Leslie Groves Biography

(United States Army Officer in Charge of the Construction of 'The Pentagon' and Director of 'The Manhattan Project')

Birthday: August 17, 1896 (Leo)

Born In: Albany, New York, United States

Leslie Groves was an American military officer, who served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He played an important role in the Second World War. He oversaw the construction of the Pentagon, and is also known for directing the Manhattan Project, which involved developing the atomic bomb that was used in the war. Leslie Groves was born in Albany, New York. He was the son of an army chaplain, and he spent his childhood in various parts of the country, due to his father`s profession. He graduated from the US Military Academy, after which he was commissioned into the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He was in charge of the Manhattan Project in 1942. His responsibilities grew over the next few years. He got involved in various aspects of the development of the atomic bomb. He also became involved in domestic and international policy issues. He also saw the Manhattan project and the development atomic bomb as the way to end the Second World War. Groves decided to quit the army when he was told that he would never be made the Chief of Engineers. Shortly before his retirement, he was also made lieutenant general.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr.

Died At Age: 73


Spouse/Ex-: Grace Wilson

father: Leslie Richard Groves Sr., Leslie Richard Groves, Sr.

mother: Gwen née Griffith

siblings: Allen Groves

children: Gwen Groves, Richard Hulbert Groves

Born Country: United States

Soldiers Civil Engineers

Died on: July 13, 1970

place of death: Washington, D.C., United States

Notable Alumni: US Army War College, Command And General Staff College

City: Albany, New York

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, University Of Washington, United States Military Academy, US Army War College, Command And General Staff College

awards: Legionnaire of Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit

  • 1

    What role did Leslie Groves play in the Manhattan Project?

    Leslie Groves was the military leader in charge of the Manhattan Project, the secret U.S. government program during World War II that developed the atomic bomb.

  • 2

    What challenges did Leslie Groves face during the Manhattan Project?

    Leslie Groves faced numerous challenges, including tight deadlines, secrecy requirements, and managing a large and diverse team of experts working on groundbreaking technology.

  • 3

    What impact did Leslie Groves' leadership have on the development of the atomic bomb?

    Leslie Groves' leadership was instrumental in the successful development of the atomic bomb, as his organizational skills and strategic planning played a crucial role in bringing together the necessary resources and expertise.

  • 4

    How is Leslie Groves remembered in history for his role in the Manhattan Project?

    Leslie Groves is remembered as a key figure in the Manhattan Project, whose leadership and management skills were essential in the development of the atomic bomb that ultimately helped end World War II.

Childhood & Early Life
Leslie Groves was born on 17th August 1896 in Albany, New York. His father was a pastor named Leslie Richard Groves, who served with the army for most of his life. His mother was Gwen Griffith Groves. Groves Jr. was the third of four children. Due to his father’s post in the army, he spent his childhood in various parts of the country.
Although absent from his children, his father was a great influence on Leslie Jr. and his siblings. He wrote them letters quite often asking them to learn their lessons, to be brave, strong and honest. When he was still a teenager, Leslie Jr. gained an interest in joining the army.
After he finished his high school, he tried to get admitted to the United States Military Academy through a presidential nomination, in June 1914, but failed to get the required score. He therefore chose enrolled in the civil engineering program, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1916, he made a second attempt, and this time, he was successful in getting admitted to the United States Military Academy. His class graduated sooner because of the First World War. Groves was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He was assigned to 7th Engineer Regiment at Camp Gordon, Georgia, where he was put in command of the regiment`s Company B.
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Over the next twenty years, Leslie Groves was assigned in various engineering duties throughout the country. During this time, he also attended the Engineer School, the Command and General Staff School, as well as the Army War College, as it would help him to hold higher posts. Groves was promoted to Major on 1st July 1940.
The Army Corps of Engineers was put in charge of the atomic bomb project in 1942, which was known as the Manhattan Project. Groves was chosen to head it, and was also promoted to Brigadier General. Groves made the decision to establish the fifth floor of the New War Department Building as headquarters. He also met with physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, with whom he discussed the creation of a laboratory where the bomb could be designed.
His responsibilities grew over the years. He supervised the construction of the plants and factories that would be used in manufacturing the key bomb materials. He also chose the personnel to research, develop as well as fabricate the bomb. Though several of the scientists didn’t like his methods, and emphasis on security, the collaboration between Groves and Oppenheimer, eventually proved to be fruitful. Planning for the bomb’s use also started soon.
Leslie Groves got several B-29 aircrafts specially modified in order to carry the atomic bombs, which weighed five tons. He was also behind the planning, targeting as well as timing of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the knowledge of the bombings became public, Groves was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
He was also promoted to temporary major general. He also received a Legion of Merit. The Belgian government made him a Commander of the Order of the Crown, and he was also made an honorary Companion of the Order of the Bath, by the British government. The Army Chief of Staff, Dwight D Eisenhower, met Groves soon, to evaluate his performance. He had a long list of complaints, and he also made it clear that Groves would never be made Chief of Engineers.
Groves therefore decided to retire from the military. On 29th February 1948, he retired. He was promoted to lieutenant general shortly before his retirement. For his later years, he served as vice president of an equipment and electronics firm named Sperry Rand. He also wrote `Now It Can Be Told’ which was an account of the Manhattan Project; it was published in 1962.
Family & Personal Life
Leslie Groves was married to Grace Wilson. They got married on 10th February 1922, at the St. Clement`s Episcopal Church in Seattle. They had two children, a son Richard Hulbert and a daughter Gwen.
He passed away on 13 July 1970, after he suffered a heart attack.
Facts About Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves, despite his tough and demanding demeanor, had a deep appreciation for classical music and was known to relax by listening to Beethoven and Mozart.

Groves had a fascination with gadgets and technology, often tinkering with radios and other devices in his spare time.

He was a dedicated family man, regularly writing letters to his wife and children even during the busy and stressful times of overseeing the Manhattan Project.

Despite his no-nonsense approach to leadership, Groves was known for his generosity towards his colleagues, often going out of his way to help them in times of need.

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