The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb


The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 brought together for the first time in one department most of the Federal Government's energy programs. With these programs came a score of organizational entities, each with its own history and traditions, from a dozen departments and independent agencies. The History Division has prepared a series of monographs on The Origins of the Department of Energy. Each explains the history, goals, and achievements of a predecessor agency or a major program of the Department of Energy.

"The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb" is a short history of the origins and development of the American atomic bomb program during World War II. Beginning with the scientific developments of the pre-war years, the monograph details the role of United States government in conducting a secret, nationwide enterprise that took science from the laboratory and into combat with an entirely new type of weapon,The monograph concludes with a discussion of the immediate postwar period, the debate over the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, and the founding of the Atomic Energy Commission.

The author wishes to thank Richard G. Hewlett, Jack M. Hell, and Thomas Comwell for reviewing the manuscript and making numerous valuable suggestions. He also wishes to thank Glenn Seaborg for a thorough critique that improved the final product. Others who read and commented on the manuscript include Roger Anders, Terry Fehner, Alice Buck, Betsy Scroger, and Sheila Convis. Finally, the author thanks La Shonda Steward for research support, Betsy Scroger for a first-class editing job, and Sheila Convis for project support.