History

It’s through the history that we learn and understand what nuclear weapons actually is and what devastating impact these weapons have.

In war, nuclear weapons have been used twice. It was in the end of World War II in 1945, when the US on the 6th and 9th of August dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The world said “never again”. But despite that, there are still over 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world.

An idea takes shape

In the 1930’s, European scientists made great progress in nuclear research. When Hitler’s armies marched into the Czechoslovakia in 1938 and then Poland in 1939 – the beginning of World War II – many of Europe’s top scientists were already fleeing the coming war.

Researchers and scientists on both sides of the war were fully aware that nuclear fission could be used in a weapon, but at that time not quite clear on how. Shortly, physicists stopped publishing their results within the field of fissile processes, to prevent their opponents from reaching their results faster.

The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project is the name of a huge project launched by the US, Canada and the UK in`1942 to develop an atomic bomb sooner than Hitler’s Germany managed to do the same. Born out of a small research program in 1939, the Manhattan Project eventually employed more than 130,000 people.

Trinity_Test_-_Oppenheimer_and_Groves_at_Ground_Zero_002The leader of the project, General Leslie Groves, created multiple production and research sites that operated in secret. The three main centres were found in the US: Oak Ridge in Tennessee, Hanford in Washington and Los Alamos in New Mexico. In addition, more than 30 research sites were established in the US, Canada and the UK. Researchers worked mainly on Uranium-235 and the recently discovered substance Plutonium.

The Manhattan Project succeeded in detonating three nuclear weapons in 1945: Trinity, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Last update: December 30, 2015