Today in World History: August 13th

The construction of the Manhattan Project, the initiative by the United States to create an atomic bomb, was approved on this day in 1942. With Nazi Germany and its Axis Powers at the peak of their strength, America sought an easier way to end the war. Led by a team of some of the smartest men and women alive at the time, it helped bring the end of the most deadly war in human history. Following the beginning of the war in 1939, Albert Einstein and fellow scientists drafted a letter to the American government, advising them to begin research on nuclear weapons immediately, and informed them of the possibility of a German nuclear weapon. Work on creating an atomic bomb began in 1942, and with the help of fellow Allied Powers England and Canada, the scientists at Los Alamos were able to create a weapon capable of ending the war. By the time the first bombs were tested, in July of 1945, Italy had been defeated by the Allies, and Hitler had committed suicide, ending Nazi Germany’s activities in the war as well. Little Boy and Fat Man were dropped on Japan on August 6th and 9th, respectively, ending the war. The work of the scientists in the top secret program was instrumental to the end of the war, but it also brought about problems, with the rise of nuclear weapon production and the threat of nuclear warfare in the ensuing Cold War between America and Russia.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

-Albert Einstein

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