The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb


  1. The Einstein letter is reprinted in Vincent C. Jones, Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1985), 609-10.
  2. Roosevelt to Einstein, October 19, 1939.
  3. The United States had little reliable intelligence on the German bomb effort until late in the war. Thus it was not known until the ALSOS counterintelligence mission that the German program had not proceeded beyond the laboratory stage and had foundered by mid-1942. For details of the ALSOS mission see Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986), pp. 605-10.
  4. For details on the German research effort see McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years (New York: Random House, 1988), pp. 14-23.
  5. Lawrence Badash, "Introduction," in Reminiscences of Los Alamos, 1943-1945, edited by Lawrence Badash, Joseph O. Hirschfelder, and Herbert P. Broida (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1980), xi.
  6. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 228.
  7. William R. Shea, "Introduction: From Rutherford to Hahn," in Otto Hahn and the Rise of Nuclear Physics, edited by William R. Shea (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1983), p. 15.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Jones, Manhattan, p. 10.
  10. Richard G. Hewlett and Oscar E. Anderson, Jr., The New World, 1939-1946. Volume I, A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1962), pp. 30-31.
  11. Ibid., p. 168.
  12. Laura Fermi, Atoms in the Family: My Life With Enrico Fermi (Chicago University of Chicago Press, 1954), p. 164.
  13. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 336-38.
  14. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 37.
  15. Ibid., p. 39.
  16. MAUD, while it appears to be an acronym, is not. It is simply a codename.
  17. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 321-25 and 369.
  18. Bundy, Danger and Survival, pp. 4849.
  19. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, P. 46.
  20. Ibid., p. 49.
  21. Ibid., p. 48.
  22. Ibid., p. 46.
  23. Ibid., pp. 74-75.
  24. Ibid., pp. 82-83.
  25. Henry D. Smyth, A General Account of the Development of Methods of Using Atomic Energy for Military Purpose Under the Auspices of the United States Government, 1940-1945 (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing office, 1945), p. 70.
  26. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 442.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 113.
  29. Kenneth D. Nichols, The Road to Trinity (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1987), pp. 121 and 146.
  30. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 149.
  31. Nichols recounts his adventure in borrowing the silver in Road to Trinity, p. 42.
  32. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 155.
  33. Ibid.
  34. Ibid., p. 165.
  35. For more on k see Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 397.
  36. Adsorption is a process whereby gases, liquids, or dissolved substances are gathered on a surface in a condensed layer.
  37. Jones, Manhattan, p. 218.
  38. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 220.
  39. Nichols, Road to Trinity, p. 108.
  40. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 570.
  41. In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Transcript of Hearing Before Personnel Security Board, Washington, D. C., April 12, 1954, Through May 6, 1954 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1954), pp. 12-13.
  42. For details on Fuchs see Robert C. Williams, Klaus Fuchs, Atom Spy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).
  43. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 540-41.
  44. Ibid., pp. 305-08.
  45. Ibid., pp. 644-45.
  46. Jones, Manhattan, p. 530.
  47. The Franck report, the response of the Scientific Panel, and the Interim Committee recommendations are discussed in Ibid., pp. 365-72.
  48. Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 571-72.
  49. Ibid., p. 676.
  50. See Ibid., pp. 668-78, for more on the Trinity test and the responses of those present.
  51. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 383.
  52. Ibid., p. 386.
  53. Groves, Leslie R., Now It Can Be Told, (New York Harper & Row, 1962), p. 434.
  54. Herbert Feis, The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), p. 85.
  55. The directive is reprinted in Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 691.
  56. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, p. 395.
  57. Paul W. Tibbets, "How to Drop an Atom Bomb," Saturday Evening Post 218 (June 8, 1946), p. 136.
  58. The official yield of Little Boy, was listed in the Department of Energy's "Announced United States Nuclear Tests ,July 1945 Through December 1986," page 2, January 1987, was 15,000 tons of TNT (15 kilotons).
  59. The official yield of Fat Man listed in Ibid. Descriptions of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki derived from Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 710 and 739-40.
  60. Summaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualty rates and damage estimates appear in Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 733-34, 740, 742 Groves, Now It Can Be Told, pp. 319, 329-30, 346 and Jones, Manhattan, pp. 5454.
  61. The Smyth report is cited in footnote 24.
  62. For details of the Baker fallout see Barton C. Hacker, The Dragon's Tail: Radiation Safety in the Manhattan Project, 1942-1946 (Berkeley University of California Press, 1987), pp. 135-53.
  63. Hewlett and Anderson, New World, pp. 326-27.
  64. Ibid., p. 579.
  65. Bundy, Danger and Survival: pp. 158-66.
  66. The McMahon bill is reprinted in Hewlett and Anderson, New World, pp. 714-22.
  67. The Manhattan Project ended with the transfer of power from the Manhattan Engineer District to the Atomic Energy Commission, though the Manhattan Engineer District itself was not abolished until August 15, 1947. The Top Policy Group and the Military Policy Committee had already ceased to exist by the time the Atomic Energy commission took over on January 1, 1947.
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