World War 2
What was the Manhattan Project?
Who and Where?
Secrecy was very important. Neither the Germans nor the Japanese could learn of the project. Roosevelt and Churchill also agreed that the Stalin would be kept in the dark. Consequently, there was no public awareness or debate. Keeping 120,000 people quiet would be impossible; therefore only a small privileged cadre of inner scientists and officials knew about the atomic bomb's development. In fact, Vice-President Truman had never heard of the Manhattan Project until he became President Truman.
The First Test Run
By the summer of 1945, Oppenheimer was ready to test the first bomb. On July 16, 1945, at TRINITY SITE near ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO, scientists of the Manhattan Project readied themselves to watch the detonation of the world's first atomic bomb. The device was affixed to a 100-foot tower and discharged just before dawn. No one was properly prepared for the result. A blinding flash visible for 200 miles lit up the morning sky. A mushroom cloud reached 40,000 feet, blowing out windows of civilian homes up to 100 miles away. When the cloud returned to earth it created a half-mile wide crater metamorphosing sand into glass. A bogus cover-up story was quickly released, explaining that a huge ammunition dump had just exploded in the desert.