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What was the Manhattan Project?

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The Manhattan Project was the top secret military endeavor to build, and detonate the first atomic bomb. It was based at Los Alamos, New Mexico and headed by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. The completion came on July 16, 1945 when the team exploded the first Atomic Bomb (Gadget) on the St. Augustine Plain at what is now known as the Trinity site, in central New Mexico. This site is open to the public for escorted tours twice a year: the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October.

Development of the first U.S. nuclear weapons (Gadget, Little Boy, Fatman) was led by the U.S Army and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Oppenheimer was the lead scientist, General Groves was the commander and executive in charge.

The project employed a large number of people in other places such as Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington, where the fissile materials (80% enriched uranium at Oak Ridge, plutonium at Hanford) were made.

It was the WWII codename from 1942 to 1947 for the creation of the Atomic Bomb which was a Joint Canadian, United Kingdom, and United States effort under the control of the US Army Corps of Engineers. It was termed the Manhattan Engineering District to mask the large expenditures needed. In truth it had little to do with the island of Manhattan or with Manhattan Kansas. It involved over 130,000 people and spent two billion US dollars at such diverse locations as Oak Ridge Tennessee, Columbia University, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Hanford Washington, Wendover Utah, Wright Field Ohio, Muroc Army Airfield California (now Edwards AFB), and Los Alamos New Mexico.

The military Manhattan Project ended in 1947 when its responsibilities were turned over to the newly created civilian Atomic Energy Commission.
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