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Atomic Bombing Americas Only Choice It was discovered at the University of Chicago that neutrons striking the element uranium caused the atoms to split apart The discovery based on Einsteins Emc2 theory that mass has the potential to unleash great amounts of raw energy showed that among the pieces of a split atom were newly produced neutrons These might encounter other uranium nuclei cause them to split and start a chain reaction If the chain reaction were limited to a moderate pace a new source of energy could be the result The chain reaction could release energy rapidly and with explosive force Albert Einstein informed President Roosevelt about the possibility of the Germans making an atomic bomb In late 1939 President Roosevelt ordered an American effort to make an atomic bomb before the Germans This project to produce the atomic bomb was named the Manhattan Project Industrial and research activities took place at such sites as Los Alamos New Mexico Oak Ridge Tennessee and Hanford Washington J Robert Oppenheimer known as the father of the bomb led the Manhattan Project he directed the design and building of the bomb from 1943 to 1945 The first atomic bomb was successfully exploded on July 16 1945 near Alamogordo New Mexico There was a debate over whether dropping the remaining two bombs Little Boy and Fat Man could be avoided Many people offered alternatives they saw as more morally justifiable One alternative was an invasion of the Japan mainland but most Americans wanted to avoid this option at all costs since it involved the loss of a predicted one million American lives as well as huge numbers of Japanese It has also been argued that a demonstration could have been held for Japanese officials on an uninhabited island This if it had worked would have spared Hiroshima and Nagasaki devastation while still revealing the atom bombs fantastic power to the Japanese Assuming that the Japanese would
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