The Manhattan Project

Race for the Bomb

Hanford 25th Anniversary Celebration

[Many thanks to Claude Lyneis for donating this footage to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Narrator: About seventy-five miles northwest of Walla Walla, Washington, in an isolated expanse of open desert, civilization entered into a new age, an age from which it would never emerge the same. Here, in the home of the Wanapum Indians, the terrain is mostly scrubland, laced here and there by cheatgrass, greasewood, and Russian thistle.

John De Wire's Interview

Martin Sherwin: This is an interview with John De Wire at Cornell University in his office at Newman Hall 228, Newman. Today is May 5, 1982.   

You were with Robert Wilson’s group from Princeton that was recruited by [J. Robert] Oppenheimer in ’43, right? Late ’43, was it?

John De Wire: Early ’43.

Sherwin: Early ’43.

De Wire: I went to Princeton in February ’42.

Gerhart Friedlander's Interview

Gerhart Friedlander: My name is Gerhart Friedlander.

Interviewer: What was your role in the Manhattan Project?

Friedlander: I got into the Manhattan Project very early; in fact, before there was an official Manhattan Project. I was a graduate student at Berkeley at the University of California. My thesis advisor was Glenn Seaborg, who later on got a Nobel Prize and became chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, but at that time he was just a new instructor and I was his first graduate student. 

Hans Bethe's Interview (1982) - Part 2

Hans Bethe: The other was M - A - D, MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction], which essentially says that nuclear weapons make sense only as a safeguard against nuclear weapons. As [Wolfgang] Panofsky has said recently, and there is actually an article by him, "It is not a doctrine. It is a fact of life. Nothing else is possible, whatever you might wish.” So I think you should not present it as something really unavoidable, without any movements in the opposite direction.  

General Kenneth Nichols' Interview - Part 3

General Kenneth Nichols: —found we did not have the authority to satisfy DuPont.

Stephane Groueff: But why did DuPont challenge your authority?

Nichols: Because they had trouble, in World War I, being called munitions makers and investigated after World War I, so they are more conservative than most companies. And they wanted to have in their files copies of our authorities. And what we had, which I have shown you, and that is satisfactory to them.

Groueff: I see.

Sir Rudolf Peierls's Interview

Martin Sherwin: This is Martin Sherwin. I'll be interviewing Sir Rudolf Peierls at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Today's date is June 6th, 1979. 

You first met [J.Robert] Oppenheimer in Zurich in 1929?

Rudolf Peierls: Right, yes.

Sherwin: At that time, I think you mentioned you were working with [Wolfgang] Pauli's group?

Peierls: Yeah.

Sherwin: Who else was there in that group?

Walt Grisham's Interview

Walt Grisham: Okay, what you’re looking at is our old family well. It’s a little different than it used to be, because it’s sitting kind of up on the top of a bank here. After the project was built, they did a little roadwork out here and cut it way down. But where I am at the present time is the meadow of our front yard. The old dead trees off to this side were cherry trees. We used them not only to produce the cherries, but also as shade trees in the front lawn. The house sat back in this direction.

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