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The Manhattan Project Puzzle Logo
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But it is a fact that the defeat of Japan was preordained before even a bomb was dropped or a shot was fired in anger on that infamous day, the 7th of December 1941. The attack on Pearl Arbour would be the catalyst of a new era for the human race... The Atomic Age.

In 1939, German scientists were way ahead of other researchers and scientists around the globe when it came to atomic research. Indeed, they were believed to have already split the atom. Very little was achieved until the Maud report in July of 1941, when a group of British scientists stated it was possible to create an atomic bomb by the end of the war. President Roosevelt approved American research into a weapon using atomic power, and on the 6th of December 1941, the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Manhattan Project was born.

The project was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers, based in New York City -- thus its name, "The Manhattan Project." The project was a combined effort between the United States, Britain and Canada. Colonel Leslie Richard Groves, who had recently overseen the building of the new Pentagon, was put in charge of the project. Groves chose physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to head the research team. The project was moved to Los Alamos in New Mexico, and sealed off from the outside world. The research was carried out in a top-secret manner under tight security. Scientists were given code names and all reference to the bomb was discouraged. Instead it was referred to as "the gadget," "the gimmick," or "the beast."

The research team worked on two different bombs, the first using Uranium-235, and the other using Plutonium. Although the team was confident with the design and potential of the Uranium-235 bomb, they were not sure about the Plutonium bomb. Would it work? A test would be needed. The test was planned for the 16th of July, 1945, but looked in doubt due to an impending storm. President Truman was attending the Potsdam Conference, and wanted the test results to use against the Russians as a political lever. At the conference table the Russians were becoming awkward over the division of Europe.

The storm cleared and the test went ahead. On the morning of the 16th of July, 1945, at 5.29am, the world's first atomic bomb was detonated. The test, code named "Trinity," was carried out at Alamogordo in the New Mexico desert. The United States had won the race for development of an Atomic Bomb.

Oppenheimer quoted from scripture: "If the radiance of a thousand Suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendour of the mighty one. Now I have become death. The destroyer of worlds."

The successful test results were sent to President Truman, who took Stalin to one side and told him of the bomb. Truman remained unaware that security had already been breached: Stalin knew about the U.S. development of the Atomic Bomb, but showed no emotion and took the information in his stride, replying: "Good, I hope the United States will use it."

Truman and Byrnes thought Stalin simply didn't understand what had been said, and the implications... but Stalin did understand. Quite well, in fact. The Soviet Foreign minister Molotov recalled: "Truman decided to surprise us at Potsdam. He took Stalin and me aside and, looking secretive, informed us they had a secret weapon of a wholly new type, an extraordinary weapon. It's difficult to say what he was thinking but it seemed to me that he wanted to throw us into consternation." Stalin, however, reacted to this quite calmly and Truman decided he hadn't understood. The words 'atomic bomb' hadn't been spoken, but we immediately guessed what was meant."

Dr. Klaus Fuchs, a German refugee and a member of The Manhattan Project, had been supplying information to the Russians about the scope and progress of the research project. Fuchs was a physicist and a communist who had started work on the bomb in England, and then joined The Manhattan Project. Fuchs was one of many, including the young Ted Hall, supplying atomic secrets to the Russians.

Ten days after the Trinity test, on the 26th of July, the Allies announced from Potsdam their terms of surrender for Japan: surrender unconditionally, or face prompt and utter destruction. Japan ignored the declaration. All that remained now was for the bomb to be delivered. That job would fall to the 509th composite group, a special U.S. Air Force unit. The first time the atomic bomb would be used in combat would be on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

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For those visitors that have entered to this site, directly to this page, we would like to inform you that this page is part of a series of pages, within a section that acts as a backdrop to 'The Puzzle' project. 'The Puzzle' is a musical project that looks at different events from the 20th-21st Century.

This section is part of the 'World War II' zone. 'A Promise Of Peace' tells the story, in chronological order, of World War II.

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