“Humans have shown remarkable ingenuity in devising more efficient ways of killing one another, and wars historically have stimulated rapid advances in weaponry and related systems” (Maddox 199). This quote emulates the expression mankind has come to as a result of war and destruction. A big contribution to this destruction is The Manhattan Project. It was the utmost secret project in American history; composed of “German refugees and American scientists” (Palmer 856).
Together, they built the first atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and later Nagasaki. Due to the higher amounts of secrecy used for the atomic bomb, there was little to no news coverage on the Manhattan project prior to the bombings. This was greatly enhanced so the Nazi’s could not steal and use any new technology that the Americans were coming up with. The Manhattan Project brought together the splitting of the Uranium atom which is what the atomic bomb is made of. This was done by a group of German scientists. The Nazi’s in Germany had the biggest lead on nuclear research during World War II. They also had enough uranium to build an atomic bomb from Czechoslovakia. The whole world knew about how “great” Germany had become.
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Therefore, keeping America’s nuclear plans were to remain a secret because, if the Germans or the Japanese had gotten the plans than the war would have gone a completely different route; potentially causing a nuclear annihilation or another world war (Maddox 199). These aspects were taken into the government’s consideration. In 2017, it is apparent that we could be at the epitome of World War III with nuclear weapons and a real nuclear scare from countries like North Korea.
This is relevant to the Manhattan project because that’s what started all of the scare and problems that we could potentially run into.The New York Times would post weekly updates during World War 2. They often elaborated on their strengths rather than both sides.
This created hope for the Americans that they were actually getting somewhere in the war. They also showcased what they had or where they were heading with the chemical aspect of the war. In early July they talked about being more prepared with poison gas and flamethrowers rather than hand to hand combat; however, not wanting to use them.
This could have foreshadowed that something bigger was going to happen where hand to hand combat would not be needed (Baldwin). The newspapers during World War II had so much information on the war that it’s suspicious as to how they missed such a huge chunk of it on their own soil. It could raise suspicion as to what lengths the American government could go to in order to keep the Manhattan project a secret. Along with newspaper companies being bribed or being just as clueless as any normal citizen. Now, in 2017 it is confirmed that the American media had no information on the Manhattan project that they were hiding from the public.
The first bomb hit Hiroshima killing about 100,000 civilians of the 200,000 in the population; it left Hiroshima in ruins. The second bomb hit Nagasaki, killing about 60,000 civilians. Only two bombs were dropped that caused Japan to surrender. As the post-war atmosphere was settling in many civilian around the world were concerned about this new technology that was used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima (Palmer 856). This idea of a “nuclear apocalypse” was stuck in people’s minds as they had no idea how America became so technologically advanced or what the impending damages on society it would bring in the future.
However, this encouraged world powers such as the Soviet Union to start building their nuclear warfare. Keeping this important detail from the public caused Americans to start losing trust in the government as they had no idea what all they were keeping from them.We know much more about the Manhattan project today than anyone in the 1940s. The newspapers from the 1940s were not informed about the Manhattan project till later after the attacks had already happened.
Even now a day’s people are creating TV shows and operas about the Manhattan project and trying to unveil all the details to the public. However, up until a few years ago, we didn’t know the exact specifics that were talked about during the Manhattan project. The New York Times published a series of audio interviews talking to the men involved in the Manhattan project. They talked about how happy they were to be able to end a gory and violent war that caused the death of many men, however, later being told that the Japanese were on the verge of surrendering. This caused a change in heart towards many of the men who were involved in the Manhattan project. As they would have chosen not to use the bomb if that were the case.
During many of the atomic bomb tests men such as Hans W. Courant were told to hold a shield to protect themselves but for him, that was his major epiphany that next time the bomb explodes there would be people under the cloud (Graham). The lack of information given to these men was heartbreaking as they were only fed one side of the argument, not both. Another engineer, by the name of Robert J.
Brown, was located in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He understood that “Nuclear bombs would exist whether the project had been successful or not” (Overbye). He knew the risks before the bombs were dropped however his greater fear was on what the future would hold for the world and what these destructive nuclear weapons could do to whole continents.In Conclusion, the American people during the 1940s had no idea how capable their government was until the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This lead to the ending of World War II. The Manhattan Project was the epitome of disaster along with a brilliant advancement in Technology and weapons production for people around the world. They had no clue what the future would hold and what would happen to the world as a result of it.