Did the Nazis Build an Atomic Bomb?
by Lee Krystek
In some secret, hidden laboratory did scientists build an atomic bomb for Hitler? (Copyright Lee Krystek, 2007)
On March 4, 1945, Clare Werner was standing on a hillside in Thuringian, Germany. Not too far away was the military training base near the town of Ohrdruf. Unexpectedly there was a flash of light. "I suddenly saw something," she said, " ... it was as bright as hundreds of bolts of lightning, red on the inside and yellow on the outside, so bright you could've read the newspaper. It all happened so quickly, and then we couldn't see anything at all. We just noticed there was a powerful wind..."
In the days that followed Werner complained of nose bleeds, headaches and pressure in her ears. Was what she witnessed the test of a nuclear weapon by Nazi scientists? How close did Hitler come to having a working atomic bomb?
Discovery of Fission
In 1938, two Germans, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, discovered that when they bombarded uranium with neutrons they could split the uranium atoms' nuclei into two parts releasing energy and more neutrons (a process called fission.) From this it was obvious to scientists around the world that it was possible to create energy-producing fission chain reactions as the neutrons from one split-atom plowed into surrounding atoms, splitting them also. A controlled chain reaction could be used for constructive purposes like making heat that could be used to produce electricity. An uncontrolled chain reaction, however, would be a bomb of incalculable power.
As World War II appeared on the horizon, scientists in the United States, Germany and other nations, approached their governments, warning them of these developments. At the time the state of physics research in each country was roughly on par. If this was the case, how come United States and its allies went on to develop the atomic bomb and Germany didn't?
Incompetence, Conspiracy, or Neither?
In the half-century following the war, several theories arose to explain the lack of German success. Samuel Goudsmit, a member of the Allied scientific intelligence mission that investigated German progress on a bomb, came to the conclusion that the German scientists working on the project simply didn't have the understanding necessary to build such a weapon. In other words, Goudsmit claimed that these scientists, all approved to work on the project by the Nazi government, were simply incompetent.
German physicists were surprised by the Allies atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
He immediately tackled the question of how much uranium 235 (the only isotope of uranium which would work as a nuclear explosive) would be needed to build a bomb and came up with a figure of over a ton - way too high. It is from this mistake that many experts have formed the opinion that Heisenberg did not really understand how a bomb would work. However, Heisenberg corrected his estimate within a few days. Also, comments by Otto Hahn, who was another scientist interned at Farm Hall, suggests that Heisenberg had earlier, back in Germany, made the correct calculations. Perhaps he was now hiding his knowledge thinking that he and the other scientists were under surveillance, which indeed, they were.
As additional evidence of the German lack of understanding, Goudsmit argued that the Germans did not appreciate that the element plutonium could also be used to fuel a bomb. Documents recently found in Russian archives, however, clearly show this idea to be false. In 1941, Von Weizsäcker, a colleague of Heisenberg, wrote about plutonium in a patent application, "With regard to energy per unit weight this explosive [plutonium] would be around ten million times greater than any other [existing explosive] and comparable only to pure uranium 235."
Another popular theory is that Heisenberg actually sabotaged the German atomic bomb program because he didn't want Hitler to win the war. This idea originally was presented in a 1958 book by Robert Jungk called Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists. Heisenberg did nothing to dissuade Jungk of this idea and later hinted that in a now famous September 1941 meeting with his old mentor, Niels Bohr, he had suggested that he was willing to join an agreement among all physicists to deny these powerful new weapons to all governments. This assertion is echoed in Thomas Power's book Heisenberg's War and Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen. Niels Bohr never publicly spoke of the meeting, but papers found after his death tell a different story: Heisenberg was willing to work with the Nazis and wanted Bohr to join him.
The real reason that the German effort was not successful, however, probably had nothing to do with either a conspiracy by scientists to withhold the weapon or a miscalculation by Heisenberg in building one. Early in 1942, German Army Ordnance completed a report which ranked weapons programs by how promising they were. Based on the information available at the time, it seemed unlikely that a nuclear bomb could be developed in less than two years. The German belief that the war would be over in two years steered the Army to only invest in weapons programs that could be completed within that period.
It is unknown if Heisenberg himself made this time estimate, but it appears to be scientifically accurate and consistent with predictions made by Allied scientists. The Allies, however, concerned that the war would go much longer than two years, and that the Germans might be able to produce their own nuclear weapon, invested heavily in building such a device. Ironically, unknown to the Allies, the German program had been put on the back burner and was not a real threat.
An Industrial Project
One of the many calutrons at Oak Ridge used for creating the enriched uranium for atomic bombs. Germany would not have had sufficient resources for such a large industrial effort during the war.
Even if they had attempted it they would have found their factories exposed to constant Allied bombing attacks. The Allies, on the other hand, could place their project facilities deep in the heart of North America (in places like New Mexico and Tennessee) far from observation and interference by the Axis powers. So it appears there was really little chance of the Nazis actually developing an atom bomb during the war. They didn't even come close… or did they?
Karlsch's Zombie Bomb
German historian Rainer Karlsch, thinking about these issues wrote, "It would be rash indeed to believe that this is the last word on the matter. The German atomic bomb is like a zombie: just when we think we know what happened, how and why, it rises again from the dead." Karlsch resurrected the latest zombie himself when his book, Hitler's Bombe, was released in 2005. The book presents evidence that a second team of scientists under the direction of army physicist Kurt Diebner was much more oriented toward a weapons program than the Heisenberg group and had more success. Karlsch contends that this group was designing a bomb that used both nuclear fission and fusion (like that in an H-bomb) principles to release energy.
He further suggests that this type of device was tested three times shortly before the end of World War II. One test occurred on the German island of Ruegen in the fall of 1944 and two more in the eastern state of Thuringia in March of 1945. While Karlsch doesn't say that the tests were entirely successful, he does believe that 700 people (mainly prisoners) died in the blasts.
Karlsch found a sketch made by an unknown German scientist that looks like a diagram for an atomic bomb.
Another piece of evidence Karlsch points to is a Russian report written by Soviet spies. The report warns the Soviet leader, Stalin, that the Germans "detonated two large explosions in Thuringia." According to the report, these bombs probably contained uranium 235 and produced a "highly radioactive effect." The report goes on to say that prisoners of war housed at the location were killed, "and in many cases their bodies were completely destroyed."
Critics of Karlsch's work cite inconsistencies in his theory. For example, the bomb the Soviet report describes is not really a nuclear weapon because it does not use radioactive material to fuel the blast. It was, what would be called today, a "dirty bomb:" a conventional weapon laced with dangerous radioactive material to poison the surrounding area. This does not fit with the description made by Clare Werner of the test at Thuringia, which sounds more like a true atomic blast. Almost all parties agree, however, that Germany at that time did not have either the necessary uranium 235 or plutonium to build a true atomic bomb that could create such a fireball.
In February, 2006, scientists from Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Germany traveled to Thuringia and took samples of soil to see if there was evidence there of any kind of a nuclear blast. Their reported revealed no abnormal background levels of radiation, other than those elevated as a result of the Russian Chernobyl reactor accident in 1986. Still, the report emphasizes that the tests do not disprove that there was an atomic blast at that location. It simply shows that there is no evidence in the soil to to support such a claim.
Even if you doubt Karlsch's theory, however, there is one area where you must agree with him: we have not heard the last word on this subject. There appears there is still some room left in the mists of history for the Nazi atomic bomb to rise from the grave at least one more time.
A Partial Bibliography
Nazi Science, by Mark Walker, Plenum Press, 1995.
Heisenberg and the Nazi Bomb Project, by Paul Lawrence Rose, University of California Press, 1998.
New Light on Hitler's Bomb, by Rainer Karlsch and Mark Walker, Physics Web, June 2005, http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/18/6/3l
Hitler's Bombe, Wikipedia, September 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitlers_Bombe
Copyright Lee Krystek 2007. All Rights Reserved.
From The Unmuseum @ http://www.unmuseum.org/nbomb.htm
Hitler 'tested small atom bomb'
A German historian has claimed that Nazi scientists successfully tested a tactical nuclear weapon in the last months of World War II.
Rainer Karlsch said that new research in Soviet and also Western archives, along with measurements carried out at one of the test sites, provided evidence for the existence of the weapon.
"The important thing in my book is the finding that the Germans had an atomic reactor near Berlin which was running for a short while, perhaps some days or weeks," he told the BBC.
"The second important finding was the atomic tests carried out in Thuringia and on the Baltic Sea."
Mr Karlsch describes what the Germans had as a "hybrid tactical nuclear weapon" much smaller than those dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
He said the last test, carried out in Thuringia on 3 March 1945, destroyed an area of about 500 sq m, killing several hundred prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates.
The weapons were never used because they were not yet ready for mass production. There were also problems with delivery and detonation systems.
"I found documents in Russian and Western archives, as well as in private German ones."
One of these is a memo from a Russian spy, brought to the attention of Stalin just days after the last test. It cites "reliable sources" as reporting "two huge explosions" on the night of 3 March.
Karlsch also cites German eyewitnesses as reporting light so bright that for a second it was possible to read a newspaper, accompanied by a sudden blast of wind.
The eyewitnesses, who were interviewed on the subject by the East German authorities in the early 1960s, also said they suffered nose-bleeds, headaches, and nausea for days afterwards.
Karlsch also pointed to measurements carried out recently at the test site that found radioactive isotopes.
His book has provoked huge interest in Germany, but also scepticism.
It has been common knowledge for decades that the Nazis carried out atomic experiments, but it has been widely believed they were far from developing an atomic bomb.
"Karlsch displays a catastrophic lack of understanding of physics," wrote physicist Michael Schaaf, author of a previous book about Nazi atomic experiments, in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
"Karlsch has done us a service in showing that German research into uranium went further than we'd thought up till now, but there was not a German atom bomb," he added.
It has also been pointed out that the United States employed thousands of scientists and invested billions of dollars in the Manhattan Project, while Germany's "dirty bomb" was allegedly the work of a few dozen top scientists who wanted to change the course of the war.
Karlsch himself acknowledged that he lacked absolute proof for his claims, and said he hoped his book would provoke further research.
But in a press statement for the book launch, he is defiant.
"It's clear there was no master plan for developing atom bombs. But it's also clear the Germans were the first to make atomic energy useable, and that at the end of this development was a successful test of a tactical nuclear weapon."
From BBC News @ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4348497.stm
Nazi nuclear waste from Hitler's secret A-bomb programme found in mine
By Allan Hall
More than 126,000 barrels of nuclear material lie rotting over 2,000 feet below ground in an old salt mine.
Rumour has it that the remains of nuclear scientists who worked on the Nazi programme are also there, their irradiated bodies burned in secret by S.S. men sworn to secrecy.
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.'
This has sent shock waves through historians who thought that the German atomic programme was nowhere near advanced enough in WW2 to have produced nuclear waste in any quantities.
It has also triggered a firestorm of uncertainty among locals, especially given Germany’s paranoia post-Fukushima.
Germany was the first western nation to announce the closure of all its atomic power plants following the disaster at the Japanese facility following the catastrophic earthquake and Tsunami in March.
There are calls to remove all the nuclear material stored within the sealed site but this would cost billions of pounds.
Yet the thought of Nazi atomic bomb material stored underground has made headlines across Germany - and the country’s Greenpeace movement has backed a call for secret documents relating to the dump to be released to the state parliament from sealed archives in Berlin.
It was in January of 1939, nine months before the outbreak of the Second World War, that German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann published the results of an historic experiment about nuclear fission.
The German 'uranium project' began in earnest shortly after Germany’s invasion of Poland in September.
Army physicist Kurt Diebner led a team tasked to investigate the military applications of fission. By the end of the year the physicist Werner Heisenberg had calculated that nuclear fission chain reactions might be possible.
Although the war hampered their work, by the fall of the Third Reich in 1945 Nazi scientists had achieved a significant enrichment in samples of uranium.
Mark Walker, a US expert on the Nazi programme said: 'Because we still don’t know about these projects, which remain cloaked in WW2 secrecy, it isn’t safe to say the Nazis fell short of enriching enough uranium for a bomb. 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?'
Ruegen is a Baltic island and Ohrdruf a top-secret bunker complex in Thuringia where local legend has it that an A-bomb was tested by the Nazis in the dying days of the war.
From The Daily Mail @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2014146/Nazi-nuclear-waste-Hitlers-secret-A-bomb-programme-mine.html
Douglas Dietrich was a D.O.D. (Department of Defense) Research Librarian for almost a decade, responsible for incinerating highly classified materials on critical historical topics such as Pearl Harbor, Roswell, Viêt-Nam, and the different ethnic holocausts; as well as documents exposing the reality behind vampires, zombies, Soviet psychic warfare, and other occult phenomena. Volumes of notes on Tesla, H.P. Lovecraft, L. Ron Hubbard, the Vatican and United Nations were destroyed, along with reams of reports detailing everything from military/intelligence-sponsored drug-smuggling operations to experimental mind-control programs. Records plundered from both Allied and enemy states articulated the hidden objectives of modern mass-movements such as Nat-Zism, Zionism, Izamicism (Wähhä'bīst/Islamist Fundamentalism[s]), Vouhodouxnism ("Voodooism"), and other ideologies.
World War II Secrets
At the end of WWII, the United States had 27 million citizens in uniform-- the entire country was militarized, and the military didn't want their power and control to end-- so they kept it going with wars in Korea and Viet Nam, and the continuation of the draft, he outlined. Interestingly, Dietrich contended that the Japanese had developed nuclear bombs (aided by Jewish scientists they had resettled in Oblast), and after Nagasaki, they used these nuclear weapons to stop the Soviets in what is now the Korean demilitarized zone.
The Germans also had developed a nuclear bomb, and fired an atomic warhead in Estonia, "that stopped the Soviets cold; a mushroom cloud that was a full kilometer in diameter with continuous internalization of combustion led to electronic interference with instruments all the way back in London," he detailed. Commenting on why the American public had never learned of these bombings, he said you're only "told enough of the truth to uphold the lie." Dietrich also spoke about Emperor Hirohito's usage of biological weapons, and submarines. In the first hour, he reported on abuse and Satanism that took place at the Presidio base when he worked there in the 1980s.
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Dietrich: Japan & WWII Secrets
Dietrich: Nuclear Bombs & WWII Secrets
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From Coast to Coast @ http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2011/11/13
The legend is that the German's did not make a bomb during World War II. The story is that they could not produce enough of the material to make one. Joseph P. Farrell presents here information that suggest that not only did the Germans understand enrichment they also apparently understood some of the most advanced ways to perform it. Based upon their progress in technology to do this, does the legend hold water?
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