In the midst of World War II, after
the Nazi empire had been defeated by English, French, and American military, the United States still had an enemy. The Japanese
were stubborn and would not surrender. We knew that in order to get them to surrender and put an end to the world war, we
would have to take drastic measures. The United States had been developing a secret weapon. One with immense power never heard
of before on this Earth. At the time the concept sounded like something from a science fiction novel: a single bomb able to
take down whole cities, vaporizing people, buildings, and vehicles, leaving only rubble and ashes behind. The Atomic Bomb
was the newest development in weapons technology in the 1940’s.
General Leslie Groves was the United States Army Engineer officer who oversaw the Manhattan Project,
the top-secret engineering project to develop the atomic bomb. He was born in Albany, New York, and educated at the University
of Washington and MIT before attending West Point; Groves graduated in 1918, fourth in his class, and was commissioned into
the Army Corps of Engineers, completing his engineering studies at Camp A.A. Humphreys. In September 1942, he was made a temporary
Brigadier General and appointed military director of the nascent Manhattan Engineer District of the US Army Corps of Engineers,
replacing the slow and indecisive first director, Col. James Marshall.
The Manhattan Project was based off of nuclear theory of the time, and the idea that there could
be a massive forced created by nothing but a small amount of chemicals. The decision to use the bomb against Japan was a last
resort attack in attempt to end the war. The Nazis had been defeated, and the only enemy the United States had left was the
Japanese. With no surrender in sight, they had very little options to scare them away. They needed something big and powerful
that would convince the Japanese government that the United States had the power to crush them. Groves was in charge of most
important things having to do with the bomb’s development, including deciding on the test sites.
Many well-known engineers and scientists worked on the project, including J. Robert Oppenheimer,
the Berkeley physicist who was in charge of Los Alamos, where the bomb was designed and assembled. They made critical decisions
on the various methods of isotope separation, getting the raw materials that the scientists required, and creating an air
force bomber unit, which was capable of carrying and deploying the bomb. General Groves advocated the choice of Kyoto as lead
target, because of its mass cultural significance. He reasoned that the city’s highly intelligent and educated people
would better to appreciate the impact of the new weapon, increasing its political impact. His wish to destroy the city was
overruled by secretary of war, Henry Stimson, who had his honeymoon there. After further consideration he chose the sites
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Bomb changed the world forever. Major nations now have the power to destroy entire countries at the push of the button, and,
if we’re not careful we could end up annihilating the entire world, and ourselves. It is ironic that in man’s
goal to kill others, he threatens to kill himself as well.