The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) is pleased to announce that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded us two new grants to help preserve and interpret Manhattan Project history. One project is to create a " Ranger in Your Pocket" tour highlighting the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory's role in the Manhattan Project. 

The other grant will enable us to digitize and publish a collection of interviews on our "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website with Hispanics who lived in neighboring communities and worked at Los Alamos.  These projects will show how the Manhattan Project was a great work of human collaboration, extending from the Gothic towers of academia to the rural villages of northern New Mexico.  We are grateful to the National Trust for its support!
OakRidgeTeesOak Ridge T-Shirts Now Available
Oak Ridge Manhattan Project National Historical Park T-Shirt
AHF is pleased to announce that T-shirts for Oak Ridge, TN, one of the three sites of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, are now available  on our online store . AHF's online store also has T-shirts for the other two Manhattan Project National Historical Park sites, featuring the Los Alamos Main Gate and the B Reactor at Hanford. Be the first to get all three!

The Oak Ridge T-shirts depict the historic Chapel on the Hill. Constructed in 1943 following standard Army design, the chapel was shared by 22 distinct religious organizations during World War II, including Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant congregations. "So many people were married or born or baptized or confirmed in that church," Manhattan Project veteran  Ted Rockwell remembered . "It was a real landmark for so many people." Rockwell and  his wife Mary  were among the many Oak Ridgers who were married there.

The National Park Service has approved AHF's use of the words "Manhattan Project National Historical Park" for the T-shirts. They are great as souvenirs and to show your pride in Oak Ridge's storied history as a "Secret City" in the Manhattan Project.

Made from high quality 100% cotton, the T-shirt costs $19.95 and comes in sapphire blue. It is available in adult sizes small, medium, large, extra-large, 2XL, and 3XL.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and one of the newest parks with an Oak Ridge T-shirt! You will help encourage others to visit Oak Ridge and see the Manhattan Project sites for themselves.

To order a T-shirt,  click here .
NewArticlesNew World War II History Articles Now Online
The Enola Gay on Tinian, August 5, 1945
AHF has published new articles in recognition of the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. These articles were also prompted by President Obama's visit to Hiroshima on May 27, 2016, which generated considerable interest.

The new articles include a detailed timeline of the bombings , beginning on July 16, 1945, with the successful Trinity test. The same day, Little Boy bomb units, accompanied by the uranium-235 projectile, were shipped out of San Francisco on the ill-fated  USS Indianapolis  for Tinian Island. The timeline follows the buildup to the use of the bomb, what the B-29 plane crews were doing during the missions, and the immediate impact of the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Debate over the Japanese Surrender"  presents the still heated debate between traditionalist and revisionist historians over the extent to which the atomic bombings contributed to Japan's decision to surrender. Traditionalists believe that the atomic bombs were essential in bringing an early end to the war. Revisionists argue the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, Japan's dwindling supplies, and internal political divisions would have led to Japan's surrender without dropping the bombs.

Another article,  "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Missions - Planes and Crews",  lists each crew and plane and their role in the atomic bombing missions. Many of the crews swapped planes for the missions, often leading to confusing or erroneous information about which crews or planes participated in each mission. This list should become the definitive online account of the 509th Composite Group crews and planes on Tinian and their roles in the atomic bombings.
Capt. William "Deak" Parsons
AHF has also published key primary and secondary sources on the missions and the bombings. Two unique documents include Capt. William "Deak" Parsons's checklist  for loading the gunpowder and detonator charges into Little Boy in the air aboard the Enola Gay, and  Dutch Van Kirk's navigation log  from the Hiroshima mission.
AHF is very grateful to Clay Perkins, Joseph Papalia, and David Wargowski for their help with and support of this project. To read more about these new articles, click here .
NPSCentennialNational Park Service Celebrates Centennial

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated its centennial. One hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act into law, creating the National Park Service to oversee the management of all national parks and some national monuments. 

Today the National Park Service manages 59 national parks, from Denali, Alaska to the Everglades in Florida. In addition to the iconic national parks, NPS manages hundreds of other units, including the recently established Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Altogether, NPS oversees 413 units.

In honor of the centennial, NPS is encouraging Americans everywhere to "Find Your Park," and to explore more than just the well-known national parks. Throughout the year, NPS has been highlighting national historic sites, urban parks, battlefields, and other sites that the public might not normally associate with the national park system. You can visit the  Find Your Park website  to learn about NPS units and programs and events near you.

Another initiative is  Every Kid in a Park , encouraging children and their family to visit parks, monuments, and other sites. As part of this program, every fourth grader in the country can receive a pass to get them into NPS sites for a whole year for free.

The Atomic Heritage Foundation is very pleased that the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is now part of the national park system, ensuring that the public can visit and learn about the Manhattan Project and the sites involved for many generations to come.
Voices400"Voices of the Manhattan Project" Website Now Features 400 Interviews
Manhattan Project veteran Jack Widowsky
"Oppenheimer was able to just telephone people and say, 'Come,' and they would come," recalled Manhattan Project historian David Hawkins , who arrived at Los Alamos in 1943. "I was just thirty, and very inexperienced. I had no idea what I was getting in for." Hawkins's interview is one of many recent additions to AHF's "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website

The website now includes more than 400 audio and video interviews with Manhattan Project veterans, family members, and experts. These first-hand accounts provide a kaleidoscope of perspectives on the development of the atomic bomb and its complex legacies.

The website features several interviews AHF has conducted this year with Manhattan Project veterans. Kathleen Maxwell , a physicist for the Kellex Corporation, remembered, "I have never been so absorbed in any one thing in my life." Mack Newsom and Jack Widowsky recalled their service with the 509th Composite Group, which carried out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Renowned mathematician Peter Lax , a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at Los Alamos, quipped, "It was like science fiction. I don't read science fiction, I lived through it."

AHF is also making progress with uploading oral history interviews from archival collections to the "Voices" website. Many of the recently added interviews were conducted in the 1980s by historian Martin Sherwin, co-author of American Prometheus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Sherwin recorded audio interviews with dozens of Manhattan Project veterans and friends of Oppenheimer.

With these additions, the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website is now one of the most comprehensive repositories of Manhattan Project interviews online. Read more about the new additions here .
MessingerIn Memoriam: Monroe Messinger

Messinger (far right) and other members of the SED at Los Alamos
We are sad to report the passing of Manhattan Project veteran  Monroe Messinger  on August 2, 2016, at the age of 94. 

Messinger was part of the first unit of the  Special Engineer Detachment  (SED) at Los Alamos. He attended some of the talks given by Los Alamos laboratory director  J. Robert Oppenheimer  and other leading scientists. He was assigned to a lab group focused on crafting high explosive charges for the plutonium gun-type bomb. After working in  George Kistiakowsky 's Explosives Division for some time, he was transferred to the group preparing high-speed photography equipment for the Trinity test.

Messinger remembered his awe at witnessing the Trinity test: "There was a countdown and then an astonishing sequence of light and sound. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach us. I had been engaging in explosive activity for two years, yet all of that now seemed like no more than a children's game in comparison to the monumental power of the real thing."

Click here to read more about Messinger's life. You can also read his memoirs of his time in Los Alamos.
NewBooksRecently Published Books on Manhattan Project History

Three books published within the last year bring different perspectives to the history of the Manhattan Project and the development of nuclear weapons. 

In Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age , Washington Post reporter Dan Zak focuses on the 2012 incident when three peace activists, including an 82-year-old Catholic nun, broke into the Y-12 complex at Oak Ridge, TN. Using the break-in as a jumping-off point, Zak traces the development and impact of nuclear weapons from the Manhattan Project through the Cold War to today. Click here to read historian and AHF Board Member Richard Rhodes's review of Zak's book.

Richard Cook's Ignored Heroes of World War II: The Manhattan Project Workers of Oak Ridge, Tennessee , uses historic photographs and excerpts from oral history interviews to chronicle life at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project. In these oral histories, taken from the collection of the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History (COROH) , Oak Ridge residents recall dances, social life, rationing, work in the production plants, and many other aspects of life in the "Secret City." Cook argues that Oak Ridgers' contributions to ending World War II have been under-recognized: "Their experiences form one of the great untold epic stories of American history. It is time to honor their stories."

Ari Beser's The Nuclear Family  was published in 2015, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This history is personal for Beser: his grandfather Jacob Beser was the only man who served on the strike planes on both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing missions. Another grandfather was a friend of a hibakusha, a bombing survivor. In recent years, Beser has traveled to Japan to interview hibakusha. The Nuclear Family shares Japanese and American perspectives on the atomic bombings, and seeks to promote reconciliation more than seventy years after the end of World War II.
Voices"Voices of the Manhattan Project"
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently added to the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website

David Bohm was an American experimental physicist who would later become a citizen of the United Kingdom. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the Pennsylvania State University in 1939, Bohm arrived at the University of California, Berkeley on a seemingly meteoric rise. However, during this same period he became affiliated with the Communist Party, which would ultimately undermine his chances for success in the United States. After being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1950, he was forced to continue his study of physics in other countries. In this interview, he discusses his time at Berkeley before and during the war and the left-wing movement at Berkeley. He describes his former mentor J. Robert Oppenheimer as a brilliant mind and charismatic personality at Berkeley.

William A. "Willie" Fowler was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at Caltech, who knew J. Robert Oppenheimer from before the war. In this interview, he talks about how Oppenheimer and his "school" of students and post-docs would travel each year from the University of California, Berkeley to Caltech, where Oppenheimer had an appointment on the faculty. He describes how Oppenheimer's theoretical knowledge and perspective supplemented the experimental research being conducted at Caltech, including Fowler's own. He also talks about the lives and careers of other physicists who interacted with Oppenheimer in Pasadena, including Charles Lauritsen, Richard Tolman, and Robert Millikan. The interview concludes with a discussion of Fowler's friendship with Frank and Jackie Oppenheimer.

Mildred Goldberger was an American mathematician. She worked at the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago during the Manhattan Project. She was married to Marvin "Murph" Goldberger, a physicist who taught at Princeton during J. Robert Oppenheimer's tenure as Director of the Institute for Advanced Study. In this interview, she gives a glimpse into what life was like in Princeton during the 1950s-60s, and discusses her relationship with the Oppenheimer family.

Kathleen Maxwell was a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project for the Kellex Corporation in Jersey City, New Jersey. The only female scientist in her division, she assisted in troubleshooting various operational, technical, and chemical challenges related to uranium enrichment. In this interview, she discusses the details of her work, as well as the long hours and secrecy. Maxwell describes her laboratory's concerns over the effects of radiation exposure, and recalls that scientists underwent routine screenings, regular check-ups, and even took out extra insurance policies.

Dorothy Ritter is the daughter of Manhattan Project veteran Francis Oley. Oley worked at the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant in Oak Ridge, TN. His job required him and his family to move from New York to Oak Ridge. Ritter spent several years of her childhood in Oak Ridge. In this interview, she reminisces about the simplicity of her life there, and discusses how living and working at Oak Ridge impacted her family. She recalls the strain her father was under during the project, and the house they lived in.

Stanislaus Ulam was a Polish-American mathematician. He worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos and later helped design the hydrogen bomb. In this interview, he discusses his work at Los Alamos and his relationship with J. Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe, John von Neumann, Enrico Fermi, and other scientists. He also discusses Oppenheimer's varied reputation within the physics community. In particular, Ulam was frustrated by Oppenheimer's wordiness, which he and some other scientists perceived as pompous and superfluous. Ulam also explains his thoughts on creativity in math and physics, and why he is a proponent of nuclear power.

Jack Widowsky served as the navigator on the B-29 Top Secret at Wendover and Tinian during World War II. He participated in the mission to bomb Hiroshima as the navigator of the Big Stink, which was the backup strike plane on Iwo Jima. He flew as the navigator of the Laggin' Dragon, one of the weather reconnaissance planes, during the mission to Nagasaki. In this interview, he discusses his time in the 509th Composite Group.  He describes the copious traveling he did as he and his crew trained to be a part of the team that would eventually drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Two important themes of this interview are the intense security and secrecy the project necessitated, as well as the jovial camaraderie enjoyed by Widowsky and the other members of the 509th.
Thanks to all the Manhattan Project veterans, their families and many others who have supported our efforts over the past 14 years. We look forward to working with the National Park Service and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park sites to make the Manhattan Project NHP a model park for the Park Service's second century.

Please make a  donation to support our continued efforts. Thank you very much!

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