In 1939 and research into atomic energies was progressing at a frightening pace, and the world was in turmoil. At this time in history the imagined immediate and long term consequences of allowing an overtly aggressive regime to gain such a powerful technological advantage lead Albert Einstein to draft a letter to President Roosevelt informing him that powerful bombs could potentially be developed utilizing the strong forces present at sub-atomic levels (Einstein 1). In an effort to evaluate the possibilities Einstein proposed Roosevelt formed a special committee to conduct preliminary research on the military implications of atomic energies and offered grants to private researchers (“August 1939”).
By 1942 pressure was mounting in what seemed to be a race to develop an atomic bomb. Russia, Germany, France, and even Japan were on the hunt to be thefirst countries to get the upper hand in atomic technology (“The Story of the Atomic Bomb”). In September 1942 Roosevelt created The Manhattan Project (officially: The Manhattan Engineer District) which moved control of the research from the public sector to the United States Army. The project was named after the location of Columbia University within New York City where a majority of the preliminary research was conducted (“Why Was the Manhattan Project Called That?”). Thefirst controlled nuclear chain reaction occurred in a room under the stands of the abandoned University of Chicago stadium in December 1942 (“Genesis: The Chicago Pile”). Within two years, the Manhattan Project would successfully test the world’sfirst atomic bomb in the deserts of New Mexico.
The success of the Manhattan Project gave the United States the upper hand not only in bringing World War II to a close, but also in the post-war world where conventional methods of total war were forever altered.