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Science, Technology and the World Wars.docx

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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Vera Pavri

January 31, 2012 S CIENCE ,T ECHNOLOGY AND THE W ORLD W ARS I.G ENERAL CONSIDERATIONS  Three major areas: 1. Attitudes and responses toward new scientific and technological developments, as well as old ones 2. Where science and technology keys to victory 3. Ethical and moral questions raised  We live in a world today where most individual think of science and technology as being regarded with a great deal of enthusiasm. Most countries during times of war raced to create the latest technologies and having better technology is often seen as a major way of gaining some kind of advantage over your opponent.  However, in WWI, things are a little different – attitudes and responses towards science and tech were not always positive – there were mixed attitudes toward scientific and technological developments during this time. Some scientific and technological developments were viewed very positively, and some were viewed quite negatively, regardless of the contribution they gave to war efforts  WWI(1914-1918)–10 M lives lost, a period of time known by many as being the “great” war, and when it was completed, “the war to end all wars”  Historians suggest that the number of lives in WWI were sometimes lost unnecessarily because soldiers often lost their lives were put in situations for the most part that met with death th th  “WWI has often been called a 20 century war that was fought with 19 century tactics” o Despite having access to these technologies, tactics remained old fashioned and traditional – they remained 19 century tactics. In WWI, we see the fact that strategies did not always mesh well with the technology available – and when the strategies don’t necessarily fit with the technology available, the end result can be a disaster  E.g., British and French leaders frowned upon the machine gun – they saw the machine gun to be an unfair, unsporting and unethical device. It seemed to go against the very basis and foundation of what was considered to be a romanticized idea of how wars should be fought, and it seemed to go against the traditional way that wars should be fought o It’s so different from traditional methods of warfare because traditional warfare is often associated with hand-to-hand combat, looking into the eyes of your opponent where you’re fighting with bravery and honor. For many people, using a machine gun simply did not mesh well with this idea of how wars should be fought. You could use a machine gun indiscriminately, and plow down as many opponents as possible, but you don’t necessarily need to see the opponent face-to-face. Therefore, despite the availability, there was a rejection of it, especially in the early years of war o Not only did they reject the technology, but these leaders were also unfamiliar with how to strategize with it, and as a result, in the earliest battles, we see unfair fighting – resulting in blood baths.  German Kaiser was an individual who continued to favor traditional methods of fighting (i.e., the idea of soldiers on horses, despite the readily availability of machine guns)  In WWI – many of the military leaders in the British army often came from the aristocracy. These were not necessarily those experience in battle, but their higher class meant that their views on fighting were quite traditional and romantic 1 II. N AVAL P OWER  Naval technologies – the attitudes toward science and technology were very positive  Building a stronger and more powerful navy was considered to be instrumental for many countries, not just during WWI, but well before (i.e., England traditionally throughout her history, tried to maintain a powerful navy, essentially because it was a country surrounded by water)  1905-1906 – the British had created what was considered to be the most powerful battleship called the Dreadnought. This was the biggest kind of battleship that was every created – its size and scale were incredible, weighing over 21,000 tons, and having a radius of over 8 miles.  When it was first constructed, it was believed that over time this kind of vessel would make other battleships obsolete, this did not happen. But what it did do was instill a sense of fear amongst other countries that the British were ahead of them in building a strong navy. As a result, during the period of time leading up to WWI, many countries around the world started investing in naval technology, and this was aided by several developments.  During this period of time it wasn’t just Europeans, but also the smallest and poorest of countries desired to do so – to get, as historians have called, a “place in the sun”.  Countries during this period of time equated having a strong and powerful name with having presence on the world stage. This meant that it was better to invest in these kinds of naval technologies than at times to feed the citizens of your country  The drive to build strong naval technologies was aided by the fact that many countries around the world during this time had lobbyist organizations. o E.g., Navy leagues were organizations that lobbied the government to fund navy technologies. They did so because it was a great benefit to them. Those who comprised of these organizations were often oil manufacturers, petroleum makers, ship builders etc. – those who would benefit greatly if the government were to invest in naval technology. These organizations often did so with the use of fear (i.e., propaganda) in attempting to gain government support. This propaganda came in the form of “if you don’t build a stronger naval force, than it is going to place you at a disadvantage to your enemy”  Historians call this time the world’s first arms race  When WWI begins, many countries, especially those like Germany had well caught up to the British in building a strong naval force, therefore, when WWI starts, no country had a true advantage over the other in this area  The development of different kinds of technologies in WWI often gave countries an advantage in battle, but did not necessarily guarantee ultimate victory in the war itself  During WWI, we can’t really point through the development of any 1 technology as being the key factor in why the war itself ended. However, we can look at certain technologies at giving one country an advantage over another for a period of time. Before, that advantage was negated with the development of a counter technology. E.g., naval technologies: o The Germans during the early years of WWI had a huge advantage over their enemies because of the development of U-boats (submarine technologies). This provided them with the advantage on the sea, and proved to be a great problem for British and merchant ships attempting to cross the ocean. o As a result, the British develop a counter technology to solve this problem – they created hydrophones, which allowed them to better detect submarines in the sea. They also developed different strategies to mitigate the effects of a U-boat attack (e.g., instead of having merchant or military ships stand alone, the British developed strategies which allowed them to group these ships together, making a U-boat attack less severe or evasive 2  While the development might have given a country might have given a country a temporary lead or temporary advantage during WWI, this kind of lead soon dissipated with the development of a counter measure. It also shows us that when we talk about the overall aspect of victory in WWI, it was not necessarily a result of the development of any particular scientific application or new technology III.M ASS COMBAT AND THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW L AND AND A IR W EAPONS  In WWI, the kind of coordination and organization that we take for granted when it comes to military engagement today was simply not around during this period of time (e.g., the emphasis placed on naval technologies, as opposed to land troops)  There wasn’t a great deal of coordination between the navy and the army – this kind of organization will only start taking place towards the end of the war  Strategy – why was there such a problem with strategy when we talk about WWI as a whole? o When WWI began, people’s expectations about how long the war was going to last were in fact far off. With very few exceptions to the rule, when WWI started, there was this belief amongst many political and military leaders on both sides that the war would last about 8 weeks. o As the war grew longer, old strategies had to change, and new strategies had to be developed – and this was not always met with success  Transportation – railroads were instrumental in transporting goods and troops across the country, but the railroads only got you so far. Overtime the soldiers could use the trains to get to a certain location, but then they’d have to walk to get to where the battle was happening  Communication – one of the newer technologies available to both sides during the war was the radio – there were huge problems as the war progressed and became associated with trench warfare. E.g., it was very difficult to correspond via radio communication in trench battles, simply because orders could often not be heard amongst gunfire, bombs etc. a. Barbed Wire and Guns  Barbed wire - a technology that had been used even in the 1800s – and yet, barbed eliminated one fundamental aspect of fighting – using the element of surprise. When you add barbed wire to trench warfare, it created a problem for military leaders  Machine guns – not only were there negative attitudes, but there were major problems associated with how to properly use the guns. th  The machine can was first developed in the 19 century – it had been used by most major powers before WWI (i.e., battle between the Russian and Chinese in 1904) – therefore why was there a problem with strategy, and implementing and using the device itself?  By 1914, new methods of production are being used to produce new goods – mass production o “The war of mass production” – WWI was the first war where goods are going to be mass- produced on a scale unlike anything before in history – higher volume and cheaper costs. Therefore, not only did each side have these technologies, but they also had more of these technologies than ever before o WWI was a war where both sides had access to similar technologies. E.g., the machine gun had been used by many European nations in the 1800s against other civilizations that didn’t have access similar technology. Often, European leaders would boast about the fact that one machine gun could plow down thousands of native soldiers – this was important given the fact that the 1800s was the peak of colonization, where many European countries exercised social, administrative, political and military control over other nations 3  In WWI something different happens – sides are fighting one another with access to the same technologies. Not only do they have access to the same technologies, but also they have access to more of them than ever before. Therefore, the fact that WWI was a war of mass production plays a huge role. With more availability, military leaders had to figure out what do with these technologies, and they couldn’t do so before hand, as they had to do so during the war itself  Trench warfare is important because it’s associated with problem and strategy. Most people believe that trench war developed during WWI, but this is not the case. Trench warfare was heavily used in the American Civil War. Trench warfare itself resulted in stalemates between both sides in WWI. There was nothing more terrible for a soldier than to be a soldier associated with living in these trenches during this time. Every aspect of their daily lives occurred within living in these trenches. b. Chemical Warfare  The use of poisonous gases became commonplace during WWI  The Germans were the first to successfully use poisonous gases (1915).  Initially, the Germans stopped using poisonous gas for a period of time because of the attitudes associated with it. Many established German military leaders were horrified of the idea of attacking their opponents with poisonous gas. They thought that poisonous gas was an unsporting and unchivalrous way of attacking enemies.  This hesitation was soon squashed as the war continued, and in WWI we see both sides use poisonous gas against the other.  Up and until WWI, Germany was the world leader in the chemical-based industry, therefore it makes perfect sense that Germany was the first to develop this technologies  When poisonous gas was introduced, it represents another example of a technology that gave initially gave a country an advantage against her opponents during times of war. But this advantage was negated soon negated through introduction of counter measures. E.g., with these gas attacks, one of the major technologies that was developed to counter its effects was the gas mask.  However, as historians have pointed out, even with the development of gas masks, much had to be done to teach soldiers how to use the masks when they were first developed. Initially, many of the masks that were first created were extremely problematic to use (i.e., they could not see properly, or they felt very claustrophobic in them). Soldiers believed that putting a mask on your head wasn’t enough to protect you from the gas – they used to put the mask on the part of their body where the felt the burn, therefore many educational campaigns needed to be implemented to get soldiers on board with this idea of using a gas mask properly  It was one of the most deadly devices of WWI – over half a million lives lost  Many of the loses were due to improper strategy – i.e., using poisonous gas on a windy day – the gas was going against you, instead of your enemy  The horrific results of the gas attacks was one of the reasons that it was banned following WWI  After WWI, we increasingly see a movement from science being thought of as a benevolent enterprise. Increasingly, after WWI, one of the major images in popular culture was that of the mad scientist – the scientist looking to overtake the world. This was a very different representation of an occupation that throughout history had been associated with the innocent attempts at understanding knowledge for knowledge-sake. c. Tanks  It’s construction in large part was done to mitigate the problems associated with trench warfare  The British navy was the first to successfully develop the tank, they called it the land battleship  It was designed to alleviate the (i.e., protecting soldiers from machine guns, gas, bombs), however even this technology did not result in victory for the allies 4  Tanks were first introduced on the battlefield in 1916, but won’t be put onto larger attacks until 1917 – there was this delay because of strategy. Tanks were great devices but they had two major problems: o They broke down very easily, which often led soldiers sitting duck in the trenches o They often ran out of gas  Therefore, a technology that one would think would give a country a huge advantage, did not initially do so  The roles of tanks became far more instrumental in events that took place during WWII than WWI d. Airplanes  The next technology is associated with aviation technology – airplanes prior to WWI, were not used in battle  They were initially used in WWI for reconnaissance – spying out your enemy. It was only in the later years of war that they became more commonplace for fighting  Airplanes, like naval technologies, were viewed very positively by individuals in WWI  There was a great deal of romanticism associated with being an air fighter pilot – this was often seen to being akin to the old medieval knights who used to fight one another on horses  Many individuals in WWI longed to be an air fighter pilot - it was associated with traits like skill, bravery and honor. However, this idea of an air fighter pilot being coveted is surprising being that the average lifespan of a pilot was 6-8 weeks long. Therefore, people aspired to be an air fighter pilot in WWI, despite the fact that death was almost certain to take place within a very short period of time.  Why? Because it’s better to be an air fighter pilot who died a fast, and yet honored death, than to be a soldier stuck living and fighting in the trenches. o If you were a pilot, you were associated with the positive attributes like traits of honor, skill and bravery, and if you died people would remember you for the most part. o In comparison, if you were trench soldier, you were one of millions of anonymous people fighting on the ground. Often times, if you died, you died in such a condition, that the only way you could be remembered was through your body tags.  Therefore, it’s better to die a quick death as opposed live it out in months and possible years in the trenches IV.S TATE , NDUSTRY AND W AR  What ultimately caused WWI to end? o WWI was a far longer war than what most countries initially anticipated. As the war itself drew out, the big problem for the countries was to maintain an adequate level of resources and supply. This was especially true for countries like Brittan, France and Germany. E.g., Germany increasingly faced this problem, of a lack of resources as the war progressed. As the number of enemies grew, the country found it harder to access basic materials for survival – materials like nitrate that were instrumental in creating fertilizer that is used for agriculture and growing food. o Countries like the British and the French also faced the same or similar problems. But over time, the allies had major advantage that a country like Germany did not – the entrance of the U.S into the war a couple of years down the road.  The U.S did not enter WWI initially, it only did so after the German attack on its merchant ship – this provided an advantage in terms of supplies, and moral boost 5  Countries attempt to organize themselves in fundamental and significant ways. The idea of organizing one’s self for war included the government having a huge role in taking over almost all facets and aspects of society.  The idea of the government taking control and industry, and transportation systems employs an idea that we call flexible democracy – refers to the fact that many countries are in fact democratic nations where you have specific rights and freedoms allotted to citizens, but during times of warfare, these rights and freedoms are curtailed.  Flexible democracy was employed in the U.S in many ways. E.g., The Council of National Defense (1916) – which provided the president of the U.S entire control over everything in the country (i.e., mines, transportation, communication etc.) – everything became government controlled.  In times of war, it was these organizations which would tell any company what to do (i.e., they could tell car manufactures – ‘you’re not making cars anymore, you’re now making tanks’)  Countries like the U.S and Canada had one major advantage in that they were away from the actual fighting taking place. They immerged from WWI in tact in terms of their infrastructure, giving them a huge advantage.  However, being away from fighting also meant figuring out ways to maintain communication with what’s happening half way across the world. This means that in a war of mass production, you’re not just mass producing military technologies, but you’re mass producing everyday items as well (i.e., telephones). Things that would keep you on board with situations and events that were happening so far away.  Mass producing food supplies (e.g., during WWI, the U.S was able to produce 500 M cans of food alone) – WWI is fundamentally the first war associated with mass production  It represents a period of time so different in terms of attitudes and responses toward science and technology than we will see in future years February 2, 2012 I.T HE R ISE OF “B IG SCIENCE P ROJECTS ” IN WWII  Attitudes and responses toward science and technology in WWII were far different than WWI. Almost from the beginning, we start to see much more enthusiasm and tolerance for scientific and technological developments where the idea of winning the war took on top priority, and the countries take any means necessary to do so  In WWI, we start to see a major new philosophical approach toward scientific and technological research  This new philosophy toward doing science and creating new technology will, not just last in WWII, but it’s going to last and develop into the Cold War period and beyond  This new philosophy that is going to take precedence in WWII is something called “big science” – it’s a new approach to new science and technological research  General criteria of big science project: a. Multidisciplinary – they involve many different individuals from many different scientific and engineering disciplines; they come together in hopes of creating a single apparatus, a single technology system etc. b. The term “Big science” – has to do with the amount of resources involved in these kinds of projects (i.e., extensive use of both financial and human resources) c. With big science, we see the increased roll of military or government funding associated with big science research. d. Because military and government involvement will increase significantly with big science projects, there needs to be some kind of justification for these projects – given that public 6 funds are often being invested in them. So as a result, big science projects will often require some sort of social, political, economic justification. During times of war, this justification is easy to consider (i.e., we need the technology in order to win the war), but in times of peace, this justification becomes somewhat more nuanced e. Because big science projects need so much time, money and effort, there’s also an expectation that these projects will produce something concrete. It doesn’t necessarily matter how long these projects go for – some might be short term, medium term or long term projects, but there is the expectation of concrete results f. The projects can also involve two different kinds of research: i. Basic science – sometimes big science projects are all about investing in the basic science research ii. Applied science – and other times it’s about taking research and applying it to create a new technology g. The projects often involve a very delicate balance, a balance that needs to be maintained as we’re talking about both scientists’ interests, and the interests of the government and military. E.g., government and military are very much based on issues like privacy and security. Yet how do you reconcile the need to keep things a secret with the very nature of science, which is supposed to be open and collaborative?  How does this new approach begin to develop in a country like the United States? II.USR ESEARCH AND D EVELOPMENT P RIOR TO THEIR E NTRY INTO WWII  This new big science approach will take off first in the U.S., and then over time it will diffuse its way into other parts of the world  Even before the U.S entered the war, many scientific advisors in the U.S were increasingly concerned that if the U.S was in fact going to enter into a war against the Nazis, they were going to have major difficulties keeping up with Nazi technical advancement during this time  Vannevar Bush – on of the U.S’s top advisors during this time; the chair of National Advisory o His expertise lay in the field of aviation and aeronautical research  He was well aware of the fact that the Nazis, by WWII, had made great strives in certain areas pertaining to technological advance. These advancement had played a great role in early Nazi success in WWII  After WWI, when the Germans, and her allies had essentially been defeated, the Treaty of Versailles had imposed a great number of restrictions on the Germans in many areas (i.e., their ability to build up their military arsenal). The Germans greatly resented these reforations in large part because they felt that they had never really lost the war, as had always been suggested. Economic and political hardship follows, and we see the rise of National Socialism and the Nazi party. When this happens, many of the restrictions that were imposed on the Germans began to be ignored, and part of this was building up the military arsenal of the German party.  The Nazis did not want to repeat the mistakes that they had made in WWI – which included this focus on trench warfare. Therefore, at the beginning of WWII, the Nazis implemented a new and successful kind of military strategy, called Blitzkrieg, that played to the advantages that they had in two fields of technology: o Advancement in aviation/airplane technology o Advancement in the field of tanks  This strategy allowed them to beat their enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible. They were able to do this by first bombarding their enemies on land through the use of their advanced tanks, while at the same time, bombarding their enemies in the air through the use of aerial bomb raids 7  This kind of strategy was extremely effective, and it instilled a sense of fear in other countries like the U.S, which by this time was well aware of German advancement. They realized that if they were going to enter the war down the road, they needed to keep up.  As a result a new agency was created to organize the U.S for its potential wartime efforts  1940 – The National Defense Research Council (NDRC)  1941 – a specific sub-section of the NDRC was created – the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD)  The OSRD was an organization comprised of many of the major leaders within all facets of American society – leaders from industries, major educational institutions, milirary leaders – all came together and were responsible for doling out the 100s of millions of dollars in funds that necessary to keep the U.S on track in its scientific and technological research efforts  From the beginning, it’s the OSRD that implements this new kind of philosophy  The OSRD was not particularly interested in funding small-scale research (i.e. the individual inventor or entrepreneur) – instead, they focused on giving funding to those institutions that had a proven track record of science and technological research success  They also tended to fund to those institutions that were involved in the new and more exciting areas of scientific and technological research (e.g., Electronics – was heavily funded during WWII, and it’s no coincidence that the first computers began to develop during WWII)  Many corporations and academic institutions involved in this research greatly benefited from this increased government funding and spending  This kind of approach, and the greater involvement of both state and military spending will not stop after WWII ended, in fact it only grew larger  This increased role of military and government spending is increasingly causes some concern.  “The military industry complex” – term used to describe the increased dependence that these kinds of institutions had on government spending for technological and scientific research  Many people felt that military and government spending meant that military and government interests were often put ahead of basic areas associated with civilian research  The OSRD was responsible for over $300 M worth of scientific and technological research funding in WWII – which doesn’t even include the money spent on the atomic bomb project. Therefore, this was an organization with a lot of clout, and a lot of influence, and it is here where the roots of big science philosophy begin to play out III.A IRPLANES a. Civil Aviation  In the interwar period, we see the beginnings of what we know today as civil aviation – between WWI and WWII, it’s the first time that we see both people and products being moved in the air  Transition from using a water-pooled engine to an air-pooled engine – allowed planes to fly faster, and for longer periods of time, and this will reduce the cost of flying in the long run  In addition to this, we also start to see increasingly metals being used in the construction of airplanes, as opposed to wood  Coupling these two advancements, by the 1920s, the concept of civil aviation was becoming more of a reality  But to get people in the air, you needed to have an infrastructure in place that will allow you to do so (i.e., transportation technologies – the ultimate success of the automobile did not just come with the fact that it was cheap enough for people to purchase it, it also came from the fact that a successful infrastructure was built around the technology which will allow it to 8 become an everyday or commonplace item. Before you make cars a success, you need to have roads, gas stations, mechanics, licensing system etc.)  Similarly, before you could use airplanes on a regular basis, you need airports, runways, and figure out weather patterns so that airplanes can actually travel in the air and not be subject to severe weather conditions etc.  The first thing that people used in the air was mail, and over time it will be people b. Jet Engine Technology  The transition from propeller-based planes (WWI) to those associated with jet engine technology  Limitation associated with propeller-based planes: you can only make propeller-based plane go so fast before the propellers themselves break off  In the interwar period, we start to see a great deal of research being done in this area  In the early days of jet engine research, the countries that were really world leaders in this particular area included the Soviets, the Nazis and the British. The Americans were once far behind these countries in developing jet-engine technology.  However, the Americans will start investing a lot of money in this particular field – so much money that the country that once lagged behind others, will soon not only catch up, but will move ahead of the Soviets, the Nazis and the British  Companies like Boeing were the benefactors of this increased government and military spending. At one point it was on the verge of bankruptcy, however, the infusion of government funding, allows Boeing to get ahead of its counterparts.  So much so, that when WWII ends, and civilian aviation takes off with jet engines, the first airplane to use a jet engine is going to be the Boeing 707, following by the Boeing 727  During the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, 90% of all aviation research was being provided by the military and the U.S – we see the increasing interdependence and relationship between the government, military’s interests and scientific, technological – based corporations’ interests IV.R ADAR  The first great example of a big science project in WWII has to do with the development of high frequency radar  Many historians have considered the development of the radar as equally important, especially during the early years of the war  Radar has often been considered a major technology of WWII in that it prevented the allies from losing the war in the early years when they were at a major disadvantage  In WWII, we begin to see the development of high-frequency radar – radar systems had been around before WWII, but they were not as powerful  Radio Detection And Range – radar systems are systems that require and use radio waves to detect objects at a distance; and they can be used to detect the distance, direction and speed of objects from far away, including airplanes and other military vessels  With radar systems, you have a sender (which omits radio raves), then once they find the object in question, they bounce off the object and then the signal is picked up by a receiver  With early radar systems, there were many limitations: you could only detect object from so far a distance  However, by WWII, there’s an increasing need for a much more sophisticated radar system  This was fueled by the increase of civilian bombing that became common place in WWII 9  In WWII, countries will not only be bombing military locations, but they countries will engage in acts of civilian bombing as well – in the early years of war, Britain faced the barrage of civilian bombing .The Nazis, because of their advantages associated with aviation technology, were able to deluge the British with their aerial raids and aerial bombings  Therefore, countries like Britain wanted to be able to detect these attacks before they started – detect the planes themselves. Therefore, they invested in high frequency radar which required a different kind of wave. Instead of using micro radio waves, it required the use of microwaves  Therefore, the British were able to successfully create a device that allowed them to generate these microwaves in WWII  The device that they created was called the magnetron – the big problem was keeping this very important technology safe. It was thought that to keep the magnetron on British soil could be a potential problem, with all of these constant raids  Therefore, the decision was made to relocated the magnetron, and its high frequency radar research, to another country – a country safe relatively from all the fighting – the U.S  A very secret mission was arranged to transfer the magnetron from Britain to the U.S, and the main concern was preventing the Nazis from finding out what was happening during this time  The mission ultimately proved to be a great success, and high frequency radar research was placed in the U.S at MIT, where there was the creation of radiation laboratories where the research was being done.  The allies were very successful in doing so – the Nazis never found out about high frequency radar until well into the war – 1943.  High frequency radar proved to be a great success – The kinds of research laboratories represent an example of a modern social space. Within this social space, there were scientists, engineers, and people from different disciplines working together with one another – not only did scientists have to learn what engineers did, engineers also had to learn what the scientists were doing. They had to immerse themselves in the other’s field  Millions of dollars were invested in high-frequency radar in WWII, and it was considered by many to be one of the top priorities associated with scientific and technological research  Ultimately, It also proved to be one of most successful big science technologies during WWII  High frequency radar was used as a defensive measure, and when WWII ended, the scientists and engineers felt that they had played a huge role in the outcome of the WWII, and were extremely satisfied with the kind of work that they had done (the attitudes of these scientists will be very different than the attitudes of the scientists and engineers who will be involved with what is probably the most controversial of all science projects – the construction of the atomic bomb) V.T HE M ANHATTAN P ROJECT AND THE D EVELOPMENT OF THE A TOMIC BOMB  In terms of its size and its scale, nothing was as big as this particular big science project  The country that had been at the forefront in research pertaining to nuclear physics or theoretical physics before WWII had in fact been Germany. And because of this, many European and even North American scientists were fearful that the Nazis had been researching and constructing their own atomic weapon  Nobody actually knew that the Nazis were doing, they could just guess. It was this sense of fear, which led many European and North American scientists to write a letter to president Roosevelt. This letter was a plea on behalf of the scientists for the American government to invest in nuclear research – this letter was one part of why Roosevelt ultimately decided to finance this project altogether. In addition, Roosevelt’s scientific advisors also convinced him to do so during this time  This project became known as the Manhattan Project 10  Money – originally, $500M was allocated to the project, but by the time everything was completed, the entire project cost $2 B  Human resources – at one point, there were over 200,000 people involved in one capacity or another with the atomic bomb project. Buildings had to be built, and facilities had to be constructed (i.e., two major facilities had to be constructed for this project – one in Tennessee, and one in Washington State. These facilities were places used to extract the precious elements required to build the bomb – like plutonium and uranium)  The first half of the project was really about trying to find a way to actually be able to detonate a nuclear weapon. The technique that was ultimately confirmed was a technique called Nuclear Vision. The next step was to build the bomb itself, and during this part, you see the lead being taken over by the U.S military  Leslie Groves – the man ultimately in charge of the Manhattan project  When the military became the lead for the Manhattan project, they wanted to treat the scientists like they did other soldiers. One of the strategies that they wanted to implement was a strategy called compartmentalization – this means that you tell people only what they need to know, and you don’t necessarily tell them what other people are doing. Essentially, you keep the information compartmentalized.  However, the scientists involved initially complained bitterly about this strategy. As a result, these scientists promised that they would keep their information secret, and as private as possible; they would not divulge their findings in any sort of scientific or international journal  At the same time, the military allowed the scientists a little more leeway between themselv
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