The Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project Voices

Voices of the Manhattan ProjectSpecial Engineering Detachment insignia

Voices of the Manhattan Project is a joint project by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society to create a public archive of our oral history collections of Manhattan Project veterans and their families. The Manhattan Project was a great human collaboration, with 130,000 people around the country working on the top-secret project. We are currently in the process of adding many more oral histories to the website, so check back frequently to view new interviews! 

We are still conducting interviews with Manhattan Project veterans and their families, to capture as many oral histories as possible. If you are, or know, a Manhattan Project veteran who would like to be interviewed, please contact us.

Recent Oral Histories

General Leslie Groves's Interview - Part 4

In this interview, General Groves talks about his responsibilities as the director of the Manhattan Project as well as the responsibilities of his subordinates, including Colonel Kenneth D. Nichols and General Thomas Farrell. Groves also discusses the relationship that he had with Vannevar Bush and James B. Conant and their role in the Project.

Rose Bethe's Interview

Rose Bethe and her husband, Nobel Prize winner Hans Bethe, moved to Los Alamos in early 1943 when Hans was appointed leader of the Theoretical Division for the Manhattan Project. During the initial stages of the Project, Rose worked in the housing office, where she assigned incoming scientists and their families to houses and showed them where site facilities were located. When Rose became pregnant with her first child, Henry, she resigned her position to help physicist Bruno Rossi wire electronics boards. Mrs. Bethe recalls raising her children at Los Alamos and some of the relationships she developed with many of the project’s most famous scientists. She also discusses her childhood years in Germany and how the rise of Hitler forced her and many of her close friends to leave the country.

Richard Rhodes' Interview

In this interview, Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Making of the Atomic Bomb," discusses the selection of the Hanford site and explains DuPont’s important role in the Manhattan Project. Rhodes provides a brief history of the Alsos Mission, detailing the capture of German physicists and their reactions to the news that the United States had created and used an atomic bomb. He also discusses the rationale behind using the bomb, adding how its creation was inevitable due to the principles behind scientific research.

J. Robert Oppenheimer's Interview

In this interview, Robert Oppenheimer talks about the organization of the Manhattan Project and some of the scientists that he helped to recruit during the earliest days of the project. Oppenheimer also talks about some of the biggest difficulties that scientists faced during the project, such as developing a sound method for implosion.