Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves

US Army Lieutenant General
Date of Birth: 17.08.1896
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Leslie Groves
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Military Career
  4. The Manhattan Project
  5. Later Life

Biography of Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army and the military leader of the Manhattan Project, the program that developed nuclear weapons, from 1942 to 1947. He was born to an army chaplain and was descended from French Huguenots who arrived in America in the 17th century.

Early Life and Education

Groves studied at the Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduating in 1918, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers.

Military Career

Throughout his career, Groves held various positions, including captain starting in 1934, student at the General Staff Academy from 1936 to 1940, and major in the General Staff from 1940. Due to the pre-war expansion of the army, he was promoted to colonel in the same year. Groves gained a reputation as a tough, successful, and self-assured leader while working on various military construction projects, including the construction of the Pentagon.

The Manhattan Project

In September 1942, Groves was temporarily promoted to brigadier general and appointed as the military leader of the atomic project, replacing Colonel James Marshall. It was Groves who gave the project the codename Manhattan. He personally selected and approved the locations for atomic facilities in Oak Ridge, Hanford, Los Alamos, and others, and organized their construction and supply. Groves is also credited with prioritizing alternative engineering solutions, including isotope separation methods. Despite his army methods irritating many scientists, it was Groves who insisted on appointing Robert Oppenheimer as the scientific director of the project. When choosing targets for the first atomic bombing of Japan, Groves advocated for the destruction of Kyoto.

Later Life

After the war, Groves faced opposition from those who were against his leadership style, and in January 1947, the Manhattan Project was transferred out of the army's jurisdiction and placed under civilian control. Effectively removed from the project, Groves served briefly in Los Alamos before retiring in 1948, making way for frontline generals. Until 1961, Groves worked as a vice president for the military-industrial corporation Sperry Rand. In 1962, he published his memoir "Now It Can Be Told," which was later released in the Soviet Union in 1964.