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The Manhattan Project and the Atomic Bomb (redirected from The Manhatten Project)

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 2 years, 2 months ago

Picture shows the First nuclear test explosion, July 16, 1945


Unofficial emblem of the Manhattan project, 1946

First nuclear test explosion, July 16, 1945

Unofficial emblem of the Manhattan project, 1946


Topics on the Page


Event Summary


Health Effects of the Bomb


Women of the Manhattan Project


Primary Sources on the Manhattan Project


Operation Paperclip and German Rocket Scientists


The Origins of the National Security State


Espionage and the Manhattan Project




Atomic Bombs in World War II


The Debate Over the Atomic Bomb


The Cuban Missile Crisis



Event Summary


The Manhattan Project was the effort by American scientists and military personnel to develop the atomic bomb.


This page describes the top secret project by the US government during WWII regarding the construction of the Atomic bombs used agains Japan to end the Pacific theater during the most recent World War. The page goes into depth about the women who were influential to the project, as well as the covert operations that surrounded the project, such as the efforts to recruit former Nazi scientists to the Manhattan effort. This page can give students an inside look at covert projects from the United States, which I think is incredibly engaging. From this engagement, teachers can really draw the students into the conversation about WWII and the use atomic bombs in war. (Harry Blackman, April 2022)



Here is the full episode of the show "Lost Worlds" by the History Channel that focuses on the creation of the A-bomb and FDR's role in it. 

See short descriptions of the Manhattan Project from the following sites offering different perspectives


Atomic Timeline 

     Use this source to give students a quick lesson in what lead to the Manhattan Project

American Museum of Natural History

Nuclear Files.org


Los Alamos History

The Manhattan Project (and Before) from NuclearWeaponsArchive,org



Health Effects of the Bomb


Long Term Health Effects


  Women of the Manhattan Project


  • 8 women who share their experience working for the Manhattan Project via Atomic Heritage 


Interactive timeline of Women in science and the Manhattan Project 

Trinity Site Historical Marker along US 380, New Mexico


Primary Sources








Lilli Hornig, Dies, A-Bomb Researcher Lobbied for Women in Science, New York Times (November 21, 2017)


  • Manhattan Project Voices, A compilation of oral histories (history told by those who experiences it through spoken word)


  • Listen to the people behind the Manhattan Project tell their side of the story 
      • Stories from women
      • Stories from the major players  
      • Stories from BIPOC and the racism they faced


 Videos on the Manhattan Project 


  • Watch Modern Marvels (S9, E21) presented by the History Channel 
    • Offers insight into the people who created the atomic bomb and worked on the Manhattan Project
    • Shows the science that goes in to creating an atomic weapon  


Operation Paperclip and German Rocket Scientists


104 German rocket scientists in 1946, including Wernher von Braun
104 German rocket scientists in 1946, including Wernher von Braun


The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America

  • Project Paperclip brought hundreds of German scientists and engineers, including Wernher von Braun, to the US in the first decade after World War II. 


  • The Germans who designed and built the V-2 rocket and other “wonder weapons” for the Third Reich proved invaluable to America’s emerging military-industrial complex. 


  • Many prominent scientists were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi regime or even participants in war crimes, but US national security advocates rationalized their inclusion in the Paperclip program despite internal opposition and public condemnation. 

Project Paperclip: The Dark Side of the Moon, BBC News


Why the US Government Brought Nazi Scientists to America After World War II




Billboard encouraging secrecy amongst Oak Ridge nuclear workers, 1940s
Billboard encouraging secrecy among Oak Ridge nuclear workers, 1940s


The Origins of the National Security State

Lecture by Professor Christian Appy, University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of History, "The Atomic Origins of America's National Security State: How Nuclear Weapons Produced an Imperial Presidency and Degraded Democracy," April 4, 2017

  • The secrecy and concentrated power under which the first atomic weapons were created provided a model for the post-World War II permanent national security state, presided over by presidents invested with unprecedented power.
    • Their exclusive authority to produce and use atomic weapons-codified by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946-led to further expansions of presidential powers not conferred by the constitution.
      • The authority to launch globe-threatening weapons has led to a wide range of additional assertions of power unaccountable to the public or its elected representatives, including covert overthrows of foreign governments, secret bombings of foreign nations, unilateral abdication of treaties, warrantless surveillance of American citizens, and routine circumvention of Congress's constitutional power to declare war.


Espionage and the Manhattan Project


  • Not everyone who worked on the Manhattan Project was concerned with keeping the research being done a secret.


  • Many individuals who were sympathetic to other causes, either racist or communist, attempted to steal information from the Manhattan Project.




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