1944, 1945 Guam, Okinawa & Iwo Jima.


1932 neutron,

1938 Otto Hahn "fission",

"After the manuscript [announcing our discovery] had been mailed, the whole thing seemed so improbable to me that I wished I could get the letter back out of the mailbox."

possibility of "chain reaction",


Einstein, "If I had actually known that the Germans would not succeed in constructing the atom bomb, I would never have lifted a finger to help the US make one.”

1939 Einstein call on FDR;

1942 Office of Scientific Research & Development

"Manhattan Project."


December, 1942, Stagg Field,

Enrico Fermi - first successful controlled release of nuclear energy.


Manhattan Project - over 150,000 people,

General Leslie Groves,

"Groves would have gotten the moon fenced in if he'd been told it was necessary to finish the project.”

Berkeley physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer;

Hanford, Washington, city of 30,000 workers; Oak Ridge, TN; Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Richard Feynman;


July 16, 1945, Alamagordo, New Mexico - "Trinity" test;

"as though the earth had opened & the skies split."

Oppenheimer, Bhagavad-Gita - "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One... I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds."

"Now we are all sons of bitches." 


Groves, "I always considered it my duty to recommend that the bomb be dropped.  After all, great numbers of our boys were dying every day at that time in war against the Japanese.  Scientists could afford to be soft, but they weren't the ones who had friends & relatives in field."

"Truman did not so much say 'yes' as not say 'no'.  It would have taken lot of nerve to say 'no' at that time."

August 6, 1945, Enola Gay, "Little Boy", Hiroshima.

"elongated trash can with fins"



levelled almost five square miles, killing almost 100,000 immediately - later tens of thousands more. 

August 8, "Fat Man", Nagasaki.

"We were sitting on the pier in Seattle sharpening our bayonets when Harry Truman dropped that beautiful bomb - the greatest thing that ever happened."

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." 


Sept. 2, 1945 Japan surrender;

Atomic Energy Commission – civilian control;

Cold War tensions with Soviet Union.