The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was formally established in a federal building where plans for the devising of nuclear bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II were strategized.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the building, which is near the White House, has three sites where the plans to create the bomb were made: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, and Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, said the park has not been established to glorify the war, but to tell the story from a new perspective. “It certainly is a celebration that we will be telling the story of these three important historical sites,” Jewell said. “It’s not necessarily a celebration of the consequences of that, but rather an opportunity to tell that story to a broader audience.”
Jewell and Moniz added that the park is being established in an effort to spread awareness about the development of nuclear energy and weapons.
Perspectives of those who suffered because of the dropping of the bombs and those “whose lives were spared because the way came to an end” will be shared, Jewell said. She added that the nuclear bomb droppings “did mark the end of the war, but it left devastation in its wake.”
Jewell also shared the experience of her mother-in-law, who worked as a nurse in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “It was a powerful experience for her,” Jewell said.
Japan “felt the consequences” of the Manhattan Project, Jewell said. Referring to Japan being one of America’s allies, she spoke to the Japanese citizens in the audience, saying, “You story needs to be told.”
However, the establishment of the park has been criticized by some. Greg Mello, director of the Los Alamos Study Group, an anti-nuclear watchdog group, said that the park was “pure propaganda for Los Alamos National Laboratory and its enduring mission of creating weapons of global destruction.” He stated that nuclear work is conducted at the three sites in the park, and said the park “is not exactly about the past because the Manhattan Project never ended.”