Would you pull the lever?

(Picture Source)

Would you pull the lever?

Is that the right thing to do?

This was the question that Truman had to answer in 1945. To this date, the usage of atomic bombs is controversial; however, there’s no doubt that it changed the world forever. From September to October, we have been studying the Manhattan project and its significance. But not only was it influential back in 1945, but it also have profound impacts on modern societies. 

Project Overview 

(Just so you know what we are doing in this project)


Now, let’s go back to the trolley problem. Whether you would pull the lever or not, is a hard decision to make. Either way, you are right, and neither was the right answer. Quoting Ms. Madsen, our teacher for this project: “the beauty about philosophy is the process of thinking”

If you do pull the lever…

  • What right do you have to kill the innocent people
  • What right do we have to compare lives to make this judgment 
  • How can you prove your intention was not to commit a murder
  • Can results justify the process 
  • How do you know if the five people want people to sacrifice for them 

If you don’t pull the lever

  • How innocent are you to stand and watch five people die 
  • Why should we maximize the harm of the atrocities 
  • Is it reasonable to watch people die because you don’t want to carry any responsibility
  • Would the person you saved appreciate your decision 
  • If we have a choice, can we still blame it on the train

As you may realize already, the Manhattan Project and the trolley question are very similar. The bombing in itself killed hundreds of thousands of people; however, you can argue that it did save us all from millions of unnecessary casualties. Ideally, we don’t want wars; ideally, we don’t want to make the decision; ideally, we don’t want anyone to die. But under a worldwide, total war conflict, it was impossible to avoid deaths. The Manhattan project, in this case, would be the other railway to take. It led to the brighter world that we currently live in. In the end, the Manhattan project did prove to be a more effective way to end the war; but furthermore, it was also a turning point in science, military and medical fields.


  • It prepared for Nuclear fusion
  • It laid the foundation for universe exploration
  • It enabled Nuclear power plants 


  • It determined how the Cold War would be fought
  • It enhanced missilery and Air Force technologies
  • It prevented direct military combats


  • It intensified medical research on the human body
  • It produces gamma rays to detect tumours and cancers
  • It inspired Nuclear medicine to fight against cancer 

Most importantly, the devastations of atomic bombs did show all of us how brutal, tragic and destructive wars can be. That awareness to this date forced nations to have peace with each other and prevent wars from happening. Today, none of us have to live in air raid shelters; none of us today have to live under the fear of being bombed or invaded, none of us today have to live under a worldwide, total war conflict. All of the statements above proved how the Manhattan Project relevant is.

After all, we can debate whether the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be justified or not; however, the significance of the Manhattan project is

Aftermath Reflection 

After all, I think writing is significantly better than speaking. Not only was writing an easier task for me, but I also devoted more time to phrasing and rewriting. The fear of public speaking is often compared with the fear of death. Looking back, I lacked speaking practice. Although I read out my script, it was a different story to present in front of the class. As it turned out, my result prediction was very different from the actual result. With that said, I still appreciate the opportunity to learn it in grade 11. It was challengingand stressful, but it also allow me to grow. 

Thank you for your time!

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