THE long-term effects for both society and warfare. In

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  THE MANHATTAN PROJECT          NameClassJanuary 31, 2018      TheManhattan ProjectIntroduction            The purpose of thisessay is to respond to the prompt: What drove the Manhattan Project, how was itformed, and what were the short- and long-term effects it had on society and onwarfare? The main hypothesis defended in the essay is that the ManhattanProject had negative short- as well as long-term effects for both society andwarfare. In terms of warfare, the existence of the Manhattan Project made thedeaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians possible in the shortterm and the destruction of the human race possible in the long term. In termsof society, the Manhattan Project created a template for governmentexploitation of science in the long term and contributed to the emergence ofsocial paranoia in the long term.  Theremainder of the essay consists of a presentation of these two critiques of theManhattan Project as well as discussion of the Manhattan Project’s background. Background            In 1905, Albert Einsteinpublished five papers1that revolutionized the science of physics, as they proved theories that werecreated during the time of Newton.

One of Einstein’s discoveries was that avery small amount of matter could be converted into very large amounts ofenergy. This discovery of Einstein’s would serve as the basis for thepossibility of a nuclear bomb and everything leading to the creation of a nuclearbomb would revolve around his finding.            In 1939, Germany, underthe rule of Adolf Hitler, began the Second World War. Germany, with its allies,Japan and Italy, sought to establish complete dominance over all countries evenby totalitarian means. By 1939, the new physics discoveries that had begun withEinstein’s four papers of 1905 had advanced greatly, leading manyphysicists—including Einstein himself—to be aware of the potential of buildinga nuclear bomb. In August, 1939, Einstein signed a letter drafted by physicistsEugene Wigner and Leo Szilard, which informed and suggested to the UnitedStates government the possibility of building a bomb based on the principles ofnuclear fission.2This letter, which came to be known as the Einstein-Szilard letter, stated thatGerman scientists had made significant advantages in the field of nuclearfission, creating the possibility that Germany might make a nuclear bomb of itsown.

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            The Einstein-Szilardletter had the effect of sparking serious action by the United States. OnOctober 9, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt officially gave his proposal towhat would become the Manhattan Project. This would be a large,highly-confidential mission to build a nuclear weapon which was led by thegovernment. Soon afterwards, the American government created two facilitieswhere research and testing would take place. The first located in Los Alamos,New Mexico, and the other in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The scientific end of theManhattan Project was led by American physicist Robert Oppenheimer, whileGeneral Leslie Groves would be in charge of the military and administrative aspectsof the Manhattan Project.3Over the years of its operations, the Manhattan Projectemployed thousands of people, including prominent physicists, engineers, andchemists as well as thousands of factory workers, administrative assistants,and other personnel.

4It was able to successfully bring together and unite the top and most advancedin each profession. The Manhattan Project eventually succeeded in its missionof building a nuclear bomb. The first nuclear explosion took place at Trinity,New Mexico on July 16, 1945, demonstrating the great potential of this newweapon. Less than a month later, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped anuclear bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, a secondnuclear bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

After tens ofthousands of deaths in these two nuclear attacks, Japan formally surrendered onSeptember 2, 1945, following Germany’s surrender in May of 1945 and officially markingthe end of the Second World War. The Manhattan Project had successfully endedthe war. All stemming from the perception that Germany would develop a nuclearbomb, the Manhattan Project was created. The Manhattan Project was thereforedriven by a desire to destroy and beat out the possibility of a Nazi nuclearweapon. The formation of the Manhattan Project was a direct result of alarge-scale government intervention that created and funded secret sites fordevelopment, engineering, and testing processes related to the development of anuclear weapon. Impactson Society            Oneof the Manhattan Project’s short-term impacts on society was governmentalcontrol of individuals. Thousands of workers of various professions and skillswere employed at the two sites of the Manhattan Project, where conditions atthese sites were extremely strict and firm.5Thousands of people and their families were forbidden from leaving the projectsites, with very few exceptions.

This strict environment would in turn displaya small scale example of complete government control over a group of people TheManhattan Society modeled what a completely government-run society might belike. During this time, the Manhattan Project ruined tens of thousands oflives. Many people associated with the Manhattan Project committed suicidebecause of the great restrictions on family and social life,  restrictive, hierarchical, and franklyauthoritarian conditions that existed in both Los Alamos and Oak Ridge; therewere also many instances of cancer.6            The Manhattan Project’sshort-term effects were not merely on the individuals working on the sitesassociated with the Manhattan Project.

The Manhattan Project resulted in thedeaths of large numbers of Japanese civilians, including tens of thousands ofinfants and children.7The Manhattan Project was not only responsible for the war crimes committed onthe populace of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also for the long-term devastationof Japanese society. The entirety of Japanese society became aware of the truedestructive capacities of modern warfare, and this knowledge has resulted in alingering trauma for Japanese society.               The impact of theManhattan Project on the country of Japan can hardly be overestimated. OnAugust 6, and August 9, 1945, those Japanese who survived the nuclear attackson Hiroshima and Nagasaki became aware of a terrible new age in human affairs,one in which the extermination of not only entire cities and countries, butalso, potentially, the entire species, was possible.

More specifically,hundreds of thousands of members of Japanese society exposed to radiation inthe aftermath of the nuclear attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki developedleukemia8and other dangers attributable to radiation. In the decades since the nuclearattacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese society has continued to live withthe reality, as well as the specter, of its own destruction in a mushroomcloud. This possibility has done irreparable psychic harm to millions ofJapanese people who, but for the existence of the Manhattan project, wouldnever have had to contemplate the wholesale destruction of their civilization.             In the long term, theManhattan Project also established a template for governmental control ofsociety.

In the name of security, the Manhattan Project created two zones (LosAlamos and Oak Ridge) from which basic freedoms—including freedom of speech,freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly—were excluded.9In doing so, the Manhattan Project demonstrated a template that future Americangovernments could also utilize in order to manage society , or even create analternative society, in response to a real or imaginary security threat.Impactson Warfare            The Manhattan Projectled to the creation of the world’s first nuclear weapons. Two of these weaponswere dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, leading to tens ofthousands of civilian deaths. The stated purpose of the dropping ofnuclear  weapons on Japan was to compelthe surrender of the Empire of Japan and the end of the Second World War.

However, there is also evidence that Japan was planning its surrender beforethe nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some scholars have argued thatthe decision to drop the nuclear weapons on Japan was made hastily after itbecame known that the Japanese planned to surrender.10According to these scholars, key political and military interests within thegovernment of the United States wishes to test nuclear weapons in a liveformat. Had the American government waited longer to drop nuclear weapons onHiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese intention to surrender might have becomewidely known, in which case the dropping of nuclear weapons on these citieswould have constituted an obvious war crime.

The introduction of nuclearweapons has sometimes been argued to have inaugurated an age of peace based ondeterrence. However, the emergence of nuclear weapons led, for the first timein human history, to the possibility that the entire human species could bedestroyed in a war. Therefore, even though nuclear weapons have not been usedafter Hiroshima and Nagasaki, their very existence upholds the possibility thatthe next world war will surely mean the end of humanity as a species. Therefore, there are two military critiques that can bemounted against the Manhattan Project. The first critique is that the ManhattanProject does not appear to have been a necessary expedient for putting an endto the Second World War, as there is some evidence11that the Empire of Japan was planning to surrender well before the dropping ofnuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This critiquerepresents a short-term critique. The second critique is that the ManhattanProject resulted in the creation of weapons that had, and continue to have, thepotential to destroy all of humanity, a potential that has never before existedin the history of warfare.

This critique represents a long-term critique. ConclusionThe purpose of this essay was to respond to the prompt:What drove the Manhattan Project, how was it formed, and what were the short-and long-term effects it had on society and on warfare? The main hypothesis defendedin the essay was that the Manhattan Project had negative short- as well aslong-term effects for both society and warfare. In the social domain, theManhattan Project was critiqued for its creation of a template for governmentalcontrol of society as well as for the massacre of a large portion of Japanesesociety, coupled with a traumatization of subsequent generations of Japanesesociety. In the domain of warfare, the Manhattan Project was critiqued forgenerating a weapon with the capacity to destroy the entire human race. Forthese combined reasons, the Manhattan Project should not be viewed as a triumphof human ingenuity, but, rather, as a failure. It is entirely likely that, ifthe Manhattan Project has never existed, humanity would be better off today.    BibliographyBernstein,Barton J. “Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender:Missed Opportunities, Little-Known near Disasters, and Modern Memory.

” Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (1995):227-73.Gerstner,Herbert. “Reaction to Short-Term Radiation in Man.” Annual Review of Medicine 11, no. 1(1960): 289-302.

Hughes,Jeff. “Deconstructing the Bomb: Recent Perspectives on NuclearHistory.” The British Journal forthe History of Science 37, no. 4 (2004): 455-64.———.The Manhattan Project: Big Science andthe Atom Bomb.  New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 2002.

Iijima,S. “Pathology of Atomic Bomb Casualties.” Acta Pathologica Japonica 32 (1982): 237-70.Lanouette,William. “The Odd Couple and the Bomb.” Scientific American 283, no.

5 (2000): 104-09.Lenfle,Sylvain. “The Strategy of Parallel Approaches in Projects withUnforeseeable Uncertainty: The Manhattan Case in Retrospect.” International Journal of Project Management 29,no. 4 (2011): 359-73.

Rynasiewicz,Robert, and Jürgen Renn. “The Turning Point for Einstein’s AnnusMirabilis.” Studies in History andPhilosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of ModernPhysics 37, no. 1 (2006): 5-35.Voelz,George L, JN Lawrence, and Emily R Johnson.

“Fifty Years of PlutoniumExposure to the Manhattan Project Plutonium Workers: An Update.” Health Physics 73, no. 4 (1997): 611-19.1 Robert Rynasiewicz and Jürgen Renn, “The Turning Point for Einstein’sAnnus Mirabilis,” Studies in Historyand Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of ModernPhysics 37, no. 1 (2006): 5-6.2 William Lanouette, “The Odd Couple and the Bomb,” Scientific American 283, no.

5 (2000):104.3 Sylvain Lenfle, “The Strategy of Parallel Approaches in Projects withUnforeseeable Uncertainty: The Manhattan Case in Retrospect,” International Journal of Project Management29, no. 4 (2011): 362.4 Jeff Hughes, The Manhattan Project:Big Science and the Atom Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002),17.5 “Deconstructing the Bomb: Recent Perspectives on NuclearHistory,” The British Journal forthe History of Science 37, no. 4 (2004): 457.

6 George L Voelz, JN Lawrence, and Emily R Johnson, “Fifty Years ofPlutonium Exposure to the Manhattan Project Plutonium Workers: An Update,”Health physics 73, no. 4 (1997):611-12.7 S Iijima, “Pathology of Atomic Bomb Casualties,” Acta Pathologica Japonica 32 (1982):240.8 Herbert Gerstner, “Reaction to Short-Term Radiation in Man,” Annual review of medicine 11, no. 1(1960): 290.

9 Hughes, “Deconstructing the Bomb: Recent Perspectives on NuclearHistory,” 457.10 Barton J Bernstein, “Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the JapaneseSurrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known near Disasters, and ModernMemory,” Diplomatic History 19,no. 2 (1995): 230.11 Ibid.

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