MANHATTAN: THE ARMY AND THE ATOMIC BOMB. By Vincent C. Jones. (1985, 1988; 660 pages, 7 maps, 3 tables, 5 charts, 93 illustrations, appendix, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 11-10.)
This volume describes the U.S. Army's key role in the formation and administration of the Manhattan Project, the World War II organization which produced the
atomic bomb that contributed significantly to ending the conflict with Japan and marked the beginning of the postwar atomic era. It relates how the Army, starting in 1939, became increasingly involved in the research activities initiated by American and refugee scientists into the military potentialities of atomic energy, spurred on by the conviction that the Axis powers already had under way programs for the development of atomic weapons. With the United States entry into the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor (1941 ) as an active participant, America's wartime leaders took immediate measures to expand the research and industrial efforts required to develop atomic weapons. To administer this enlarged program, they turned to the Army as the organization best suited to cope with its special security, priority, manpower, and other problems in an economy geared to all-out war production.
The Army took over the atomic bomb program in the early summer of 1942. By that time much of the basic scientific research and development prerequisite to building the plants and testing the methods for weapon design and production had been completed. To form and oversee an atomic bomb construction and production organization, the Army turned to its own Corps of Engineers, with a long and distinguished history of supervising large-scale building projects. The corps re-sponded to its newly assigned task by adopting organizational procedures used on all its major construction projects. It set up a new engineer "district" under the command of a district engineer, who temporarily established his headquarters in the facilities of the corps' division engineer in New York City. For reasons of security the new district's project was designated the Laboratory for Development of Substitute Materials (DSM), but unofficially became known as the Manhattan District because of its New York location.
This history of the Manhattan Project takes a broadly chronological approach but with topical treatment of detailed developments. The focus of the narrative is from the vantage point of the Manhattan Project organization, as it functioned under the direction of Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves and such key scientific administrators as Vannevar Bush, James B. Conant, Arthur Compton, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, responding to policies originating at the top levels of the wartime leadership. The volume begins with a prologue designed to provide the reader with a brief survey of the history of atomic energy, explaining in layman's terms certain technical aspects of atomic science.
The remainder of the book takes the reader through the turnover of the project administration to the Army and the beginnings of the atomic age. Discussion of technological problems and issues are presented in nontechnical prose. This volume ends where it began with the project being transferred back to civilian control.
1. The history and theoretical basis of atomic science before the outbreak of World War II (Prologue).
2. The contributions during World War II of civilian scientific agencies, such as the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), to the program for design and manufacture of an atomic bomb (Ch. I).
3. How the Army successfully organized and administered several projects that
enabled American industry to build and operate massive production facilities
essential to the making of atomic bombs (Chs. III, IV, Part II).
4. The technical problems involved in the production of fissionable materials (uranium and plutonium) for use in atomic weapons (Part II).
5. The difficulties and complexities of interchanging scientific information and personnel among Allies in wartime as exhibited in the collaboration between the United States and Great Britain on atomic matters in World War II (Ch. X).
6. The special problems of designing and managing a project-wide security system based upon the principle of compartmentalization of information (Ch. XI).
7. The planning, building, and administering of new communities for civilian war workers and military personnel serving at atomic installations in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Richland-Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico (Chs. XXI-XXIII).
8. The essential elements for interservice collaboration as exhibited by the leaders of the Manhattan Project and the Army Air Forces in the strategical and tactical planning and the on-site preparations for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August (Ch. XXVI).
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