Manhattan Project
to design and build the Atomic Bomb

1942 - 1945

Manhattan Project was created by the United States government in 1942 to produce the first atomic bomb. The official agency that produced the bomb was the Corps of Engineers' Manhattan Engineer District, commanded by Major (later Lieutenant) General Leslie R. Groves. Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer directed the design and building of the bomb. Industrial and research activities took place at such sites as Los Alamos, N. Mex. ; Oak Ridge, Tenn. ; and Hanford, Wash.

The idea for the project began in 1939, shortly before World War II began. United States scientists feared Germany might be the first country to develop an atomic bomb. They alerted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to this possibility. Manhattan Project scientists successfully exploded the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, near Alamogordo, N. Mex.

Contributor: Lucille B. Garmon, Ph.D., Prof. of Chemistry and Physics and Chairman, Department of Chemistry, West Georgia College.

Additional resources

Larsen, Rebecca. Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb. Watts, 1988. Suitable for younger readers.

Rhodes, Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Simon & Schuster, 1987. Pulitzer Prize winner.


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