Leslie Groves

United States Army Corps of Engineers officer (1896–1970)

Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr. (August 17, 1896 – July 13, 1970) was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer, famous as the director of the Manhattan Project.

Leslie Groves

Quotes edit

  • At the time I was brought into the picture, research on the uses of atomic energy had been going on at a gradually accelerating pace since January, 1939, when Lise Meitner explained that the uranium atom could be split. The discovery opened up two divergent paths for its exploitation. Most physical scientsts realized that nuclear energy, derived from the splitting, or fissioning, of the atom, might be used either to generate power for peaceful purposes or to generate super-weapons. In general, however, it was the scientists who were personally acquainted with Hitler's New Order who first became most interested in the possible military uses of atomic energy and its effect on the existing balance of political power.
  • I think the data that went out in the case of the Rosenbergs was of minor value. I would never say that publicly. Again that is something while it is not secret, I think should be kept very quiet, because irrespective of the value of that in the overall picture, the Rosenbergs deserved to hang, and I would not like to see anything that would make people say General Groves thinks they didn’t do much damage after all.
    • quoted in In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer (1954), but redacted from the version published in 1954. Released to the public in 2015.
  • At present the best defense against the atomic bomb is to not be there when it goes off.
    • attributed to Groves by Vice Admiral William H.P. Blandy, in Blandy, "Operation Crossroads: The Story of the Air and Underwater Tests of the Atomic Bomb at Bikini," Army Ordnance 31, no. 160 (January-February 1947), 341-343, full quote as listed above is the pull-quote on page 341, with attribution on page 343 ("At present, the best defense is distance, or as General Groves put it, the best defense is to not be there when it goes off").

Quotes about Groves edit

  • For three critical years he directed the most awesome project in the history of mankind. He was a constant source of amazement . . . He had the deep respect and admiration of his staff for his ability to organize and get things done.
  • First, General Groves is the biggest S.O.B. I have ever worked for. He is most demanding. He is most critical. He is always a driver, never a praiser. He is abrasive and sarcastic. He disregards all normal organizational channels. He is extremely intelligent. He has the guts to make timely, difficult decisions. He is the most egotistical man I know. He knows he is right and so sticks by his decision.
    He abounds with energy and expects everyone to work as hard or even harder than he does. Although he gave me great responsibility and adequate authority to carry out his mission-type orders, he constantly meddled with my subordinates. However, to compensate for that he had a small staff, which meant that we were not subject to the usual staff-type heckling. He ruthlessly protected the overall project from other government agency interference, which made my task easier. He seldom accepted other agency cooperation and then only on his own terms. During the war and since I have had the opportunity to meet many of our most outstanding leaders in the Army, Navy and Air Force as well as many of our outstanding scientific, engineering and industrial leaders. And in summary, if I had to do my part of the atomic bomb project over again and had the privilege of picking my boss I would pick General Groves.
    • Kenneth D. Nichols, Groves' second-in-command for the Manhattan Project. Nichols, Kenneth D. (1987). The Road to Trinity. William Morrow. p. 108. 
  • He had a fatal weakness for good men.

External links edit

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