A Mixed Bag

Brian Cain
Professor B. Wilkerson
American History
Sep. 25, 2012
A Mixed Bag
On June 27, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created National Defense Research Committee, later to be known as the Office of Scientific Research and Development, subordinate to the Council of National Defense. The purpose of the Committee was to coordinate between the War Department and the Department of the Navy just about any and all wartime research efforts outside of aviation in order to win the war. The Committee was given vast resources, little oversight and allowed to grow. It was out of the creation of this Committee that the world would first become acquainted with the power that applied atomic theory could unleash in the form of the Manhattan Project.
During its height, the Manhattan Project employed 130,000 people at remote places throughout the interior (Arsenault). At the time, that was more than the entire U.S. auto industry and each of those engineers, scientists and machinists were working diligently to build a weapon that could end WWII in the Pacific. When the atomic weapons were deployed they had the ancillary benefit of ending the war without an invasion of Japan that, surely, would have resulted in an inestimable cost in blood & treasure. Not to be underscored in value was avoiding Soviet involvement in Pacific theater (Arsenault).
The use of atomic weapons put the Japanese into peace talks very swiftly, but over time would prove to be an issue of management. The prospect of that much power in the hands of strangers half a world away scares me. It also scares strangers half a world away. The Manhattan Project had spurred the most massive arms race the Earth had ever seen and a the half-century Cold War that would take the world to the brink of annihilation in the early 1960’s when President Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev locked horns in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The complications with nuclear armament progressed as more and more nations acquired...