Publication Date

Spring 4-28-2011


College of Arts and Sciences



Primary Subject Area

Economics, History; Economics, Labor; Education, Industrial; Education, Technology; Engineering, Chemical; History, Military; History, Modern; History, United States; History of Science; Military Studies; Physics, Atomic; Physics, Nuclear; Physics, Theory; Political Science, Public Administration; Political Science, International Law and Relations


Atomic, World War, Truman, Roosevelt, Physics, Economics, Oppenheimer, Groves, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Uranium, Plutonium, Manhattan Project, Chicago Pile, Henry Stimson, development, cost, Japan, Germany, fission, Phycisist


Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics | Biological and Chemical Physics | Diplomatic History | Ethics and Political Philosophy | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Military History | Nuclear | Philosophy of Science | Political History | United States History


Few moments in human history can be compared to the culmination of events that brought the atomic bomb into creation. It is incredible to contemplate that while a nation was fighting a two front war that spanned from Europe into the Pacific, that the United States was able to utilize the time, energy, brains, materials, manpower, and capital to complete a project in four years. That under any other circumstances would have taken greater than half a century to complete.

First, this thesis will discuss breakthroughs in research that led scientists to believe that the atomic weapons could be built, the places where the breakthroughs took place, and who made them. Second, attention will be given to the circumstances surrounding the recommendations given to the United States government to start their own atomic program, and why Roosevelt agreed to fund the project. Third, a look at the economic impact and resources required to develop the atomic weapon, the people, materiel, resources, and capital that was needed to build the bomb. Fourth, a look at Harry Truman, the president who inherited the bomb from his predecessor, what he thought of the bomb, the moral implications of its use in warfare, and his reasoning on utilizing the weapon on Japanese civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fifth, a look at the proposed alternatives to forcing the surrender of the Japanese in World War 2, and whether methods would have been effective. And finally, showing that the construction of the atomic weapon was economically and militarily the most effective option the American armed forces could utilize at the time.

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