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ARCHIVED THREADS > The Nazi Bomb

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Donster | 29 comments I'm curious: has anyone read a good book or reference on the German atomic bomb project? What is the understanding of the members here of how far advanced German research was and how close Germany was to producing a working design? My own reading is confined to Richard Rhodes excellent The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
I frequently see references to the German nuclear program that imply Germany was very close to producing atomic weapons, but my understanding (and Rhodes) is that Germany had an early research lead but essentially went nowhere.


TheIron Paw | 2 comments I wish I remember where I read it but the old memory just ain't what it used to be. I believe is was a history of physics or perhaps a bio of a physicists - in any case, as I remember it, the Germans had a major project towards the bomb, however the route they were following was actually a dead end and wouldn't have produced a working bomb (this of course in hindsight)


James | 61 comments There was a documentary on either the Military Channel or the History Channel recently about a Japanese project to build an atomic bomb, too, with help from Germany. According to that documentary, the Japanese were very close to having a working bomb, possibly within weeks, when America dropped A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 11, 2009 03:28AM) (new)

Hi, I'm definitely not qualified to judge the accuracy or reliability of the following two books, but both I understand deal with the topic you mention. The writer of one of them, David Irving, AFAIK, is very controversial. Hope this helps :)
1. Joseph P. Farrell, Reich Of The Black Sun: Nazi Secret Weapons The Cold War Allied Legend , and
2. David Irving, The Virus House .



Christopher | 13 comments Also in the realm of "take it with a grain of salt," Zack Parsons in My Tank Is Fight says that the Nazis had 2 competing bomb programs, one under Heisenberg and a second program under a scientist named Diebner. He goes on to relate rumors that Diebner's group may have actually built and tested a small, low-yeild bomb. According to wikipedia, there's more details on this in Hitlers Bombe, but I can't speak to that book since I've never seen it.



Donster | 29 comments Interesting. So there are published accounts of both German and Japanese efforst which were either close to completion or resulted in production of an actual working bomb.
These are extremely difficult to take seriously. Having read Rhodes well-documented work (as well as having a basic working knowledege of the science involved through having a degree in chemistry) the really striking thing about the American atomic bomb program was the sheer scale of the industrial effort required.
Essentially, the theoretical work on how to make a bomb was done by British naval intelligence (actually by various, mostly Hungarian, expats working for British naval intelligence). Once the British learned how to make a bomb in theory, they quickly realized that under wartime conditions Britain lacked the capacity to produce the materials needed and turned the project, personnel and all, over to the Americans.
It's practically impossible to do basic atom bomb research without first constructing a working fission reactor, and I don't think there's evidence that either Germany or Japan even got that far. Given the near complete destruction of both their industrial capacity by the last year of the war it's difficult to believe either of them could have produced U-235 in any quantity even had they suceeded in the level of research required to make a workable design.


Dipto Donster wrote: "Interesting. So there are published accounts of both German and Japanese efforst which were either close to completion or resulted in production of an actual working bomb.
These are extremely diff..."


I agree with you totally. Furthermore, a British sabotage against the Norsk Hydro hydroelectric plant in Norway stopped the German production of heavy water.


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