The origins of the Manhattan Project date back to 1939, the year in which American intelligence realized what the dangers of nuclear weapons would be in the hands of the Nazis and what the consequences if Hitler had won the war and had been able to dispose of such a device. According to some rumors the "Manhattan Project" would have taken shape right at the famous Bohemian Grove, meeting of the powerful of the Earth.
However, the actual project saw the light in the strictest secrecy only in 1942, in the middle of the Second World War, and was named after the American Corps district of Manhattan in New York, which took over its management.
The aim of the Manhattan Project
The intent of the American government was to create laboratories capable of producing an atomic weapon in the shortest possible time to beat the Nazis, who had been involved in the nuclear program for years. The American government had an ace up its sleeve: it could exploit in its favor the contribution of very high level physicists who, with the rise of dictatorships in Europe and the scarcity of funding for science, had found refuge in the United States, including Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard and Robert Oppenheimer, moved by the belief that it was absolutely necessary for America to be equipped with a weapon capable of acting as a deterrent to the Nazis. The operation took place from the years 1942-1946 under the supervision of General Leslie Groves, a U.S Army lieutenant.
The first steps of the nuclear project
Since the project required research centers and laboratories to be built in isolated areas, away from large towns and fenced with barbed wire but, at the same time, easily accessible by researchers and technicians, three suitable sites were identified:
- Oak Ridge (Tennessee)
- Los Alamos (New Mexico)
- Hanford (Washington)
All residents were evicted and the level of secrecy became such that these centers, isolated by natural barriers and security fences, were no longer even on the maps.
Since the Manhattan Project also included intelligence activities on German military nuclear strategy, many spies were sent to Europe to collect secret materials and documents and to enlist scientists. However, as the war progressed, as the work on the production of the atomic bomb proceeded, the Allies found evidence revealing that the German nuclear project was in fact still in an embryonic stage: neither a chain reaction had been produced. neither plutonium, nor the separation of uranium isotopes.
This greatly destabilized the American scientists who, on the other hand, were one step away from making the uranium and plutonium bombs: Szilard, one of the leading men of the project, in 1945 drafted a petition signed by 68 employees of the Project's Metallurgy department Manhattan (Franck Report), in which he stated that dropping the first atomic bombs on Japan would be completely unjustified, and presented it to President Truman. Needless to say, the petition was ignored.
Rehearsal of destruction
On the morning of July 16, 1945, scientists from the Manhattan Project tested the power of Gadget, the first atomic bomb in history in the heart of the Jornada del Muerto desert, New Mexico.
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped another atomic bomb ("Little Boy") on Hiroshima in Japanand three days later a plutonium bomb ("Fat Man") on Nagasaki. Only then, President Truman (who succeeded Roosvelt in April 1945) made public the news of the nuclear sites.
Everything took place to the dismay of many of the scientists who helped to create it, including Oppenheimer himself who came to call himself "the destroyer of worlds"
A real "Conspiracy Theory"
In the case of the Manhattan Project we can talk about the greatest real conspiracy theory, made official after the declassification and publication of the reports on it: there is no doubt that there was a plan to develop an atomic bomb by the United States, it would have involved more than 130,000 people who were asked to deny its existence in order to maintain strict confidentiality about it. Its existence was kept secret, but, as we now know, without much success.
The collateral conspiracy theories of the Manhattan project
A series of further speculations gravitate around the Manhattan Project, the best known are related to the so-called Central Park Conspiracy Theory:
There is another version of the Manhattan project, involving a federally funded underground bunker in Central Park (New York).
Over the years, this structure would have hosted a number of famous people including Tsar Nicolas II, who is said to have found refuge there after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, living there until his death with his family.
Some say instead that it was Adolf Hitler who lived there: before the end of the war he would have contacted President Roosevelt promising him the atomic bomb that the Nazis had developed, all the scientific research and hiding places of all his best scientists, in exchange for political asylum in the United States.
According to this hypothesis, he would have stayed in the underground shelter until his death in 1956. The body found in the Berlin bunker by the Soviets in Berlin would therefore have been that of his double, Gustav Weler.
Others claim that the aliens recovered in Roswell were treated and lived in the Manhattan Project Bunker until 1968/1969. They would reciprocate their assistance by offering a range of technologies to the United States, including Teflon, stealth aircraft technology and radar.
Other rumors speak of an ever-expanding underground installation created beginning in the 1860s that would include over 60 miles of roads and a lake where all the gold of the United States would be stored.
Imagine a time
When it all began in the dying days of a war
A weapon, that would settle the score
Whoever found it first
Would be sure to do their worst
They always had before
Imagine a man
Where it all began
A scientist pacing the floor
In each nation, always eager to explore
To build the best big stick
To turn the winning trick
But this was something more
The big bang, took and shook the world
Shot down the rising sun
The end was begun, it would hit everyone
When the chain reaction was done
The big shots, try to hold it back
Fools try to wish it away
The hopeful depend on a world without end
Whatever the hopeless may say...
-Rush "Manhattan Project"
Resources related to The Manhattan Project and the US race to the atomic bomb
Search in the archive:
central park conspiracy theory
julius robert oppenheimer