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Date 15 May 1945 To President Harry S Truman From James Wheeler Re Manhattan Project Briefing President Truman You have asked me to provide you with a summary analysis of the government project nicknamed the Manhattan Project I have reviewed thoroughly all of the pertinent literature and documentation pertaining to the formation and continuing research and development of the Manhattan Project I have enclosed an overview of all necessary information for which you should be familiar However since the project is ongoing and the final product incomplete as of today the outcome of the most secretive project is as yet unclear The Manhattan Project is the code name of the attempt to produce an atomic bomb It was named for the Manhattan Engineer District of the US Army Corp of Engineers because much of the early research was done in New York City The Manhattan Project is run by Brigadier General Leslie R Groves who is responsible to a Military Policy Committee chaired by Dr Vannevar Bush Conant pg 1 I feel it necessary to take you through the developments in atomic research which led to the need for such an immense undertaking of time and money In December of 1938 scientists in Germany which has unfortunately proven to be the locus for theoretical physics discovered nuclear fission in Uranium Fearing that research into nuclear fission by the Nazis could lead to the construction of an extremely powerful bomb of unheard of destructive power physicists Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein wrote letters to President Franklin Roosevelt warning of this possible threat and urging the US government to conduct its own nuclear research Szilard pg 10 President Roosevelt agrees and research is begun The problem for scientists turns out to be separating the isotope U235 which is the substance determined to be best suited for the bomb from U238 Since no singular path is guaranteed to work many different
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