The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb

Part VI: The Manhattan District in Peacetime

Superpower Chill

Between August 1945 and January 1947, while Groves fought to maintain the high priority of the atomic program in a peacetime environment, the euphoria that swept the United States at the end of World War II dissipated as Americans found themselves embroiled in a new global struggle, this time with the Soviet Union. The United States held a monopoly on atomic weapons during the sixteen months of Groves' peacetime tenure, but less than three years after the Atomic Energy Commission succeeded the Manhattan Engineer District, the Russians' secret atomic bomb program achieved success with the 1949 test of Joe I (which the Americans named after Joseph Stalin). During the 1950s relations between the two superpowers remained strained, and both added the hydrogen bomb to their arsenals in an attempt to achieve military superiority.

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