The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
When faced with a full-scale invasion of Japan or the dropping of atomic bombs, newly-appointed President Harry S Truman immediately realized the full weight of his office. After the first successful explosion of the new atomic weapon in July 1945, President Truman decided to use its destructive force on Japan, hoping to bring the war to a speedy conclusion and save American lives. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in Japan’s unconditional surrender and the official end of World War II. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the world into the nuclear age and displayed the devastating consequences of nuclear weaponry.
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The Manhattan Project
Early in 1940, and in the face of Hitler’s European conquests, Albert Einstein convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to fund the creation of a new weapon. These notebook pages from the Manhattan Project—code name for the atomic bomb—reveal the first successful controlled and self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. At the bottom of the notebook, one scientist comments, “We’re cookin!” Not only did this experimental project usher in a new age of weaponry, but it also began an era where nuclear power could be harnessed and used for energy. America first used nuclear weapons to devastate the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The power of the bomb reverberated throughout the world and created fears that fueled the Cold War for nearly five decades.