On July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 AM, the world’s first nuclear bomb was successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
This was initially started as a research project by the United States with the support of United Kingdom and Canada in 1939 under the direction of US Brigadier-General Leslie Groves and Los Alomos Director and American Physicist Robert Oppenheimer. The project was started at Manhattan District that’s why it was code named as “The Manhattan Project”.
At starting phase in 1940, the Federal Government granted a total of $6000 for research. But In 1942, when the United States was at War and the fear that Germany was working on its own Uranium bomb and close to build their own Game-Changing weapon, the War Department removed all the limits on the resources for the project. And the project cost Raised to nearly $2 billion and employed more than 130,000 people.
Brigadier-General Leslie R. Groves brought the greatest minds together and discover the way to harness the power of the atom. The success of the Manhattan project was the result of all his efforts. By that time, a Scientist Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago successfully set off the first fission chain reaction. With the great minds as Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, and Fermi, Oppenheimer began directing project Y at Los Almos. And the construction of the world’s first nuclear bomb was completed.
Finally on July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico 120 miles south of Santa Fe, the first atomic bomb was detonated. Before the testing, crews built a steel 100-feet tall tower to launch the bomb and three observational bunkers for the Manhattan project Scientists to safely observe the blast, 10,000 yards away from the tower. The first mushroom cloud of searing light stretched 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb mounted, when detonated was vaporized.
In an interview about the decision to drop the bomb, Oppenheimer said at the moment of the explosion he thought of a line from the Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
On August 6, 1945, the US dropped a 5-ton atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The blast killed 80,000 people immediately and leveled four square miles of the city.
Three days later, the US dropped another bomb on Japan’s Nagasaki, killing about 40,000 people instantly; thousands more would die of radiation poisoning.