting the electrical and oil. though he was not sure that the addi. rather than as cold. doors. prospects remained uncertain. concentrated on further expansion of the electro.000 feet. contractors fmd a way for a combination of isotope separation contended with primitive roads as they shipped in processes to produce enough fissionable material for the materials needed to build what became the bombs. of the Beta building on March 11 led to further It was a gamble in a high-stakes game.Part w Groves arrived on December 15 and shut the As K-25 stock continued to drop and plutonium racetrack down. This meant making changes in the world’s largest steam electric plant. Throughout the summer. Groves agreed with concrete piers to support load-bearing walls. on a relatively flat area of about Reworking the Racetracks 5.000 acres. but sticking disappointment. performance was contractors to consider proposals Lawrence had sporadic and maintenance could not keep up with prepared after assessing once again the resources electrical failures and defective parts. Now there were to be fifty four-story buildings magnetic facilities. Championed by particularly in units that would be wired to run as the British and placed fwst by the Lewis committee. The second Alpha track now bore the beams and to build two more racetracks. electrical sources. sion and urged acceptance of Lawrence’s plan. believed that four more racetracks a mile by 1.000 square feet) in a U-shape measuring half penheimer.sl theory but had not yet produced samples of enrich- ed uranium-235. The coils were sent to Allis. Some improvements percent uranium-235 by the end of February. to be no change in the completed racetracks. were to be made in the racetracks then under con- enough to send samples to Los Alarnos and feed the struction. By this weight of the electromagnetic effort. arguing that it without being dismantled entirely. At Oak Ridge. the second Alpha fared little better when desperation crept into decisions made at a meeting it started up in mid-January 1944. The fiist four Alpha tracks a completely new type of calutron that would use a did not operate together until April. Oak Ridge. While maintenance improved. word spread that the K-25 gaseous diffusion process was in deep trouble because of its ongoing barrier crisis. Like its and abilities of the Radiation Laboratory. seconded by Op. Alpha 2 was a maintenance nightmare. Groves met with the Oak Ridge operated at least for short periods. He then which had changed dramatically since the spring. this approach. Innovative foundation techni- should be built to accompany the nine already ques were required to avoid setting thousands of f~hed or under construction. plans for enriched material produced by K-25. the K-25 site developed into a satellite 24 . and liners. output from both Westinghouse and General Electric. and an element of racetrack. Beam resolution was so unsatisfac.000. The opening which would cease work on four-beam development. while measures provided the only possible avenue to a bomb by were taken to prevent recurrence of the shorting 1945. related problems that had shut down the fiist Time was running out. To make an even greater gamble. site preparation for the K-25 powerpkmt It became clear to Groves that he would have to began in June. Since it was eleven miles from the headquarters at tional racetracks could be built in time. His plan was to convert all tanks to multiple problem. there Alpha 2 produced about 200 grams of twelve. K-25 had been counted upon The K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant to provide uranium enriched enough to serve as feed material for Beta. Now it would be producing such Eleven miles southwest of Oak Ridge on the slight enrichment that the Alpha tracks would have Clinch River was the site of the K-25 gaseous diffu- to process K-25’s material. In the most important decision made at fwst Beta unit but not enough to satisfy estimates of the meeting. was well under previous expectations.

1939-1944 VolumeI of A Histoty of the United States Atomic the town had housing similar to that in Oak Ridge. ZheNew World. HewlettandOscarE. Y-12 was in trou- stead of producing fully enriched uranium-235. no one had been able to the more troublesome upper part of the easeade. Groves’s new strategy of utilizing a combination of tion site daily. that it might yet prove successful. town. There was no doubt in Groves’s mind that gaseous diffusion still had to be pursued vigorously. 1939-1946 VolumeI of A Histow of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (LJniversi&Park Pennsylvania StateUniversityPress.000 employees nearby. fabricate barrier of sufficient quality. As Lawrence prepared to throw 25 .ReprintedfromRichardG.Jr. to compensate for the low percentage of barrier that The decision to downgrade K-25 was part of the met specifications. and the plutonium pile projects gaseous diffusion plant would now provide around were just getting underway. half of Happy larger decision to double Y-12 capacity and fit with Valley’s workers had to commute to the construc. it too experienced chronic UniversityPress. Dubbed Happy Valley by the inhabitants. like headquarters. methods to produce enough f~sionable material for bombs as soon as possible. Ene~ Commission (Universiw Park Pennsylvania State ‘ but. Anderson. Downgrading K-25 Not only had major resources already been expend- In late summer 1943 it was decided that K-25 ed on the program. In. Unfortunately. Even with a contractor camp with facilities for 2. Housing was supplied. Anderson.1%2). A workable barrier fifty percent enrichment for use as feed material in design might put K-25 ahead in the race for the Y-12. 15.. The only altern- Even this level of enrichment was not assured since ative remaining was to increase production enough a barrier for the diffusion plant still dld not exist. The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation I K-25GaseousDiffusionPlantUnderConstructionat Clinton. but there was ako the possibility would play a lesser role than originally intended. Hewlettand OscarE.000.. as was a full array of K-25fromOppositeEnd. shortages. ReprintedfromRichardG. the ble as 1944 began.WhiteBuildingin Centerof Previous service facilities for the population that reached PictureDueernibleat Far End.1%2).Jr. This would be accomplished by eliminating bomb. 77zeNew World.

. . the best methods of extracting plutonium from the mal diffusion. . Bush pile in June 1942. conducted primarily for submarines.. A quick analysis quids in a search to isolate the substances with the 26 . The Met heimer’s suggestion and sent a group to Philadelphia Lab group considered the full range of gases and li- to visit Abelson’s plant.. Manhattan Project. and a cooling system. on line (Abelson’s plant contained 100 columns). to help Abelson other than to suggest a lattice arrangement of complete and expand his plant and use its slightly graphite and uranium.. ftished. .”.. . famous experiment would require elaborate controls. provided little technical guidance possible. It might be it was historically.. The liquid thermal diffusion process had been radiation shielding. into and through the graphite next to cooling tubes Abelson continued his work independently of the and building a radiation and containment shield. and pile projects were making satisfactory progress. . . important as uranium to be completed in early July.. the Manhattan Project received help from an unex. in fact. however. Ferguson Company of Cleveland. possibly by extending uranium rods sion. Here again the job was to design equip- Philadelphia Naval Yrud deserved a closer look. which was better understood theoretically. —. I Part m I everything he had into a thirty-beam source for demonstrated that a thermal diffusion plant could Y-12. especially since the electromagnetic A group headed by Compton’s chief engineer. -. . K. where construction began in January 1944. These evaluated in 1940 by the Uranium Committee. was not The Metallurgical Laboratory up-to-date on the state of Navy efforts when he Oneof the most important branches of the far- received a letter on the subject from Oppenheimer flung Manhattan Project was the Metallurgical late in April 1944. . who. while As problems with both Y-12 and K-25 reached providing electricity for the K-25 plant when it was crisis proportions in spring and summer 1944. so it was imperative to Laboratory. ongoing reaction. Laboratory (Met Lab) in Chicago. power. piles built to produce plutonium would operate at Groves immediately saw the value of Oppen. high power levels and require coolants. received no direct aid from Groves. Groves gave the contractor. . Moore’s fwst goals were to fmd encouraged the Navy to increase its support of ther. . . umns was already at hand in the form of the almost completed K-25 powerplant. fort bean Army program and that the Navy be ex.142-cohunn plant Roosevelt had instructed that the atomic bomb ef. President from September 27 to bring a 2. A thorough review of Abelson’s pro.. During summer 1942 Bush and Conant trollable and still have a k high enough to sustain an received reports about Abelson’s research but con..35 cluded that it would take too long for the thermal diffusion process to make a major contribution to Pile Design the bomb effort. Groves ordered a crash barrier program. just ninety days pected source-the United States Navy. generate enough power to need cooling systems. “. . Thomas V. It would be a relatively simple matter to provide steam to the thermal diffu- Help From the Navy sion plant and produce enriched uranium. tion in neutron multiplication (neutron multiplica- In 1941 he moved to the Naval Research tion being represented by k). It ject early in 1943. hop. . Navy research on atomic itself for a new influx of workers. The steam needed in the convection col- for the bomb continued. which was Oppenheimer informed Groves that Philip counted on to design a production pile for Abelson’s experiments on thermal diffusion at the plutonium. . when engineering features would all contribute to a reduc- Abelson was at the National Bureau of Standards. Any pile producing more enriched product as feed for Y-12 until problems power than the few watts generated in Fermi’s with K-25 could be resolved. . . be built at Oak Ridge and placed in operation by ing to prevent K-25 from standing idle as “therace early 1945. ——! -. H. Oppenheimer thought. . imental reactor. .. began designing the production After a visit with Abelson in January 1943. concluded that thermal quickly became clear that a production pile would diffusion work should be expanded but should not differ significantly in design from Fermi’s exper- be considered as a replacement for gaseous diffu. There was no time to waste as Happy Valley braced cluded from deliberations. He obtained authorization to Although experimental reactors like Fermi’s did not build a new plant at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. The Fermi pile...... . where there was more support for his determine which pile design would be safe and con- work. . ment for a technology that was not well understood Abelson was building a plant to produce enriched even in the laboratory. Moore.. irradiated uranium and for cooling the uranium.4.

The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation

best nuclear characteristics, with hydrogen and tion was tailor-made for a man with Groves’s
helium standing out among the gases and temperament. On October 5 Groves exhorted the
water-even with its marginal nuclear properties and Met Lab to decide on pile design within a week.
tendency to corrode uranium-as the best liquid. Even wrong decisions were better than no decisions,
During the summer, Moore and his group began Groves claimed, and since time was more valuable
planning a helium-cooled pilot pile for the Argonne than money, more than one approach should be
Forest Preserve near Chicago, built by Stone& pursued if no single design stood out. While Groves
Webster, and on September 25 they reported to did not mandate a specific decision, his imposed
Compton. The proposal was for a 460-ton cube of deadline forced the Met Lab scientists to reach a
graphite to be pierced by 376 vertieal columns con- consensus.
taining twenty-two cartridges of uranium and Compton decided on compromise. Fermi would
graphite. Cooling would be provided by circulating study the fundamentals of pile operation on a small
helium from top to bottom through the pile. A wall experimental unit to be completed and in operation
of graphite surrounding the reactor would provide by the end of the year. Hopefldly he could deter-
radiation containment, while a series of spherical mine the precise value of k and make a significant
segments that gave the design the nickname Mae advance in pile engineering possible. An intermediate
West would make up the outer shell. pile with external cooling would be built at Argonne
By the time Compton received Moore’s report, he and operated until June 1, 1943, when it would be
had two other pile designs to consider. One was a taken down for plutonium extraction. The helium-
water-cooled model developed by Eugene Wigner cooled Mae West, designed to produce 100 grams of
and Gale Young, a former colleague of Compton’s. plutonium a day, would be built and operating by
Wigner and Young proposed a twelve-foot by March 1944. Studies on liquid-cooled reactors would
twenty-five-foot cylinder of graphite with pipes of continue, including Szilard’s work on liquid metals.
uranium extendkg from a water tank above,
through the cylinder, and into a second water tank
underneath. Coolant would circulate continuously Seaborg and Plutonium Chemistry
through the system, and corrosion would be While the Met Lab labored to make headway on
minimized by coating interior surfaces or lining the pile design, Seaborg and his coworkers tried to gain
uranium pipes. enough information about transuranium chemistry
A second alternative to Mae West was more dar- to insure that plutonium produced could be suc-
ing. Szilard thought that liquid metal would be such cessfully extracted from the irradiated uranium.
an efficient coolant that, in combination with an Using lanthanum fluoride as a carrier, Seaborg
electromagnetic pump having no moving parts isolated a weighable sample of plutonium in August
(adapted from a design he and Einstein had 1942. At the same time, Isadore Perlman and
created), it would be possible to achieve high power William J. Knox explored the peroxide method of
levels in a considerably smaller pile. Szilard had separation; John E. Willard studied various
trouble obtaining supplies for his experiment, materials to determine which best adsorbed
primarily because bismuth, the metal he preferred as plutonium;36 Theodore T. Magel and Daniel K.
the coolant, was rare. Koshland, Jr., researched solvent-extraction pro-
cesses; and Harrison S. Brown and Orville F. Hill
Groves Steps In performed experiments into volatility reactions.
October1942foundGrovesin Chicagoreadyto Basic research on plutonium’s chemistry continued
force a showdown on pile design. Szilard was noisily as did work on radiation and fission products.
complahing that deckions had to be made so that Seaborg’s discovery and subsequent isolation of
design could move to procurement and construction. plutonium were major events in the history of
Compton’s delay reflected uncertainty of the chemistry, but, like Fermi’s achievement, it remain-
superiority of the helium pile and awareness that, ed to be seen whether they could be translated into
engineering studies could not be deftitive until the a production process useful to the bomb effort. In
precise value of k had been established. Some scien- fact, Seaborg’s challenge seemed even more daunt-
tists at the Met Lab urged that a full production pile ing, for while piles had to be scaled up ten to twen-
be built immediately, while others advocated a ty times, a separation plant for plutonium would
multi-step process, perhaps beginning with an exter- involve a scale-up of the laboratory experiment on
nally cooled reactor proposed by Fermi. The situa- the order of a btion-fold.



Collaboration with DuPont’s Charles M. Cooper time to throw its full weight into the Oak Ridge
and his staff on plutonium separation facilities project.
began.even before Seaborg succeeded in isolating a Moving the pilot plutonium plant to Oak Ridge
sample of plutonium. Seaborg was reluctant to drop left too little room for the full-scale production
any of the approaches then under consideration, and plant at the X-10 site and also left too little
Cooper agreed. The two decided to pursue all four generating power for yet another major facility. Fur-
methods of plutonium separation but put fwst thermore, the site was uncomfortably close to Knox-
priority on the lanthanum fluoride process Seaborg ville should a catastrophe occur. Thus the search for
had already developed. Cooper’s staff ran into pro- an alternate location for the full-scale plutonium
blems with the lanthanum fluoride method in late facility began soon after DuPont joined the produc-
1942, but by then Seaborg had become interested in tion team. Compton’s scientists needed an area of
phosphate carriers. Work led by Stanley G. Thomp- approximately 225 square miles. Three or four piles
son found that bismuth phosphate retained over and one or two chemical separation complexes
ninety-eight percent plutonium in a precipitate. With would be at least a mile apart for security purposes,
bismuth phosphate as a backup for the lanthanum while nothing would be allowed within four miles of
fluoride, Cooper moved ahead on a serniworks near the separation complexes for fear of radioactive ac-
Stagg Field. cidents. Towns, highways, rail lines, and laboratories
would be several miles further away.
DuPont Joins the Team
Compton’s original plans to build the experiment- Hanford
al pile and chemical separation plant on the Univer- December 16, 1942, found Colonel Franklin T.
sity of Chicago campus changed during fall Matthias of Groves’s staff and two DuPont
1942. The S-1 Executive Committee concurred that engineers headed for the Pacific Northwest and
it would be safer to put Fermi’s pile in Argonne and southern California to investigate possible produc-
build the pilot plant and separation facilities in Oak tion sites. Of the possible sites available, none had a
Ridge than to place these experiments in a populous better combination of isolation, long construction
area. On October 3 DuPont agreed to design and season, and abundant water for hydroelectric power
build the chemical separation plant. Groves tried to than those found along the Columbia and Colorado
entice further DuPont participation at Oak Ridge by Rivers. After viewing six locations in Washington,
having the f~ prepare an appraisal of the pile pro- Oregon, and California, the group agreed that the
ject and by placing three DuPont staff members on area around Hanford, Washington, best met the
the Lewis committee. Because DuPont was sensitive criteria established by the Met Lab scientists and
about its public image (the company was still smart- DuPont engineers. The Grand Coulee and Bon-
ing from charges that it profiteered during World neville Dams offered substantial hydroelectric power,
War I), Groves ultimately obtained the services of while the flat but rocky terrain would provide ex-
the giant chemical company for the sum of one cellent support for the huge plutonium production
dollar over actual costs. In addition, DuPont vowed buildings. The ample site of nearly one-half million
to stay out of the bomb business after the war and acres was far enough inland to meet security re-
offered all patents to the United States government. quirements, while existing transportation facilities
Groves had done well in convincing DuPont to could quickly be improved and labor was readily
join the Manhattan Project. DuPont’s proven ad- available. Pleased with the committee’s unanimous
ministrative structure assured excellent coordination report, Groves accepted its recommendation and
(Crawford Greenewalt was given the responsibility authorized the establishment of the Hanford
of coordinating DuPont and Met Lab planning), Engineer Works, codenamed Site W.
and Groves and Compton welcomed the company’s Now that DuPont would be building the
demand that it be put in fidl charge of the Oak plutonium production complex in the Northwest,
Ridge plutonium project. DuPont had a strong Compton saw no reason for any pile facilities in
organization and had studied every aspect of the Oak Ridge and proposed to conduct Met Lab
Met Lab’s program thoroughly before accepting the research in either Chicago or Argonne. DuPont, on
assignment. While deeply involved in the overall war the other hand, continued to support a serniworks at
effort, DuPont expected to be able to divert person- Oak Ridge and asked the Met Lab scientists to
nel and other resources from explosives work in operate it. Compton demurred on the grounds that


The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation

he did not have sufficient technical staff, but he was simply did not have sufficient expertise to operate
also reluctant because his scientists complained that the semiworks on its own. The University of
their laboratory was becoming little more than a Chicago administration supported Compton’s deci-
subsidiary of DuPont. In the end, Compton knew ‘sion in early March.
the Met Lab would have to support DuPont, which

Contourintervalh feet
o I

I /1

—,. –

r I

L Area of Hanford


flflichland I
I ~

HanfordEngineerWorks.ReprintedfromViicentC. Jones,Manhattan: l%e Army and the Atomic Bomb
D.C.:U.S. GovernmentPrintingOffice,1985).


while it had its scientists concluded that a water-cooled pile was problems. Seaborg and Cooper continued to work well ment with water tanks. containing on plutonium extraction methods in late May. The Met Lab’s victory in the pile design competi- Greenewalt thought that an air-cooled serniworks at tion came as its status within the Manhattan Project Oak Ridge would contribute significantly to design. He feared that the compressors would not be They placed heavy water second and urged an aU. a smoother and quieter relation- ed a horizontal design for the air-cooled semiworks. while DuPont shifted its interest to air cooled design and decided to adopt the water-cooled cooling. and enough progress was made in the engineering difficulties. Pont domination.control pushed intothe channelson the faceof the pile. A massive graphite block. ship existed between the chemists and DuPont. Met Lab concluded that the Met Lab’s model. DuPont engineers and fourth in DuPont’s analysis. and the one- West helium-cooled unit. Since a helium-cooled unit shared important approach. the Met Lab occupied a less central place in the DuPont established the general specifications for bomb project as Oak Ridge and Hanford rose to the air-cooled semiworks and chemical separation prominence. design characteristics with an air-cooled one. systems. Decision on Chemical Extraction cooled pile for the full-scale plutonium plant. however. 200 tons of uranium and 1. which had posed serious together. who utiliz. corrosion of slugs and tubes. between the two. Field pile (CP-1). Late in February. He worried about pressure pro- Argonne as soon as his experiments on the fwst were blems that might lead to boiling water in individual completed and to proceed on design of the Mae tubes. Fermi continued to work on the Stagg facilities in early 1943. The buckets of irradiated slugs underway. When DuPont engineers percent margin of safety fork.Oncethe produc- forcing irradiated ones at the rear to fall into an tion facilities at Oak Ridge and Hanford were underwater bucket. But he was even assessed the Met Lab’s plans in the late fall. ing the full-scale facilities at Hanford. Instead they proposed to semiworks for the lanthanum fluoride process in late place uranium slugs sealed in aluminum cans inside 1942 that DuPont moved into the plant design stage ahuninurn tubes. Priorities changed conceded that Greenewalt’s fears were well- when Fermi’s calculations demonstrated a higher -grounded. The pile. slugs surrounded by cooling air. Subsequent experiments at the Argonne hundreds of horizontal channels ftied with uranium site using CP-2.000 gallons of water per minute for Seaborg admitted he could find little to distinguish cooling. Met Lab activities focused on designing a water. ready in time for Hanford. Greenewalt based his decision on 30 .and instrumentreliability. built with material from CP-1. Bkmuth and water were ranked third extremely difficult to operate.200 tons of graphite. would cool the pile with phosphate method. New slugs would be focused on neutroncaptureprobabilities. While the Met Lab physicists chafed under Du- ing their cue from the DuPont engineers. was superior to DuPont’s own helium- now feasible. though even would need 75. creasingly unimportant in the race for the bomb and then be moved by underground canal into the the scientists found themselves serving primarily as chemical separation facility where the plutonium consultants for DuPont. that the shell could not out effort to produce more of this highly effective be made vacuum-tight. model. Still an exciting place intellectually.Pile Design: Changing Priorities Decision on Pile Design The fall 1942 planning sessions at the Met Lab led Greenewalt’s initial response to the water-cooled to the decidon to build a second Fermi pile at design was guarded. would contain value of k. and that the pile would be moderator. was changing. Greenewalt chose bismuth phosphate. Greenewalt reluctantly value for k than anyone had anticipated. laid horizontally and converted the serniworks for the bismuth through a graphite block. The tubes. Met Lab research became in- would undergo radioactive decay for several weeks. Tak. hoping to determine the exact protected by several feet of concrete. DuPont pressed for a decision water injected into each tube. would be extracted with remote control equipment. Met Lab scientists abandoned the vertical arrange. they more worried about the proposed helium-cooled agreed that helium should be given f~st priority.

while Seaborg planning information for the Oak Ridge and Han- continued refining the bismuth phosphate method.ReprintedfromRichardG. a pilot chemical design and fabrication of parts for yet another new separation plant. a much less active element than above ground. providing valuable separation pilot plant at Oak Ridge. slugs would drop into the fust cell of the chemical 7 ce I Air-CooledPileBuiltin X-10Areaat Clinton. Anderson. Aluminum cans containing uranium plutonium.Jr. Safety in time for construction to begin in March. TheNW World. The site would include process. which sat under the pile. 31 . ford facilities.. fifty percent of the plutonium using bismuth Stone established emission standards and conducted phosphate. extended to one story tive. A series was a major consideration because of the hazards of of huge underground concrete cells. posed far fewer safety problems. Uranium. TheManhattan EngineerDistrictin Operation the corrosiveness of lanthanum fluoride and on In July 1942 Compton setup a health division at Seaborg’s guarantee that he could extract at least the Met Lab and put Robert S. Not only did Cooper have to oversee the an air-cooled experimental pile.he had to do so with duced blueprints for the chemical separation plants an eye toward planning the Hanford facility. It was now Cooper’s job to design the pile as well as the plutonium extraction facilities at Clinton.1%2). which was highly radioac. Cooper pro- ManhattanProjecttechnology. the f~st of working with plutonium. DuPont began constructing the chemical experiments on radiation hazards. Construction at Oak Ridge both complicated engineering tasks made even more DuPont broke ground for the X-10 complex at difficult by high levels of radiation produced by the Oak Ridge in February 1943. Hewlettand OscarE. and support facilities. Stone in charge. 1939-194~VolumeI of A History of the United States Atomic Enetgy Commission (University Park Pennsylvania StateUniversity Press.

The four chemical separation plants.I Partm I separation facility and dissolve and then go through channels ffled with uranium. higher pay. . Initial production provided mixed results. The spring. ject. DuPont and the Army coordinated efforts to recruit laborers from all over the country X-10 in Operation: Fall 1943 for Hanford. HewlettandOscarE. Thousands of workers poured into the town. designated by the let- ters B. would be nearly ten miles south of the piles. built in pairs. TheNW World 1939-1946 VolumeI of A History of the logistical point of view.000 by summer 1944. The three water-cooled piles. During the next the extraction process. D. would be built about six miles apart on the south bank of the Columbia River. Hanford still resembled the month. Well situated from a Jr. of them to leave in discontent. a huge concrete shell level of the pile and increased its plutonium yield. time being a more important commodity than money to the Manhattan Project..1%2). a sparsely populated region where sheep ranching and farming were the main economic activities. vic~ for Hanford’s population. and F. Anderson. many ReprintedfromRichardG. which reached ember 4 and produced plutonium by the end of the 50. Hanford was a sea of tents United States Atomic Energy Commission (University Park: and barracks where workers had little to do and Pennsylvania StateUrdveHityPress. His orders were to purchase half a million acres in and around the Hanford-Pasco-White Bluffs area. Temporary quarters for construction workers would be put up in Hanford. seven feet thick with hundreds of holes for uranium Chemical separation techniques using the bismuth slug placement. Conditions improved significantly during the tion and tests of the X-10 pile at Clinton Engineer second half of the year. while a facility to produce slugs and perform tests would be approximately twenty miles southeast of the separa- tion plants near Richkmd. shortages plagued the pro- in late October when DuPont completed construc. Many of the area’s landowners rejected initial offers on their land and took the Army to court seeking more ac- ceptable appraisals. Colonel Matthias returned to the Hanford area to set up a temporary office on February 22. Slugs were to plutonium piles what phosphate process were so successful that Los barrier was to gaseous diffusio~ that is. Compton gradually raised the power during the spring and summer. while permanent facilities for other personnel would be located down the road in Richland. the tional facilities. During summer 1943. WorkersLoadingUraniumSlugIntoFaceof Air-CooledPile. an obstacle Alamos received plutonium samples beginning in the that could shut down the entire process. Hanford became the Manhattan Project’s newest atomic boomtown.yranium-235 in aluminum sheaths. Fission studies of these samples at Los Aluminum Company of American (Alcoa) was the Akunos during summer 1944 heavily influenced only fm left working on a process to enclose bomb design. 1943. and better overall ser- pile went critical in the early morning of Nov. safely remov- ed from the production and separation plants. with the addhion of recrea- Works. After thousands of slugs were loaded. nowhere to go. The pile buil@ng went up several months. Matthias received his assignment in late March. Criticality was achieved with only half of the frontier and mining towns once common in the 32 . but even with a relative labor surplus The moment everyone had been waiting for came in the Pacific Northwest. Matthias adopted a strategy of settling out of court to save time. with many cans failing vacuum tests because Hanford Take-sShape of faulty welds. and it was still having problems.

Work was not built).I The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation I AerialViewof HanfordCommunity.ReprintedfromRichardG.Jr. made up the 200-East com- place on August 27. Hewlettand OscarE. Z7ze New Wor14 1939-1946 VolumeI ofA Historyof the UnitedStatesAtomicEnew Commission(University Park Pennsylvania StateUniversity Press. Labor shortages and the lack of fma. designated 200-West and 200-East. but the rate of worker turnover dropped destination at one of the two chemical separation substantially. The T Groundbreaking for the water-cooling plant for and U plants were located at 200-West. The Hanford chemical separation on the pile itself began in February. Anderson. storage areas. the westernmost of the three. each containing separation and con- another month to place the graphite pile and install centration buildings in addition to ventilation (to the top shield and two more months to wire and eliminate radioactive and poisonous gases) and waste pipe the pile and connect it to the various monitor. It took at Oak Ridge. the B unit. blueprints forced DuPont to stop work on the 200 At Hanford. while a the 1OO-Bpile.with the result that 1943 construction pro- by remote<ontrolled rail cars to a storage facility gress on chemical separation was limited to digging five miles away for transportation to their final two huge holes in the ground~7 33 . west. less than two weeks before plex (the planned fourth chemical separation plant Italy’s surrender to the Allies on September 8.1%2). took single plant.. locations. with the base facilitie+were massive scaled-up versions of those and shield being completed by mid-May. irradiated uranium slugs would drop areas in summer 1943 and concentrate its forces on into water pools behind the piles and then be moved 1OO-B.1 ing and control devices.

Jr. precautions against radiation ex- posure were necessary and influenced all aspects of plant design.. The (University Park Pennsylvania StateUniversity Press. -U. Even with massive concrete lids on the process pools. i%eNew World.WaterTreatmentPlantin Rear. the chemical separation buildings in the 200-West complex. HewlettandOscarE.38 Construction of the chemical concentration buildings (224-T. Hewlettand OscarE. 221B. 34 . and the work was not started until very late 1944. Nicknamed Queen Marys by the workers who built them. Jr. The interior had an eerie quality as operators behind thick concrete shielding manipulated remote control equipment by looking through television monitors and periscopes from an upper gallery. were ffished by December 1944. Anderson. bismuth phosphate carried the plutonium Hirtoty of the United Stat~ Atomic Energy Commission through the long succession of process pooIs. In the Queen Hanford.ReprintedfromRichardG.I Part w PileD at Hanford.ReprintedfromRichardG. TheNew World 193$1944VolumeI of A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (Universi~ Park Pennsylvania StateUniversityPress. 19391944 VolumeI of A Marys. the East unit in February 1945. their counterpart in 200-East.. 65 feet wide. The Chemical Separation Buildings (Queen Marys) Both 221T and 221U. and 80 feet high con- taining forty process pools. the separa- tion buikiings were awesome canyon-like structures 800 feet long. The 200-West units were ftished in early Oc.Pilein Foreground. ChemicalSeparationPlant(QueenMary)UnderConstructionat tober. Anderson. and -B) was a less daunting task because relatively little radioactivity was involv- ed.1%2). was completed in spring 1945.1%2).

sites and chose Los Akunos. Secretary of War Alarnos was virtually inaccessible. Bush agreed and forwarded the recommenda. lan. and of Scientific and Research Development and the Lieutenant Colonel W. Oppenheimer’s suggestion and began seeking an ap- propriate location. Dudley visited the two Army form a committee to study bomb develop. Oppenheimer. sentiment was growing among the Manhattan process but that Seaborg’s original choice. Edwin M. Groves.I The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation I CompletedQueen Mary at Hanford. 1939-1946. about thirty miles northwest of Santa Fe. H. Los tion to Vice President Wallace. Volume I of A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (University Park Pennsylvania State University Press. This would laboratory setting with little radiation present. had a ranch nearby in the Pecos Valley of the codenamed Project Y. Jr. New Mexico. began to take shape in spring Sangre de Cristo Mountains. 1962). Mean- phosphate was not suitable for the concentration while. In mid-November. The nitrate would be converted to metal in among the scientists on the staff.Thefinalstepin plutonium and experimental work could be conducted accor- extraction was isolation. It would have to 35 .. incorporatedthissugg~tionintothe others. locations Oppenheimer knew well since he designed and fabricated the fust atomic bombs. Hanford. McMilkm. Los Alamos The search for a bomb laboratory site quickly The final link in the Manhattan Project’s farflung narrowed to two places in northern New Mexico. Hewlett and Oscar E. worked quite well. The New World. Op- 1942 when Conant suggested to Bush that the Office penheimer. Located on a mesa ment. to be better coordinated. advocated a central facility where theoretical concentrationfacilities. scientists that research on the bomb project needed thanum fluoride.and General Marshall (the Top Policy chemicals. Reprinted from Richard G. Here insure accuracy and speed progress. The laboratory that School. Oppenheimer Perlman’s earlier research on the peroxide method suggested that the bomb laboratory operate secretly paid off and was applied to produce pure plutonium in an isolated area but allow free exchange of ideas nitrate. Groves had orders to setup a committee Oak Ridge pilot plant reported that bismuth to study military applications of the bomb. Groves accepted Los Alamos. performed in a more typical ding to standard scientific protocols. By the time of his appointment in late plant and”production plant was realized when the September. among accordingly. The normal relationship between pilot Group). network was the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Jemez Springs and the Los Alamos Boys Ranch in Los Alamos. concentration stage was designed to separate the two Stirnson. New Mexico. Anderson.

:U. Reprinted from Vincent C. buy. D. \l f—~ - Los Alamos Site.C.S. Government PrintingOffice. Jones. and Groves was equally eager to tide supplies and persomel. Manhattan: Tile Army and the Atomic Bomb (Washington.1985).I Part m I be provided with better water and power facilities. and be verylarge.Theboys’schooloccupyingthe site theU~versityof Californiahad contractedto‘pro- was eager to sell. By the end of 1942 the district engineer in but the laboratory community was not expected to Albuquerque had orders to begin construction. 36 .

he would once again “pick General Groves [as his boss]” because of his un- questioned ability?g Groves demanded that the Manhattan Project scientists spend all their time on the bomb and resist the temptation. egotistical. Oppenheimer appeared almost emaciated. Groves was a practical-minded military man. He is always a driver.1%2). remain civilian through 1943. In his knowledge. . proved to be an excellent director despite initial concerns about his administrative inex- perience.”4° secret weapon-related research had pr~idential Oppenheimer had a chance to display his per. harmless enough in peacetime. In talk. Oppenheimer accepted Groves’s rationale academic community as possible.B. At Oppenheimer’s request.Reptited fromLeslieR. Bather and Isidor I. a major factor in the success of the Manhattan Project. even came to a head when Oppenheimer tried to convince close to him. never a praiser. scientific research. There was Robert F. characterized his heavyset boss as ruthless. was marked by mutual respect and was Groves and Oppenheimer. to join his that the requirements of security would require new organization. attracted to Eastern mysticism and of a decidedly theoretical inclination and sen- sitive nature. . authority and was of the utmost national impor- suasive abilities early when he had to convince scien. His aide. leftist political sympathies. The Groves-Oppenheimer alliance. Oppenheimer was a philosophical man. and confi- dent.O. In constrast to Groves. brusque and goal- oriented. Everybody certainly Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation had the impression that Oppenheimer cared Laboratory to join the Los Alarnos team. Complicating his task were the militarization of the final stages of the project (in 37 . Colonel Nichols. that if he had it to do over again. and lack of a Nobel Prize when several scientists he would be drecting were prizewinners. Hans Bethe. Con- son’s work was important for the success of ant and Groves wrote a letter explaining that the the whole project. selectedto head the new laboratory. Neither what each particular person was doing. many of them already deeply involved in war. when it was believed related research in university laboratories. though not one of intimacy. feared that the military chain of command was ill- head of the theoretical division. Rabi of the human warmth as well. He is abrasive and sar- castic. with some success. thought a military environment was conducive to ing to someone he made it clear that that per. remembered that suited to scientific decision making. Groves. tance. Groves worked well with Oppenheimer although the two were fun- damentally different in temperament. Oppenheimer insisted. The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation Oppenheimer and Groves Oppenheimer. and he proved for this arrangement but soon found that scientists adept at satisfying the emotional and intellectual objected to working as commissioned officers and needs of his highly distinguished staff. however.” Nichols admitted. that earlyplansto operateLosAkunosas a military scientists at Los Alamos remain as much an laboratory. He is most critical. A chain-smoker given to long working hours. I have ever worked for. The issue came nobody else in that laboratory”. “the biggest S. The letter promised that the laboratory would tists. He is most demanding. to follow lines of research that had no direct applicability to immediate problems. Now It tin Be Told (New York Harper&Row.

and critical and he promised to resign the moment militarization oc. optimum effective mass still had to be determined.and the Massachusetts Institute of taken to insurethat the highlyunstablesubcritical Technology. That 2. he gave Teller permission to devote himself released secondary neutrons during bombardment. but while Seaborg’s team had proven Los Alamos. But the laboratory’s work began even as the neutrons and causing a chain reaction. When enough data were gathered to establishop- timum critical mass. Another member of the British contingent 38 . sionable material would have to come together to recruits began arriving from universities across the form a supercritical mass for an explosion to occur. Corps of Engineers struggled to provide the Always in the background loomed the hydrogen amenities of civilized life. was too important to ignore. A variation of the explosion method was designed for uranium. symmetrical shockwaves directed inward was without doubt quite a contrast to the comfor. Two subcritical masses of fis- Oppenheimer arrived at Los Alamos in mid-March. became a valuable consultant. though plutonium fission. work needed to be done on the curred. as scientists and their families. manner and at high speed. and and by using a high-speed ftig system capable of a cyclotron. Columbia. United States. Purdue. Stanford. That is. effective masses. releasing staff. It was a most mass into the other was under consideration for remarkable collection of talent and machinery that uranium-235. would compress a subcritical mass of plutonium table campus settings so familiar to many on the packed in a nickel casing (tarnper). including California. Rabi. The chances of predetonation could be along with nuclear physics equipment.000 feet per second. or neutrons were produced when uranium-235 fissioned Super. arrived caravan fashion at the Santa Fe achieving velocities of 3. The properties of uranium bomb. a thermonuclear device considerably more were reasonably well understood. Minnesota. The optimum size of the critical mass re- would supervise all scientific work. was always a distant second in priority at was accepted. would maintain the post and provide security. as did the optimum shape. but only experiments could test mid-1944. After considerable induced f~sion. to the Super. it was not known yet if plutonium thought. it was not enough simply to start a chain reaction in a critical mass. Furthermore. chain reactions.Part m fact. unable to solve the Theory and the “Gadget” purification problem. a Cockroft-Walton accelerator. while still others came from theMet masses did not predetonate because of Lab and the National Bureau of Standards. spontaneously emitted neutrons or neutrons produc- ly overnight Los Akunos became an ivory tower ed by alpha particles reacting with lightweight im- frontier boomtown. or “gadget” as it Alamos. but Oppenheimer concluded that it in March 1941 that plutonium underwent neutron. was added to Bethe’s theory group in critical mass itself. they had to come together in a precise Chicago. but one that needed a nuclear fission bomb as a sions entirely theoretical. As soon as came to be known. and the military mained to be established. including two reduced by purification of the fissionable material Van de Graaffs. put together a fwst-rate staff. Oppenheimer the theory. it Recruiting the Staff was necessary to start one in a mass that would Oppenheimer spent the f~st three months of 1943 release the greatest possible amount of energy before tirelessly crisscrossing the country in an attempt to it was destroyed in the explosion. Princeton. and knowledge of fission explo. Research on the hydrogen bomb. Virtual. Measures also had to be IowaState. turned to the relatively The initial spartan environment of “the Hill” unknown implosion method for plutonium. though he did not move to Los ordnance aspects of the bomb. Bomb designers. an effort that proved In addition to calculations on uranium and fighly successful!l Even Bather signed on. one of a group of British scientists took place with sufficient speed to produce powerful who reinforced the Los Alamos staff at the begin- releases of energy and not simply explosions of the ning of 1944. With (which included box lunches and temporary housing) implosion. The theoretical consensus was that chain reactions Rudolf Peierls. but this method would work for settled this remote outpost of the Manhattan plutonium only if absolute purification of plutonium Project. To make up for Teller’s absence. could be achieved.2 secondary detonator. militarization never took place). A con- railroad station and then made their way “up to the ventional artillery method of ftig one subcritical mesa along the single primitive road. purities. those of powerful than either a uranium or plutonium device plutonium less so.

The calculations to determine how much uranium-235 or committee’s recommendations resulted in the coor. who had been the subcritical uranium masses would not have to be passing nuclear information to the Russians since brought together as quickly as previously thought. significant progress was made by summer as the metallurgists adapted a stationary-bomb technique initially developed at Iowa State University. ed to achieve high velocities. But many again on Warren Lewis to head a committee. The group leaders provided day-today communications metallurgy division had to turn the purified between divisions. Thechemists’job wasto purifytheuranium-235 As director. enhance the efficiency of the explosion. The weapons need- for an efficient explosion. Only highly purified uranium matters such as living quarters. Early experiments on both uranium and directed his staff to design two artillery pieces of plutonium provided welcome results. Despite Los perimental physics (Robert F. chemistry Alamos’s postwar reputation as a mysterious retreat and metallurgy (Joseph W. Bather). begun at the Met Lab. Muzzle was caught and convicted of espionage (and subse. “Deke” Parsons). much of the work that led to the other Manhattan Project installations. Bethe). and increased attention utilized particle accelerators to produce the large was paid to metallurgy. Plutonium tion is a measurement that indicates the probability purification work. Uranium emit. Like nuclear physics. calculate critical and efficient mass.4on be organized to experiments. dinated effort envisioned by those who advocated a Bather’s engineering ditilon patiently generated unified laboratory for bomb research.reducethemto metals. The committee also recom. 1942 and continued doing so until 1949 when he nor would the uranium have to be as pure. plutonium would be needed for an explosive device. The same group high priority at Los Alamos. Oppenheimer relied on a group of advisers to help him keep the “big picture” and make substantial progress on a multi-step in focus. (The cross sec- tion of measurement techniques. velocity for the scaleddown artillery piece could be quently exchanged). Fermi took the essential cross-sectional measurements needed to control of critical mass experiments and standardiza. Groves called once fabricated into the correct size and shape. promotions. Here. in charge of ordnance engineering. salaries.and process both large and small. and the chemical division was able to focus its effort on the lesser known plutonium with few social amenities. if cosmic rays were eliminated. Early Progress Parsons. became of a nuclear reaction taking place). and plutonium would be safe from predetonation. and other “quality of life” Fortunately purification standards for uranium were issues inevitable in an intellectual pressure-cooker relatively modest. this details remained to be worked out. Bather’s group also compiled data that collaborate with physicists on bomb design and helped identify tamper materials that would most ef- fabrication. Kennedy). Los Alamos atomic bombs was extremely tedious. sion of plutoniurn-240. mail censorship. once. and ordnance where brilliant scientists performed miracles of (Navy Captain William S. relatively standard specifications except for their ex- ted neutrons in less than a billionth of a second— tremely light barrels-one for a uranium weapon just enough time.42 lower. ex. including numerous mundane the tamper material. Ernilio Segre later provid.43 Segre’s tests on the fust samples of plutonium demonstrated that plutonium emitted even more AnotherLewisCommittee neutronsthanuraniumdueto thespontaneous fis- The fwst few months at Los Alamos were oc. and the gun could be shorter and lighter. numbers of neutrons needed for its cross-sectional mended that an engineering divi. soonbeganto expandbeyondinitialexpectations. uranium-235 and plutonium into metal. Both theory and experiment- cupied with bnefmgs on nuclear physics for the al data now agreed that a bomb using either ele- technical staff and with planning research priorities ment would detonate if it could be designed and and organizing the laboratory. in the world of nuclear physics.Oppenheimer shoulderedburdens and plutonium. too. and one for a plutonium bomb.I The ManhattanEngineerD~trict in Operation I was the Soviet agent Klaus Fuchs. Here again early efforts centered on the more 39 . including time to evaluate the Los Akunos program. while a committee made up of Los Alamos precipitation process by summer 1944. The laboratory was thus organized into fectively push neutrons back to the core and four divisions: theoretical (Hans A. but they would not ed an additional cushion with his dkcovery in have to be durable since they would only be fwed Decembek 1943 that.

problematicplutoniumweapon. sons’s group developed two bomb models by March The K-25 gaseous diffusion plant threatened to 1944 and began testing them with B-29s. Von Neumann’s making it probable that Japan would be the target theories excited Oppenheimer. A relatively small. he suggested that high-speed France began at Normandy on June 6—promised assembly and high velocities would prevent small implosion weapons of uranium or plutonium predetonation and achieve more symmetrical explo. visited Los 1944+wo months after the Allied invasion of Alarnos late in 1943. the current war would be ready by August 1. Consequently. bombs Marshall and Groves acknowledged that German could be ready earlier. of predetonation (the bullet and target in the two uranium guns were ordered. and the plosion that an efficient detonation would occur. Neddemeyer found it difficult to achieve a revision of the estimates of weapon delivery Bush symmetrical implosions at the low velocities he had had given the President in 1943. delivery of one or two more by the end of that year. ject’s goal of producing weapons for the current war cluding arming and wiring mechanisms and fuzing was not assured. thus plutonium would be unnecessary. Y-12 electromagnetic facility just coming on line. in the second quarter of 1945 if experiments proved sions. When the Princeton mathematician John presented to General Marshall by Groves on August7. in. Seth H. named after and separation facilities faced an equally serious Winston Churchill. 1945. uranium gun bomb by Augxut 1. while Fat Man. Less critical material would be required. or bombs powerful enough to make a difference in blem. achieved. The new timetable. von Neumann. More certain was the delivery of a placed under so much pressure by a symmetrical im. In the same month. plutonium weapon would melt before coming together). Thin Man’s brother). subcritical mass could be satisfactory. there was no guarantee that the Los Alarnos laboratory would be able to design and fabricate weapons in time. On July 17 the dif- ficult decision was made to cease work on the Early Implosion Work plutonium gun method. was an implosion prototype. the task of perfecting implosion techniques. While experiments on implosion could be met. Kistiakowsky.Operational problemsplaguedthe devices. Par. it was Question Marks: Summer 1944 Kistiakowsky who worked with the scientists on the It was still unclear if even the August 1 deadline implosion project. Seaborg had warned that when plutonium. that enough uranium or plutonium could be delivered by the production facilities built in such great haste. implosion weapon looked like a long shot. threat as not enough of the uranium-containing (Segre’s lighter. 1945. Measurements taken at Clinton confined the presence of plutonium-240 in the plutonium pro- duced in the experimental pile. who assigned Par. Only the most optimistic Elimination of Thin Man in the Manhattan Project would have predicted. Parsons directed much of million per month by mid-1944. transforming tion. and extreme purification of surrender might take place by summer 1945. as Thin Man was eliminated four months later Groves did when he met with Marshall. to pick up an additional neutron. 40 . smaller uranium gadget became Lit.whichrequireda 239wasirradiatedfor a lengthof timeit waslikely higher velocity due to its higher risk of predetona. And the Hanford piles plutonium gun design. that a bomb because of the plutonium-240 contamination pro. “Thisnecessitated obscurity. Because Parsons and Neddemeyer did not get along. slugs to feed the pile were available. Plutonium could be used Parsons assigned implosion studies a low priority only in an implosion device. but in summer 1944 an and placed the emphasis on the more familiar ar. become an expensive white elephant if suitable bar- named for President Roosevelt. Even assuming tle Boy. sons’s deputy. Thin Man. the Manhattan Pro- his effort toward developing bomb hardware. Two plutonium guns arrived in March and it into plutonium-240 and increasing the danger were field-tested successfully. utilized the rier could not be fabricated. George B. of any atomic bombs ready at that time. While expenditures reached $100 and explosion continued. a Hungarian refugee. tillery method. Neddermeyer Abandonment of the plutonium gun project performed his early implosion tests in relative eliminated a shortcut to the bomb. Working with the Army Air Force.

plant were producing weapon-grade uranium-235 were becoming significantly more reliable because of using feed from the modified Alpha racetracks and maintenance improvements and chemical the small output from the gaseous diffusion and refinements introduced by Tennessee Eastman.1 mance in each of the production facilities and leak tests. while pile D was at the halfway point. system. To increase production. Grove-sproposed an additional gaseous diffusion plant (K-27) for low-level enrichment and a fourth Beta track for high-level enrichment. Anderson. since once the pile was operational the intense radioactivity would make maintenance of many components impossible. 1%2). Hewlett and Oscar E. 1944. the three piles would probably produce enough plutonium for the weapons required. S-50 was ftihed at the same time that the and gaseous diffusion processes in tandem. but their ex- Pennsylvania State University Press. If implosion devices using plutonium could be developed at Los Alamos. both to be completed by February 1946. and the K-25 gaseous diffusion progress at Oak Ridge. in time to contribute to the war against Japan. From just after midnight until approximately 3:00 a. By March 1945. while not producing up to design potential. The New World. plant. 1939-1946jVolume I of A HLstoty of the chain reaction (though only at a fraction of design United States Atomic Enenjy Commission (University Park capacity). Pile Operation Excitement mounted at Hanford as the date for pile start-up approached. Fermi placed the fwst slug in pile 1OO-Bon September 13. thanks to improved perfor. Union Carbide had Nichols’s work in coordinating a complicated feed worked out most of the kinks in K-25 and had schedule that maximized output of enriched uranium started recycling uranium hexafluoride through the by utilizing the electromagnetic.. Pile F was not yet under construction. but as yet no one was sure of the amount needed. Ferguson Company was almost complete and to meet experimental needs. which many thought would not conclude before summer 1946. Jr. The scientists could only hope they were accurate.m. Final checks on the pile had been uneventful. complete with barriers. The ManhattanEngineerDistrictin Operation 1 Progress at Oak Ridge was producing small amounts of enriched material During winter 1944-45 there was substantial in the ftihed racks. Oak Ridge was now send- S-50 thermal diffusion plant being built by the H. Loading slugs and taking measurements took two weeks. thermal diffusion. The Beta calutrons at the electromagnetic and. citement turned to astonishment when the power 41 . Hanford’s Role With the abandonment of the plutonium gm bomb in July 1944. as was the fwst chemical separation plant. The operators were elated. cident at a power level higher than any previous Reprinted from Richard G. ing enough enriched uranium-235 to Los Ahtmos K. Nine Y-12 racetracks were demonstrating increased effi- Alpha and three Beta racetracks were operational ciency. Pile 1OO-Bwas almost complete. was undergoing fma. on September 27. The thermal diffusion facilities. planning at Hanford became more complicated. the pile ran without in- Seetion of S-50 Liquid l’hennal Diffusion Plant at Clinton.

and “Deke” Parsons arranged for a rocket research team at the Califor- now focused on overall bomb construction and nia Institute of Technology to aid in procurement. where the Navy SeaBees had built the 1OO-Bcould be expanded to reach a power level suf. as did the Oppenheimer acted quickly to maximize the relative lack of experience the academic scientists laboratory’s efforts to master implosion. tinuously until the pile ceased operating entirely on Field tests performed with uranium-235 pro- the evening of the 28th. proved a constant headache. Hans Bethe continued tion from research to production. despite the objections of some Wing. the highly Personnel shortages. and the pile started up ment Squadron. The cause of the strange research to development and production. mundane problems compromise the bomb effort. 42 . Only if the had with logistical matters. With shutdown. the company had installed a large number Tibbets and his command moved to Tinian Island in of extra tubes. and arranged for Army development of an implosion bomb. This design feature meant that pile the Marianas. for Special Engineering with implosion and design a bomb. Hartley Rowe. Without either a plutonium gun bomb or implosion and in fall 1944 they made several changes to weapon. an experienced in- Kistiakowsky led X DivMon (for explosives) in work dustrial engineer. By the end of January 1945. Conant shipped as many and the less efficient gun method. Success new B-29 Superfortresses. Xenon. In June 1945.Part m 1 level began falling after three hours. Los secrecy of the Los Akunos project. caution. of the essence. was clear that the uranium-235 from Oak Ridge would be used in a gun-type nuclear device to meet the August 1 deadline Groves had given General Xenon Poisoning Marshall and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Oppenheimer scientists as could be spared from Chicago and Oak directed a major reorganization of Los Akunos in Ridge to Los Alamos. Fortuitously. after several weeks of storage. By the next morning the totypes in late 1944 eased doubts about the artillery reaction began again. The irradiated slugs. went to the chemical separation and concentration Taking Care of Business facilities. Only the a breakthrough in implosion technology occurred. when combined with persistent late war shortages. delivery. world’s largest airport to accommodate Boeing’s ficient to overwhehn the xenon poisoning. reached the previous day’s method to be employed in the uranium bomb. The plutonium produced at such expense and effort at Hanford scientists were at a loss to explain the Hanford would not fit into wartime planning unless pile’s failure to maintain a chain reaction. where The procurement system. Robert Bather enlisted men to supplement the work force (these took over G DivMon (for gadget) to experiment GIs were known as SEDS. Los Alamos also to head up theoretical studies. George Detachment). led to frustrating Akunos received its fust plutonium on February 2. neutron flow began. 1944. Los Alamos shifted fkom resolve the crisii. was achieved when the fwst irradiated slugs were discharged from pile 10@B on Christmas Day. foresight of DuPont’s engineers made it possible to At the same time. Time was phenomenon proved to be xenon poisoning. implosion method could be perfected would the Groves and Conant were determined not to let plutonium produced at Hanford come into play. in test drops with 5. Army produced as the pile operated. the heart of the 509th Composite again.M delays and. provided help in easing the transi- on the explosive components. was yet charted a clear path to the final product. particularly of physicists. Col- gradual shutdown. The lack of contact between the remote laboratory and its sup- Reorganizing for the Final Push ply sources exacerbated the problem. It captured neutrons Air Force training could wait no longer. and in faster than the pile could produce them. the xenon onel Paul Tibbets began drilling the 393rd Bombard- decayed. though laboratory research had not a f~sion product isotope with a mass of 135. It fell con. It level. in the completed chemical isolation building. nicknamed pumpkins.500-pound orange dum- scientists who complained of DuPont’s excessive my bombs. and purified plutonium underwent further concentration supply problems complicated Oppenheimer’s task. the burden would fall entirely on uranium prevent-this possibility. designed to protect the remaining impurities were removed successfully. hired every civilian machinist July 1944 that prepared the way for the final he could lay his hands on. then dropped. causing a September at Wendover Field in western Utah.

but developments in to oversee the July test ftig. Bather.000 tons of TNT rather than the the ability of the chemists and metallurgists to pro. the chemists and metallurgists managed to develop precise techniques for process- Freezing Weapon Design ing plutonium just before it arrived in quantity Weapon design for the uranium gun bomb was beginning in May. would be no implosion weapons in the fust half of bridge in charge of Project Trinity. cess the uranium and plutonium into metak and ment. and Kistiakowsky tle Boy uranium bomb certainly appeared more like- to the CowPuncher Committee to “ride herd” on the ly than it had when Groves briefed Marshall. And recent edcula- responsibility for preparing and delivering weapons tions provided by Bethe’s theoretical group gave for combat. . hope that the yield for the fwst weapon would be in During these critical months much depended upon the vicinity of 5. and was extremely toxic. Thedesignforanimplosion chances.000-ton estimate provided in fall 1944. Oppenheimer shifted the laboratory into high to probable. Plutonium posed by far the greater obstacle. Parsons headed Pro. The Manhattan Engineer District in Operation I test fuzes. depending upon tempera- ture. It ex- isted in different states. frozen in February 1945. known as Project A. and contribute to component develop. which had the the Fat Man plutonium bomb. Confidence in the weapon As a result of progress at Oak Ridge and was high enough that a test prior to combat use was metallurgical and chemicalrefinementson seenasunnecessary. Working under in- tense pressure. 1. He placed Kenneth T. These changes kept Los Akunos on track as craft them into the correct shape and size. There implosion weapon. a new division 1945 as Groves had hoped.the plutoniumthat improvedimplosion’s I device was approved in March with a test of the nine months between July 1944 and April 1945 saw more problematic plutonium weapon scheduled for the American bomb projeet progress from doubtful July 4. weapon design reached its final stages. Bain. April boded well for the scheduled summer test of ject Alberta. The August 1 delivery date for the Lit- gear and assigned Allison.


White of Tennessee Eastman. but also on Bucher of Westinghouse. demonstration of the atomic bomb might possibly 45 . Union Carbide provided input from the business side. at a time when hard decisions were being made. The Atomic Bomb and American By the time Truman took office. States on postwar atomic policy. But because of the general- ly accepted view that the Japanese would fight to the bitter end. a veteran of the ternational relations detenorated!5 Most present at United States Senate. summarized its status. though some American policy makers held that successful combat delivery of one or more atomic bombs might convince the Japanese that fur- ther resistance was futile. Georgia. American aircraft were attacking Japanese cities at will. Clayton. The May 31 conditional surrender on May 7. Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph A. Conant. Marshall represented the military.000. and detailed the national inspection system that such an exchange timetable for testing and combat delivery. Fermi. Compton. and James A. Truman would require. concerned S-1 (the Manhattan Project). traced the history of the Manhattan Pro. Japan was near Strategy defeat. nuclear research for peaceful purposes and the inter- ject. The Interim Committee Report On June 6 Stimson again briefed Truman on S-1. Bymes. George H. Bard. It tensively in his first weeks in office. One of these was only a matter of time before another country. A second air attack on Tokyo in May killed 83. The Interim Committee was an advisory group on atomic research composed of Bush. Lawrence’s suggestion that a asked numerous questions during the forty-five. bringing to retain superiority of nuclear weapons in case in- Vice President Harry S. Rafferty of the shape of the postwar international order. Meanwhile. to the presidency. only weeks before Germany’s un. as scientific advisors (the Scientific Panel). and future Secretary of State James F. rninute meeting and made it clear that he Part V: understood the relevance of the atomic bomb to up- coming diplomatic and militaryinitiatives. penheimer. A single fmebomb raid in March killed nearly 100. Stimson. Truman. President Roosevelt meeting concluded that the United States should try died suddenly in Warm Springs. The briefing summarized the consensus of an Interim Committee meeting held on May 31. though they Roosevelt had undertaken and had to be briefed ex. briefings.000 people and injured over a million in Tokyo. would be capable of producing April 25. not James C. Comp- ton. Assistant Secretary of State William L. only on ending the war in the Pacific. a costly invasion of the home islands seemed likely. while creasingly important element in American strategy. atomic weapons. The Interim Committee was charged with recommending the proper use of atomic weapons in From Roosevelt to Truman wartime and developing a position for the United On April 12. conceded that the secrets could not be held long. Carpenter of DuPont. provided by Secretary of War Stimson on presumably Russia. A second meeting A long hoped-for weapon now seemed within reach on June 1 with Walter S. the atomic bomb became an in. Truman was the meeting thought that the United States should not privy to many of the secret war efforts protect its monopoly for the present. Op- With the Manhattan Project on the brink of suc. with Groves present during part of the There was some discussion of free exchange of meeting. the United States Navy had cut the islands’ supply lines. and Lawrence served cess in spring 1945.

Grew. the Chinese foreign minister. 46 . the United States should continue ee led to a flurry of activity. ther the cause of peace but held that such a Japan need not fear total annihilation. a plan identified as Operation Truman should mention that the United States was Olympic. Soong. without warning. ficers listed Kokura Arsenal. The war plant surrounded by additional buildings. Grew stated. Stimson hoped that an invasion could be preparing to use a new kind of weapon against avoided. Nagasaki replaced the ancient capital in the directive dent would stall if approached about atomic issued to the Army Air Force on JuIy 25$6 weapons in Berlin. Truman and Stirnson agreed that the Presi. His June 2 briefiig of the Met Lab be devised. should take place as soon as possible and without Japan’s most cherished cultural center. concurrence in the Yalta agreements by assuring T. The Panel concluded that such a Army. Joseph C. and con- Russia’s intentions in the Far East were benevolent. The Franck Report and Its Critics viding technical information. Stimson vetoed Kyoto. Niigata. a responsibility value of the new weapon would be lost. as the Met Lab study was known. appointed reasons and others convinced the group that the Groves’s military aide in February 1945. and warning. The bomb might be a dud. On June 21 the In- its political system and would be allowed to develop terim Committee sided with the position advanced a vibrant economy. chaired by James Franck and in- superiority. cluding Seaborg and Szilard. 1946)-would make a profound the Interim Committee recommended keeping S-1 a psychological impression on the Japanese and secret until Japan had been bombed. acting secretary of state. On July 2. The Met Lab’s Com- to produce as much Fusionable material as possible mittee on the Social and Political Implications of the to take advantage of its current position of Atomic Bomb. but that it might be possible to gain concessions from Russia later in return for pro.convince the Japanese to surrender was discussed by using the atomic bomb. cluded that no technical test would convince Japan smoothing the way for the entrance of the Red to surrender. issued a report advo- cating international control of atomic power as the only way to stop the arms race that would be in- Planning for Surrender evitable if the United States bombed Japan without Strategies for forcing Japanese capitulation oc. The bomb should be used as ment to Japan would lead to surrender before a soon as possible. These he shared with General Thomas Farrell. or shoot down the plane. by the Scientific Panel. and against a costly invasion would have to be launched. The meeting with the industrialists on June 1 further and Kyoto as the four best @gets. military demonstration of the bomb might best fur- clarified the deftition of unconditional surrender. Stimson told Truman Meanwhile the Met Lab was beginning to stir. Japan would be free to choose United States informed its allies. the Committee concluded that vasion of Kyushu. As to Joint Chiefs of Staff continued to advocate the in. that the Interim Committee was considering The Scientific Panel of the Interim Committee was domestic legislation and that its members generally the comection between the scientists and the policy held the position that international agreements makers. demonstration should take place only after the Once demilitarized. believing that at- convinced the Interim Committee that the United tacks on these cities-none of which had yet been States had a lead of three to ten years on the Soviet bombed by Curtis LeMay’s Twentieth Air Force Union in production facilities for bomb fabrication. Hiroshima. Grew hoped that a public state. over lunch and rejected. and Compton was convinced that there should be made in which all nuclear research would must be a high level of participation in the decision- be made public and a system of inspections would making process. informing allies. (which planned to eliminate all major Japanese cities On June 6 Stimson informed the President that by January 1. and the shock selection group set up in late April. either by redeftig the surrender terms or Japan when he went to Berlin in July. In late May bomb should be dropped without warning on a dual the committee of scientists and Army Air Force of- target-a war plant surrounded by workers’ homes. that Report. fust demonstrating the weapon in an uninhabited cupied center stage in June. Indicative of the wide range of his responsibilities the Japanese might put American prisoners of war was Groves’s position as head of a bomb target in the area. The Scientific Panel disagreed with the Franck V. Truman gained Chinese am. In case international agreements were staff regarding the findings of the Interim Committ- not forthcoming. The attack weaken military resistance.

—. Jones.h::Y ~“<. 47 .. Alamos 7 Jemez Springs e j ~o Albuquerque : 3 . Manhattan: I’7zeArmy and the Atomic Bomb (Washington..e:::i~::. i I Los I The AtomicBombandAmerican5tmtegy 1945.. .+ * \\ II base camp b &rw L d ❑ .1985). mw.OscuraPeak P )’ k--’Y-’- Pope Si-%g $ (~:= _________ _ -.:U. --- ‘\ Mockingbird Gap ‘s .. force for peace with mo~er ameements47.+. —.. lava ho.S. D..- wprmtett rrom vtncent C.C.GovernmentPrintingOffice.. +1:++1.v-. m _——.Da...> .”..’ LiuuLy 1~L c:. $~cDo”f”./...iY 0. including demilitarization Truman broach the issue of the bomb with Stalin and prosecution of war criminals in exchange for and tell the Soviet leader that it could become a economic and governmental freedom of choice.PresidentTruman listened as Stimson outlined Stimson returned on July 3 and suggested that the peace terms for Japan. .5 Alamogordo TRINITY TEST SITE 1945 Contourintervalin feet n-.

During the day on the 13th. Kistiakowsky and his team armed the device shortly after 5:00 a..OOOcontrol bunker. test.@ On July 12 the plutonium core was taken to the test area in an army sedan. the test of the plutonium weapon. July 16. at 400 the rain stopped. The biggest con. A steel container measure critical aspects of the reaction.m. Conant. the device had been assembled and hoisted atop the one-hundred- foot firing tower. named Trinity by Oppenheimer (a name inspired by the atomic age began. the huge container had been ordered for the Additional measurements would be taken to deter. green sand. standing a half-mile from scientists would try to determine the symmetry of ground zero. west.6 A test explosion had been conducted on May 7 with kilotons of power. standing at the S-10. and others arrived in the test area. (Nicknamed Jum- the implosion and the amount of energy released.Part v I The Trinity Test The Dawn of the Atomic Age Meanwhile. Department of Ene~. Not entirely content to trust favorable into a mushroom shape. on the 15th. narrower than the f~st. and equipment would eliminated during fmrd planning). As the orange and record the behavior of the f~ebaU.m. Groves and Oppenheimer.OOO. bo. the beginning of July. and retreated to S-10. At precisely 5:30 a.m. Three observation bunkers Seconds after the explosion came a huge bkwt. Lawrence. Specifically. members watched anxiously. was knocked ajar. Those in shelters heard the countdown over the public address system. a second cern was control of the radioactivity the test device column. vaporizing the tower Range known as the Jomada del Muerto. The non-nuclear com- ponents left for the test site at 12:01 a.000 yards north. the device exploded ly 16 at a barren site on the Alamogordo Bombing over the New Mexico desert. 210 miles south of Los Alamos. rose and flattened would release.m. Groves. and south of the ding searing heat across the desert and knocking ftig tower at ground zero would attempt to some observers to the ground. The bomb released approximately 18. Some observers cedures and fine-tune equipment. and the New Mexico sky was a smalI amount of f~sionable material to check pro. Farrell. suffered temporay blindness even though they look- tinued through May and June and were complete by ed at the brilliant light through smoked glass. discussed what to do if the weather did not break in time for the scheduled 400 a. final assembly of the gadget took place in the McDonald ranch house.48 Tower For Trinity Test. Friday the 13th. Groves left Oppenheimer and joined Bush and Conant at base camp. Bush.m. 1945.In accordance with his policy that each observe from different locations in case of an accident. suddenly brighter than many suns. Chadwick @ad of the Britishcontingentat Los Alamos and discoverer of the neutron). At 3:30 they pushed the time back to 5:30. or and turning asphalt around the base of the tower to Journey of Death. sen- located 10. yellow fueball stretched up and spread. thus providing the atomic meteorological conditions to carry the radioactivity age with a visual image that has become imprinted into the upper atmosphere. By 5:00 p. where it was pouring rain. and awesome destruction. While Manhattan staff the poems of John Donne). on Monday. the Army stood ready to on the human consciousness as a symbol of power evacuate the people in surrounding areas. plutonium test and transported to the test site but mine damage estimates. Preparations con. was rescheduled for Ju. weighing over 200 tons. while observers at base camp picked it up on an FM radio signal. 48 .

Oppenheimer reported later that the ex. Reprinted from Richard G.. the plutonium implosion device detonated at Trinity now figured in American Far Eastern Remainsof TrinityTestTowerFootings. and Groves shook hands. Reports on Trinity Trinity Device Being Readied. In an attempt to achieve sur- render with honor. while the plutonium weapon Fat Man followed three days later at Nagasaki on August 9. 1945. . Much effort went into finding the precise formula that would satisfy Ameriean war k ih the Pacific without requiring a costly invasion of the Japanese mainland. In the end Little Boy. Bush. leaving Stimson 1939-194~ Volume I of A History of the United States Atomic July 16 to mull over questions of postwar German Energy CommLwion (University Park Pennsylvania State administration and the Far Eastern situation. Hewlett and Oscar E.. headed by Truman. ---- perience edled to his mind the legend of Pro- metheus. The Atomic Bomb and American Strategy At base camp. was dropped f’i. the untested uranium Grovesat Center.ist at Hiroshima on August 6. the emperor had instructed his ministers to open negotiations with Russia. Conant. Stalin arrived in Berlin a day late. sending Truman and Byrnes a memorandum ad- 49 . grappling with the interrelated issues of Russian participation in the Far Eastern conflict and the wording of an early surrender offer that might be presented to the Japanese. This draft sur- render document received considerable attention. J .50 The success of the Trinity test meant that a se- cond type of atomic bomb could be readied for use against Japan. He also thought fleetingly of Alfred Nobel’s vain hope that dynamite would end wars.” It was clear that the Japanese would fight on rather than accept terms that would eliminate the Imperial House or demean the warrior tradition.Depatimentof Energy.Oppenheimer and strategy. . tween Tokyo and Moscow that made it un- . After University Press.and Stirnson. Jr. Byrne-s. The terrifying destructive power of atomic weapons and the uses to which they might be put were to haunt many of the Manhattan Project scientists for the remainder of their lives.. mistakably clear that the Japanese were searching for an alternative to unconditional surrender. which was not tested prior to being used in combat. punished by Zeus for giving man fwe. bomb. In addition to the uranium gun model. kderson. 1%2). i%e New World. The United States intercepted and decoded messages be- . arrived in Berlin on July 15 and spent most of the next two days.$ -. Potsdam The beriean contingent to the Big Three con- ference. but American policy makers feared that anything less than a more democratic political system and total demilitarization might lead to Japanese aggression in the future. the sticking point being the term “unconditional.

or Nagasaki “after 50 . his special consultant in Washington. The bargaining strategy for Russian entry in the Pacific British prime minister was elated and said that he war. Initial and British military strategists at Potsdam. Far East and could enter the war in mid-August.52 Truman Informs Stalin Translation Groves thought the plutonium weapon American and British coordination for an inva- would be as powerful as the uranium device and sion of Japan continued. I will a hard line with Stalin. Niigata. The light in his eyes discernible silent on this issue. The plutonium weapon would be avail- Harrisorc able by August 6. The next accede to Stalin’s new demands for concessions in day Stimson informed Churchill of the test. Truman went back to the bargaining table with a They would drive the Japanese out of Manchuria new card in his hand. Har. Churchill then told Truman that the bomb complete but results seem satisfactory and could lead to Japanese surrender without an invasion already exceed expectations. He told the forcefully against informing the Russians. necessary as interest extends great distance. ject from Klaus Fuchs and other agents since sum- Groves stated that he did not consider the Pentagon mer 1942. Dr.”54 Stirnson and Marshall on July 25. Stimson recorded that Truman was The Potsdam Proclamation “tremendously pepped up” and that the document A directive. Kokura. This was left for Truman. with November 1 standing that the Trinity test could be seen as far away as 250 as the landing date. Local press release and eliminate the necessity for Russian military help. Los Alarnos without an interpreter to inform the Generalissimo scientists now agreed that the blast had been the that the United States had a new and powerful equivalent of between 15. He recommended that the President continue to take Groves pleased.Part V: I vocating an early warning to Japan and setting out a Grove’s report at great length with Churchill. higher than anyone had predicted. Nothing was Further information on the Trinity test arrived on said about the bomb. Truman and his advisors keep you posted~l shared Churchill’s views. Diagnosis not yet Germany. on the evening of July 24. Stalin casually responded that he hoped TNT.000 and 20. Groves that it would be used against Japan to good effect. Stimson continued to favor making Doctor has just returned most enthusiastic and some sort of commitment to the Japanese emperor. Stirnson received a second cable from August 10. and withdraw at the end of hostilities.000 tons of TNT. and he briefed the President on the over the wording of the surrender message. that The reason for Stalin’s composure became clear the firebail was brighter than several suns at midd- later when it was learned that Russian intelligence ay. discussed Hiroshima. and that the steel tower had been vaporized. from here to HighhoId and I could have heard his screams from here to my farm. now understood why Truman had been so forceful rison. informed that the uranium Air Force’s 509th Composite Group to attack bomb would be ready in early August. focusing latest S-1 situation. July 21 in the form of a long and uncharacteris- who.000 tons of weapon. ordered the Army The next day Stimson. reported that glass shattered 125 miles away. the Rus- measurements taken at the Alamogordo site sug- sians reported that their troops were moving into the gested a yield in excess of 5. approached Stalin tically excited report from Groves. though he President that Marshall no longer saw any need for later relented. and he refused to that the Trinity test had been successful.53 Stirnson informed Mar- shall and then read the entire report to Truman and Byrnes. written by Groves and issued by gave him an entirely new feeling of confidence. while debate continued Russian help. The success of the Trinity Stimson immediately informed Truman and Byrnes test stiffened Truman’s resolve. He returns tomorrow. safe from atomic attack. Stimson received a cable from George L. conildent that the little boy is as husky as his though the draft already shown to the Chinese was big brother. On July 18. especially in his opposi- read: tion to Russian designs on Eastern Europe and Operated on this morning. had been receiving information about the S-1 pro- Though he had previously believed it impregnable. The uranium bomb might be on whether or not to guarantee the place of the ready as early as August 1 and was a certainty by emperor. At a meeting with American miles and the noise heard for ftity miles. prime minister expressed great delight and argued On July 24 Stimson met with Truman. The Turkey and the Medherranean. that with Stalin the previous day.

000 people (including about revisions of the unconditional surrender formula and twenty Arneriea. were not inclined to undertake Little Boy killed 70. This pro. components on three C-54s. radio stations began time-consuming and an invasion of the islands as reading a prepared statement from President Harry too costly. The bomb caused total devastation Japan.sdam Proclamation of July 26. the might convince Japan to surrender.m. ions center with a population of nearly 300.n airmen being held as POWs) and cause further delay. hiitznapolis and the other delay. . As the observation and emperor’s status unclear by making no reference to photography escorts dropped back. terrible and incredibly tall. While anti-war sentiment was growing anticipated shockwaves of the blast. the Enola Gay the royal house in the section that promised the released a 9. 1945. the president of China. Five years later the total pect to share in the postwar administration of reached 200.000 dication of the new American attitude that the located in the deltas of southwestern Honshu Island Soviet Union’s aid in the present conflict no longer facing the Inland Sea. Tests with ddes had been issue after the attack.boiling up.000. ed with conventional bombing was rejected as too Within hours of the attack.I The AtomicBomb and Ameriean Strategy about” August 3. which could be dropped as early as August 1. at approximately 8:15 a.” Tibbets recaUed. the Potsdam Proclamation. an important military and communicat- werenotatwarwithJapan. was complete. crew looked back at Hiroshima. Little Boy. mushroom- ing American servicemen to an invasion of the ing.55 touches were put on the message Truman would The 509th was ready. end now in sight. By the end of 1945. buildings in the city either destroyed or darnaged. “The ~ity w-mhid- however. As the final Pot.000 feet as it destruction. The north by northwest toward the Japanese Islands Russians were not informed in advance. Army was doing calisthenics. . ly over a parade field where the Japanese Second jected the offer on July 29. Though already eleven Intercepted messages between Tokyo and Moscow and a half miles away. With the brought the gun and uranium-235 projectile to Ti.500 miles away. At f~st Tibbets thought he was taking felt they could not accept the terms offered in the flak. Forty-three in Japanese dec~lon-making circles. or as soon as weather permitted. anxious to end the war without committ.000 tons of be used. the United States 51 . word earne that the fwst bomb conducted successfully. The Enokz Gay.S.57 Japanese homeland.000 as radiation- potentially prohibitive price tag as Stalin would ex. over 1. American policy makers. American bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima-an policy makers concluded that the atomic bomb must atomic bomb with more power than 15.000. A Russian declaration of war injured another 70. it could not seconds later a huge explosion lit the morning sky as carry the day as long as unconditional surrender left Little Boy detonated 1900 feet above the city. Within hours the warning In the early morning hours of August 6. The message called for the Japanese to Colonel Paul Tibbets.S.butit wasanotherin. direct- the emperor’s position in jeopardy.rnediately dove away to avoid the democratic. A blockade of Japan combin. Information that Hiroshima might be the TNT?s Truman warned that if Japan still refused to only prime target city without American prisoners in surrender unconditionally as demanded by the the vicinity placed it fwst on the list. and the prime Group took off from Tinkm Island and headed minister of Great Britain (now Clement AttIee). poor weather led to several days’ tian aboard the U. piloted by was needed. And few believed that a demonstration Truman informing the American public that the of the atomic bomb would convince the Japanese to United States had dropped an entirely new type of give up. Tibbets im. with almost all of the plans in the Far East. After a second shockwave hit the Diane. On July 26 the United States learned of Churchill’s elec- toral defeat and Chiang Kai-Shek’s concurrence in Hiroshima the warning to Japan. the Enola Gay was rocked revealed that the Japanese wanted to surrender but by the blast. a was issued in the name of the President of the B-29 bomber attached to the 590th Composite United States. a situation that would threaten American for five square miles. Primarily upon these grounds. Its primary target was cedure was technically correct since the Russians Hiroshima.700-pound uranium bomb. nicknamed Japanese that they could design their new gover. and Operation Bronx. den by that awfld cloud . Hiroshima nmentas long as it was peaceful and more time.”sb The Potsdarn Proclamation left the neared the target area. The Japanese re. flew at low altitude on surrender unconditionally or face “prompt and utter automatic pilot before climbmg to 31. but it carried a Hiroshima death toti rose to 140. sickness deaths mounted.

: U. 1985). . Reprinted from Vincent C. Manhattan: l%e Army and the Atomic Bomb (WaShi@On. 6 Aug 45 ----. Jones.S. Okinawa \ \ \ \ \ \ \ o \ \ 00 \ \ \ \ \ \ \ ‘\ \\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \\ \ j \ \ 130° \ \ 150° \ \ -20° \\ \ THE AT((M.C. I J T CHINA f / / 150 0 YELLOW SEA Nagasaki Kagoshima I OSUMI ISLANDS EAST CHINA 1’ SEA ~. 9 Aug 45 Site of bomb drop $3 o Tinian 203 ?03 4C0 MILES o 100 o \ I Guam o Atomic Bombmg of Japan. D.Part v. Government Printing Office.Nagasaki bombing route.:P:~MBING \\ \ \ \ \ \ August 1945 \\ \ \ Hiroshima bombing route. 52 . R+ANDS ‘. PACIFIC OCEAN # .

home to the Mitsubishi plant that had manufactured the torpedoes used at Pearl Harbor. a plutonium bomb weighing 10. The AtomicBomb and American Strategy 1---- Model of Little Boy UraniumBomb. Taking off from Tinian at 3:47 a.ReprintedfromRichardG. Los Alamos Man exploded 1. a brief break in the cloudcover made possible a visual targeting at 29. located on the northern coast of Kyushu Island.m. The plane then veered off and :$f/ headed to Okinawa for an emergency landing. a second atomic at- tack took place. on August 9. Two days later. Then. Bock% Car (named after its usual pilot) head- ed for its primary target.000 feet and Bock% Car dropped her single payload.59 Fat Man kill- 53 . at 11:01 a. TheNW World 193$W?413 Volume I of A Hirtory of the United Stater Atomic EneW Commission (Universi@ Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Fat Fat Man Plutonium Bomb Being Readied at Tinian. In the absence hopes that the war would end before Russian entry of a surrender announcement. Pilot Charles Sweeney found unacceptable weather condi- tions and unwelcome flak above Kokura.. would attack additional targets with equally Nagasaki devastating results. 1%2). HewlettandOscarE. on August 8. conventional bomb- into the Pacific theater. ending American immediate aftermath of Hiroshima.. then decided to switch to his secondary target even though he had only enough fuel remaining for a sihgle bombing run.650 feet above the slopes of the city NationalLaboratoy. Kolcura Arsenal. At the last minute.m. Anderson. Sweeney made three passes over Kokura.000 pounds and nicknamed Fat Man. Clouds greeted 130ck’sCar as it approached Nagasaki.Jr. with a force of 21. ing raids on additional Japanese cities continued as scheduled. the Factional struggles and communications problems Soviet Union declared war on Japan and attacked prevented Japan from meeting Allied terms in the Japanese forces in Manchuria.000 tons of TNT.

blAmericans Nagasaki. ending the much a triumph of engineering as of science.Go physical plant. the revolutionary breakthroughs three weeks when the formal papers were signed in nuclear science achieved by Enrico Fermi. Truman held up a third atomic attack damental concepts in nuclear physics and chemistry while the United States considered a response. The release of the Smyth Report tive capability. scientific research to natiomd defense. would accept the with new findings occurring faster than they could surrender terms.000 more.000 people and injured 60. design and engineering difficulties that would be in- render would be exercised under the authority of the volved in translating what was known theoretically Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. flung. Nor was there any conception initially of the emperor by stating that his authority after the sur. a deckion. as well as that of Crawford Greenewalt of The United States had been celebrating for almost DuPont and others. Bohr. had yet to be confined by laboratory experimenta- ly taking a middle course and acknowledging the tion. Without the imovative work of the talented Leslie prise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7. Three formation calculated to satisfy public curiosity square miles of the city were destroyed. By January 1946. less than without disclosing any atomic secrets. brought the Hiroshima because of the steep hills surrounding Manhattan Project into fuller View. and labor force comparable in size to the American automobile industry. and cordance with Hirohito’s wishes. llyreached Washington from Switzerland and Most of the theoretical breakthroughs in nuclear Sweden early on August 10 that the Japanese.S. among them many of the Still the Japanese leadership struggled to come to nation’s leading scientists and engineers. fashion. 54 . The veil of secrecy that had hidden the atomic government. war that began for the United States with the sur. bomb was built in time to be used in World War II. In fact. Ernest Lawrence. and their colleagues would not have produced the atomic bomb during World War II.000 people were employed by the Surrender project at its peak. 1941. the mous energy of the atomic nucleus in a predictable United States answered the Japanese on August 11. physics dated back less than twenty-five years. 1945. government-run. 70. the Manhattan Project was as Japan surrendered on August 14. top secret operation with a with a death rate similar to that of Hiroshima. payroll. final. many fun- position. provided the emperor retain his be absorbed by practitioners in the field. Despite numerous obstacles.ed 40. In retrospect. The total eventually reached 140. which contained general technical in. it is remarkable that the atomic vocate a policy of resistance to the end. Word fina. making clear the importance of basic on August 12. Ap- proximately 130. Groves. Missouri on September 2. With into working devices capable of releasing the enor- British. and Russian concurrence. ‘Chinese. the United The Bomb Goes Public States was able to combine the forces of science. Niels aboard the U. in ac. military.000 people had died were astounded to learn of the existence of a far- in Nagasaki.000.S. with military extremists con-tinuing to ad. and industry into an organiza- bomb project was lifted on August 6 when President tion that took nuclear physics from the laboratory Truman announced the Hiroshima raid to the and into battle with a weapon of awesome destruc- American people.

He soon found that peacetime held its own months of Groves’s peacetime tenure. the plans for atomic research and advocated the creation Manhattan Project tested its third and fourth of an international organization to prevent nuclear plutonium bombs (Trinity and Nagasaki were the conflict. and foreign observers at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. 1947. Groves shut down the sians’ secret atomic bomb program achieved success thermal diffusion plant in the K-25 area on with the 1949 test of Joe I (which the Americans September 9 and put the Alpha tracks at Y-12 on named after Joseph Stalin). separation areas was closed.scientists. but one of the two chemical superiority. three years after the Atomic Energy Commission According to a plan approved by Stimson and succeeded the Manhattan Engineer District. Groves re. Superpower Chill Fromthe timeS-1becamepublicknowledgeuntii Between August 1945 and January 1947. Actual weapon assembly was to be done The beginning of the Cold War in the late 1940s at Sandia Base in Albuquerque.000 tons of TNT. and both added the hydrogen bomb to their directly to the Beta units. Postwar Utah. Baker produced a spectacular display as it wreaked havoc on a seventy-four-vessel fleet of empty ships and spewed thousands of tons of water into the air. Shot The Manhattan Districtin Able. intent upon protecting World War II dissipated as Americans found America’s lead in nuclear weapons by completing themselves embroiled in a new global struggle. Shot Baker was detonated from ninety feet underwater on the morn- ing of July 15. during Operation Crossroads.” which included In July 1946. the Rus- Marshall in late August 1945. while the Atomic Energy Commission succeeded it on Groves fought to maintain the high priority of the January 1. The United States held over for three years in challenging wartime condi. though it failed to fulffl its pretest publicity buildup. In August the Military Policy Committee 55 .congressmen.militaryofficers. sank three Peacetime ships and performed as well as its two predecessors from a technical standpoint. where engineering was linked to the failure of the World War II allies and technical personnel were relocated with the staff to reach agreements on international controls respec- previously stationed at Wendover Field in western ting nuclear research and atomic weapons. this and consolidating the organization he had presided time with the Soviet Union. During the 1950s rela- standby during September as well. dropped from a B-29 on July 1. planning in the United States began in earnest in July 1944. Los Alamos was assign- ed the task of producing a stockpile of atomic Postwar Planning weapons. when Met Lab scientists in Chicago Operation Crossroads issued a “Prospectus on Nucleonics. the Manhattan Engineer District atomic program in a peacetime environment.invitedaudienceof jour- nalists. Both Able and Baker yielded explosions equivalent to 21. but less than challenges. a monopoly on atomic weapons during the sixteen tions. the controlled the nation’s nuclear program. The improved tions between the two superpowers remained strain- K-25 gaseous diffusion plant now provided feed ed. euphoria that swept the United States at the end of mained in command. Hanford’s three piles con.1weapon tests conducted by the Manhattan Pro- ject and the last Anerican tests until the Atomic Energy Commission’s Sandstone series began in spring 1948. arsenals in an attempt to achieve military tinued in operation. though Baker in- troduced the most subtle hazard of the atomic age—radiation faUout$2 Able and Baker were the fma.PartVI: fust two)witha large.

Mills. philosophy found expression in the Acheson. charged with in a speech to the newly-created United Nations making recommendations on the proper government Atomic Energy Commission on June 14. The United States. unveiled the United States plan posed a threat to eastern Europe and recognizing 56 . Bush argued. fort to catch up with the United States. .Bushdiscoveredthat Roosevelt power. _ . composed of Richard Tolman tional atomic development authority along the lines (chairman). aware that the Russians had existing bombs should be destroyed... contacted Stirnson on September 19 from penalties for atomic energy violations. Once such an authority of the Office of Scientific Research and Develop. ..’> . and set specific penalties for in September 1944. neither side budged an inch in the six surprise attacks.insisteduponretainingitsUnitedNations had signed an “aide-memoire” with Churchill. and Rear proposed by the Acheson-Lilienthal report.-.. one that Admiral Earle W..” cooperation.b4 idea of an open atomic world (Churchill adamantly IMruch argued that the United Nations should not rejecting Bohr’s recommendation). formation on the bomb project. the elder statesman who had token debate on the American plan continued into served American presidents in various capacities 1948.. They immediately vetoed the violations such as illegally owning atomic bombs. best hope of earth.-’ .: . deviated from the optimistic tone of the Acheson- Roosevelt and Churchill included postwar plan. . . its atomic arsenal by carefully defined stages linked to the degree of international agreement on control. a non-nuclear severaldayslater.. while the years and that security against the bigger bombs that Soviets maintained that the bomb must be banned surely would result from a worldwide arms race before meaningful negotiations could take place. . Henry Smyth. Baruch proposed the establishment of an interna- The committee. The ing the Russians out of such an arrangement might Baruch Pkm proposed that the United States reduce well lead to an arms race among the Allied victors.. Nlels Bohr. and the American atomic energy known as the Baruch Plan. meanwhile. the Acheson-Lilienthal report free country the secret could not be kept long.. advocated a thus outlawing war altogether. was established. vote on Baruch’s proposal on the grounds American proposal for the intemationaJ control of that it did not prohibit the bomb. . abstained from the December 31. .. -. that simple majority rule should prevail in this area. prophetically. Lilienthal plan. Partvk set up a Postwar Policy Committee. allow members to use the veto to protect themselves ant. unwilling to surrender Lilienthal report of March 1946. . Bush and Conant’s basic months following Baruch’s United Nations speech. . They held that the American and position. . The Baruch Plan.— . had studiously avoided comment on the veto issue..-. ?. that leav. coerce other nations into accepting its plan.. the Russians maintained. as long as the Great Britain without consulting his own atomic United States could use its atomic monopoly to power experts.. reasoning that in a As on enforcement... Bush and Con. recommended that the best would control aU activities dangerous to world way for the government to maintain a vigorous security and possess the power to license and inspect nuclear program was to set up a peacetime version all other nuclear projects. . the Soviet Union. Negotiations could not pro- that Roosevelt would institute full interchange with ceed fairly. plan became a dead letter by early 1947–though Bernard Baruch... . he held and spoke to the necessity of releasing selected in. the Soviet Union. Abolishing known about the Manhattan Project since 1942 and atomic weapons could lay the groundwork for convinced that the Soviet Union would spare no ef. by Oppenheimer and evolving into the formal 1946. The United States on September 30. in policy of full publicity and international Baruch’s words “the last. vetoand arguedthat the abolitionof atomic pledging to continue bilateral research with England weapons should precede the establishment of an in- in certain areas of atomic technology$3 Bush feared ternational authority. In the end. which had intentionally remained ning on their agenda when they met at Hyde Park silent on enforcement. could be gained only through international The debate in the United Nations was a debate in a~eements aimed at preventing secret research and name only.65 When Roosevelt asked Bush for a briefing on S-1 Not surprisingly..—.. . fashioned primarily its veto power. reducing and subsequently eliminating all weapons. ..-.. >. no more bombs should be built and ment. then. . 1946. Warren Lewis. -— —..’.’-. role in postwar atomic research and development. Only after each stage of international control was The Baruch Plan implemented would the United States take the next Bush and Conant presented their views more fully step in reducing its stockpile. believing that Soviet troops since World War I. —-> L_.. . was that international agreement British lead would last no more than three or four must precede any American reductions..: ’. “..

the Senate approved the McMahon bti on strong military presence on a nine-member board of June 1. in the field of atomic research and development many of the scientists at the Met Lab and at Oak previously held by its wartime predecessor. on October 3. 1946. became chair of the Senate’s Special Committee on Atomic Energy. How well the Atomic Energy Commiss- ing peacetime when free scientific interchange should ion would be able to manage the nuclear arsenal in be resumed. and Arthur H. Bush. the May-Johnson August 1. Groves ako ob- tion proposing a peacetime organization with jected to the bill’s provision that atomic weapons be responsibilities very similar to those of the Manhat. The Atomic Energy Act entrusted the Atomic Although Lawrence.6T Ridge complained that the bill was objectionable Conclusion because it was designed to maintain military control The Manhattan Project. gave way to the civilian Atomic Energy tolerable during the war but was unacceptable dur- Commission. Truman advocated speedy passage of the officially as the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. on congressional version of the bill. and the stipulation management of America’s nuclear program. Vandenberg of Michigan held 1947 was that the success of the Manhattan Project it up in the Senate through a parliamentary had helped cement the bond between basic scientific research and national security. Vandenberg’s attempt to establish a joint House- rent without adequate international controls and Senate special committee failed. What was clear as the Atomic years in prison and a $100. refused to surrender its atomic deter. Fermi. Organized scien- Energy Commission took over at the beginning of tific opposition in Washington slowed the bill’s pro- gress. citing weak security provi- debate was taking place over the permanent sions. Groves op- United States and the Soviet Union. demobilizing. known approved. a domestic posed McMahon’s bill. 1945.1 The ManhattanDistrictin Peacetime that American conventional forces were rapidly late 1945. McMahon of Connecticut successfully created and mosphere of mutual suspicion the Cold War set in. its wartime mission com- over nuclear research. a situation that had been pleted. President Truman via the State Department shortly after the armistice. Daily hearings took place until The Debate Over Domestic Legislation December 20. sometimes bitter debate between those who ad- vocated continued military stewardship of America’s The May-Johnson Bill atomic arsenal and those who saw continued military control as inimical to American traditions The Interim Committee’s draft legislation reached ended in victory for supporters of civilian authority. but Brien continued to develop its nuclear arsenal. held in civilian rather than military custody. war and contributed mightily to the outcome. The bill called for the transfer of author- bill. Never- tan Project. In an at. The that commission members be full-time (Groves terms of the debate were framed by the Interim thought that more eminent commissioners could be Committee in July 1945 when it wrote draft legisla. The challenge confronting American policy makers in the The McMahon Bill postwar years was to enlist the forces of science in As support for the May-Johnson bill eroded in the battle to defend the peace. obtained if work was part-time). a five-member civilian that the sweeping powers granted the proposed com. Groves. Particularly onerous to the scientific opponents were the proposed penalties for security a Cold War environment and whether it could suc- cessfully develop the peaceful uses of atomic energy.000 fine. and Conant ity from the United States Army to the United States testified at hearings in the House of Representatives Atomic Ener~ Commission.GG control of atomic power could prevent its misuse. the low military presence. 57 . President Truman withdrew his support. when McMahon introduced a While the international situation grew more substitute to the May-Johnson bill. Science had gone to maneuver. After affected federal agencies President Truman signed the McMahon Act. with a subsequent conference committee government’s continued dominance in nuclear eliminating most substantive amendments. and Oppenheimer (with Energy Commission with the government monopoly some misgivings) regarded the bill as acceptable. Hearings on the ominous due to deteriorating relations between the new McMahon bill began in January. and the House approved it on commissioners and strongly advocated the federal July 20. The draft legislation provided for a theless. The research and development. board serving full-time and assisted by a general ad- mission were necessary and that only government visory committee and a military liaison comrnittee. violations contained in the May-Johnson bill-ten only time would tell.


p. p. Jones. Wtiams. The United States had little reliable intelligence on the 28. Ibid. The Einstein letter is reprinted in Vincent C. 38. The New D. 22. Government Printing Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb office. 77ze 30. 25. p. p. Ibid. 30-31.S.. 34. 9. Roosevelt to Einstein. Danger and Survivalj pp. 42. Road to Trini@. P. 82-83. 1954). 1987). pp. p. C. while it appears to be an acronym.: U. 3. p. 220. New World. Holland: D. 1940-1945 (Washington. xi. Nichols recounts his adventure in borrowing the silver in Road to Trinity. 39. “Introduction. 36. 1..: Government Printing Office. 10. Hewlett and Anderson. April 12. or d~olved 6. 218. 16. 1983). Through May 6. Hirschfelder. Making of the Atomic Bomb. New World. the Fimt Fvty Years (New York: Random House. Atom Spy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Lawrence Badash. 5. “Introduction: From Rutherford to 37. 1945). Ibid. 15. p. Smyth. Hewlett and Oscar E.C. MAUD. Nichots. 1980). 27. 31. Nichols. 10. HenryD. Hewlett and Anderson. 165. Shea (Dordrecht. 12-13. 1986). Rhodes.. liquids. pp.. pp. p.. William R. German bomb effort until late in the war. Hewlett and Anderson. p. 442. For more on k see Rhodes. 46. D. 164. p. 2. Moking of the Atomic Bomb. Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State University Press. 14-23. 121 and laboratory stage and had foundered by mid-1942. The Road to Trinity (New York: the German program had not proceeded beyond the William Morrow and Company. 33. 35. 17. 113. 4849. Ibid. It is simplya codename. 1987). 70. Rhodes. . New World. 1939-1946. Making of the Atomic Bomb. 7.” in Otto Hahn ond the Rise of Nuclear Physics. Anderson. Reidel Publishing Company. Ibid. 605-10. Robert Oppenheimer: Transcript of Hearing Before Pezsonne[ SecuriV Board. For details on Fuchs see Robert C. Making of the Atomic Bomb. 168. 26. New World. p. For details on the German research effort see McGeorge 13undy. Thus it was not known until the ALSOS counterintelligence mission that 29. 1985). Ibid.. Ibid. 11.. Holland: D. p. 37. 228. Inc. p. Rhodes. edited by WWm R. 321-25 and 369. 1954 (Washington. 23. P. pp. 41. 13. 18. In the Matter of J.: U. pp. Bundy. 1954). Washington. p. 406. p. States Atomic Energy Commksion (University Park. D. 40. substances are gathered on a surface in a condensed layer. Hahn. Kemeth D.” in Reminkcenct?r of Los A1amos. Zbid..A GeneralAccotJntof theDeveiopnen? of Methodsof UsingAtomicEnergy for MilitavPurpow Under the Auspices of the United States Government. Jones. Laura Fermi. p. 609-10. (Washington. 149. A Hktoty of the United D. Manhattan. World. p. p. October 19. 1962).. KIaus Fuchs. Jones. Jr. Notes 12. 397. 14. New World. 155. 49.C.Reidel Publishing Company. Joseph O. Hewlett and Anderson. pp. Adso@ion is a process whereby gases. Government Printing Office. 48.C. DangerandSurvival:Choices About the Bomb in 32. 108. Hewlett and Anderson. S. Atoms in the Family: My Ll~e With Enrico Fermi (Chicagm University of Chicago Press. 1943-1945. Rhodes. 8. Broida (Dordrecht. 336-38. Ibid. 21. edited by Lawrence Badash. pp. Manhattan. Making of the Atomic Bomb. 24. 42. Rhodes. 4... 20. p. Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Sirnon & Schuster. 15. 1954. Hewlett and Anderson. For 146. pp. New World. 19. and Herbert P. Richard G. 39. Ibid. 1939. 74-75. Making of the Atomic Bomb. is not. Shea. 570. 1988). p. pp. Ibid. Volume I. details of the ALSOS mission see Richard Rhodes. p.

Ibid. Hacker. 710 and 739-40. pp. 56. 44. pp. pp. Making of the Atomic Bomb. 65.. Hewlett and Anderson. (New York Harper & Row. 54. Manhattan. Ibid. Herbert Feis.. 579. Leslie R. the response of the Scientific Panel. 676. 1942-1946 (Berkeley University of California Press. 3@ and Jones. 733-34. 66. for more on the Trinity test and the responses of those present. Making of the Atomic Bomb.000 tons of TNT (15 kilotons). 1 43. Making of the Atomic Bomb. pp. 50. Rhodes. Pp. 386. 85. Now It Can Be Told.. The Manhattan Project ended with the transfer of power from the Manhattan Engineer District to the Atomic Energy Commission.. 326-27. 49. p.740. 668-78. 383. The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War 11 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 63. 67. Jones. 691.74Z Groves. though the Manhattan Engineer Dktrict itself was not abolished until August 15. Ibid. New World. 5454. 530. 46. 434. pp. New World. 319. 329-30.. 51. p. Bundy. 48..Now It Clrn Be Told. 53. The Franck report. 1966). See Ibid. 135-53. 1947. Summaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualty rates and damage estimates appear in Rhodes. pp. Descriptions of the bombmgs of Hwoshima and Nagasaki derived from Rhodes. 60. p. p. 158-66.. p. 540-41.as listedin the Department of Energy’s“AnnouncedUnitedStatesNuclearTests.July 1945ThroughDecember1986. Making of the Atomic Bomb. The Dragon’s Tail: Radiation SafeQ in the Manhattan Project. Tibbets.”page2. 136. 64.. New World. Hewlett and Anderson. Ibid. 1947. Manhattan. Theofficialyieldof LhtleBoy. 1946). The Top Policy Group and the Military Policy Committee had already ceased to exist by the time the Atomic Energy commission took over on January 1. The official yield of Fat Man listed in Ibid. January 1987. 58. p. The Smyth report is cited in footnote 24. 30548. pp. 57. 1962). DangerandSurvivaljPp. New World. pp.” SaturdayEveningPost218(June8. 52. 62. 395. 45. 47. pp. was 15. p. 61.“Howto Dropan AtomBomb. The directive is reprinted in Rhodes. 1987). 59. 55. 365-72. p. 64445. PaulW. Rhodes. Zbid. pp. pp. The McMahon bti is reprinted in Hewlett and Anderson. Making of the Atomic Bomb. pp. For details of the Baker fallout see Barton C.p. p. Groves. 60 . 714-22. Hewlett and Anderson. and the Interim Committee recommendations are discussed in Ibid. 571-72.

Groves. Bundy. D. The American Atom: A Documentary Hktory of Nuclear Policiesfrom the Dkcovery of Fission to the Present. 1945). Cantelon. Government Printing Office. 1962). 1939-1946 Volume I of A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (University Park: Pennsylvania State Universi@ Press. Vincent C. S. April 12. C. Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb (Washington. Through May (ij 1954 (Washington. Rhodes.. 1946). Govern- ment Printing Office. Atomic Energyfor Military Pur- poses: The Official Report on the Development of the Atomic Bomb Under the Auspice of the United 61 . Hiroshima (New York: Knopf. S.. and Robert C. McGeorge. NowIt Can Be Told (New York: Harper & Row. 1988). Smyth. editors. Hewlett. 1954. John. 1986). 1985). Henry D. D. S. Jr. Williams.: SelectBibliography U. 1962). D. 1984). Robert Oppenheimer:Transcriptof Hearing Before Pe~onnel Securi@Board Wmhington. C. Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First F~@ Yeans (New York: Random House. UnitedStatesAtomicEnergyCommission.: U.: U.LeslieR.. and Oscar Anderson. States Government 194(11945(Washington. Hersey. Government Print- ing office. In the Matter of J. Philip L..C.. Richard G. D. C. 1939-1984 (PMladelphkx University of Pennsylvania Press. The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster. 1954). Jones. 27ze New World. Richard.

S. Briggs head of the Advisory Committee on Uranium. May 3. 1941 A National Academy of Sciences cyclotron. plutonium is f~ionable. July 2. D. not the more Date Events plentiful uranium-238. March 1940 John R. Stanley Livingston. M. Glenn T. Chronology Septemi3er 1. January26. 1939 The Uranium Committee meets for the first time. scientific Research and Development. report emphasizes the necessity of further research. 1941 Bush briefs Roosevelt and V& Presi- lead to developing powerful dent Henry A. D. of atomic bomb research. Roosevek. 1941 1932 James Chadwick discovers the discovers plutonium.rp demonstrates that 1932 J. Alexander Sachs discusses Eins- tein’s letter with President “ Roosevelt. which becomes an advisov discovery and communicate their body to the Office of Scientific tindings to Niels Bohr. Cockroft and E. August19. 1934 Enrico Fermi produces fission. an element (nitrogen into oxygen). and Milton White operate the first May 17. 3941 Bush and Conant receive the MAUD President to the importance of report. 1939 Germany invades Poland. November 1. Van de Graaff develops committee of Bush’s organization. C. Franklin D. neutron. 1932 Lawrence. 1919 Ernest Rutherford discovers the Spring-Smnmer 1940 Isotope separation methods are proton by artificially transmuting investigated. June 1940 Varmevar Bush is named head of the National Defense Research 1930 Ernest O.1939 Roosevelt informs Einstein that he Manhattan Project has set up a committee to study uranium. June 22.1939 Albert Einstein writes President of the fti. Roosevelt 62 . the electrostatic generator. March 28. Research and Development. Lawrence builds the Committee. 1939 October11-12. alerting the July 14. Conant replaces Bush at December1938 Lk Meitner and Otto Frisch com the National Defense Research Com- firm the Hahn-Strassmann mittee. October 21. theoretical physics in Washington. The Uranium Com- first cyclotron in Berkeley. 1941 A second National Academy of Sciences report confkrns the findings August2. 1941 Seaborg’s gm.1939 Bohr reports on the Hahn.941 Scaborg proves plutonium is more tilomble than uranium-235. 2939 The Uranium Committee recom- mends that the government pur- chase graphhe and uranium oxide for fission research. 1941 The British MAUD report concludes Strassman results at a meeting on that an atomic bomb is feasible. Wallace on the state bombs. 1941 Bush is named head of the Office of uranium. Jtdy 11. Dunning and his col- leagues demonstrate that fission is more readily produced in the rare uranium-235 isotope. James B. research on chain reactions and the possibility that research might October 9. T. Roosevelt decides to act and appoints Lyman J. Walton first split the atom. December1938 Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discover the process of fission in Jtute 28. 1941 Germany invades the Soviet Union. Seaborg’s research group February 24. mittee becomes a scientific sub- 1931 Robert J.

needed than previously thought. August 7.1942 Conrmt recommends dropping the trifuge. 1941 Germany rmd Italy deelare war on pointed head of the Manhattan Engineer District. October 26. Bush established in New York City. stage and instructs that plant con- struction be the responsibtity of the The Committee also decides not to Army. elec- tromagnetic. January 19.1942 Bush gives Roosevelt an optimistic luminaries report from Berkeley that report on the possibtity of producing more fissionable material may be a bomb. October 19. two piles (reactors) to produce plutonium and electromagnetic.1942 Scientists led by Enrico Fermi achieve ptign in the Pacific beghs with the the fmt self-sustained nuclear chrdn landing at Guadaleanal. 1942 Colonel Leslie R. 1942 The S-1 Exomtive Committee recom.New ditilon at the Metallurgical Mexico as the bomb laboratory Laboratory. du Pent de Nemours and Com- $400. construction to the Corps of Engineers. 1942 Secretary of War Henry Stimson creates a Military Policy Committee December 18. (codenamed Projeet Y). I. broad policy decKons relating to uranium research. Brigadier General six days later. to produce uranium-235. and gaseous diffusion plants cenbifuge method. November 9.1942 The S-1EweutiveCommitteetits Lawrence’s Berkeley laboratory and November 27. production of the atomic bomb. while the dorses the recommendations of the Army delegates the task of plant Military Policy committee. . ing.000 to continue electromagnetic pany agrees to build the chernkxd research. September 17. 1942 The Amenean island-hopping eam- Deeember 2. reaction in Chicago. instructs Bush to fmd out if a bomb August 13. Groves is ap- December 10. Marshall command- struction needs with the Army. of a fidkcale plant in Tennessee. 1942 On the recommendation of Groves and Conant. The Office of Scientific build a centrifuge. He is promoted to the United States. plant stage on the plutonium. 1942 Roosevelt responds to Bush’s October 5. cen. 1942 The S-1 Executive Committee en- to direct nuclear research. Ten- primarily responsible for making nessee site for the pilot plant. May23. 1942 Compton recommends an in- November 27 report and approves termediate piIe at Argonne. Development) gives Lawrence October 3. December 16. Col- receives Petilon to explore con. separation plant at Oak Ridge. 63 .hdy 1942 Kenneth Cole establishes the health November 2S. November 22. Oppen- heimer is chosen laboratory direetor. Research and Development continues November 14. 1942 Groves selects the Oak Ridge. MAUD report that an atomic bomb is feasible. September 23. 1941 The S-1 Executive committee (which to help make deeisiom for the replaced the Uranium Committee in the Office of scientific and Research Manhattan Project. and gaseous diffusion June 171943 President Roosevelt approves the S-1 projects and go directly from the Exeeutive Committee recommenda. September13. 1941 The Top Policy Committee becomes September 19. the Military Policy June 1942 Production piIe designs are developed Committee decides to skip the pilot at the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago. 1941 A third Nationrd Academy of August 1942 Seaborg produces a microscopic sarn- sciences report agrees with the pIe of pure plutonium. 1941 Bush forwards the third National recommends buikiing an elec- Academy of sciences report to the tromagnetic pilot plant and a seetion President. November 1942 TheAlliesinvadeNorthAfrica. 1942 E. Robert Oppenheimer and the March9. December 7. 1941 The Japanese attack Pead Harbor. 1942 GrovesselectsLosAIamos.plant. 1942 The Manhattan Engineer District is can be built and at what cost. Fall 1942 J. research stage to industrial-scale tion to proceed to the pilot plant production. 2942 Groves decides to establish a separate mends that the project move to the seiendfic laboratory to design an pilot plant stage and build one or atomic bomb. onel James C.

Mar- July 3943 Oppenheimer reports that three times shall.1944 Groves orders the construction of the S-50 thermal diftilon plant at Oak February 18. Groves insists Philadelphia Naval Yard. kins.3943 Groundbreaking for the l~B plutonium production pile at Han. Washington Alamos. 1945. April 2944 Oppenheimer informs Groves about tion facilities. will almost certainly be ready by August1. Abelson’s thermal diffusion research tors. August 7. called B. August 27. June 21. March 1944 Bomb models are tested at Los Groves selects Hanford. 2944 The deciion is made to work on a Febmary 3943 Groundbreaking for the X-10 calutron with a 30-beam source for plutonium pilot plant takes place at use in Y-12. Hyde Park and sign an “aide- November 4. 1944 Y-12.kmuary 3944 The second Alpha racetrack is started and demonstrates maintenance pro- December 2$. Nucleonics. 64 . 1943 Construction of Y-12 begins at Oak Ridge. .uion plant at the plant are discussed. 1944 Bush briefs General George C. Hanford. Ridge. technology. September 27.2943 Construction begins on K-25 at Oak Roosevelt and Churchill meet in September 2944 Ridge. January 1944 Construction begins on Abelson’s hmmry 13-14. informing him that small imp- as much fmionable material maybe losion bombs might be ready by nemssary than thought nine months mid-1945 and that a uranium bomb earlier. June 6.December 10.2944 Nied forces launch the Normandy Wmary 3943 Bush encourages Philip Abelson’s invasion. memoire” pledging to continue duces plutonium by the end of the bdaterd research on atomic month. July 4. Alamos.1943 Plans for the Y-12 electromagnetic thermal difti. that Y-12’s first racetrack be finished by Jdy 1. Eventually three reac. 1943 The first Alpha racetrack is shut build the plutonium production down due to maintenance problems. June 1943 Site preparation for the K-25 gaseous July 1944 Scientists at the Metallurgical diffusion plant commences at Oak Laboratory issue the “Prospectus on Ridge.1943 At the Casablanca Conference. producing atomic weapons. 1942 The Lewis committee compromises Late 1943 John von Neumann tilts Los on the electromagnetic method. Oak Ridge. February 3944 Y-12 sends 200 grams of uranium-235 to Los AklIIIOS. at Hanford. The Alamos to aid implosion research. Akunos. facilities at a site other than Oak Ridge. as the site for the plutonium produc. July 1944 A major reorganization to maximize April 1943 Bomb design work begins at Los implosion research occurs at Los AlaInos. 19t4 The plutonium gun bomb (codenarn- March 2943 Researchers begin arxiving at Los ed Thin Man) is abandoned.” concerning the intern- Summer 3943 The Manhattan Engineer District ationalcontrol of atomic energy. 2942 Roosevelt approves detailed plans for blems similar to those that disabled building production facilities and the first. 2943 Groves decides to double the size of The firstslug is placed in pile lCOB September 13. surrender for the h powers. are built at in Philadelphia. JuIy 17. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister March 2944 The Beta building at Y-12 is com- Churchill agree upon unconditional pleted. 1943 The X-10 pile goes critical and pro. September 9. bardmentSquadronbeginstestdrops withdummybombscalledPUmP September 8. kunlary 14-24. 2943 Italy surrenders to Allied forces. Military policy Committee decides to December 15. D. September 1944 ColonelPaulTlbbets’s393rdBom- ford takes place. and F. research on the thermal diftilon process. moves its headquarters to Oak Ridge.

resulting in 83. 3945 Tokyo is fwebombed again. Mksow-i. plutonium. July 2-3.ooo casualties. 3. secret and using it as soon as possible August 14. Supporting sionable material. Chinese President Chiang willing to meet with Truman and Kai-Shek. May-Johnson bti. outlines the peace terms for Japan. and new British Prime proposes Berlin as the location. Jdy 17-August 2. 1945 Truman advocates passage of the pfior to its combat use. calkd Fat Man. 1945 Los Alamos scientists successfully test a plutonium implosion bomb in the December 1944 The chemical separation plants Trinity shot at Alamogordo. 1945 President Roosevelt dies. New (Queen Marys) are ftihed at Mexico. September 2. 1945 Japan surrenders. 1945 The 509th Composite Group is April 12.000 deaths.1945 Stimson and Groves brief President atomic bomb “after about” I@I. 1945 The Japanese sign articles of sur- June 1945 Scientists at the Metallurgical render aboard the U. and Los Alarnos its Scientific Panel. Committee’s draft legislation August 9. Truman announces the use of atomic weapons. Report reeornmendation that the metallurgy.1945 S-50 shuts down. and weapon design. September 27. 1945 Stimon briefs Truman on the In- terim Committee’s deliberations and September 30. Jldy 25.S. 1945 The Japanese reject the Potsdam May 23.UX Truman on the Manhattan Project. l!w The implosion model plutonium becomes the basis for the May. 394S Truman. surrender to the Allies. calling for May 7. Truman informs Stalin that the United States has tested a powertid March 12. call- May 31-June 1. and Soviet Trinity test. 1945 The gun model uranium bomb. on Nagasaki. ordered to attack Japan with an ApriI 25. and StaJin meet February 2. unclassified technical information on mends keeping the atomic bomb a the bomb project. resulting in for Japan.1945 Russia declares war on Japan and in- and legislation regarding domestic control of the atomic enterprise (the vades Manchuria. 1944 The 1OO-Breactor goes critical and begins operation. Minister Clement Atlee issue the Potsdam Proclamation. JuIy 24. rejects the Franck makes progress in chemistry. August 8. is dropped on make recommendations on wartime Hiroshima. advocating international control of September 9. is dropped Johnson bfl). thk time Proclamation. August 6. Laboratory issue the Franck Report. without Warning. 65 . 1945 Stimson informs President Truman August 12. bomb be demonstrated prior to combat. Ioo. Jdy 16. Hanford. 1945 The German armed forces in Europe Japan to surrender unconditionally. tional agreements on atomic research to prevent an arms race. 1945 Los Akunos receives its fmt in Potsdam. demonstration of the atomic bomb October 3. ~ldy 29. July 21. Churchill.S. May 1945 Strdin tells Harry Hopkins that he is JuIy 26. 1945 Roosevelt.1945 Stimson again briefs Truman on the March 1945 S-50 begins operation at Oak Ridge. regulation of atomic information. international raid to the American public. I!)4s The Smyth Report. 1945 Truman. June 6. is released.1945 The Inteti Committee. probable as Oak Ridge and Hanford produce increasing amounts of fis.1945 Groves submits the target selection SUCCSS tiVWX fiOrn doubtful to group’s recommendation to Marshall. Manhattan Project and peace terms March 1945 Tokyo is fwebombed. Ridge. June 21.1945 K-25 begins production at Oak new weapon. Premier Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta. 1944 Bush and Conant Xh0G3te interna. Churchill. Summer 1944-Spring —1945 The Manhattan Project’s chances for June 14.1945 Groves sends Stimson a report on the February 4-11. atomic research and proposing a September 1945 Y-12 shutdown begins. bomb. containing that the Interim Committee recom. 1945 The Interim Committee meets to ed Liffle Boy. In an evening session.

rendering it useless. July 1. 1947 In accordance with the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. December 1946. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 1999 454-567/80061 . Their functions are transferred to the Department of Defense. 1946 President Truman signs the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. 1946 Bernard Baruch presents the American plan for international con- trol of atomic research. l!M7 The Manhattan Engineer District is abolished. December 31. July 15. 1946 Operation Crossroads begins with Shot Able.S. a slightly amended version of the McMahon bti. June M. August 1. U46 Operation Crossroads continues with Shot Baker. in- cluding Tmman’s. W Senator Brien McMahon introduces a substitute to the May-Johnson bfl. a plutonium bomb detonated underwater. a plutonium bomb drop- ped from a B-29. all atomic energy activities are transferred from the Manhattan Engineer District to the newly created United States Atomic Energy Cotilon.December 20. The Top Policy Group and the Military Policy Ccmunittee had already disbanded. August 15. kumary 1. January 1946 Hearings on the McMahon bti bqjn. 66 * U. at Bti Atoll. which had been losing support. 1947 The National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scien- titlc Research and Development are abolished. The Soviet Union opposes the wmary 1947 Baruch Plan. at B& Atoll.

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