FACTOID # 15: A mere 0.8% of West Virginians were born in a foreign country.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > German nuclear energy project

The German nuclear energy project was an endeavor by scientists during World War II in Nazi Germany to develop nuclear energy and an atomic bomb for practical use. Unlike the competing Allied effort to develop a nuclear weapon the German effort resulted in two rival teams, one working for the military, the second, a civilian effort co-ordinated by the Reichspost. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Nuclear energy is energy released from the atomic nucleus. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... Look up ally in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This page is about the World War II nuclear project. ... In times of armed conflict a civilian is any person who is not a combatant. ... Reichspost was the State Postal Service of Nazi Germany. ...

The German experimental nuclear pile at Haigerloch
The German experimental nuclear pile at Haigerloch

Contents

German Experimental Pile - Haigerloch - April 1945 The original caption reads: Picture scanned by me Ian Dunster from: Most Secret War by R. V. Jones - Coronet - 1981 - ISBN 0-340-24169-1 and uncredited. ... German Experimental Pile - Haigerloch - April 1945 The original caption reads: Picture scanned by me Ian Dunster from: Most Secret War by R. V. Jones - Coronet - 1981 - ISBN 0-340-24169-1 and uncredited. ... Nuclear power station at Leibstadt, Switzerland. ...

Overview

The nuclear research effort most widely discussed was that of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute team led by the physicist Werner Heisenberg. The second was a military team under the scientific leadership of Prof. Kurt Diebner. This military team was also associated with Dr. Paul Harteck who helped to develop the gaseous uranium centrifuge invented by Dr. Erich Bagge The intentions of Heisenberg's team are a matter of historical controversy, centering on whether or not the scientists involved were genuinely attempting to build an atomic bomb for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. The project was not a military success by any measure. Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (in German Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft) was the name of a number of scientific institutes in Germany before World War II. After 1945 they were re-organised and renamed as Max Planck Institutes. ... Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) was a celebrated German physicist and Nobel laureate, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, and acknowledged to be one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century. ... Prof. ... A cascade of gas centrifuges at a United States enrichment plant. ... Erich Rudolf Bagge (born 30 May 1912, died 1996), German scientist. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... Hitler redirects here. ...


A heavy water nuclear test reactor was built in a cave in Haigerloch. This reactor never reached critical condition, because the amount of uranium was never sufficient. The cave is now a museum.[1] Haigerloch is a town in the north-western part of the Swabian Alb in Germany. ...


Effectiveness and implications

Nuclear fission was discovered in Germany in 1938-1939 through the work of Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassman, Lise Meitner, and Otto Robert Frisch (following up on work done by Enrico Fermi). By the beginning of World War II the scientific community was well aware of the early German lead in this area of nuclear physics. For the generation of electrical power by fission, see Nuclear power plant An induced nuclear fission event. ... Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner, 1913, at the KWI for Chemistry in Berlin Otto Hahn (March 8, 1879 – July 28, 1968) was a German chemist and received the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. ... ... Lise Meitner ca. ... Otto Robert Frisch (1 October 1904–22 September 1979), Austrian-British physicist. ... Enrico Fermi (September 29, 1901 – November 28, 1954) was an Italian physicist most noted for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, particle physics and statistical mechanics. ...


The threat of a Nazi atomic bomb was one of the primary driving forces behind the creation of the British Tube Alloys project which would eventually lead to the Allied nuclear weapons effort: the Manhattan Project. Several European exiles from Germany, Italy, Hungary and other nations eventually would make significant contributions to the Allied nuclear effort. The German government never did finance a full crash program to develop weapons, as they estimated it could not be completed in time for use in the war, thus the German program was much more limited in capacity and ability when compared to the eventual size and priority of the Manhattan Project. // Tube Alloys was the code-name for the British nuclear weapon programme during World War II, when the very possibility of nuclear weapons was kept at such a high level of secrecy that it had to be referred to by code even in the highest circles of government. ... This page is about the World War II nuclear project. ...


In 1945, a U.S. investigation called Operation Alsos determined that German scientists under Heisenberg were close, but still short, of the point that Allied scientists had reached in 1942, the creation of a sustained nuclear chain reaction, a crucial step for creating a nuclear reactor (which in turn could be used for either peaceful purposes, or for creating plutonium, needed for nuclear weapons). The U-234 submarine tried to deliver uranium and advanced weapons technology to Japan, but after the German capitulation, it surrendered to the U.S. before reaching Japan. 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday. ... Project ALSOS, also called Operation Alsos, was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies (principally Great Britain and the United States), branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on January 18 1815 (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... A schematic nuclear fission chain reaction. ... General Name, Symbol, Number plutonium, Pu, 94 Chemical series actinides Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f Appearance silvery white Standard atomic weight (244) g·mol−1 Electron configuration [Rn] 5f6 7s2 Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 24, 8, 2 Physical properties Phase solid Density (near r. ... Unterseeboot 234 (U-234) was a WWII German U-boat whose only ever mission into enemy territory consisted of the attempted delivery of uranium and other German advanced weapons technology to the Empire of Japan. ...


There has been a historical debate, however, as to whether the German scientists purposefully sabotaged the project by under-representing their chances at success, or whether their estimates were based in either error or inadequacy.


Post war

After the war, ten German scientists: Erich Bagge, Kurt Diebner, Walther Gerlach, Paul Harteck, Horst Korsching, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Karl Wirtz, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn (who had co-discovered nuclear fission), and Max von Laue (an ardent anti-Nazi), were taken captive by Allied forces and put under secret watch at Farm Hall, England, as part of Operation Epsilon. Their conversations were recorded as Allied analysts attempted to discover the extent of German knowledge about nuclear weapons. The results were inconclusive, but they allowed them to hear the results of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, which sent Hahn into a near-suicidal despair. By the next morning, Heisenberg claimed to have worked out exactly how the American atomic bomb must have worked, judging from reports of the damage and explosive size, and gave a lecture to the rest of the captive scientists on the effort. Walther Gerlach (1 August 1889 - 10 August 1979) was a German physicist. ... Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) was a celebrated German physicist and Nobel laureate, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, and acknowledged to be one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century. ... Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner, 1913, at the KWI for Chemistry in Berlin Otto Hahn (March 8, 1879 – July 28, 1968) was a German chemist and received the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. ... For the generation of electrical power by fission, see Nuclear power plant An induced nuclear fission event. ... Max von Laue (October 9, 1879 - April 24, 1960) was a German physicist, who studied under Max Planck. ... The Farm Hall transcripts were made during and after the second world war in Britain over the possibility of Germany producing an atomic bomb during the war. ... Operation Epsilon was the codename of a program in which Allied forces at the end of World War II detained ten German scientists who were thought to have worked on Nazi Germanys nuclear weapon/power program, at Farm Hall, a wiretapped house in Godmanchester, England (near Cambridge), from May... The Fat Man mushroom cloud resulting from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rises 18 km (11 mi, 60,000 ft) into the air from the hypocenter. ...


While it is clear that Heisenberg had a firm understanding of the principles involved, he, either conciously or erroneously, greatly overestimated the amount of fissionable material required by several orders of magnitude.


Heisenberg's 1941 meeting with Bohr

In September of 1941, Werner Heisenberg met with his former mentor Niels Bohr in occupied Denmark and had a conversation outside of any other witnesses. The exact content of their conversation has, since the 1950s, been a matter of some controversy. The meeting and its controversy was the subject of a Tony Award-winning play from 1998 by Michael Frayn, Copenhagen. Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) was a celebrated German physicist and Nobel laureate, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, and acknowledged to be one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century. ... Niels (Henrik David) Bohr (October 7, 1885 – November 18, 1962) was a Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1922. ... A Tony Award for Best Play has been awarded since 1947. ... Michael Frayn (born 8 September 1933) is an English playwright and novelist. ... Copenhagen is a play by Michael Frayn, based around an event that occurred in Copenhagen in 1941, a meeting between the physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. ...


There is considerable speculation on what occurred at the real-life meeting, and the actual accounts of it from the parties involved differ. The pro-Bohr version of the story asserts that Heisenberg was seeking to recruit Bohr to the Nazi nuclear effort, and offering him academic advancement in return. The pro-Heisenberg version asserts that Heisenberg was attempting to give Bohr information about the state of the German atomic programme, in the hope that he might pass it to the Allies through clandestine contacts. At that point the German atomic programme was not progressing well (the Nazi government had decided not to undertake the investment required to develop a weapon during the war); Heisenberg may have suspected that the Allies had a viable atomic program, and hoped that by disabusing them of the idea that the German program was also successful he could dissuade the Allies from using an atom bomb on Germany.


Much of the initial "controversy" resulted from a 1956 letter Heisenberg sent to the journalist Robert Jungk after reading the German edition of Jungk's book Brighter than a Thousand Suns (1956). In the letter, Heisenberg described his role in the German bomb project. Jungk published an excerpt from the letter in the Danish edition of the book in 1956 which, out of context, made it look as if Heisenberg was claiming to have purposely derailed the German bomb project on moral grounds. (The letter's whole text shows Heisenberg was careful not to claim this.) Bohr was outraged after reading this excerpt in his copy of the book, feeling that this was false and that the 1941 meeting had proven to him that Heisenberg was quite happy with producing nuclear weapons for Germany. 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Robert Jungk (1913-1994) was an Austrian writer and journalist who wrote mostly on issues relating to nuclear weapons. ...


After the play inspired numerous scholarly and media debates over the 1941 meeting, the Niels Bohr Archive in Copenhagen released to the public all heretofore sealed documents related to the meeting, a move intended mostly to settle historical arguments over what they contained. Among the documents were the original drafts of letters Bohr wrote to Heisenberg in 1957 about Jungk's book and other topics. The documents added little to the historical record but were interpreted by the media as supporting the "Bohr" version of the events. According to the archivists, the letters were released "to avoid undue speculation about the contents of the draft letter", which had been known about but not been open to historians previously.


Although the motives of the meeting will continue to be debated, several aspects of the meeting cannot be denied. By September of 1941, Germany had been at war for two years, and as Heisenberg was the head of the secret German atomic bomb project, he was risking severe punishment by just speaking to Bohr. Since Bohr was half-Jewish he would never have been allowed to participate in the project. Also, since Bohr was a famous physicist, it would have been fairly easy to conclude that Bohr would be attempting to escape to the West soon, making Heisenberg's meeting with him an even more serious breach of security.


Battle of Berlin

According to the military historian Antony Beevor possession of as much of the German nuclear energy project was a primary motive for Stalin authorising the launching of the Battle for Berlin.[2] The pre-emptive destruction of as much of this infrastructure as possible, so that it would not fall into Soviet hands, was the motive behind the raid on 15 March 1945 by the USAAF Eighth Air Force on the German atomic energy research facility in Oranienburg, a suburb of Berlin.[3] Antony Beevor (born on December 14, 1946) is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. ... This article is about the capture of Berlin in 1945. ... March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (75th in leap years). ... USAAF recruitment poster. ... The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force (NAF) of the major command (MAJCOM) of Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force and it is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. ... Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. ...


Analysis and legacy

There have been numerous other cited factors for the failure of the German program. One is that the repressive policies under Hitler encouraged many top scientists to flee Europe, including many who worked on the Allied project (Heisenberg himself was a target of party propaganda for some time during the Deutsche Physik movement). Another, put forth by Alsos scientific head Samuel Goudsmit, was that the stifling, utilitarian political atmosphere adversely affected the quality of the science done. Another is that the German homeland was nowhere as secure from air attack as was the USA. Had the many massive centralized factories and production facilities constructed for the US bomb project been built in Germany, they would have been prime targets for Allied bombing raids. Deutsche Physik (literally: German Physics) or Aryan Physics was the name given to a nationalist movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled Jewish Physics. ... Project ALSOS, also called Operation Alsos, was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies (principally Great Britain and the United States), branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research... Samuel Goudsmit (1902–1978) was a Dutch-American physicist famous for jointly proposing the concept of electron spin with George Eugene Uhlenbeck. ...


In 2005, Berlin historian Rainer Karlsch published a book, Hitlers Bombe (in German), which was reported in the press as claiming to provide evidence that Nazi Germany had tested crude nuclear weapons on Rügen island and near Ohrdruf, Thuringia, killing many war prisoners under the supervision of the SS. Some press reports, however, have reported the book as only having claimed to provide evidence that the Nazis have been successful with a radiological weapon (a "dirty bomb"), not a "true" nuclear weapon powered by nuclear fission. Karlsch's primary evidence, according to his publisher's reports, are "vouchers" for the "tests" and a patent for a plutonium weapon from 1941. Karlsch cites a witness to the Ohrdruf blast and another to the scorched bodies of victims afterwards. He also claims to have radioactive samples of soil from the sites. At the Nuremberg trials in 1946 Nazi munitions minister Albert Speer was questioned by prosecutors about the Ordruf blast, in an attempt to hold Speer accountable for its victims. Hilters Bombe (Hitlers Bomb) is a nonfiction book by the German historian Rainer Karlsch published in March 2005 which claims to have evidence concerning the development and testing of a possible nuclear weapon by Nazi Germany in 1945. ... Map of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania highlighting the district Rügen Rügen (Polish: Rugia) is an island located off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the Baltic Sea. ... Ohrdruf is a famous cathedral which J.S. Bach was the organist of. ... The Free State of Thuringia (German: Freistaat Thüringen) is located in central Germany and is considered one of the smaller of Germanys sixteen Bundesländer (federal states), with an area of 16,200 km² and 2. ... SS or ss or Ss may be: The Schutzstaffel, a Nazi paramilitary force Steamship (SS) (ship prefix) The United States Secret Service A submarine not powered by nuclear energy (SS) (United States Navy designator), see SSN A Soviet/Russian surface-to-surface missile, as listed by NATO reporting name Shortstop... A radiological weapon (or radiological dispersion device, RDD) is any weapon that is designed to spread radioactive contamination, either to kill, or to deny the use of an area (a modern version of salting the earth) and consists of a device (such as a nuclear or conventional explosive) which spreads... The term dirty bomb is primarily used to refer to a radiological dispersal device (RDD), a radiological weapon which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. ... For the generation of electrical power by fission, see Nuclear power plant An induced nuclear fission event. ... A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a patentee (the inventor or assignee) for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Mainstream American historians have expressed skepticism towards any claims that Nazi Germany was in any way close to success at producing a true nuclear weapon, citing the copious amounts of evidence which seem to indicate the contrary. Others counter that Prof. Kurt Diebner had a project which was far more advanced than that of Dr. Werner Heisenberg. A recent article in Physics Today by the respected American historian Mark Walker has presented some of Karlsch's less controversial claims—that the Germans had done research on fusion, that they were aware that a bomb could potentially be made with plutonium, that they had engaged in some sort of test of some sort of device, that a patent on a plutonium device (of unspecified detail) had been filed and found—as substantiated. Prof. ... Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) was a celebrated German physicist and Nobel laureate, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, and acknowledged to be one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century. ...


The Germans’ only source of heavy water, a necessary component of some of their bomb research, was Norsk Hydro's plant in Vemork, Norway. In February 1943, a Norwegian Commando unit sabotaged the plant. The plant was later bombed from the air and a shipment of heavy water was destroyed in transit. Whether this affected the German program is not clear. Heavy water is dideuterium oxide, or D2O or 2H2O. It is chemically the same as normal water, H2O, but the hydrogen atoms are of the heavy isotope deuterium, in which the nucleus contains a neutron in addition to the proton found in the nucleus of any hydrogen atom. ... Norsk Hydro ASA is a Norwegian oil and energy and integrated aluminium company, headquartered in Oslo. ... The Vemork hydroelectric plant, site of the heavy water production Vemork, a small community in Norway, close to the city Rjukan and within the Tinn municipality, in the county of Telemark. ... Norwegian Independent Company 1 (NOR.I.C.1, also Norisen) was a SOE group formed in March of 1941 for the purpose of perfoming commando raids in occupied Norway. ... The Vemork hydroelectric plant, site of ammonia production with a militarily important byproduct, heavy water. ...


An important footnote to the German nuclear effort is that as part of the Paris Treaties of 1955 and Adenauer's "non-nuclear pledge", Germany has perpetually forsworn nuclear (as well as chemical and biological) weapons. It was this pledge that ultimately cleared the way for West Germany's entry into NATO. For other uses, see Konrad Adenauer (disambiguation). ... NATO 2002 Summit in Prague. ...


See also

Copenhagen is a play by Michael Frayn, based around an event that occurred in Copenhagen in 1941, a meeting between the physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. ... Johannes ( Hans ) Wilhelm Geiger (September 30, 1882 – September 24, 1945) was a German physicist. ... A nuclear fireball lights up the night in a United States nuclear test. ... During the 1930s, the scientific community in the world started to understand the power of nuclear energy, and the Empire of Japan, like many other governments, was made aware of the possibility of developing a weapon which utilized nuclear fission as the source of its energy. ... This is a list of countries with nuclear weapons. ... This is a list of nuclear weapons ordered by state and then type within the states. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... Andrei Sakharov (left) with Igor Kurchatov (right) The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb began during World War II in the Soviet Union. ... The Zippe-type centrifuge is a device designed to collect Uranium-235. ...

References

  • Walker M. (2002). "Amerikas Einschätzung der deutschen Atomforschung". Physik in unserer Zeit 33: 167-171. 

Further reading

  • Jeremy Bernstein and David Cassidy, Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at Farm Hall (2001).
  • Charles Frank, ed. Operation Epsilon: the Farm Hall transcripts (1993).
  • Samuel Goudsmit, ALSOS: The failure of German science (1947).
  • Rainer Karlsch, Hitlers Bombe (Munich: DVA, 2005).
  • Thomas Powers, Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb (Knopf, 1993).
  • Paul Lawrence Rose, Heisenberg and the Nazi Atomic Bomb Project: A Study in German Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).
  • Michael Schaaf, Heisenberg, Hitler und die Bombe. Gespraeche mit Zeitzeugen (Berlin, GNT-Verlag, 2001) ISBN 3-928186-60-4
  • Mark Walker, German National Socialism and the Quest for Nuclear Power, 1939-1949 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
  • Mark Walker, Nazi science: Myth, truth, and the German atomic bomb (New York: Plenum Press, 1995).
  • GlobalSecurity.org - German Special Weapons
  • "New light on Hitler's bomb". New historical information, June 2005: This information not yet integrated into this Wikipedia article.
  • Niels Bohr Institute: Release of documents from Niels Bohrs family regarding the 1941 meeting between Bohr and Heisenberg
  • Affidavit of German POW Hans Zinsser regarding alleged German nuclear test in October 1944.

Samuel Goudsmit (1902–1978) was a Dutch-American physicist famous for jointly proposing the concept of electron spin with George Eugene Uhlenbeck. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Folberth O. G. (2001). "Haigerloch cave survived the war". Physics Today 54: 93-93. 
  2. ^ Antony Beevor Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN 0-670-88695-5 Preface xxxiv
  3. ^ Richard G. Davis,Bombing the European Axis Powers. A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive 1939–1945 Alabama: Air University Press, 2006, page 518

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m