The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb

Part III: The Manhattan Engineer District

Input From DuPont

Final input for the November meetings of the Military Policy Committee and the S-1 Executive Committee came from DuPont. One of the first things Groves did when he took over in September was to begin courting DuPont, hoping that the giant chemical firm would undertake construction and operation of the plutonium separation plant to be built in Tennessee. He appealed to patriotism, informing the company that the bomb project had high priority with the President and maintaining that a successful effort could affect the outcome of the war. DuPont managers resisted but did not refuse the task, and in the process they provided an objective appraisal of the pile project. Noting that it was not even known if the chain reaction would work, DuPont stated that under the best of circumstances plutonium could be mass-produced by 1945, and it emphasized that it thought the chances of this happening were low. This appraisal did not discourage Groves, who was confident that DuPont would take the assignment if offered.

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