The Manhattan Project

Military-Civilian Relations

Max Gittler's Interview

Alexandra Levy: All right, we are here on December 28, 2012 with Max Gittler. Please say your name and spell it.

Max Gittler: Max Gittler, M-a-x G-i-t-t-l-e-r.

Levy: Where are you from?

Gittler: New York, New York City, the Bronx.

Levy: So how did you become involved in the Manhattan Project?

Harris Harold Levee's Interview

Harris Harold Levee: My name is Harris Harold Levee, L-e-v-e-e. My birthdate is August 9, 1919. I grew up in Sheepshead Bay doing the—playing a lot of sports, and did go to high school at Brooklyn Technical High School, where I studied to be an engineer. And from Brooklyn Tech, I went to a school called Cooper Union in New York City, which was a school where you had to pass a tremendous examination in order to get into the school because the school was free. All you had to do was pay for your own books.

Benjamin Bederson's Interview

Benjamin Bederson: I’m Benjamin Bederson.

Cindy Kelly: Can you spell it?

Bederson: B-E-D-E-R-S-O-N. Sometimes it’s called “Bederson.” I say Bederson. 

Kelly: And what was your birth date?

Bederson: I was born November 15, 1921. I'm about to have my 90th birthday next month.

Kelly: You are phenomenal. This man looks like he's sixty-five.

Arno Roensch's Interview

Theresa Strottman: We are speaking with Arno Roensch.  We thank you for coming this morning.  To start off the interview, I was wondering if you could briefly tell me when and where you were born and something about your early education and training.

Arno Roensch: I was born in Berlin, Germany—1918. We came to this country in 1922.  I remember the boat we came on, it was called the S.S. Orbeta; it was a British vessel.  It took 21 days to cross the Atlantic.

Jay Wechsler's Interview

Jay Wechsler: Well, my mother was visiting her folks in New York when she decided that it was time, and I was the first child, and I guess she was a little surprised. So I was born in New York even though we didn’t live there. And as soon as we were able we were back in New Jersey, where she and my father lived. My father was a chemist and even at a young age he was always taking me into the plant where he worked, showing me things. And I kind of had a mechanical bend or bent.

George Cowan's Interview (2006)

George Cowan: It's weighted so heavily in favor—not in favor of—but the emphasis on number one Los Alamos, and then Oak Ridge, and then Hanford, as the three secret cities or something. But the fact is the Met Lab at Chicago was enormously important. The Stagg Field reactor was historic in ’42, and its sort of dismissed. 

V-Site

Located in a bucolic setting surrounded by tall pines, these humble wooden and asbestos-shingled buildings were where the world's first atomic device was assembled. Here scientists, engineers, and explosives experts worked around the clock on the "Gadget," the first plutonium-based atomic explosive.

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