At 5:30 a.m. on the morning of July 16, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb was detonated in the isolated desert outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico. What started out as a nuclear weapons research effort during World War II quickly became an assertion of US military power and global dominance, eventually paving the way for a global nuclear arms race dominated by the desire of the world's most powerful nations to attain nuclear capabilities.
In its entirety, the Manhattan Project cost well over $2 billion (that's over $27 billion today), and originally involved a partnership between the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Over the span of the project, multiple detonation sites were used - both on land and in water - with the most well-known being the Trinity test site. At the Los Alamos Laboratory (also known as "Project Y"), a team of scientists developed and tested an implosion-type nuclear bomb composed of plutonium, nicknamed "the Gadget," on American soil before it was unleashed upon the world.
It was only one month after the detonation of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity test site that the US proceeded to launch a nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the notorious "Fat Man" bomb being nearly identical to the Gadget. The reality of living in a world where atomic bombs would become an essential weapon to world powers may have once been unconceivable; however, if the tensions that resulted from the Cold War have taught us anything, it is that the atomic bomb is not simply a measure of the human capacity for knowledge, but of the human capacity for destruction.