How the US Government Kept a Town of 75,000 Secret

How the US Government Kept a Town of 75,000 Secret

This video was made possible by Hover. Buy your unique domain name for 10% off at Oak Ridge, Tennessee is a small American town
just like any other. They’ve got a Walmart, a Dollar General,
an Aldi, a thermonuclear weapons development site, and two McDonald’s and yet from 1942
to 1945, Oak Ridge, which at the time was the fifth largest town in Tennessee, did not
exist and this isn’t like how Canada doesn’t exist. Oak Ridge actually did exist but nobody knew
about it. In October, 1942, the 1,000 or so residents
of the area came home to find notes on their doors telling them they had six weeks to get
out—the government had acquired their land through eminent domain. I’m sure that was a bummer but too bad—there
was a war going on. Wait, are we allowed to make World War Two
jokes yet? Eh I’m not sure but I do need to stop… Stalin. So, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, after all the
fences and buildings went up in a matter of months, the recruited workers were told next
to nothing. All they knew was that their work would end
the war. Spoiler alert, it did, because they were building
the atomic bomb in what was known as the Manhattan Project. The name supposedly originated from the fact
that the sites were quite similar to New York—they used about the same amount of electricity
due to all the machinery, the air was toxic, they had to overpay the residents to convince
them to live in bad conditions, and the people all thought they were more important than
they were. The bad guys in World War Two were not great
so it was pretty important that the US didn’t accidentally leak information to Axis spies. Therefore, the entire 75,000 person town of
Oak Ridge, Tennessee was 100% confidential—not even the Vice President knew it existed. When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that
was the first time that all but a select few individuals even knew such a bomb existed. It was pretty, you know, bombshell news. The way the government kept this enormous
operation confidential was just as ingenious as the technology they were building. Oak Ridge did not exist on any map. Houses were built outside the town and brought
in to be placed so as few construction workers as possible would enter. Every single piece of mail going in and out
was searched and read through not only to make sure there we no details of the work
going on within the fences but also to be sure that nobody was including codes that
communicated details. There were signs like this all around the
town reminding everyone that what they were doing was secret but, in the governments mind,
with 75,000 people, it was inevitable that a few spies would get in. For that reason, almost everyone had no clue
what they were doing but not in the in the way that I have no clue what I’m doing making
comedic YouTube videos. The workers literally did not know what they
were building. According to one estimate, only a few dozen
people knew that the atomic bomb existed before the bombing of Hiroshima even though hundreds
of thousands of people at Oak Ridge and other Manhattan Project sites built it. The workers learned about what they were building
from the newspaper the day after the bomb dropped. Each and every individual would have a single
task and the only people who knew how it related to other tasks were the few highest ranked
scientists. One individual, for example, was tasked with
watching a dial, turning a valve when it reached 100, and that was it. He had no idea why he was doing that. The individual tasks were tiny and mundane—it
was like working at McDonald’s except that at McDonald’s what you make kills Americans
too. Another individual working in the laundry
was told to hold up a machine to each article of clothing and listen for a clicking sound. Little did she know she was checking for radiation
using a geiger counter. Security officers roamed all around Oak Ridge
and monitored for anything suspicious. Groups of more than seven and having the same
person over repeatedly was considered suspicious so residents avoided that since they knew
that, if the security officers were suspicious in the slightest, even if it was unproven,
they would get kicked out for good. If a leak was proven, the resident would either
be jailed for 10 years or fined the equivalent of $100,000. Overall, the bad guys in this war were really
bad so Americans were really into the idea of winning so even those that had a good idea
what was going on in Oak Ridge kept silent out of a sense of patriotism—not wanting
to let out information that could help the enemy. Throughout this all, however, Oak Ridge had
stores and restaurants and even sports teams. Oak Ridge looked like a regular American town—just
one that built the most deadly weapon that has ever existed. If you work at the US Government’s secret
contrail factory in Garden City, Kansas, you should start a blog about it but a blog isn’t
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  1. I’ve been to Canada and I can tell you it doesn’t exist as well as this comment saying I’ve been to Canada when this comment was typed in Canada so this comment does not exist because it is made in Canada.

  2. Read The Girls of Atomic City. Pretty interesting stuff. But many expressed conflicting emotions when hearing about the ghastly destruction in Japan. But the joy of War Over was huge. Stop nukes!!!

  3. Oak Ridge residents after seeing the newspaper article: “… So that’s what I was building. Well I just indirectly cause the deaths of tens on thousands of people. Great.”

  4. How can a place with such polite people good healthcare and no military exist next to the United States it’s impossible so Canada must be fake

  5. See, I've always believed since early highschool that the idea of conspiracies can never be true because of how many people would have to keep it a secret is impossible. This just stabbed that in the chest. F*ck

  6. Why are you always showing Nazis when you talk about bad guys, while talking about the nukes that were dropped on Japan? Was japan a better country than Nazi germany back then?

  7. 0:31 canada get roasted by the vikings and now controlled by royal british navy while an australian is standing upside down for a chill joke

  8. I live in Tennessee and I had a geometry teacher that was drafted during the Vietnam war, he had a choice to either fight in the war or to go to oak ridge to become a nuclear weapons scientist. And he knew things about the government he couldn’t tell us

  9. c4nada is a real place! Wendover is trying to decieve you! Wait, Wendover? Wtf is Wendover! I mean Half as interesting!

  10. WW2 was not ended by the bomb. That was just the largest terrorist attack on a civilian population ever. The Russians were a week from entering the pacific theater, the Japanese knew it. The was was effectively over already. Just facts. Sorry

  11. Lol… And once war was over… They were probably like, "fuck these secrets, HEY USSR want some nuclear secrets?"

  12. check your facts about the project name. it was called Manhattan project cause of ware work on the project started.

  13. I stop it 1:59 when he said the Germans. Were the bad guy what a dummy you should learn facts about the war just fyi america has all was been the bad guy

  14. Oak ridge was the inspiration for the name of the country group the Oak Ridge boys, who had great success on the country charts for many years.

  15. sigh
    You could have just… Invaded Japan normally instead of nuking Japan…
    I guess America did not have patience, did they?

  16. The atomic bomb was not at all necessairy to end wwII. Japan was allready in a state of unable to defend herself. After the soviets declared war on Japan their situation even got worse. No, the purpose of dropping these bombs was to start a (cold) war on the soviets. The moment the USA entered wwII was also the end of the 1930's crisis, because the war immediately heavily increased production. After the war there would come a moment where they had to scale back the enormous production again which created a serious threat to fall back into crisis. The cold war prevented that crisis to become reality. Without the dropping of the bombs history would have taken a completely different direction.

  17. I went there a couple weeks ago to look at some abandoned places and found out the history of it as I was driving there. The power plant is still standing and operational.

  18. My dad was born there during that time his dad was an engineer that worked their and his mom was a nurse and school teacher.

  19. 😂 the Soviets knew before the Vice President
    The only reason they knew was because the scientists were sim pathetic to the Russians since they were fighting the bulk of the Nazi and seam like they would fall

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