Birthday: August 17, 1896
Died At Age: 73
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr.
Born Country: United States
Born in: Albany, New York, United States
Famous as: Engineer
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
Died on: July 13, 1970
place of death: Washington, D.C., United States
City: Albany, New York
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
awards: Legionnaire of Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
Who was Leslie Groves?
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.
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.