During the late 1930’s, President F. D. Roosevelt received a letter from Albert Einstein that detailed Nazi Germany’s efforts of enriching uranium to its 235 form, i.e. the development of the atomic bomb. Shortly after, the US Government became committed to expediting research on the atomic bomb, this undertaking was given the name “The Manhattan Project”.
In 1938, Scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered that the bombardment of uranium with neutrons produced barium. The significance of this find was that whilst uraniums atomic number 92, the result of bombarding the atom with neutrons produced barium, whose atomic number is 36, which is exponentially lighter then the ...view middle of the document...
The significance was that U-235 was highly fissile and could be ideal for use in an atomic bomb and nuclear fission.
German scientists at a conference in January 1939 unanimously decided to ban all publishing related to their nuclear investigations. Due to the fear of Hitlers Germany, they decided to provide United States with their nuclear knowledge. After many conferences, the Manhattan Project was established. An anonymous Russian scientist wrote, “With Hitler on the rise, we scientists no longer can be frivolous. We cannot play around with ideas and theories. We must go to work”. Fear was the main political motivation the development of the atomic bomb.
The Manhattan project did achieve its goal of ending WWII. With the drop of 2 atomic bombs; one above Hiroshima, and the other Nagasaki, Japan eventually surrendered in August 1945 and accepted the surrender terms. Although it did bring about the end of WWII, it did so with extreme life loss.
A huge worry for the US was that the Soviet Union successfully detonated their first atomic device in 1949. This event shocked the American public and eventually led to the beginnings of the cold war. With it came huge political turmoil between the US and USSR.
After WWII, the US Atomic Energy Commission was established for researching use of the positive side of nuclear technologies with the production of nuclear power.
The outcomes of the Manhattan Project are two-sided. In one aspect, the development of the nuclear bomb could be looked at as how it helped end WWII, as well as the benefits associated with harnessing nuclear power. The Project also created thousands of jobs which helped build the American economy. The other aspect is that it was detrimental to society as it changed the way that people live. Up until then, having a weapon that with the click of a button can destroy a whole city was non-existent. A fear of Hitler having a WMD to pursue his plans of domination was something that was shared by many citizens and politicians, as it would not have ended well for America, or even arguably the world. Although Germanys nuclear program failed, the fact nuclear technology wouldn't be able to be kept a secret and could be used world-wide instilled fears in many.
With the ending of the wartime Manhattan Project came the period of time called the “Atomic Age”. This period was known for the scientific advancements relating to the peaceful uses of nuclear power and nuclear medicine.
The first US commercial nuclear power plant began generating power in 1956. The power plant was developed from technologies founded for the Manhattan Project and was originally used to make the atomic bombs. Likewise for the first nuclear submarine launched in 1954, the research of a nuclear power aeroplane funded by the US, and the utilisation of nuclear assisted space travel by the US and USSR. During the next few decades, an increasing amount of nuclear stations were erected throughout the US.
The development of...