Declassification of the Manhattan District History at the Department of Energy

On August 21, 2014, the Department of Energy (DOE) posted to its OpenNet system the multi-volume history of the Manhattan Project, titled The Manhattan District History.  Commissioned in 1944 by General Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Engineer District, the thirty-six volume history was “intended to describe, in simple terms, easily understood by the average reader, just what the Manhattan District did, and how, when, and where” according to general editor Gavin Hadden, a longtime civil employee of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The volumes detail the Manhattan Project’s activities and achievements in research, design, construction, operation, and administration, as well as contain extensive annotations, statistical tables, charts, engineering drawings, maps, photographs, and derailed indices.

The PIDB congratulates the Office of Classification, the Office of History and Heritage Resources, and the DOE’s Office of Science and Technical information for completing all declassification reviews on these important histories.  In particular, we are gratified that the DOE prioritized these histories for declassification.   This effort illustrates the government’s ability to declassify no-longer-sensitive information related to our nation’s nuclear history, a recommendation made by the PIDB’s 2012 Report, Transforming the Security Classification System, and adopted in the President’s Second Open Government National Action Plan.  The PIDB is also pleased that these records received a line-by-line declassification review, rather than being subjected to simple pass/fail determinations.  We will continue to follow and give encouragement to agencies as they work to implement the President’s Plan.

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