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The Development of the Atomic Bomb

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In 1938 Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman were two German scientists who demonstrated nuclear fission. Nuclear fission released an enormous amount of energy called nuclear energy that can be used in many ways, including a dangerous weapon. They found that they could split the nucleus of a uranium atom by bombarding it with neutrons. As a result, the uranium nucleus splits some of its mass to be converted to energy. Other physicists noticed that the fission of one uranium atom gave off extra neutrons, which could in turn split other uranium atoms, starting a chain reaction. Therefore, in theory this energy could be harnessed to make a powerful bomb. Due to this, the development of the ultimate power took many scientists a lot of hard work and dedication to create such an effective bomb. First and foremost, there were problems with the political and social climate of the world that caused a race to unfold in the development of the ultimate weapon. During this period of time World War II was going on, and the United States was fighting with Germany in the Atlantic, as well as Japan in the Pacific. It all started when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, in which the other countries had joined the war for help. As a result, when Leo Szilard heard that Germany had found out about Hahn and Strassman’s discovery he thought they would produce a bomb. Leo Szilard told them that they were attempting to purify Uranium-235, which would make up the atomic bomb. With that being said, he needed to get this valuable information to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president of the United States at the time, but he did not know how to accomplish that. After some thinking he finally came to a conclusion and thought of Albert Einstein, and his connection with the United States. So, he went to Einstein and they both sent a warning letter to President Roosevelt. In addition, Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein were both Jewish scientists, which meant even if they would have stayed in Europe they would have been killed or put into concentration camps by Hitler and his Nazis. Due to the fact, Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to agree with their accusations on the Germans, and for the U.S. to create an atomic bomb. After the fact, on April, 12, 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a brain hemorrhage and Vice President Harry S. Truman became President. More than two weeks later Hitler kills himself, which caused Germany to surrender on May 8, 1945. Moreover, the Manhattan Project was the next big thing in the history of science due to the organization and goals set for it. General Leslie Groves (military head) and Robert Oppenheimer (scientific head) were the heads of the Manhattan Project, although the project officially began at the end of 1942. Los Alamos, New Mexico was where the bomb was put together. There were five different groupings of scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project that Oppenheimer put together. They were experimental physics, theoretical physics, metallurgy, ordinance, and chemistry. In addition, Hans Bethe was the head of the theoretical research in Los Alamos who had worked with Szilard on the project. Also, Phil Morrison believed that Enrique Fermi at the College of Chicago conducted the war experiment. After, this experiment’s success it had made the idea of a bomb possible. The first test of the bomb was at the Trinity test sight in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. With that being said, 55,000 acres of land were bought in Tennessee to enrich uranium. In addition, there was a larger piece of land bought in Washington, and it was used for a massive reactor to produce plutonium. Plutonium was another source of fuel for the atomic bomb. The outside of the bomb was covered with cardboard and tissue paper. There were 32 detonators wired to make the bomb explode, and had to be set to fire within one millions of a second from each other. In 1944 the project had 100,000 people working on it in half a dozen places around the country. There were already 6,000 people who worked in Los Alamos including men, women, civilians, and the military who worked six days a week. The summer of 1945 B-29 bombers arrived on the Island of Tinian with one atomic bomb and a small group of scientists from Los Alamos aboard. They bombed the city of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 and killed a 100,000 people at first, but Japan still did not surrender. Afterwards, on August 9, 1945 the United States attacked again, but this time it was the city of Nagasaki. As a result, the United States killed another 45,000 people in this attack. The first bomb was called Little Boy; it used a uranium core and was equivalent to twenty megatons of TNT. Thus, these experiments were the organization and goals of the Manhattan Project. Lastly, there were many prominent scientists that had many of their own thoughts and opinions on the project. Robert Oppenheimer believed the atomic bomb would be a benefit to mankind and would make future wars impossible. Due to this, he believed that if the bomb were to be executed properly the world would never be the same again. On the other hand, Martin Deutsh said that the enemy has no hesitation, meaning the Germans. In addition, he also stated that his colleagues and him were hoping that the atomic bomb could not be created. During the test of the bomb, Deutsh described it as a beautiful thing that he was happy to experience. Leo Szilard was scared and said that the weapon was powerful enough to destroy cities and hundreds of people. Therefore, when the bomb was completed, he was concerned about the long-term consequences that would affect everyone. Szilard was also afraid of the race that started between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Overall, these scientists had different inputs on the bomb, which showed the mixed emotions about the production of the ultimate power. To conclude, the atomic bomb completely changed he future of the world. It was an astonishing creation and a giant step for mankind. However, nobody should have the ultimate power due to its dangerous and deadly factors. In other words, it is completely inhumane to kill that many people in the matter of seconds just because two countries were in a feud. As a result, innocent people were killed in Japan when the U.S. decided to drop the atomic bomb. All in all, I hope the ultimate power is never used again because of the many tragedies it caused.

Enrico Fermi (1901 - 1954). (n.d.). Enrico Fermi. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.atomicarchive.com/Bios/Fermi.shtml
Fritz Strassman. (n.d.). HowStuffWorks. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/fritz-strassman-info.htm
History of the Atomic Bomb & The Manhattan Project. (n.d.). About.com Inventors. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from http://inventors.about.com/od/astartinventions/a/atomic_bomb.htm
Leo Szilard biography. (n.d.). Bio.com. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/leo-szilard-9500919
Los Alamos History of the Manhattan Project. (n.d.). Los Alamos History of the Manhattan Project. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from http://www.losalamoshistory.org/manhattan.htm
Martin Deutsch. (n.d.). Martin Deutsch. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.nndb.com/people/216/000168709/
Philip Morrison (1915 - 2005). (n.d.). Philip Morrison. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.atomicarchive.com/Bios/Morrison.shtml
The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (n.d.). About.com 20th Century History. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/a/hiroshima.htm
The Attack on Poland. (n.d.). The Attack on Poland. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/attack_on_poland.htm
The History Place - Holocaust Timeline: The Death of Hitler. (n.d.). The History Place - Holocaust Timeline: The Death of Hitler. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-death.htm
The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb. (n.d.). The Discovery of Fission. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.atomicarchive.com/History/mp/p1s4.shtml
The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb. (n.d.). Introduction. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.atomicarchive.com/History/mp/introduction.shtml
Trinity Atomic Web Site. (n.d.). Trinity Atomic Web Site. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/trinity/trinity1.html
Web Sites. (n.d.). The Atomic Bomb. Retrieved January 5, 2014, from http://campus.udayton.edu/~hume/A-Bomb/abomb.htm

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