The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project

Ratings: 7.42/10 from 97 users.

The Manhattan ProjectThe Moment in Time documents the uncertain days of the beginning of World War II when it was feared the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb. The history of the bomb's development is traced through recollections of those who worked on what was known as "the gadget".

The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (roughly equivalent to $25.8 billion as of 2012). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissionable materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

We would have otherwise firebombed every major Japanese city. The bombs saved countless lives and suffering.

Digital Bookworm
4 years ago

Oddly enough, I can't find this documentary in the IMDb database. Someone from the University of California TV should submit all the relevant info. I'd do it but it takes hours to type it all up.
Excellent documentary. ☺️

6 years ago

Like today, it is possible the Japanese would have thought it a special effects or a hoax video and not taken it seriously. Yet I suppose we could have used it on an out island with lower population to prove a point and invited them to watch. The paranoia and mind thought or extremism of the time along with the technology didn't lend itself to that way of logic I'm afraid. Like today, people are being led down a very slanted view of their reason of being, their contribution to existing on earth. DO YOU WANT TO BE FREE TO THING TO LIVE YOUR LIFE OR INTERFERE WITH EVERYONE ELSES?

7 years ago

if you are a scientist during that time, and you were offered to be part of the project, will you take it? Why or why not?

7 years ago

Anyone catch all of the mistakes in this film?
Szilard is was Hungarian NOT German. just listen to his accent. Potsdam is NOT in Yugoslavia.
The first bomb used on Japan was uranium, not plutonium.

Something else to consider is the atomic bombs weren't as deadly if compared to the firebombing raids. Take a look at the 70+ cities the Americans firebombed in the same fashion as Dresden. Far more people were killed and burned with the firebombing raids then with the atomic bombs.

7 years ago

You cannot white wash history to further your agenda by writing the history you want. The war was over, the Japanese knew the Soviet front was coming since they were moving the army from the western to the eastern front. The cities were already destroyed in japan by thousands of "regular bombs." However the military which had saved two cities for the show of strength. it was not a show of strength towards the japanese but for the Soviets. A clear message of Thanks for doing our ditry work but this is where you stay. There were already negotiations in the works before the bomb was dropped where they just had to keep the emperor(which they did anywaY). Truman had little control of his millitary considering they didnt even tell him about it until it was ready to drop. Anyway.. please use your brain before you whitewash US history. When you do that you are doomed to repeat.

Rick Smith
9 years ago

The United States never declared war on Germany, They declared war on the Nazi's. That is why the Japanese were put in concentration camps during the war, and not the Germans. The bomb was not meant for Japan. Japan would have fell in 3 to 6 months top. They were a broken and defeated nation. It was a deterrent for Russia to scare them that we had something they didn't. You see we told Russian they could oversee the rebuilding of Japan after the war was over. The president realized, they had made a mistake because they knew Russia would have made Japan another satellite country. They dropped the bomb to keep the soviets out of japan at the expense of Japanese life's. This way the United States could get in and start rebuilding japan as a democratic nation. I don't know if their democratic or not anymore, but I know they are not free because they can not own any firearms.

Tammy Spinks
9 years ago

I know a lady that worked the Manhatten Project. Yes she is 90 years old.

10 years ago

Roosevelt blundered by aligning the United States with the UK, which was trying to hold on to it's colonial possessions, and the Stalin regime.

The UK was fighting the 2nd 20th Century European Civil War, and the Soviets were fighting their so-called "Great Patriotic War". Even the German troops they respectively faced constituted different armies with different philosophies.

Had the full capacity of US industry been turned towards fighting the Pacific War, it would not have been long before Japan would have been forced to capitulate due to lack of fuel and food, say within perhaps 18 months. Consequently, there would have no A-Bomb deployment by the United States.

Additionally, if America had hit hard and fast right away, the perimeter of Japanese military expansion in the Pacific would have been kept closer to the home islands, narrowing the scope of the island hopping campaign and saving a lot of young Marines' lives. Admiral Ernest King was a difficult person to deal with, but in my opinion, he got that one right.

Sure, there would by necessity have been landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, but the Japanese would not have had enough time to fortify them as was the case. You can pour a lot of concrete in six months, but you can certainly pour a lot more in two years, not to mention being able to regularly drill the troops to zero in artillery and site airfields, pill boxes and landmines.

It would be naive to think that nuclear weapons wouldn't have been developed, tested and perhaps used eventually. I think the war was used as an excuse to implement atomic theory into practical use, but most thinking people at the time believed in the electrical power generation aspect rather than as a weapon of mass destruction. Some people even considered atomic explosions as possible big-project construction tools until the realization of the radioactive fallout and subsequent environmental and health problems began to dawn on the general public.

Then again, would the British or Soviets have used a nuke on Berlin? Would the Germans have used one at Stalingrad or Moscow? We can guess, but the fact remains that the United States is the only country that has ever used atomic/nuclear weapons on a civilian population.

Only by going back in time and living in 1945 can anyone understand what folks were concerned about then.

11 years ago

If our advances though the island chains had been slower, the bomb may have been deployed on such an atoll. But, "what ifs" are always after the fact. People forget that young Japanese were throwing themselves fatally at American and Allied forces (naval), Japanese civilians were jumping off cliffs and in the face of firebombing as done to Dresden that killed 300K plus, we saved more life than could have been lost even at the toll of future generations that still have effects from that day. What is wrong is the continuation of a war for the purpose of economic gain for the few.

Steve B
11 years ago

and why was it hiroshima and nagasaki targeted? because truman , who was an occulist kabalist, wanted to target the largest christian community in japan, and the oldest chrisitan community in japan, which were those two cities...

dont believe me? go investigate and understand how and why world war II really took place... answer: there are 'no good guys' vs 'bad guys'

11 years ago

If I may depart from the conversation a little, I found this doc to be quite interesting in that it delivers a different aspect to a subject that I am quite familiar with. For those of you who are questioning the use of the atom bomb, I would side with Chester Nimitz, who felt that it was not necessary, and would have preferred to blockade, rather than invade Japan, which may have prolonged hostilities, but saved lives on both sides. For another look at this, I recommend you dig up an old doc from the 1970's called the world at war, and find the episode called 'The Bomb' There they discuss the political practicalities in more detail.

11 years ago

in the case of japan, i'm with mcarthur's continuous conventional bombing....& in the case of n'orleans, i'm with kathrinas continuous
'hurricaning' (lolly)!

11 years ago

can someone tell me why we cant watch videos on this site anymore,i keep getting in my email but theres nothing to watch whats going on,i get a blank screen every time and i have all the proper programs on my computer,if you know,please leave answer in comment box i will occasionally check this site

11 years ago

Wheres Matt Broderick?

11 years ago

i hoped you could tell me?what are you trying to convey?the 'japs' have & n'orleans haven't (the damage is meant,of course)?....or the other way around?a natural catastrophy is god-sent & a man-made catastrophy is US sent (the fist of god????) ?please clarify......

11 years ago

there was never a real usage of the 'gadget'...only for 'flexing-muscle' sake!
if you theoretically reverse the 'incident' & the u.s. would have to cope with
this catastrophy,the semantic tone would beg to differ!

11 years ago

Really too bad we had to do this. The crazies in this world were at the root of our evil deed. Lets hope we never need to use it again! there are enough cool heads to keep it under wraps forever. I hope.

11 years ago

which you must know, what up wit that...?

11 years ago

potsdam is in germany, outside of berlin...not yugoslavia

11 years ago

the good ol' days ...where euphemisms(the gadget) were 'catchy' for wmd's!