How Hitler Failed to Beat America to the First Nuclear Weapon
Berlin explored the idea of atomic weapons but never understood how to build one or had the right material. The Nazis failed and America emerged as the world's first nuclear power.
Hitler’s Lost Uranium: The Search for WW II Nazi Uranium Cubes
A mysterious object led two American physicists to investigate Hitler’s failed quest to build a working nuclear reactor. Back in 2013 Timothy Koeth, an associate research professor at the University of Maryland, received a birthday gift: a little cloth lunch pouch containing a small object wrapped in brown paper towels. As Koeth peeled back the layers, his eyes grew wide with astonishment. He asked, “Where did you get that? Inside he found a heavy metal cube and a crumpled message, a provocative note wrapped around a stone that came crashing through the window of history. It read, “Taken from Germany, from the nuclear reactor Hitler tried to build. Gift of Ninninger.”
Author claims: Hitler came within a whisker of making a nuke before the US captured his enriched uranium
Hitler came close to making a nuke before the US captured his enriched uranium and used it to make the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, a new book has claimed. American forces forced the surrender of Nazi U-Boat 234 as it was heading for Japan on May 15, 1945 and found it was carrying high profile Nazis, including German general Ulrich Kessler as well as scientists and engineers. It was also carrying the uranium Hitler failed to turn into a nuclear weapon in time to save his crumbling Reich. A new book, 'Critical Mass' by scientist and author Carter Hydrick, claims the captured material was used in the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
Mushroom cloud sighting in declassified US documents suggests the Nazis successfully tested a nuke before the end of WWII
Documents unearthed in an American archive suggest that Nazi Germany may have tested an operational nuclear bomb before the end of the Second World War. Recently declassified file APO 696 from the National Archives in Washington is a detailed survey of how far Third Reich scientists got in the development of an atomic bomb - something Hitler craved. In the file the task of the academics who prepared the paper between 1944 and 1947 was the 'investigations, research, developments and practical use of the German atomic bomb.'
The Third Reich`s nuclear programme: Churchill`s greatest wartime fear
In the spring of 1940, as Britain reeled from defeats on all fronts and America seemed frozen in isolation, one fear, says writer Damien Lewis, united the British and American leaders like no other: that Hitler`s Germany might win the race to build the world`s first atom bomb. So began the secret hunt for the führer`s nuclear weapons.
What if Hitler had Developed Nukes in WWII?
In the early years of World War II, it looked as if Germany might have the luxury to spend its time developing a new generation of super-weapons. The Nazis haphazardly pursued the idea of building an atomic bomb, with an eye toward eventual conflict with the United States.
The Quest to Sabotage Nazi Germany's Atomic Bomb
While the Americans were pursuing an atomic bomb via the Manhattan Project, Nazi Germany had a competing effort of its own dubbed the Uranium Club. The project, led by nuclear physicist Kurt Deibner, and the Allies` mission to foil it, take center stage in Neal Bascomb`s new book The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler`s Superbomb. The German bomb design relied on the rare substance heavy water, which has an atypically high amount of the hydrogen isotope deuterium in it, to slow down the neutrons released by nuclear fission in order to create a chain reaction. The Nazi effort got a boost when Germany occupied Norway, which hosted a hydroelectric plant called Vemork that was the world`s only supplier of this substance.
This secret World War II commando raid kept the Germans from getting nukes
Just before midnight on Feb. 27, 1943, a team of 10 Norwegian commandos crouched in the snow on a mountain plateau and stared at a seemingly unassailable target. It was a power plant and factory being used by the Nazis to create heavy water, a key component for Germany`s plans of developing nuclear reactors and a nuclear bomb.
New evidence of Japan's effort to build atom bomb at the end of WWII
New evidence has emerged about the Japanese military's secret program to build a nuclear weapon. A retired professor at the state-run Kyoto University discovered a blueprint at the school's former Radioisotope Research lab. The notebooks were related to research work by Bunsaku Arakatsu, a professor at the university whom Sankei said was asked by the Japanese navy to develop an atomic bomb during the war. Also found were drawings of a turbine-based centrifuge apparently to be used for the study of uranium enrichment. It was dated March 1945. Another blueprint was found of a centrifuge that a Japanese company, Tokyo Keiki, was producing, with a notation indicating the device was scheduled to be completed Aug. 19, 1945.
German documentary claims Nazis were testing atomic weapons on Russian POWs
The Nazis may have been close to creating an atomic bomb in the final days of the war. Tests of the device were even said to have been carried out on Russian prisoners of war, according to a new German TV documentary. 'The Search for Hitler's Atom Bomb,' quotes sealed records from Russia and America that are said to prove the Third Reich were close to creating a weapon of mass destruction. The programme quotes reports of Nazi scientists, eyewitness account and the records left behind by researchers, many of which were shipped to America after the war. Historian Matthia Uhl said the race to develop a Nazi A-bomb went into overdrive in the final year of the war. The programme focused on Hans Kammler, an S.S. general, who was given 175,000 concentration camp inmates to work in the V-weapons factories.
Secret WWII WMD factory found in Austria - Was Hitler testing nuclear bomb?
St. Georgen an der Gusen is a small market town in Upper Austria. Quiet and picturesque, it's hard to imagine that during WWII, it was selected to be the business center for the SS in exploiting slave labor. Now another secret has been unearthed. A vast underground weapons factory was opened up by Austrian documentary-maker Andreas Sulzer and his team. The 75-acre complex drew Sulzer's interest after he saw references to it in the diary of an Austrian physicist who had worked for the Nazis. High radiation levels around the town of St. Georgen an der Gusen have fueled the theory that the Nazis were attempting to build a nuclear bomb.
126,000 barrels of Nazi nuclear waste from Hitler's A-bomb project found in mine near Hanover
German nuclear experts believe they have found nuclear waste from Hitler's secret atom bomb programme lie rotting over 2,000 feet below ground in a crumbling mine near Hanover. A statement by a boss of the Asse II nuclear fuel dump, just discovered in an archive, said how in 1967 "our association sank radioactive wastes from the last war, uranium waste, from the preparation of the German atom bomb." Mark Walker, an expert on the Nazi programme said: "We still don't know about these projects, which remain cloaked in WW2 secrecy... Some documents remain top secret to this day. Claims that a nuclear weapon was tested at Ruegen in October 1944 and again at Ohrdruf in March 1945 leave open a question, did they or didn't they?"
Lost Nazi nuclear-weapons-project uranium found in Dutch scrapyard
Bits of uranium found in a Dutch scrapyard originated in the Nazi nuclear-weapons programme of the 1940s. Forensic nuclear scientists at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) traced the two metal pieces (a cube and a plate) back to their origins: The Joachimsthal mine. The JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) says the cube was made in 1943 for the Nazi nuclear programme and used in the lab of Werner Heisenberg. The plate was part of experiments by Karl Wirtz. After WWII Heisenberg said: "Probability that this would lead to atomic bombs during the War was nearly zero."
Scientist Tells How He Buried Adolf Hitler's Atomic Bomb
In the last days of the World War II, the Nazis tried to develop the a-bomb before the Allies. Now Erwin Klinge has revealed how he hid the secret of producing it from Adolf Hitler. He and his team buried the plans to stop the Nazis aquiring the bomb. He had planned to quit Nazi Germany for Britain but WW2 broke out, and later he was recruited to work in a lab outside Berlin. "My boss sent me to Frankfurt for 4 weeks to learn how to produce a metal. I did not know until later that the metal was uranium." It was essential to Hitler's atomic plans. "My boss was digging most of the material into the ground to stop Hitler... getting close to an atomic bomb."
Nazi Nuclear Scientist Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker dies at 94
Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, a physicist who researched atomic weapons for the Nazis and became a philosophy professor who espoused pacifism after World War II, died at 94. He claimed he worked on the atomic bomb to avoid being conscripted into the Nazi army and in postwar interviews that he was grateful the nuclear technology was never used by the Nazis. But a secret recording of German scientists captured by the Allies caught him saying, after hearing of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Japan that, "If they were able to finish it by summer 1945, then with a bit of luck, we could have been ready in winter 1944-1945."
Notes on Japan's wartime atomic bomb program found in U.S. (Article no longer available from the original source)
The U.S. Library of Congress possesses memos by two Japanese scientists involved in Japan's unsuccessful attempt to develop atomic bombs during World War II. The memos were written by Sakae Shimizu and Yoshiaki Uemura -- they worked under Bunsaku Arakatsu, a professor at Kyoto Imperial University, which was ordered by the Imperial Japanese Navy to develop a-bombs. The notebooks were seized by the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces which occupied Japan after the war. Documents written by scientists involved in the front line of Japan's atomic bomb program are rare.
Nazis tested their A-bomb in 1945
According to historian Rainer Carlsch, the Nazi scientists made a secret nuclear test near Ordruff on March 3, 1945. He argues that the Nazis detonated a bomb that had up to 5 kilos of plutonium, using about 700 Soviet PoWs as 'guinea pigs'. "My mom told me a story about some strange things that took place here early March of 1945," says Elsa Kelner, a resident of Ordruff. German scientists headed by Erich Bagge built the first centrifuge back in 1942. But the project deadlocked in 1943 after guerillas damaged a "heavy water" plant in Norway. Heinrich Himmler, the chief of SS and Gestapo, took over the project dubbed the "Miracle Weapon."
Soil tests reveal no evidence of Hitler's Bomb, but radioactive material was found
Soil tests have revealed no evidence that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler tested a nuclear weapon just two months before losing the WWII, government scientists said. A Berlin historian, Rainer Karlsch, brought out a book last year on Nazi nuclear research and offered circumstantial evidence that the Germans may have tested a bomb on March 3, 1945 at the Ohrdruf army training camp. A statement said radioactive material was found at the site, but this could be explained by the fallout from the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl. The PTB stressed that it found no evidence to disprove the Karlsch hypothesis either.
How did the development of the "atom bomb" fare in Hitler's Germany?
In 1939, Erich Schumann, head of the Berlin weapons research office of the German Army Ordnance, had a nuclear team including Otto Hahn and Heisenberg. It seemed that Hitler's Nazi Germany would develop the "atom bomb" ahead of the US. The man who prevented it was Hitler, not that he underestimated the it's geostrategic importance - he compared the advent of nuclear weapons to that of gunpowder. If Hitler had been given a promise that the nuclear weapons could be expected not later than, say 1943, Hitler probably would not have launched a conventional war, but concentrated the resources on the nuclear project.
Historian Rainer Karlsch suggests Adolf Hitler had a nuclear bomb?
Historian Rainer Karlsch claims in "Hitler's Bomb" that the Nazis did 3 nuclear weapons tests - one on the German island of Ruegen in the fall of 1944 and two in Thuringia in March 1945. The tests claimed up to 700 lives. Karlsch focuses on Erich Schumann, a chief of research for Nazi Germany's weapons division until 1944, who wrote that in 1944 he discovered a method of generating the high temperatures and extreme pressure needed to cause nuclear fusion using conventional explosives. During WWII explosives experts experimented with hollow charges which have extremely high penetration force - for example the bazooka is based on this effect.
Last known witness to detonation of "disintegration bomb"
Author Luigi Romersa is the last known witness to what he and some historians believe was the experimental detonation of a rudimentary weapon on an island in the Baltic in 1944. Romersa said that when Mussolini had met Hitler earlier in the conflict, the Nazi dictator had alluded to Germany's development of weapons capable of reversing the course of the war. After meeting Josef Goebbels and Hitler in Nazi Germany, Romersa was shown around the Nazis' top-secret weapons plant at Peenemünde and then, on October 12 1944, taken to island of Rügen, where he watched the detonation of what his hosts called a "disintegration bomb".