AUTHORGoldberg, Stanley / Powers, Thomas
TITLEDeclassified Files Reopen "Nazi Bomb" Debate
PERIODICAL TITLEThe Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
DATE PUBLISHED1992
VOLUME NUMBER48
ISSUE NUMBERSeptember
PAGE NUMBERS32-40
ISSN0096-3402


This article elaborates on the failure of Nazi Germany to build an atomic bomb by analyzing declassified transcripts of secretly recorded conversations of ten of Germany’s leading atomic scientists. Those scientists, including Werner Heisenberg and Otto Hahn, were recorded while interned at an English country estate called Farm Hall after the end of the World War II. The authors attempt to use carefully chosen quotes from the transcripts as proof of the unwillingness of certain German scientist, most specifically Heisenberg, to create a nuclear weapon for the Nazis. They discuss the scientists’ reactions to the bombing of Hiroshima, Heisenberg’s knowledge of bomb physics, and Samuel Goudsmit’s accusations against Heisenberg. Two short informative essays on the Alsos mission, which captured the ten scientists, and the scientists themselves, are included at the end.


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