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The Manhattan Project and Executive Order 9066: FDR During World War II. Vincent Bucci Hamilton-Wenham Regional H.S. The Manhattan Project (1942-1945). Trinity Test (July 16, 1945) Almagordo, NM. Scientific Context of Manhattan Project: 1932-1939 in Europe.

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the manhattan project and executive order 9066 fdr during world war ii
The Manhattan Project and Executive Order 9066: FDR During World War II

Vincent Bucci

Hamilton-Wenham Regional H.S.

the manhattan project 1942 1945
The Manhattan Project (1942-1945)

Trinity Test (July 16, 1945)

Almagordo, NM

scientific context of manhattan project 1932 1939 in europe
Scientific Context of Manhattan Project: 1932-1939 in Europe
  • 1932: Chadwick (English) discovers the neutron
  • 1938: Fermi (Italian) discovers that using neutrons to bombard uranium atoms produces a new radioactive element
  • 1939: Hahn and Strassman (German) recognize the new element as barium
  • 1939: Meitner (Austrian) explains that the uranium nucleus absorbs the neutron and splits into 2 parts (nuclear fission)

James Chadwick

Enrico Fermi

Fritz Strassman,

Lise Meitner, and

Otto Hahn

what happens during nuclear fission
What Happens During Nuclear Fission?

1. Uranium nucleus is split by a neutron

2. Two elements of smaller mass are created

(Barium and Krypton)

3. Energy is released

4. Neutrons are released

the chain reaction
The Chain Reaction

In order for nuclear energy to be used in a practical way, the new neutrons released during fission need to be able to split other atoms, creating a sustained chain reaction

Szilard (Hungarian) understood the theoretical potential for a nuclear chain reaction in 1933, even before fission had actually been accomplished

Leo Szilard

einstein s letter to fdr warning and opportunity august 1939
Einstein’s Letter to FDR: Warning and Opportunity(August, 1939)

Main Points of Einstein’s Letter:

1. A chain reaction in a mass of uranium is possible

2. This chain reaction could be used to construct bombs

3. A single bomb of this type could destroy a whole port and some of the surrounding territory

4. The government should consider establishing a permanent relationship with the scientists in the U.S. who are working on chain reactions

5. Germany has stopped the sale of uranium from Czechoslovakia, which might indicate it is planning on working on an atomic bomb project

Albert Einstein

fdr s response an opportunity seized
FDR’s Response: An Opportunity Seized
  • Forms the”Advisory Committee on Uranium”, which was eventually superceded by the S-1 Uranium Committee
  • Allocates $6000 for Fermi (now in the U.S.) to conduct experiments at the University of Chicago
  • Begins to move nuclear research funding away from the universities and to the Federal Government---Paves the way for the Manhattan Project

4. Allocates substantial federal funding for atomic research after the defeat of France (June, 1940)

S-1 Uranium Committee

atomic research in nazi germany a dilemma
Atomic Research In Nazi Germany: A Dilemma

From Goebbels Diary (Spring, 1942)

“ Research in the realm of atomic destruction has proceeded to the point where its results may possibly be made use of in the conduct of this war… Modern techniques places in the hands of human beings means of destruction that are simply incredible. German science is at its peak in this matter.”

Joseph Goebbels

German Propaganda Minister

the situation in england a dilemma
The Situation in England: A Dilemma

Churchill and FDR meet in Hyde park, NY (June, 1942)

  • Main reason for meeting is to discuss whether to open up a second front in western Europe before the end of the year
  • Churchill informs FDR of the British project to create an atomic bomb (code named “Tube Alloys”)
  • Churchill informs FDR of what he knows about German progress in trying to create an atomic bomb
  • Churchill encourages the US and England to work together, pool information, and share results in an effort to create the atomic bomb before the Germans
  • Churchill informs FDR that it is too risky for England to continue atomic research on the scale necessary due to severe German bombing.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill

responding to the dilemmas the manhattan project
Responding to the Dilemmas: The Manhattan Project
  • Top secret project begins in August, 1942
  • Work takes place in over 30 different secret locations
  • Main weapons research lab is in Los Alamos, NM
  • Directed by army engineer General Leslie Groves
  • Head Scientist is J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Costs $2 billion ($24 billion in 2008 dollars)
  • Employs 120,000 people

Housing facilities in Los Alamos, NM

Uranium enrichment site in Oak Ridge, TN

oppression in europe taking advantage of an opportunity
Oppression in Europe: Taking Advantage of an Opportunity

Some of the most important scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project had come to the U.S. to escape oppression in Europe

Enrico Fermi: married to a Jewish woman and left Fascist Italy in 1938

Otto Frisch: (Lise Meitner’s nephew and co-worker) left Nazi Germany in 1943 because he was Jewish

Edward Teller: a Jewish scientist from Hungary who was studying in Germany, who left Europe in 1933




results of the manhattan project
Results of the Manhattan Project

Two types of atomic bombs:

A. Two Plutonium bombs

a. one tested in NM (July, 1945)

b. one dropped on Nagasaki, Japan (August, 1945)

B. One Uranium bomb

a. dropped on Hiroshima, ,Japan (August, 1945)

Japan agreed to unconditional surrender 6 days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki

Plutonium Bomb

Uranium Bomb

long term causes
Long Term Causes

Economic Competition

Japanese owned 1% of land in California, but produced 40% of California crop


1905: No marriage between Caucasians and Japanese

1906: Japanese must attend segregated schools in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood

Japanese Farmers, 1910

A school in San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1910

immediate cause pearl harbor december 1941
Immediate Cause: Pearl Harbor (December, 1941)

Japanese-Americans accused of:

Shore-to-shore signaling and other forms of sabotage

Never any evidence brought forth to confirm these accusations

General John DeWitt, Army’s West Coast Commander: “the very fact that no sabotage has taken place is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken”

Pearl Harbor

General John DeWitt

executive 9066 february 1942
Executive 9066 (February, 1942)
  • Required the forced removal of all all people of Japanese descent from any area designated a military zone
  • All of California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona were military zones
  • Approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes in these areas

Map of Exclusion Areas

the bill of rights a dilemma
The Bill of Rights: A Dilemma

Article V

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”

Over 75% of Japanese-Americans forced to leave their homes under Executive Order 9066 were American citizens by birth (Nisei)

lack of japanese american political power a dilemma
Lack of Japanese-American Political Power: A Dilemma

Japanese Americans lacked political organization because:

  • Issei (1st generation) could not vote or become citizens
  • Nisei (2nd generation) were citizens, but they were mostly still in school and too young to vote or organize

Result= Lack of ability for Japanese-Americans to pressure the government politically

attorney general francis biddle an opportunity ignored
Attorney General Francis Biddle: An Opportunity Ignored
  • Biddle was the only important advisor to Roosevelt who spoke out against Executive Order 9066
  • He had become AG the previous September.
  • His view held little influence on Roosevelt because he hadn’t held his Cabinet position for very long

“I do not think FDR was much concerned with the gravity or implications of this step”. Francis Biddle

the evacuation process
The Evacuation Process

Step One: Evacuees had to abandon or quickly sell their homes,

businesses, farms and other possessions.

They could only take with them what they could carry

Step Two: Evacuees were sent to hastily

constructed temporary assembly centers

at racetracks and athletic fields

Step Three: Evacuees were went to permanent

camps in the interior of the U.S. when they were built.

Ten camps were built to hold the roughly

110,000 Japanese-Americans forced

to leave their homes.

eleanor roosevelt s report an opportunity
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Report: An Opportunity
  • 1943: Eleanor Roosevelt visits Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona
  • Her report emphasizes:

A. Lack of freedom

B. Breakdown of Family Structure

C. Low morale

D. Need to end the exclusion order and allow Japanese to return to their homes

Eleanor Roosevelt at Gila River Relocation Camp, April 1943

fdr s response a partial opportunity
FDR’s Response: A Partial Opportunity

FDR’s response to Eleanor’s report:

1. Find troublemakers in the camps and move them to a separate camp. This would clear the way to release the other evacuees

2. Issue work permits which allowed some evacuees to leave the camps

3. Allow Nisei to enlist in the army. 33,000 eventually served in the U.S. Army

1/3 of the evacuees were able to leave the camps through these 2 programs by the end of 1943.

“Normal life is hardly possible under any form of detention” FDR (1943)

1944 a missed opportunity
1944: A Missed Opportunity

FDR pressured to close the camps in June, 1944 due to:

1. Contributions made by Japanese-American soldiers to the war effort

2. Diminished military threat

Because of a fear of how the public will react to the closing of the camps, he refused to issue the order until after the election in November

December 18: The War Relocation authority announces that all camps will be closed by the end of 1945.

Election of 1944

fdr dilemmas and opportunities 1942 1945
Manhattan Project


1. German research on atomic weapons

2. Disruption of research on atomic weapons in England due to German bombing raids

3. How to keep the Manhattan Project secret


1. Progress in nuclear research within the scientific community

2. Einstein’s letter

3. Allocation of government funding for nuclear research beginning with the Advisory Committee on Uranium

4. The oppression in Nazi Germany and Fascist italy which ledmany prominent nuclear scientists to come to the United States

Japanese Internment


Anti-Japanese public opinion

Potential violation of 5th amendment rights of Nisei

Lack of evidence to support claims that Japanese-Americans were a threat to national security

Lack of political power of Japanese-Americans


1. Criticism of Attorney General Francis Biddle

2. Eleanor Roosevelt’s report from Gila

River Relocation Camp

3. Change in military situation in 1944

FDR:Dilemmas and Opportunities (1942-1945)