Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Leslie Groves'
Start a new discussion about 'Leslie Groves'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 Leslie Richard Groves, Jr. (17 August 1896 – 13 July 1970) was a United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

 officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 and directed the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

 that developed the atomic bomb during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. As the son of a United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

, Groves lived at a number of Army posts during his childhood. He graduated fourth in his class at the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point in 1918 and was commissioned into the US Army Corps of Engineers. In 1929, he went to Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 as part of an expedition whose purpose was to conduct a survey for the Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Canal. Following the 1931 Nicaragua earthquake
1931 Nicaragua earthquake
The 1931 Nicaragua earthquake devastated Managua, Nicaragua on 31 March 1931. It had a magnitude of 6.0, and killed 2000 people....

, Groves took over responsibility for Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

's water supply system, for which he was awarded the Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit. He attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth
Fort Leavenworth
Fort Leavenworth is a United States Army facility located in Leavenworth County, Kansas, immediately north of the city of Leavenworth in the upper northeast portion of the state. It is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington, D.C. and has been in operation for over 180 years...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, in 1935 and 1936, and the Army War College in 1938 and 1939, after which he was posted to the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

.

In 1940 Groves, who "had a reputation as a doer, a driver, and a stickler for duty", became special assistant for construction to the Quartermaster General, tasked with inspecting construction sites and checking on their progress. In August 1941, he was given responsibility for the gigantic office complex to house the War Department's 40,000 staff which would ultimately become the Pentagon. In September 1942, Groves took charge of the Manhattan Project. He was involved in most aspects of the atomic bomb's development. He participated in the selection of sites for research and production at Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 27,387 at the 2000 census...

, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos is a townsite and census-designated place in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States, built upon four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau and the adjoining White Rock Canyon. The population of the CDP was 12,019 at the 2010 Census. The townsite or "the hill" is one part of town while...

 and Hanford, Washington
Hanford Site
The Hanford Site is a mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government. The site has been known by many names, including Hanford Works, Hanford Engineer Works or HEW, Hanford Nuclear Reservation...

. He directed the enormous construction effort, made critical decisions on the various methods of isotope separation, acquired raw materials, directed the collection of military intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 on the German nuclear energy project
German nuclear energy project
The German nuclear energy project, , was an attempted clandestine scientific effort led by Germany to develop and produce the atomic weapons during the events involving the World War II...

 and helped select the cities in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 that were chosen as targets. Groves wrapped the Manhattan Project in security but failed to prevent the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from conducting a successful espionage
Atomic Spies
Atomic Spies and Atom Spies are terms that refer to various people in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada who are thought to have illicitly given information about nuclear weapons production or design to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early Cold War...

 program that stole some of its most important secrets.

After the war, Groves remained in charge of the Manhattan Project until responsibility for nuclear weapons production was handed over to the United States Atomic Energy Commission
United States Atomic Energy Commission
The United States Atomic Energy Commission was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S...

 in 1947. He then headed the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project
Armed Forces Special Weapons Project
The Armed Forces Special Weapons Project was a United States military agency responsible for those aspects of nuclear weapons remaining under the military after the the Manhattan Project was succeeded by the Atomic Energy Commission on 1 January 1947...

, which had been created to control the military aspects of nuclear weapons. Groves realized that in the rapidly shrinking postwar military he would not be given any assignment approaching in importance the one he had held in the Manhattan Project, and he decided to leave the Army in 1948. He was promoted to lieutenant general
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 just before his retirement on 29 February 1948 in recognition of his leadership of the bomb program. By a special Act of Congress, his date of rank was backdated to 16 July 1945, the date of the Trinity nuclear test. Groves went on to become a vice-president at Sperry Rand.

Early life


Leslie Richard (Dick) Groves Jr. was born in Albany, New York
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

, on 17 August 1896, the third son of four children of a pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

, Leslie Richard Groves, Sr, and his wife Gwen née Griffith. A descendant of French Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s who came to America in the 17th century, Leslie Groves, Sr resigned as pastor of the Sixth Presbyterian church in Albany in December 1896 to become a United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

. He was posted to the 14th Infantry at Vancouver Barracks in Washington in 1897. Following the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in 1898, Chaplain Groves was sent to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 with the 8th Infantry. On returning to Vancouver Barracks, he was ordered to rejoin the 14th Infantry in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

; service in the Philippine–American War and the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 followed. The 14th Infantry returned to the United States in 1901 and moved to Fort Snelling, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

. The family relocated to there from Vancouver, then moved to Fort Hancock
Fort Hancock, New Jersey
Fort Hancock is a former United States Army fort at Sandy Hook, located in Middletown Township in Monmouth County, along the Atlantic coast of eastern New Jersey in the United States. This coastal artillery base played an important part in the defense of New York Harbor and played a role in the...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, the next year, and returned to Vancouver in 1905. Chaplain Groves was hospitalized with tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 at Fort Bayard
Fort Bayard Historic District
Fort Bayard Historic District, also known as Fort Bayard Site, near Santa Clara , New Mexico, was the site of an 1866 post of the US Army "Buffalo Soldiers".-History:...

 in 1905. He decided to settle in southern California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and bought a house in Altadena
Altadena, California
Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California...

. His next posting was to Fort Apache
Fort Apache Indian Reservation
The Fort Apache Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation in Arizona, United States, encompassing parts of Navajo, Gila, and Apache counties. It is home to the federally recognized White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, a Western Apache tribe. It has a land area of 2,627.608...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. The family spent summers there and returned to Altadena where the children attended school.

In 1911, Chaplain Groves was ordered to return to the 14th Infantry, which was now stationed at Fort William Henry Harrison
Fort William Henry Harrison
Fort William Henry Harrison is the Montana National Guard training facility.-History:Fort William Henry Harrison was authorized by a Congressional act of 12 May 1892 which was intended to establish, as a part of a greater consolidation program, concentrations of troops in a few larger...

, Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

. Here young Dick Groves met Grace (Boo) Wilson, the daughter of Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 Richard Hulbert Wilson, a career Army officer who had served with Chaplain Groves with the 8th Infantry in Cuba. In 1913, the 14th Infantry moved once more, this time to Fort Lawton
Fort Lawton
Fort Lawton is a United States Army fort located in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The fort was included in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list.-History:...

, Washington. Dick Groves entered Queen Anne High School in nearby Seattle in 1913. In September of that year, he commenced his final year of high school, and also enrolled at the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

. He attempted to secure an appointment to the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point in 1914, securing a nomination from the president
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, allowing him to compete for a vacancy, but did not score a sufficiently high enough mark on the examination. Charles W. Bell
Charles W. Bell
Charles Webster Bell was a U.S. Representative from California.Born in Albany, New York, Bell attended public schools. He moved to California in 1877 and settled in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, where he engaged in fruit growing and the real estate business. Moreover, he also served as a county...

 from California's 9th congressional district
California's 9th congressional district
California's 9th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of California that covers a significant portion of the East Bay portion of the San Francisco Bay Area...

 accepted Groves as an alternate for one of his appointments, but the principal nominee accepted. Instead, Groves enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

. In 1916, Groves took the examinations for admission to West Point again and this time he was accepted. "Entering West Point fulfilled my greatest ambition. I had been brought up in the Army, and in the main had lived on Army posts all my life," Groves said after the fact.

Groves' class entered West Point on 15 June 1916, but the United States declaration of war on Germany in April 1917 led to the course being shortened to what was known as the War Emergency Course, which graduated early on 1 November 1918. Groves came fourth in his class, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

 into the United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

. The Corps of Engineers was the usual appointment for the highest-ranking cadets in a class.

Between the wars


After the traditional month's leave following graduation from West Point, Groves reported to Camp A. A. Humphreys, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, in December 1918, where he was promoted to first lieutenant
First Lieutenant
First lieutenant is a military rank and, in some forces, an appointment.The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations , but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior and junior rank...

 on 1 May 1919. He was sent to France in June on an educational tour of the European battlefields of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. After returning from Europe, Groves became a student officer at the Engineer School at Camp Humphreys in September 1919. On graduation he was posted to the 7th Engineers at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, as a company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

 commander. He returned to Camp Humphreys in February 1921 for the Engineer Basic Officers' Course. On graduation in August 1921, he was posted to the 4th Engineers, stationed at Camp Lewis
Fort Lewis
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a United States military facility located south-southwest of Tacoma, Washington. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Joint Base Garrison, Joint Base Lewis-McChord....

, Washington. He was then posted to Fort Worden
Fort Worden
Fort Worden and accompanying Fort Worden State Park are located in Port Townsend, along Admiralty Inlet in Washington. It is situated on 433 acres originally built as a United States Army installation for the protection of Puget Sound. Fort Worden was named after U.S...

 in command of a survey detachment. This was close to Seattle, so he was able to pursue his courtship of Grace Wilson, who had become a kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

 teacher. They were married in St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Seattle on 10 February 1922. Their marriage produced two children: a son, Richard Hulbert, born in 1923, and a daughter, Gwen, born in 1928.

In November 1922, Groves received his first overseas posting, as a company commander with the 3rd Engineers at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

. He earned a commendation for his work there, constructing a trail from Kahuku to Pupukea. In November 1925 he was posted to Galveston, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

, as an assistant to the District Engineer, Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Julian Schley. Groves' duties included opening the channel at Port Isabel
Port Isabel, Texas
Port Isabel is a city in Cameron County, Texas, United States. It is part of the Brownsville–Harlingen–Raymondville and the Matamoros–Brownsville metropolitan areas...

 and supervising dredging operations in Galveston Bay
Galveston Bay
Galveston Bay is a large estuary located along the upper coast of Texas in the United States. It is connected to the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by sub-tropic marshes and prairies on the mainland. The water in the Bay is a complex mixture of sea water and fresh water which supports a wide...

. In 1927 he became commander of Company D, 1st Engineers, at Fort DuPont
Fort DuPont
Fort DuPont, named in honor of Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, is located between Delaware City and the modern Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on the original Reeden Point tract, which was granted to Henry Ward in 1675. The first fortification built was the Ten Gun Battery, an auxiliary to...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

. During the New England Flood of November 1927 he was sent to Fort Ethan Allen
Fort Ethan Allen
Fort Ethan Allen was a U.S. army installation in Vermont, named for American Revolutionary War figure Ethan Allen. First serving as a cavalry post in 1894, today it is the center of a designated national historic district straddling the town line between Colchester and Essex...

, Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

, to assist with a detachment of the 1st Engineers. After a pontoon bridge
Pontoon bridge
A pontoon bridge or floating bridge is a bridge that floats on water and in which barge- or boat-like pontoons support the bridge deck and its dynamic loads. While pontoon bridges are usually temporary structures, some are used for long periods of time...

 they constructed was swamped and swept away by the flood waters, Groves was accused of negligence. A month later Groves and several of his men were seriously injured, one fatally, when a block of TNT prematurely detonated. Groves' superior wrote a critical report on him, but the Chief of Engineers
Chief of Engineers
The Chief of Engineers commands the US Army Corps of Engineers. As a staff officer at The Pentagon, the Chief advises the Army on engineering matters and serves as the Army's topographer and the proponent for real estate and other related engineering programs....

, Major General
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Edgar Jadwin
Edgar Jadwin
Edgar Jadwin, C.E. was a U.S. Army officer who fought in the Spanish-American War and World War I, before serving as Chief of Engineers from 1926 to 1929.-Early Life:...

, interceded, attributing blame to Groves' superiors instead. Groves was returned to Fort DuPont.

In 1929, Groves departed for Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 in charge of a company of the 1st Engineers as part of an expedition whose purpose was to conduct a survey for the Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Canal. Following the 1931 Nicaragua earthquake
1931 Nicaragua earthquake
The 1931 Nicaragua earthquake devastated Managua, Nicaragua on 31 March 1931. It had a magnitude of 6.0, and killed 2000 people....

, Groves took over responsibility for Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

's water supply system, for which he was awarded the Nicaraguan Presidential Medal of Merit. Groves was promoted to captain on 20 October 1934. He attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth
Fort Leavenworth
Fort Leavenworth is a United States Army facility located in Leavenworth County, Kansas, immediately north of the city of Leavenworth in the upper northeast portion of the state. It is the oldest active United States Army post west of Washington, D.C. and has been in operation for over 180 years...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, in 1935 and 1936, after which he was posted to Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, as assistant to the commander of the Missouri River Division
Mississippi Valley Division
The United States Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division and the complementary Mississippi River Commission are responsible for maintaining the Mississippi River as a navigable waterway while preventing flooding. This includes the operation of harbor and lock and dam facilities up...

. In 1938 and 1939 he attended the Army War College. On 1 July 1939, he was posted to the War Department General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

 in Washington, D.C.

Construction Division



Groves was promoted to major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

 on 1 July 1940. Three weeks later, he became special assistant for construction to the Quartermaster General, Major General
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Edmund B. Gregory
Edmund B. Gregory
Edmund Bristol Gregory was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army.-Early life and education:Gregory was born at Storm Lake, Iowa, on July 4, 1882....

. The two men had known each other a long time, as Groves' father was a close friend of Gregory's. At this point, the US Army was about to embark on a national mobilization, and it was the task of the Construction Division of the Quartermaster Corps to prepare the necessary accommodations and training facilities for the vast army that would be created. The enormous construction program had been dogged by bottlenecks, shortages, delays, spiralling costs, and poor living conditions at the construction sites. Newspapers began publishing accounts charging the Construction Division with incompetence, ineptitude, and inefficiency. Groves, who "had a reputation as a doer, a driver, and a stickler for duty", was one of a number of engineer officers brought in to turn the project around. He was tasked with inspecting construction sites and checking on their progress.

On 12 November 1940, Gregory asked Groves to take over command of the Fixed Fee
Cost-plus contract
A cost-plus contract, also termed a Cost Reimbursement Contract, is a contract where a contractor is paid for all of its allowed expenses to a set limit plus additional payment to allow for a profit. Cost-reimbursement contracts contrast with fixed-price contract, in which the contractor is paid a...

 Branch of the Construction Division as soon as his promotion to colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 came through. Groves assumed his new rank and duties on 14 November 1940. Groves later recalled:
Groves instituted a series of reforms. He installed phone lines for the Supervising Construction Quartermasters, demanded weekly reports on progress, ordered that reimbursement vouchers be processed within a week, and sent expediters to sites reporting shortages. He ordered his contractors to hire whatever special equipment they needed and to pay premium prices if necessary to guarantee quick delivery. Instead of allowing construction of camps to proceed in whatever order the contractors saw fit, Groves laid down priorities for completion of camp facilities, so that the troops could begin moving in even while construction was still under way. By mid-December, the worst of the crisis was over. Over half a million men had been mobilized and essential accommodations and facilities for two million men were 95 per cent complete. Between 1 July 1940 and 10 December 1941, the Construction Division let contracts worth $1,676,293,000, of which $1,347,991,000, or about 80 per cent, were fixed-fee contracts.

On 19 August 1941, Groves was summoned to a meeting with the head of the Construction Division, Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 Brehon B. Somervell
Brehon B. Somervell
Brehon Burke Somervell was a General in the United States Army and Commanding General of the Army Service Forces in World War II. As such he was responsible for the U.S. Army's logistics...

. In attendance were Captain Clarence Renshaw, one of Groves' assistants; Major Hugh J. Casey, the chief of the Construction Division's Design and Engineering Section; and George Bergstrom
George Bergstrom
George Edwin Bergstrom was an American architect most noted for his design work on the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia.-Background:...

, a former president of the American Institute of Architects
American Institute of Architects
The American Institute of Architects is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image...

. Casey and Bergstrom had designed an enormous office complex to house the War Department's
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 40,000 staff together in one building, a five-story, five-sided structure, which would ultimately become the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

. The Pentagon had a total square footage of 5100000 square foot—twice that of the Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

—making it the largest office building in the world. The estimated cost was $35 million, and Somervell wanted 500000 square foot of floor space available by 1 March 1942. Bergstrom became the architect-engineer
Architectural engineering
Architectural engineering, also known as building engineering, is the application of engineering principles and technology to building design and construction...

 with Renshaw in charge of construction, reporting directly to Groves. At its peak the project employed 13,000 persons. By the end of April, the first occupants were moving in and 1000000 square foot of space was ready by the end of May. In the end, the project cost some $63 million.

Groves steadily overcame one crisis after another, dealing with strikes, shortages, competing priorities and engineers who were not up to their tasks. He worked six days a week in his office in Washington, D.C. During the week he would determine which project was in the greatest need of personal attention and pay it a visit on Sunday. Groves later recalled that he was "hoping to get to a war theater so I could find a little peace."

Manhattan Project




The Manhattan Engineer District (MED) was formally established by the Chief of Engineers, Major General Eugene Reybold
Eugene Reybold
Eugene Reybold was distinguished as the World War II Chief of Engineers who directed the largest United States Army Corps of Engineers in the nation's history....

 on 16 August 1942. The name was chosen by Groves and MED's commander, Colonel James C. Marshall. Like other engineer districts, it was named after the city where its headquarters was located, at 270 Broadway
Tower 270
Tower 270 is a 28-story mixed use building in Downtown Manhattan that was the headquarters of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II.During World War II it was a federal office building...

. Unlike the others, however, it had no geographic boundaries, only a mission: to develop an atomic bomb. Moreover, Marshall had the authority of a division engineer head and reported directly to Reybold. Although Reybold was satisfied with the progress being made, Dr. Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush was an American engineer and science administrator known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb as a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project, the founding of Raytheon, and the idea of the memex, an adjustable microfilm viewer...

 was less so. He felt that aggressive leadership was required, and suggested the appointment of a prestigious officer as overall project director. Somervell, now Chief of Army Service Forces
Army Service Forces
The Army Service Forces were one of the three autonomous components of the Army of the United States during World War II, the others being the Army Air Forces and Army Ground Forces. They were created on February 28, 1942 by Executive Order Number 9082 "Reorganizing the Army and the War Department"...

, recommended Groves. Somervell met Groves outside the hearing room where Groves had been testifying before a United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 committee on military housing and informed him that "The Secretary of War
Henry L. Stimson
Henry Lewis Stimson was an American statesman, lawyer and Republican Party politician and spokesman on foreign policy. He twice served as Secretary of War 1911–1913 under Republican William Howard Taft and 1940–1945, under Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the latter role he was a leading hawk...

 has selected you for a very important assignment, and the President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 has approved the selection ... If you do the job right, it will win the war." Groves could not hide his disappointment at not receiving a combat assignment: "Oh, that thing," he replied.


Groves met with Major General Wilhelm D. Styer
Wilhelm D. Styer
Wilhelm Delp Styer was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army.-Biography:Styer was born on July 22, 1893, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the son of Brigadier General Henry D. Styer , who led U.S...

 in his office at the Pentagon to discuss the details. They agreed that in order to avoid suspicion, Groves would continue to supervise the Pentagon project. He would be promoted to brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

, as it was felt that the title "general" would hold more sway with the academic scientists working on the Manhattan Project. Groves therefore waited until his promotion came through on 23 September 1942 before assuming his new command. His orders placed him directly under Somervell rather than Reybold, with Marshall now answerable to Groves. Groves soon decided to establish his project headquarters on the fifth floor of the New War Department Building in Washington, D.C., where Marshall had maintained a liaison office. In August 1943, the MED headquarters moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 27,387 at the 2000 census...

, but the name of the district did not change.

Construction accounted for roughly 90 per cent of the Manhattan Project's total cost. The day after Groves took over, he and Marshall took a train to Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 to inspect the site that Marshall had chosen for the proposed production plant at Oak Ridge. Groves was suitably impressed with the site, and steps were taken to condemn
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

 the land. Protests, legal appeals, and congressional inquiries were to no avail. By mid-November US Marshals were tacking notices to vacate on farmhouse doors, and construction contractors were moving in.

Meanwhile, Groves had met with J. Robert Oppenheimer, the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 physicist, and discussed the creation of a laboratory where the bomb could be designed and tested. Groves was impressed with the breadth of Oppenheimer's knowledge. A long conversation on a train in October 1942 convinced Groves and Nichols that Oppenheimer thoroughly understood the issues involved in setting up a laboratory in a remote area. These were features that Groves found lacking in other scientists, and he knew that broad knowledge would be vital in an interdisciplinary project that would involve not just physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, but chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

, ordnance and engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

.
In October 1942 Groves and Oppenheimer inspected sites in New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, where they selected a suitable location for the laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos is a townsite and census-designated place in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States, built upon four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau and the adjoining White Rock Canyon. The population of the CDP was 12,019 at the 2010 Census. The townsite or "the hill" is one part of town while...

. Unlike Oak Ridge, the ranch school at Los Alamos, along with 54000 acres (21,853 ha) of surrounding forest and grazing land, was soon acquired. Groves also detected in Oppenheimer something that many others did not, an "overweening ambition" which Groves reckoned would supply the drive necessary to push the project to a successful conclusion. Groves became convinced that Oppenheimer was the best and only man to run the laboratory.

Few agreed with him in 1942. Oppenheimer had little administrative experience and, unlike other potential candidates, no Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

. There was also concern about whether Oppenheimer was a security risk, as many of his associates were communists, including his brother Frank Oppenheimer
Frank Oppenheimer
Frank Friedman Oppenheimer was an American physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, was a target of McCarthyism, and was later the founder of the Exploratorium in San Francisco. He was the younger brother of J...

, his wife Kitty and his girlfriend Jean Tatlock
Jean Tatlock
Jean Frances Tatlock M.D. , was an American psychiatrist, physician, and a member of the Communist Party. She is most noted for her romantic relationship with Manhattan Project scientific leader J. Robert Oppenheimer....

. Oppenheimer's Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 connections soon came to light, but Groves personally waived the security requirements and issued Oppenheimer a clearance on 20 July 1943. Groves' faith in Oppenheimer was ultimately justified. Oppenheimer's inspirational leadership fostered practical approaches to designing and building bombs. Asked years later why Groves chose him, Oppenheimer replied that the general "had a fatal weakness for good men." Isidor Rabi considered the appointment "a real stroke of genius on the part of General Groves, who was not generally considered to be a genius ..."
Groves made critical decisions on prioritizing the various methods of isotope separation and acquiring raw materials needed by the scientists and engineers. By the time he assumed command of the project, it was evident that the AA-3 priority rating that Marshall had obtained was insufficient. The top ratings were AA-1 through AA-4 in descending order, although there was also a special AAA rating reserved for emergencies. Ratings AA-1 and AA-2 were for essential weapons and equipment, so Colonel Lucius D. Clay
Lucius D. Clay
General Lucius Dubignon Clay was an American officer and military governor of the United States Army known for his administration of Germany immediately after World War II. Clay was deputy to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1945; deputy military governor, Germany 1946; commander in chief, U.S....

, the deputy chief of staff at Services and Supply for requirements and resources, felt that the highest rating he could assign was AA-3, although he was willing to provide an AAA rating on request for critical materials to remove bottlenecks. Groves went to Donald M. Nelson
Donald M. Nelson
Donald Marr Nelson was an American business executive and public servant, serving as the executive vice president of Sears Roebuck before accepting the position of director of priorities of the United States Office of Production Management . In 1942 Nelson became chairman of the War Production...

, the chairman of the War Production Board
War Production Board
The War Production Board was established as a government agency on January 16, 1942 by executive order of Franklin D. Roosevelt.The purpose of the board was to regulate the production and allocation of materials and fuel during World War II in the United States...

 and, after threatening to take the matter to the President, obtained a AAA priority for the Manhattan project. It was agreed that the AA-3 priority would still be used where possible.

The Combined Development Trust was established by the governments of the United Kingdom, United States and Canada in June 1944, with Groves as its chairman, to procure uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 and thorium
Thorium
Thorium is a natural radioactive chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90. It was discovered in 1828 and named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder....

 ores on international markets. In 1944, the trust purchased 3440000 pounds (1,560,357.8 kg) of uranium oxide ore from companies operating mines in the Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

. In order to avoid briefing US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. on the project, a special account not subject to the usual auditing and controls was used to hold Trust monies. Between 1944 and the time he resigned from the Trust in 1947, Groves deposited a total of $37.5 million into the Trust's account.
In 1943, the Manhattan District became responsible for collecting military intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 on Axis atomic research. Groves created Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

, special intelligence teams that would follow in the wake of the advancing armies, rounding up enemy scientists and collecting what technical information and technology they could. Alsos teams ultimately operated in Italy, France and Germany. The security system resembled that of other engineer districts. The Manhattan District organized its own counterintelligence which gradually grew in size and scope, but strict security measures failed to prevent the Soviets from conducting a successful espionage program that stole some of its most important secrets.

Groves met with the Chief of United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

, General
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 Henry H. Arnold
Henry H. Arnold
Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was an American general officer holding the grades of General of the Army and later General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air Corps , Commanding General of the U.S...

, in March 1944 to discuss the delivery of the finished bombs to their targets. Groves was hoping that the Boeing B-29 Superfortress would be able to carry the finished bombs. The 509th Composite Group was duly activated on 17 December 1944 at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, under the command of Colonel Paul W. Tibbets. A joint Manhattan District – USAAF targeting committee was established to determine which cities in Japan should be targets; it recommended Kokura
Kokura
is an ancient castle town and the center of Kitakyūshū, Japan, guarding, via its suburb Moji, the Straits of Shimonoseki between Honshū and Kyūshū. Kokura is also the name of the penultimate station on the southbound Sanyo Shinkansen line, which is owned by JR Kyūshū and an important part of the...

, Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

, Niigata and Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

. At this point, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
Henry L. Stimson
Henry Lewis Stimson was an American statesman, lawyer and Republican Party politician and spokesman on foreign policy. He twice served as Secretary of War 1911–1913 under Republican William Howard Taft and 1940–1945, under Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the latter role he was a leading hawk...

 intervened, announcing that he would be making the targeting decision, and that he would not authorize the bombing of Kyoto. Groves attempted to get him to change his mind several times and Stimson refused every time. In the end, Groves asked Arnold to remove Kyoto not just from the list of nuclear targets, but from targets for conventional bombing as well. Nagasaki
Nagasaki
is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Nagasaki was founded by the Portuguese in the second half of the 16th century on the site of a small fishing village, formerly part of Nishisonogi District...

 was substituted for Kyoto as a target.
Groves was promoted to temporary major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 in March 1944. After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki became public knowledge, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
The Distinguished Service Medal is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United...

. His citation read:
Groves had previously been nominated for the Distinguished Service Medal for his work on the Pentagon, but to avoid drawing attention to the Manhattan Project, it had not been awarded at the time. After the war, the Decorations Board decided to change it to a Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

. In recognition of his work on the project, the Belgian government made him a Commander of the Order of the Crown
Order of the Crown (Belgium)
The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was created on 15 October 1897 by King Leopold II in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State. The order was first intended to recognize heroic deeds and distinguished service achieved from service in the Congo Free State - many of which acts...

 and the British government made him an honorary Companion of the Order of the Bath.

After the war



Responsibility for nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 and nuclear weapons was transferred from the Manhattan District to the United States Atomic Energy Commission
United States Atomic Energy Commission
The United States Atomic Energy Commission was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S...

 on 1 January 1947. On 29 January 1947, Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson
Robert P. Patterson
Robert Porter Patterson was the United States Under Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt and the United States Secretary of War under President Harry S. Truman from September 27, 1945 to July 18, 1947....

 and Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal issued a joint directive creating the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project
Armed Forces Special Weapons Project
The Armed Forces Special Weapons Project was a United States military agency responsible for those aspects of nuclear weapons remaining under the military after the the Manhattan Project was succeeded by the Atomic Energy Commission on 1 January 1947...

 (AFSWP) to control the military aspects of nuclear weapons. Groves was appointed its chief on 28 February 1947. In April, AFSWP moved from the New War Department Building to the fifth floor of the Pentagon. Groves had already made a start on the new mission by creating Sandia Base
Sandia Base
Sandia Base was, from 1946 to 1971, the principal nuclear weapons installation of the United States Department of Defense. It was located on the southeastern edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico...

 in 1946.

The Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The Chief of Staff of the Army is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army; and is in...

, General of the Army
General of the Army
General of the Army is a military rank used in some countries to denote a senior military leader, usually a General in command of a nation's Army. It may also be the title given to a General who commands an Army in the field....

 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, met with Groves on 30 January 1948 to evaluate his performance. Eisenhower recounted a long list of complaints about Groves pertaining to his rudeness, arrogance, insensitivity, contempt for the rules and maneuvering for promotion out of turn. Eisenhower made it clear that Groves would never become Chief of Engineers. Groves realized that in the rapidly shrinking postwar military he would not be given any assignment approaching in importance the one he had held in the Manhattan Project, as such posts would go to combat commanders returning from overseas, and he decided to leave the Army. He was promoted to lieutenant general
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 just before his retirement on 29 February 1948 in recognition of his leadership of the Manhattan Project. By special Act of Congress his date of rank was backdated to 16 July 1945, the date of the Trinity nuclear test.

Later life


Groves went on to become a vice president at Sperry Rand, an equipment and electronics firm. He moved to Darien, Connecticut
Darien, Connecticut
Darien is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. A relatively small community on Connecticut's "Gold Coast", the population was 20,732 at the 2010 census. Darien was listed at #9 at CNN Money's list of "top-earning towns" in the United States as of 2011...

, in 1948. He retired from Sperry Rand in 1961. He also served as president of the West Point alumni organization, the Association of Graduates. He presented General of the Army
General of the Army
General of the Army is a military rank used in some countries to denote a senior military leader, usually a General in command of a nation's Army. It may also be the title given to a General who commands an Army in the field....

 Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 the Sylvanus Thayer Award
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created...

 in 1962, which was the occasion of MacArthur's famous Duty, Honor, Country speech to the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 Corps of Cadets in 1962. In retirement, Groves wrote an account of the Manhattan Project entitled Now It Can Be Told, originally published in 1962. In 1964, he moved back to Washington, D.C.

Groves suffered a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 caused by chronic calcification
Calcification
Calcification is the process in which calcium salts build up in soft tissue, causing it to harden. Calcifications may be classified on whether there is mineral balance or not, and the location of the calcification.-Causes:...

 of the aortic valve
Aortic valve
The aortic valve is one of the valves of the heart. It is normally tricuspid , although in 1% of the population it is found to be congenitally bicuspid . It lies between the left ventricle and the aorta....

 on 13 July 1970. He was rushed to Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the United States Army's flagship medical center until 2011. Located on 113 acres in Washington, D.C., it served more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military...

, where he died that night. A funeral service was held in the chapel at Fort Myer, Virginia, after which Groves was interred in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

 next to his brother Allen, who had died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in 1916. Groves is memorialized as the namesake of Leslie Groves Park along the Columbia River
Columbia River
The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, flows northwest and then south into the U.S. state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state...

, not far from the Hanford Site
Hanford Site
The Hanford Site is a mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government. The site has been known by many names, including Hanford Works, Hanford Engineer Works or HEW, Hanford Nuclear Reservation...

 in Richland
Richland, Washington
Richland is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Washington, at the confluence of the Yakima and the Columbia Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 48,058. April 1, 2011 estimates from the Washington State Office of Financial Management put the...

.