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Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves was born on August 17, 1896 in Albany, New York. He attended the University of Washington for one year and the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology for two years before entering West Point Military Academy. In the years following his graduation from West Point in 1918, Groves attended an engineer's school and served in the military.

In 1934, Groves was promoted to Captain in the Army. He graduated from the Command and General Staff School in 1936 and from the Army War College in 1939. Groves was promoted again to Major and Temporary Colonel in 1940. In the same year, he oversaw construction of the Pentagon.

Groves was a key figure and leader in building the atomic bomb and also in deciding where and

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when it would be used. In 1942, Groves became the director of the Manhattan Project. He appointed J. Robert Oppenheimer to be the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He also appointed the committee to recommend targets for the use of the bomb. Groves wrote the order given to General Carl Spaatz, who was in charge of Air Force operations in the Pacific, to "deliver its first special bomb as soon as weather will permit visual bombing after about 3 August 1945."

In crediting President Truman with the decision to use the atom bomb, Groves added, "As far as I was concerned, his decision was one of noninterference - basically, a decision not to upset the existing plans." In 1944, Groves was promoted to Major General. He continued to play a leading role in the atomic establishment until 1947 as Chief of Army's Special Weapons Project. Groves was named Lieutenant General in 1948 and retired soon after. He died of heart disease on July 13, 1970.