AUTHORWalker, Mark
TITLEGerman National Socialism and the Quest for Nuclear Power
PUBLISHERCambridge University Press
CITYCambridge, England

This book studies the ambivalent relationship of German science and politics during Germany’s quest for nuclear power from 1939 to 1949. Walker argues that the Nazi decision not to pursue atomic weapons was more a result of economic and political forces than of scientific inadequacy or moral convictions. He shows that research on nuclear fission was situated in a larger framework of cultural imperialism and a slave labor economy. The book conveys the strange blend of science and values that occurred in German scientists, who were not exclusively Nazi, and it meditates on the impact of such collusion on pure science. An interesting chapter describes the science behind German wonder weapons including V-2 rockets and jet aircraft. The final chapter addresses the postwar legacies of National Socialism and the Gouldsmit/Heisenberg controversy.

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