The atom bomb did not miraculously appear at the end of World War II. It took years and some of the world’s greatest scientific minds to develop the most destructive weapon ever created by humankind. In the late 1930s, rumors were circulating that Nazi Germany was working to develop a powerful new weapon. Two European scientists, Einstein and Fermi, refugees from fascist Europe, warned American officials of the danger of a Nazi atomic bomb. Einstein even sent a personal letter to President Roosevelt. The message warned the president of the dangers of atomic warfare. The threat of mass destruction by the Axis nations was the impetus of creating the Manhattan Project.
The new program was located in various parts of the United States. The Trinity project, one of the multilayered parts of the Manhattan Project, was located in New Mexico. It was the testing site for evaluating the most efficient way of dropping a super bomb. The military took over 52,000 acres of land in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1942. The area was shrouded in secrecy. On July 16, 1945, the bomb was dropped. The Army reported that a large amount of munitions had exploded to hide the truth that America had successfully created an atomic bomb. “To help provide the public with a credible account, the Manhattan Project allowed New York Times reporter William Laurence to live on the Los Alamos compound in the months leading to the blast. He kept the secret and wrote a celebrated series in the Times after Hiroshima.”‘Atomic Bill’ Laurence, The New York Times, and the Birth of the BombA star science reporter had unparalleled access to the Manhattan Project, as chronicler and cheerleader.
The most poignant part of this research has been reading the eye witness accounts of the Los Alamos bomb drop. One can feel the uneasiness of the scientists who participated in the construction of the atomic explosive. Several of them compared the new technology to stories from Greek mythology, Pandora’s Box and Prometheus. An updated article continues to compare technology and mythology.
Christian Lous Lange, the winner of the 1921 Nobel Peace, writes, “technology is a useful servant but a a dangerous master.”