The United States Army, and a retinue of scientists who have participated in the top-secret Manhattan Project to create a workable atomic bomb before the then-hostile governments of Germany or Japan can do so, carry out the first detonation of a nuclear weapon in human history, generating a massive explosion with a yield of 22 kilotons of TNT. This is the final test before the deployment of two nuclear weapons in the United States’ war with Japan mere weeks later. Manhattan Project scientists present to witness the test include Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, Enrico Fermi, and John von Neumann.
After Germany’s surrender, ending the European hostilities in World War II, American military forces embark on a program to recruit captured German scientists, particularly those involved in the development of rockets and missiles, to perform further research and development in these areas for the United States, especially with the Pacific war between the United States and Japan still very much an active concern. The German scientists are also interrogated to find out if any of their technology has been shared with Japan. Numerous German rocket scientists, notably Wernher von Braun and Eberhard Rees, are identified as possible assets to the American war effort despite their past affiliations with Germany’s Nazi regime.