The single most important event since 1877 in United States history was the Manhattan Project, the project to create the Atomic Bomb. Research and development for the Manhattan Project took place in a number of cities, including Oak Ridge Tennessee, Hanford Washington, and Los Alamos New Mexico. The project was highly classified and kept secret from all Americans except the President and a select few of inner circle scientists working on the bomb led by Robert Oppenheimer. The project lasted from 1942-1946 and produced the most destructive weapon ever created by men, a weapon that was finally utilized on Japan in 1945. The bombs "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" were dropped respectively on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the death total estimated to be 180,000 Japanese civilians and soldiers. The Manhattan Project was such an important project because it not only ended World War II but it brought the world into the nuclear age and the new era of the cold war. .
The Manhattan Project was started during World War II as a response to a letter from Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard to President Roosevelt warning that "the Germans might be well on the way to creating a weapon, the use which might determine the outcome of the war" (Davidson 554). After receiving this information, the President took the letter before his advisors and the decision was made to allocate funds towards a project to develop an Atomic bomb. The project was originally named "Development of Substitute Materials," but over time, it came to be called the "Manhattan Project.".
Robert Oppenheimer was the scientific director of the Manhattan Project and worked at a laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. This laboratory was responsible for actually designing the bomb. The materials for the project were gathered and assembled at a number of facilities in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.