The Manhattan Project

Albert Einstein
– famous scientist & German refugee
– was working on splitting atoms at the University of Chicago
-discovered that you can cause a chain reaction that was very powerful
– feared the Germans would learn how to harness the energy and use it against everyone

Leo Szilard
Hungarian physicist who convinced Einstein to send a letter to the president about the possibility of building an atomic bomb.

FDR
Received Einstein’s letter before Pearl Harbor and initially ignored it. He revisited the idea after PH and asked congress for the money without telling them what it was for. Started the Manhattan project but died before the bombs were created.

Leslie Groves
Military commander of the Manhattan Project

Klaus Fuchs
British physicist who worked on the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos, was arrested in 1950 and confessed to divulging atomic secrets to the Soviets

Robert Oppenheimer
Lead scientist on Manhattan project. He was a left wing socialist who many believed to be a communist and a spy. His reputation was ruined after the Manhattan project was completed and he felt extreme guilt for helping to build the bomb in the first place.

Harry Truman
President after FDR. Gave the order to drop the bomb on Hiroshima rather than invade or starve out the Japanese.

Henry Stimson
Secretary of war (secretary of defense). Was in favor of using the bomb to intimidate the USSR.

James Byrnes
Truman’s secretary of state. Was also pro-bomb.

Emperor Hirohito
Could not just surrender but did not want to keep fighting. Was being strung along by Stalin. Had to please the military but did not want to lose more lives.

Korechiko Anami
Did not want to end the war but did not join the coup to overthrow the emperor when he decided to surrender. Committed suicide.

Kantaro Suzuki
admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy; led to surrender/peace

Hiroshima bombing
August 6th, 1945

Nagasaki bombing
August 9th, 1945

Japan surrenders
August 15th, 1945

Treated signed/official end to WW2
September 2nd, 1945