AUTHORRose, Paul Laurence
TITLEHeisenberg and the Nazi Atomic Bomb Project
PUBLISHERUniversity of California Press
CITYBerkeley, CA

This biography of Werner Heisenberg attempts to shatter the perception that the German physicist and mathematician sabotaged the Nazi atomic bomb project. Rose asserts that Heisenberg’s statements made after Hiroshima asserting that he could have built the bomb but refused are completely false. The author traces the German project through World War II in parallel with the Manhattan Project. Using official German reports, he shows that the Nazi project suffered from misconceptions in the early stages. Unlike the Americans, the Germans never clearly theorized a practical explosive device. The heart of Rose’s evidence comes from the Farm Hall dialogues in August of 1945. At Farm Hall, the Allies listened to Germany’s top scientists, led by Heisenberg, discuss the news of Hiroshima and their own failure. The book includes the transcripts of their discussions. The final chapters highlight Heisenberg’s loyalty to the Nazi regime and the larger German cause. Rose includes a chapter on Heisenberg’s compromise under Hitler, and another on his personal relationship with Himmler.

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