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The creation of the Atomic bomb was one of the most profound military, as well as technological achievements of the twentieth century. Nuclear technology has made it possible to have dependable electricity in our, as well as many other countries. It also acts as a war deterrent in some ways, this is so because no one wants the world breaking out in Nuclear war fare. It would surely bring an end to man kind as we know it. In this essay I am going to give a history of the Atomic Bomb, while supporting the above thesis.
It was during the Second World War that the United States decisively became a world power. America achieved this World power status, thanks in a large part to itís monopoly on atomic weapons. The atomic bomb is a weapon with great explosive power that results form the sudden release of energy upon the splitting, or fission, of the nuclei of such heavy elements as plutonium, or uranium (http://www.atomicarchive.com/index.shtml). This new destructive force was so powerful that it brought an end to World War II. Even though it brutally killed thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians, it also saved thousands of American lives, because a ground invasion of Japan was no longer necessary.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the decision to commit to the creation of the atomic bomb. The plan was known as the Manhattan project, and it would forever change American history.
In 1939 the German dictator Adolph Hitler invaded Poland. During this year German scientists also shocked the scientific world when they announced that they had split uranium atoms by man-made means for the first time. Upon hearing this news, a nuclear physicist, Leo Szilard, was convinced that a chain reaction of this process could be used as a weapon to release an awesome burst of power. Szilard knew that this knowledge was now in the evil hands of the German enemies.
On July, 1939 Szilard and his long time associate Edward Teller, drove to Albert Einstein\'s Long Island home to pay him a visit. Upon hearing the news that a uranium atom had been split he immediately wrote a letter to president Roosevelt. In this letter Einstein explained the mass destructive powers of the bomb as well as what could happen if it got into Hitlerís hands (Giovannitti). Two months later when Roosevelt actually read the letter he ordered a committee of scientists and military officers to meet Szilard and Teller to determine whether America was capable of building a nuclear bomb. In 1940, Szilard and Teller were granted a mere $6,000 to begin experiments in nuclear fission. The duo enlisted the help of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1938, Enrico Fermi.(Giovannitti)
Since much of the United Statesí early nuclear research had been conducted at New York\'s Columbia University, the federal government assigned the Manhattan District of the Army Corps of Engineers to construct the primary research and production facilities for the project. The "Manhattan Project" became the code name for the atomic-bomb development program.
In 1942 the Manhattan Project was moved to chicago. The laboratory was actually set up underneath the bleachers, of the University of Chicago, foot ball stadium. The turning point of the project occurred in this lab underneath the bleachers, the first nuclear chain reaction had been created.(Stein, R. Conrad,) The reaction was tested on December 2, 1942 when they built a graphite nuclear reactor the size of a house. The experiment was conducted by the pulling of a rod that was attached to the reactor. The meter on the counting machine continued to ascend until it reached the highest point. The rod was then pushed back in before the reactor exploded, which could of possibly taken out a large portion of Chicago.This experiment confirmed that an Atom bomb could be made. Szilard was recorded telling Fermi that,"This is a black day for mankind.
The successful experiment brought a confidence to Roosevelt and he soon made the Manhattan Project his top priority. The projectís focus was then changed from splitting atoms to the actual creation of the bomb. Roosevelt had now invested over $2,000,000,000 into the project (http://www.atomicarchive.com). The Manhattan Projectís team consisted of the nations smartest mathematicians, as well as itís most highly
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Nuclear history of the United States, Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II, Leo Szilard, Nuclear fission, Edward Teller, Enrico Fermi, Nuclear weapon, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Atomic spies, Manhattan Project, Nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1
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