This article is for quizzes on Tuesday February 2nd..
The Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory that designed the actual bombs. The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $26 billion in 2016 dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissile materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons.
The project was also charged with gathering intelligence on the German nuclear weapon project. Through Operation Alsos, Manhattan Project personnel served in Europe, sometimes behind enemy lines, where they gathered nuclear materials and documents, and rounded up German scientists. Despite the Manhattan Project's tight security, Soviet atomic spies still penetrated the program.
The first nuclear device ever detonated was an implosion-type bomb at the Trinity test, conducted at New Mexico's Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range on 16 July 1945.
Little Boy, a gun-type weapon, and Fat Man, an implosion-type weapon, were used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. In the immediate postwar years, the Manhattan Project conducted weapons testing at Bikini Atoll as part of Operation Crossroads, developed new weapons, promoted the development of the network of national laboratories, supported medical research into radiology and laid the foundations for the nuclear navy. It maintained control over American atomic weapons research and production until the formation of the United States Atomic Energy Commission in January 1947.