EM Story Transcript
On July 16, 1945, at the Trinity Site in New Mexico, the United States government
conducted the first test of an atomic bomb.
Less than a month later, a U.S. military aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on the
Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Three days later, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of
Six days later, Japan announced its surrender, bringing an end to World War II, a
conflict in which more than 70 million people died.
The road to development of the atomic bomb began in 1939 when Albert Einstein
wrote a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt advising him that Nazi Germany
might be conducting research to develop atomic bombs . He suggested that the U.S.
should do the same.
In 1942, the U.S. government launched an effort to develop the first atomic bombs,
this effort was later called the “Manhattan Project.”
Conducted in secret, the Manhattan Project would eventually employ more than
130,000 people at research and production sites located across the U.S.
These sites included the Los Alamos research site in New Mexico and production
facilities at Hanford in Washington State and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Following World War II, tension and competition grew between the United States
and the Soviet Union. This rivalry between the two world powers came to be known
as the Cold War.
The Cold War soon escalated into a nuclear arms race, in which both the U.S. and
the Soviet Union developed large numbers of nuclear weapons.
The U.S. expanded nuclear weapons research and production, building such sites as
the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, the Idaho National Laboratory, and
the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado.
The prospect of mutual mass destruction from these nuclear weapons deterred
direct conflict between the adversaries.
In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, the Soviet Union and its influence over its allies
collapsed, effectively ending the Cold War.
During the Cold War,