German nuclear energy project

German nuclear energy project

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The German nuclear energy project, (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Uranprojekt; informally known as the Uranverein; English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: Uranium Club), was an attempted clandestine scientific effort led by Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 to develop and produce the atomic weapons
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 during the events involving the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. This program started in April of 1939, just months after the discovery of nuclear fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

 in January of 1939, but soon ended in months because of German invasion of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 where many notable physicists were drafted in Wermacht. However, the second effort began under the administrative auspices of Wermacht's Heereswaffenamt
Waffenamt
Waffenamt was the German Army Weapons Agency. It was the centre for research and development of Germany and also during the Third Reich for weapons, ammunition and army equipment to the German Reichswehr and later Wehrmacht...

 on the day World War II began, 1 September 1939. The program eventually expanded into three main efforts: the Uranmaschine (nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

), uranium and heavy water
Heavy water
Heavy water is water highly enriched in the hydrogen isotope deuterium; e.g., heavy water used in CANDU reactors is 99.75% enriched by hydrogen atom-fraction...

 production, and uranium isotope separation
Isotope separation
Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium into enriched uranium and depleted uranium. This is a crucial process in the manufacture of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations, and is...

. Eventually it was realized that nuclear fission would not contribute significantly to ending the war, and in January 1942, the Heereswaffenamt turned the program over to the Reich Research Council while continuing to fund the program. At this time, the program split up between nine major institutes where the directors dominated the research and set their own objectives. At that time, the number of scientists working on applied nuclear fission began to diminish, with many applying their talents to more pressing war-time demands.

The most influential people in the Uranverein were Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

, Abraham Esau
Abraham Esau
Robert Abraham Esau was a German physicist.After receipt of his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Esau worked at Telefunken, where he pioneered very high frequency waves used in radar, radio, and television, and he was president of the Deutscher Telefunken Verband...

, Walther Gerlach, and Erich Schumann
Erich Schumann
Erich Schumann was a German physicist who specialized in acoustics and explosives, and had a penchant for music, as he was a grandson of the classical composer Robert Schumann. He was a general officer in the army and a professor at the University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin...

; Schumann was one of the most powerful and influential physicists in Germany. Diebner, throughout the life of the nuclear energy project, had more control over nuclear fission research than did Walther Bothe
Walther Bothe
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....

, Klaus Clusius
Klaus Clusius
Klaus Clusius was a German physical chemist from Breslau , Silesia. During World War II, he worked on the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club; he worked on isotope separation techniques and heavy water production...

, Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

, Paul Harteck
Paul Harteck
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

, or Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

. Abraham Esau was appointed as Hermann Göring’s plenipotentiary for nuclear physics research in December 1942; Walther Gerlach succeeded him in December 1943.

Politicization of the German academia
Academia
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...

 under the National Socialist
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 regime had driven many physicists, engineers, and mathematicians out of Germany as early as 1933. Those of Jewish heritage who did not leave were quickly purged from German institutions, further decimating the academia. The politicization of the universities, along with the demands for manpower by the German armed forces (many scientists and technical personnel were conscripted, despite possessing useful skills), would eventually all but eliminate a generation of physicists.

At the end of the war, the Allied powers competed to obtain surviving components of the nuclear industry (personnel, facilities, and materiel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

), as they did with the V-2
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

 program.

Discovery of nuclear fission


In December 1938, the German chemists Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

 and Fritz Strassmann
Fritz Strassmann
Friedrich Wilhelm "Fritz" Strassmann was a German chemist who, with Otto Hahn in 1938, identified barium in the residue after bombarding uranium with neutrons, which led to the interpretation of their results as being from nuclear fission...

 sent a manuscript to the science journal Naturwissenschaften
Die Naturwissenschaften
Naturwissenschaften is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Springer on behalf of several learned societies.- History :...

 ("Natural Science") reporting they had detected the element barium
Barium
Barium is a chemical element with the symbol Ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in Group 2, a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. Barium is never found in nature in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Its oxide is historically known as baryta but it reacts with...

 after bombarding uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 with neutrons; simultaneously, they communicated these results to Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner FRS was an Austrian-born, later Swedish, physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize...

, who had in July of that year fled to the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and then went to Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Meitner, and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch
Otto Robert Frisch
Otto Robert Frisch , Austrian-British physicist. With his collaborator Rudolf Peierls he designed the first theoretical mechanism for the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1940.- Overview :...

, correctly interpreted these results as being nuclear fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

. Frisch confirmed this experimentally on 13 January 1939.

First Uranverein


Paul Harteck
Paul Harteck
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

 was director of the physical chemistry department at the University of Hamburg
University of Hamburg
The University of Hamburg is a university in Hamburg, Germany. It was founded on 28 March 1919 by Wilhelm Stern and others. It grew out of the previous Allgemeines Vorlesungswesen and the Kolonialinstitut as well as the Akademisches Gymnasium. There are around 38,000 students as of the start of...

 and an advisor to the Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Ordnance Office). On 24 April 1939, along with his teaching assistant Wilhelm Groth
Wilhelm Groth
Wilhelm Groth was a German physical chemist. During World War II, he worked on the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club; his main activity was the development of centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. After the war, he was a professor of physical chemistry at the...

, Harteck made contact with the Reichskriegsministerium (RKM, Reich Ministry of War) to alert them to the potential of military applications of nuclear chain reactions. Two days earlier, on 22 April 1939, after hearing a colloquium paper by Wilhelm Hanle
Wilhelm Hanle
Wilhelm Hanle was a German experimental physicist. He is known for the Hanle effect. During World War II, he made contributions to the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club...

 on the use of uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

 in a Uranmaschine (uranium machine, i.e., nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

), Georg Joos
Georg Joos
Georg Jakob Christof Joos was a German theoretical physicist. He wrote Lehrbuch der theoretischen Physik, first published in 1932 and one of the most influential theoretical physics textbooks of the 20th Century.-Education:Joos began his higher education in 1912 at the Technische Hochschule...

, along with Hanle, notified Wilhelm Dames, at the Reichserziehungsministerium
Reichserziehungsministerium
The Reichserziehungsministerium was officially known as the Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung .-Background:...

 (REM, Reich Ministry of Education), of potential military applications of nuclear energy. The communication was given to Abraham Esau
Abraham Esau
Robert Abraham Esau was a German physicist.After receipt of his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Esau worked at Telefunken, where he pioneered very high frequency waves used in radar, radio, and television, and he was president of the Deutscher Telefunken Verband...

, head of the physics section of the Reichsforschungsrat
Reichsforschungsrat
The Reichsforschungsrat was created in Germany in 1937 under the Education Ministry for the purpose of centralized planning of all basic and applied research, with the exception of aeronautical research...

 (RFR, Reich Research Council) at the REM. On 29 April, a group, organized by Esau, met at the REM to discuss the potential of a sustained nuclear chain reaction
Nuclear chain reaction
A nuclear chain reaction occurs when one nuclear reaction causes an average of one or more nuclear reactions, thus leading to a self-propagating number of these reactions. The specific nuclear reaction may be the fission of heavy isotopes or the fusion of light isotopes...

. The group included the physicists Walther Bothe
Walther Bothe
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....

, Robert Döpel
Robert Döpel
Georg Robert Döpel was a German experimental nuclear physicist. He was a participant in a group known as the “first Uranverein,” which was spawned by a meeting conducted by the Reichserziehungsministerium, in April 1939, to discuss the potential of a sustained nuclear reaction...

, Hans Geiger, Wolfgang Gentner
Wolfgang Gentner
Wolfgang Gentner was a German experimental nuclear physicist.Gentner received his doctorate in 1930 from the University of Frankfurt. From 1932 to 1935 he had a fellowship which allowed him to do postdoctoral research and study at Curie's Radium Institute at the University of Paris...

 (probably sent by Walther Bothe
Walther Bothe
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....

), Wilhelm Hanle
Wilhelm Hanle
Wilhelm Hanle was a German experimental physicist. He is known for the Hanle effect. During World War II, he made contributions to the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club...

, Gerhard Hoffmann
Gerhard Hoffmann
Gerhard Hoffmann was a German nuclear physicist. During World War II, he contributed to the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club.-Education:...

, and Georg Joos
Georg Joos
Georg Jakob Christof Joos was a German theoretical physicist. He wrote Lehrbuch der theoretischen Physik, first published in 1932 and one of the most influential theoretical physics textbooks of the 20th Century.-Education:Joos began his higher education in 1912 at the Technische Hochschule...

; Peter Debye
Peter Debye
Peter Joseph William Debye FRS was a Dutch physicist and physical chemist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry.-Early life:...

 was invited, but he did not attend. After this, informal work began at the Georg-August University of Göttingen by Joos, Hanle, and their colleague Reinhold Mannkopff
Reinhold Mannkopff
Reinhold Mannkopff was a German experimental physicist who specialized in spectroscopy. In 1939, he was a member of the first Uranium Club, the German nuclear energy project...

; the group of physicists was known informally as the first Uranverein (Uranium Club) and formally as Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kernphysik. The group’s work was discontinued in August 1939, when the three were called to military training.

Another notification


The industrial firm Auergesellschaft
Auergesellschaft
The industrial firm Auergesellschaft was founded in 1892 with headquarters in Berlin. Up to the end of World War II, Auergesellschaft had research activities in the areas of gas mantles, luminescence, rare earths, radioactivity, and uranium and thorium compounds. In 1934, the corporation was...

 had a substantial amount of “waste” uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 from which it had extracted radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

. After reading a June 1939 paper by Siegfried Flügge
Siegfried Flügge
Siegfried Flügge was a German theoretical physicist and made contributions to nuclear physics. He worked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Chemie and worked in the German Uranverein...

, on the technical use of nuclear energy from uranium, Riehl recognized a business opportunity for the company, and in July he went to the HWA (Heereswaffenamt, Army Ordnance Office) to discuss the production of uranium. The HWA was interested and Riehl committed corporate resources to the task. The HWA eventually provided an order for the production of uranium oxide, which took place in the Auergesellschaft plant in Oranienburg
Oranienburg
Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Oberhavel.- Geography :Oranienburg is a town located on the banks of the Havel river, 35 km north of the centre of Berlin.- Division of the town :...

, north of Berlin.

Second Uranverein


The second Uranverein began after the Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Ordinance Office) squeezed out the Reichsforschungsrat
Reichsforschungsrat
The Reichsforschungsrat was created in Germany in 1937 under the Education Ministry for the purpose of centralized planning of all basic and applied research, with the exception of aeronautical research...

 (RFR, Reich Research Council) of the Reichserziehungsministerium
Reichserziehungsministerium
The Reichserziehungsministerium was officially known as the Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung .-Background:...

 (REM, Reich Ministry of Education) and started the formal German nuclear energy project under military auspices. The second Uranverein was formed on 1 September 1939, the day World War II began, and it had its first meeting on 16 September 1939. The meeting was organized by Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

, advisor to the HWA, and held in Berlin. The invitees included Walther Bothe
Walther Bothe
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....

, Siegfried Flügge
Siegfried Flügge
Siegfried Flügge was a German theoretical physicist and made contributions to nuclear physics. He worked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Chemie and worked in the German Uranverein...

, Hans Geiger, Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

, Paul Harteck
Paul Harteck
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

, Gerhard Hoffmann
Gerhard Hoffmann
Gerhard Hoffmann was a German nuclear physicist. During World War II, he contributed to the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club.-Education:...

, Josef Mattauch
Josef Mattauch
Josef Mattauch was a German physicist known for his work in the investigation of the isotopic abundances by mass spectrometry. He developed the Mattauch isobar rule in 1934.-Mattauch-Herzog geometry mass spectrometer:...

, and Georg Stetter
Georg Stetter
Georg Stetter was an Austrian-German nuclear physicist. Stetter was Director of the Second Physics Institute of the University of Vienna. He was a principal member of the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club. In the latter years of World War II, he was also the Director...

. A second meeting was held soon thereafter and included Klaus Clusius
Klaus Clusius
Klaus Clusius was a German physical chemist from Breslau , Silesia. During World War II, he worked on the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club; he worked on isotope separation techniques and heavy water production...

, Robert Döpel
Robert Döpel
Georg Robert Döpel was a German experimental nuclear physicist. He was a participant in a group known as the “first Uranverein,” which was spawned by a meeting conducted by the Reichserziehungsministerium, in April 1939, to discuss the potential of a sustained nuclear reaction...

, Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

, and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker was a German physicist and philosopher. He was the longest-living member of the research team which performed nuclear research in Germany during the Second World War, under Werner Heisenberg's leadership...

. Also at this time, the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik (KWIP, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, after World War II the Max Planck Institute for Physics
Max Planck Institute for Physics
Max Planck Institute for Physics is a physics institute in Munich, Germany that specializes in High Energy Physics and Astroparticle physics. It is part of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and is also known as the Werner Heisenberg Institute, after its first director.It was founded as the Kaiser Wilhelm...

), in Berlin-Dahlem
Dahlem (Berlin)
Dahlem is a locality of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough in southwestern Berlin. Until Berlin's 2001 administrative reform it was a part of the former borough of Zehlendorf. Dahlem is one of the most affluent parts of the city and home to the main campus of the Free University of Berlin with the...

, was placed under HWA authority, with Diebner as the administrative director, and the military control of the nuclear research commenced.

When it was apparent that the nuclear energy project would not make a decisive contribution to ending the war effort in the near term, control of the KWIP was returned in January 1942 to its umbrella organization, the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft (KWG, Kaiser Wilhelm Society, after World War II the Max-Planck Gesellschaft
Max Planck Society
The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes publicly funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany....

), and HWA control of the project was relinquished to the RFR in July 1942. The nuclear energy project thereafter maintained its kriegswichtig (important for the war) designation and funding continued from the military. However, the German nuclear power project was then broken down into the following main areas: uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 and heavy water
Heavy water
Heavy water is water highly enriched in the hydrogen isotope deuterium; e.g., heavy water used in CANDU reactors is 99.75% enriched by hydrogen atom-fraction...

 production, uranium isotope separation, and the Uranmaschine (uranium machine, i.e., nuclear reactor). Also, the project was then essentially split up between a number of institutes, where the directors dominated the research and set their own research agendas. The dominant personnel, facilities, and areas of research were:
  • Walther Bothe
    Walther Bothe
    Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....

     – Director of the Institut für Physik (Institute for Physics) at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für medizinische Forschung (KWImF, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, after 1948 the Max-Planck Institut für medizinische Forschung
    Max Planck Institute for Medical Research
    The Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, is a facility of the Max Planck Society for basic medical research. Since its foundation, six Nobel Prize laureates worked at the Institute: Otto Fritz Meyerhof , Richard Kuhn , Walther Bothe , André Michel Lwoff , Rudolf...

    ), in Heidelberg
    Heidelberg
    -Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

    .
    • Measurement of nuclear constants. (6 physicists)

  • Klaus Clusius
    Klaus Clusius
    Klaus Clusius was a German physical chemist from Breslau , Silesia. During World War II, he worked on the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club; he worked on isotope separation techniques and heavy water production...

     – Director of the Institute for Physical Chemistry at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
    • Isotope separation
      Isotope separation
      Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium into enriched uranium and depleted uranium. This is a crucial process in the manufacture of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations, and is...

       and heavy water
      Heavy water
      Heavy water is water highly enriched in the hydrogen isotope deuterium; e.g., heavy water used in CANDU reactors is 99.75% enriched by hydrogen atom-fraction...

       production. (ca. 4 physical chemists and physicists)

  • Kurt Diebner
    Kurt Diebner
    Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

     – Director of the HWA Versuchsstelle (testing station) in Gottow; Diebner, was also director the RFR experimental station in Stadtilm
    Stadtilm
    Stadtilm is a town in the Ilm-Kreis district, in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated on the river Ilm, 15 km northeast of Ilmenau, and 11 km southeast of Arnstadt....

    , Thuringia. He was also an advisor to the HWA on nuclear physics.

    • Measurement of nuclear constants. (ca. 6 physicists)

  • Otto Hahn
    Otto Hahn
    Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

     – Director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Chemie (KWIC, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry, after World War II the Max Planck Institut für Chemie – Otto Hahn Institut
    Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
    The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry is a scientific research institute under the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.Basic research in chemistry and related subjects is carried out at the four departments of the institute. The departments are independently led by their Directors.-The departments:The...

    ), in Berlin-Dahlem
    Dahlem (Berlin)
    Dahlem is a locality of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough in southwestern Berlin. Until Berlin's 2001 administrative reform it was a part of the former borough of Zehlendorf. Dahlem is one of the most affluent parts of the city and home to the main campus of the Free University of Berlin with the...

    .
    • Transuranic elements
      Transuranium element
      In chemistry, transuranium elements are the chemical elements with atomic numbers greater than 92...

      , fission products, isotope separation, and measurement of nuclear constants. (ca. 6 chemists and physicists)

  • Paul Harteck
    Paul Harteck
    Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

     – Director of the Physical Chemistry Department of the University of Hamburg
    University of Hamburg
    The University of Hamburg is a university in Hamburg, Germany. It was founded on 28 March 1919 by Wilhelm Stern and others. It grew out of the previous Allgemeines Vorlesungswesen and the Kolonialinstitut as well as the Akademisches Gymnasium. There are around 38,000 students as of the start of...

    .
    • Heavy water production and isotope production. (5 physical chemists, physicists, and chemists)

  • Werner Heisenberg
    Werner Heisenberg
    Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

     – Director of the Department of Theoretical Physics at the University of Leipzig
    University of Leipzig
    The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

     and acting director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik (Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics), in Berlin-Dahlem
    Dahlem (Berlin)
    Dahlem is a locality of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough in southwestern Berlin. Until Berlin's 2001 administrative reform it was a part of the former borough of Zehlendorf. Dahlem is one of the most affluent parts of the city and home to the main campus of the Free University of Berlin with the...

    .
    • Uranmaschine, isotope separation, and measurement of nuclear constants. (ca. 7 physicists and physical chemists)

  • Hans Kopfermann
    Hans Kopfermann
    Hans Kopfermann was a German atomic and nuclear physicist. He devoted his entire career to spectroscopic investigations, and he did pioneering work in measuring nuclear spin...

     – Director of the Second Experimental Physics Institute at the Georg-August University of Göttingen.
    • Isotope separation. (2 physicists)

  • Nikolaus Riehl
    Nikolaus Riehl
    Nikolaus Riehl was a German industrial nuclear chemist. He was head of the scientific headquarters of Auergesellschaft. When the Russians entered Berlin near the end of World War II, he was invited to the Soviet Union, where he stayed for 10 years...

     – Scientific Director of the Auergesellschaft
    Auergesellschaft
    The industrial firm Auergesellschaft was founded in 1892 with headquarters in Berlin. Up to the end of World War II, Auergesellschaft had research activities in the areas of gas mantles, luminescence, rare earths, radioactivity, and uranium and thorium compounds. In 1934, the corporation was...

    .
    • Uranium production. (ca. 3 physicists and physical chemists)

  • Georg Stetter
    Georg Stetter
    Georg Stetter was an Austrian-German nuclear physicist. Stetter was Director of the Second Physics Institute of the University of Vienna. He was a principal member of the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club. In the latter years of World War II, he was also the Director...

     – Director of the II. Physikalisches Institut (Second Physics Institute) at the University of Vienna
    University of Vienna
    The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

    .
    • Transuranic elements and measurement of nuclear constants. (ca. 6 physicists and physical chemists)


The point in 1942, when the army relinquished its control of the German nuclear energy project, was the zenith of the project relative to the number of personnel devoting time to the effort. There were only about seventy scientists working on the project, with about forty devoting more than half their time to nuclear fission research. After this, the number of scientists working on applied nuclear fission diminished dramatically. Many of the scientists not working with the main institutes stopped working on nuclear fission and devoted their efforts to more pressing war related work.

On 9 June 1942, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 issued a decree for the reorganization of the RFR as a separate legal entity under the Reichsministerium für Bewaffnung und Munition (RMBM, Reich Ministry for Armament and Ammunition, after autumn 1943 the Reich Ministry for Armament and War Production); the decree appointed Reich Marshal Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 as the president. The reorganization was done under the initiative of Reich Minister for Armament and Ammunition Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

; it was necessary as the RFR under Minister Bernhard Rust was ineffective and not achieving its purpose. It was the hope that Göring would manage the RFR with the same discipline and efficiency as he had in the aviation sector. A meeting was held on 6 July 1942 to discuss the function of the RFR and set its agenda. The meeting was a turning point in National Socialism’s attitude towards science, as well as recognition that its policies which drove Jewish scientists out of Germany were a mistake, as the Reich needed their expertise. Abraham Esau
Abraham Esau
Robert Abraham Esau was a German physicist.After receipt of his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Esau worked at Telefunken, where he pioneered very high frequency waves used in radar, radio, and television, and he was president of the Deutscher Telefunken Verband...

 was appointed on 8 December 1942 as Hermann Göring’s
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 Bevollmächtigter (plenipotentiary) for nuclear physics research under the RFR; in December 1943, Esau was replaced by Walther Gerlach. In the final analysis, placing the RFR under Göring’s administrative control had little effect on the German nuclear energy project.

Over time, the HWA and then the RFR controlled the German nuclear energy project. The most influential people were Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

, Abraham Esau
Abraham Esau
Robert Abraham Esau was a German physicist.After receipt of his doctorate from the University of Berlin, Esau worked at Telefunken, where he pioneered very high frequency waves used in radar, radio, and television, and he was president of the Deutscher Telefunken Verband...

, Walther Gerlach, and Erich Schumann
Erich Schumann
Erich Schumann was a German physicist who specialized in acoustics and explosives, and had a penchant for music, as he was a grandson of the classical composer Robert Schumann. He was a general officer in the army and a professor at the University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin...

. Schumann was one of the most powerful and influential physicists in Germany. Schumann was director of the Physics Department II at the Frederick William University (later, University of Berlin), which was commissioned and funded by the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH, Army High Command) to conduct physics research projects. He was also head of the research department of the HWA, assistant secretary of the Science Department of the OKW, and Bevollmächtigter (plenipotentiary) for high explosives. Diebner, throughout the life of the nuclear energy project, had more control over nuclear fission research than did Walther Bothe
Walther Bothe
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was a German nuclear physicist, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954 with Max Born....

, Klaus Clusius
Klaus Clusius
Klaus Clusius was a German physical chemist from Breslau , Silesia. During World War II, he worked on the German nuclear energy project, also known as the Uranium Club; he worked on isotope separation techniques and heavy water production...

, Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

, Paul Harteck
Paul Harteck
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

, or Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

.

Isotope separation


Heinz Ewald, a member of the Uranverein, had proposed an electromagnetic isotope separator, which was thought applicable to U235 production and enrichment. This was picked up by Manfred von Ardenne
Manfred von Ardenne
Manfred von Ardenne was a German research and applied physicist and inventor. He took out approximately 600 patents in fields including electron microscopy, medical technology, nuclear technology, plasma physics, and radio and television technology...

, who ran a private research establishment.

In 1928, Von Ardenne had come into his inheritance with full control as to how it could be spent, and he established his private research laboratory the Forschungslaboratoriums für Elektronenphysik, in Berlin-Lichterfelde, to conduct his own research on radio and television technology and electron microscopy. He financed the laboratory with income he received from his inventions and from contracts with other concerns. For example, his research on nuclear physics and high-frequency technology was financed by the Reichspostministerium
Reichspostministerium
The Reichspostministerium, during the reign of National Socialism, had authority over research and development departments in the areas of television engineering, high-frequency technology, cable transmission, metrology, and acoustics .-Formation:On 1 January 1937, Department VIII of the former...

 (RPM, Reich Postal Ministry), headed by Wilhelm Ohnesorge
Wilhelm Ohnesorge
Karl Wilhelm Ohnesorge was a German politician in the Third Reich who sat in Hitler's cabinet. From 1937 to 1945, he also acted as the minister and official of the Reichspost, the German postal service, having succeeded Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach as minister...

. Von Ardenne attracted top-notch personnel to work in his facility, such as the nuclear physicist Fritz Houtermans
Fritz Houtermans
Friedrich Georg "Fritz" Houtermans was a Dutch-Austrian-German atomic and nuclear physicist born in Zoppot near Danzig, West Prussia...

, in 1940.

Von Ardenne had also conducted research on isotope separation. Taking Ewald's suggestion he began building a prototype for the RPM. The work was hampered by war shortages and ultimately ended by the war.

Internal reports


Reports from the research conducted were published in Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte
Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte
Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte was an internal publication of the German Uranverein, which was initiated under the Heereswaffenamt in 1939; in 1942, supervision of the Uranverein was turned over to the Reichsforschungsrat under the Reichserziehungsministerium...

 (Research Reports in Nuclear Physics), an internal publication of the Uranverein. The reports were classified Top Secret, they had very limited distribution, and the authors were not allowed to keep copies. The reports were confiscated under the Allied Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

 and sent to the United States Atomic Energy Commission
United States Atomic Energy Commission
The United States Atomic Energy Commission was an agency of the United States government established after World War II by Congress to foster and control the peace time development of atomic science and technology. President Harry S...

 for evaluation. In 1971, the reports were declassified and returned to Germany. The reports are available at the Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center and the American Institute of Physics
American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics promotes science, the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies...

.

Individual reports are cited on the pages for some of the research participants in the Uranverein; see for example Friedrich Bopp
Friedrich Bopp
Friedrich Arnold Bopp was a German theoretical physicist who contributed to nuclear physics and quantum field theory. He worked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik and with the Uranverein. He was a professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and a President of the Deutsche...

, Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

, Klara Döpel
Klara Döpel
Klara Renate Döpel was a German nuclear physicist and feminist. She married the German nuclear physicist Robert Döpel. They worked together as a team at Leipzig University studying nuclear reactor configurations for the German nuclear energy project...

, Robert Döpel
Robert Döpel
Georg Robert Döpel was a German experimental nuclear physicist. He was a participant in a group known as the “first Uranverein,” which was spawned by a meeting conducted by the Reichserziehungsministerium, in April 1939, to discuss the potential of a sustained nuclear reaction...

, Siegfried Flügge
Siegfried Flügge
Siegfried Flügge was a German theoretical physicist and made contributions to nuclear physics. He worked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Chemie and worked in the German Uranverein...

, Paul Harteck
Paul Harteck
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

, Walter Herrmann
Walter Herrmann (physicist)
Walter Herrmann was a German nuclear physicist who worked on the German nuclear energy project during World War II...

, Karl-Heinz Höcker
Karl-Heinz Höcker
Karl-Heinz Höcker was a German theoretical nuclear physicist who worked in the German Uranverein. After World War II, he worked at the university of Stuttgart and was the founder of the Institut für Kernenergetik und Energiesysteme.-Education:From 1935 to 1940, Höcker studied at the University of...

, Fritz Houtermans
Fritz Houtermans
Friedrich Georg "Fritz" Houtermans was a Dutch-Austrian-German atomic and nuclear physicist born in Zoppot near Danzig, West Prussia...

, Horst Korsching
Horst Korsching
Horst Korsching was a German physicist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:...

, Georg Joos
Georg Joos
Georg Jakob Christof Joos was a German theoretical physicist. He wrote Lehrbuch der theoretischen Physik, first published in 1932 and one of the most influential theoretical physics textbooks of the 20th Century.-Education:Joos began his higher education in 1912 at the Technische Hochschule...

, Heinz Pose
Heinz Pose
Rudolf Heinz Pose was a German nuclear physicist.He did pioneering work which contributed to the understanding nuclear energy levels. He worked on the German nuclear energy project Uranverein. After World War II, the Soviet Union sent him to establish and head Laboratory V in Obninsk...

, Carl Ramsauer
Carl Ramsauer
Carl Wilhelm Ramsauer was an internationally notable professor of physics and research physicist, famous for the discovery of the Ramsauer-Townsend effect...

, Fritz Strassmann
Fritz Strassmann
Friedrich Wilhelm "Fritz" Strassmann was a German chemist who, with Otto Hahn in 1938, identified barium in the residue after bombarding uranium with neutrons, which led to the interpretation of their results as being from nuclear fission...

, Karl Wirtz
Karl Wirtz
Karl Eugen Julius Wirtz was a German nuclear physicist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:...

, and Karl Zimmer
Karl Zimmer
Karl Günter Zimmer was a German physicist and radiation biologist, known for his work on the effects of ionizing radiation on DNA. In 1935, he published the major work, Über die Natur der Genmutation und der Genstruktur, with N. V...

.

Politicisation


Two factors which had deleterious effects on the nuclear energy project were the politicisation of the education system under National Socialism and the rise of the Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik or Aryan Physics was a nationalist movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled "Jewish Physics"...

 movement, which was anti-Semitic and had a bias against theoretical physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

, especially including quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

.

Emigrations


Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 took power on 30 January 1933. On 7 April, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service
Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service
The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service , also known as Civil Service Law, Civil Service Restoration Act, and Law to Re-establish the Civil Service, was a law passed by the National Socialist regime on April 7, 1933, two months after Adolf...

 was enacted; this law, and its subsequent related ordinances, politicized the education system in Germany. This had immediate deleterious effects on the physics capabilities of Germany. Furthermore, combined with the deutsche Physik movement, the deleterious effects were intensified and prolonged. The consequences to physics in Germany and its subfield of nuclear physics were multifaceted.

An immediate consequence upon passage of the law was that it produced both quantitative and qualitative losses to the physics community. Numerically, it has been estimated that a total of 1,145 university teachers, in all fields, were driven from their posts, which represented about 14% of the higher learning institutional staff members in 1932–1933. Out of 26 German nuclear physicists cited in the literature before 1933, 50% emigrated. Qualitatively, 10 physicists and four chemists who had won or would win the Nobel Prize emigrated from Germany shortly after Hitler came to power, most of them in 1933. These 14 scientists were: Hans Bethe
Hans Bethe
Hans Albrecht Bethe was a German-American nuclear physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. A versatile theoretical physicist, Bethe also made important contributions to quantum electrodynamics, nuclear physics, solid-state physics and...

, Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch was a Swiss physicist, working mainly in the U.S.-Life and work:Bloch was born in Zürich, Switzerland to Jewish parents Gustav and Agnes Bloch. He was educated there and at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, also in Zürich. Initially studying engineering he soon changed to physics...

, Max Born
Max Born
Max Born was a German-born physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s...

, Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, James Franck
James Franck
James Franck was a German Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Franck was born to Jacob Franck and Rebecca Nachum Drucker. Franck completed his Ph.D...

, Peter Debye
Peter Debye
Peter Joseph William Debye FRS was a Dutch physicist and physical chemist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry.-Early life:...

, Dennis Gabor
Dennis Gabor
Dennis Gabor CBE, FRS was a Hungarian-British electrical engineer and inventor, most notable for inventing holography, for which he later received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics....

, Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid...

, Gerhard Herzberg
Gerhard Herzberg
Gerhard Heinrich Friedrich Otto Julius Herzberg, was a pioneering physicist and physical chemist, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1971, "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals". Herzberg's main work concerned...

, Victor Hess, George de Hevesy
George de Hevesy
George Charles de Hevesy, Georg Karl von Hevesy, was a Hungarian radiochemist and Nobel laureate, recognized in 1943 for his key role in the development of radioactive tracers to study chemical processes such as in the metabolism of animals.- Early years :Hevesy György was born in Budapest,...

, Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...

, Otto Stern
Otto Stern
Otto Stern was a German physicist and Nobel laureate in physics.-Biography:Stern was born in Sohrau, now Żory in the German Empire's Kingdom of Prussia and studied at Breslau, now Wrocław in Lower Silesia....

, and Eugene Wigner. Britain and the USA were often the recipients of the talent which left Germany. The University of Göttingen had 45 dismissals from the staff of 1932–1933, for a loss of 19%. Ironically, eight students, assistants, and colleagues of the Göttingen theoretical physicist Max Born
Max Born
Max Born was a German-born physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s...

 left Europe after Hitler came to power and eventually found work on the Manhattan Project, thus helping the USA, Britain and Canada to develop the atomic bomb; they were Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi was an Italian-born, naturalized American physicist particularly known for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics...

, James Franck
James Franck
James Franck was a German Jewish physicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Franck was born to Jacob Franck and Rebecca Nachum Drucker. Franck completed his Ph.D...

, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Oppenheimer
Julius Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with Enrico Fermi, he is often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first...

, Edward Teller
Edward Teller
Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even though he did not care for the title. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy , and surface physics...

, Victor Weisskopf, Eugene Wigner, and John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

. Otto Robert Frisch
Otto Robert Frisch
Otto Robert Frisch , Austrian-British physicist. With his collaborator Rudolf Peierls he designed the first theoretical mechanism for the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1940.- Overview :...

, who with Rudolf Peierls
Rudolf Peierls
Sir Rudolf Ernst Peierls, CBE was a German-born British physicist. Rudolf Peierls had a major role in Britain's nuclear program, but he also had a role in many modern sciences...

 first calculated the critical mass of U-235 needed for an explosive, was also a Jewish refugee.

Max Planck
Max Planck
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS, was a German physicist who actualized the quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is regarded as the founder of the quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.-Life and career:Planck came...

, the father of the quantum
Quantum
In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized," referred to as "the hypothesis of quantization". This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete...

, had been right in assessing the consequences of National Socialist policies. In 1933, Max Planck, as president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science was a German scientific institution established in 1911. It was implicated in Nazi science, and after the Second World War was wound up and its functions replaced by the Max Planck Society...

 (Kaiser Wilhelm Society), met with Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. During the meeting, Planck told Hitler that forcing Jewish scientists to emigrate would mutilate Germany and the benefits of their work would go to foreign countries. Hitler responded with a rant against Jews and Planck could only remain silent and then take his leave. The National Socialist regime would only come around to the same conclusion as Planck in the 6 July 1942 meeting regarding the future agenda of the Reichsforschungsrat
Reichsforschungsrat
The Reichsforschungsrat was created in Germany in 1937 under the Education Ministry for the purpose of centralized planning of all basic and applied research, with the exception of aeronautical research...

 (RFR, Reich Research Council), but by then it was too late.

Heisenberg affair


The politicisation of the education system essentially replaced academic tradition and excellence with ideological adherence and trappings, such as membership in National Socialist organisations, such as the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP, National Socialist German Workers Party), the Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Dozentenbund (NSDDB, National Socialist German University Lecturers League), and the Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (NSDStB, National Socialist German Student League). The politicization can be illustrated with the conflict which evolved when a replacement for Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...

 was sought in view of his emeritus status. The conflict involved one of the prominent Uranverein participants, Werner Heisenberg.

On 1 April 1935 Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Sommerfeld
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld was a German theoretical physicist who pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and groomed a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics...

, Heisenberg’s teacher and doctoral advisor at the University of Munich, achieved emeritus status. However, Sommerfeld stayed on as his own temporary replacement during the selection process for his successor, which took until 1 December 1939. The process was lengthy due to academic and political differences between the Munich Faculty’s selection and that of both the Reichserziehungsministerium
Reichserziehungsministerium
The Reichserziehungsministerium was officially known as the Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung .-Background:...

 (REM, Reich Education Ministry) and the supporters of Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik or Aryan Physics was a nationalist movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled "Jewish Physics"...

. In 1935, the Munich Faculty drew up a candidate list to replace Sommerfeld as ordinarius professor of theoretical physics and head of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Munich. There were three names on the list: Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 in 1932, Peter Debye
Peter Debye
Peter Joseph William Debye FRS was a Dutch physicist and physical chemist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry.-Early life:...

, who would receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature,...

 in 1936, and Richard Becker
Richard Becker
Richard Becker was a German theoretical physicist who made contributions in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, superconductivity, and quantum electrodynamics.-Education:...

 – all former students of Sommerfeld. The Munich Faculty was firmly behind these candidates, with Heisenberg as their first choice. However, supporters of deutsche Physik and elements in the REM had their own list of candidates and the battle commenced, dragging on for over four years. During this time, Heisenberg, came under vicious attack by the supporters of deutsche Physik. One such attack was published in Das Schwarze Korps, the newspaper of the Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

, or SS, headed by Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

. In the editorial, Heisenberg was called a “White Jew” who should be made to “disappear.” These verbal attacks were taken seriously, as Jews were subject to physical violence and incarceration at the time. Heisenberg fought back with an editorial and a letter to Himmler, in an attempt to get a resolution to this matter and regain his honor. At one point, Heisenberg’s mother visited Himmler’s mother to help bring a resolution to the affair. The two women knew each other as a result of Heisenberg’s maternal grandfather and Himmler’s father being rectors and members of a Bavarian hiking club. Eventually, Himmler settled the Heisenberg affair by sending two letters, one to SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 and one to Heisenberg, both on 21 July 1938. In the letter to Heydrich, Himmler said Germany could not afford to lose or silence Heisenberg as he would be useful for teaching a generation of scientists. To Heisenberg, Himmler said the letter came on recommendation of his family and he cautioned Heisenberg to make a distinction between professional physics research results and the personal and political attitudes of the involved scientists. The letter to Heisenberg was signed under the closing “Mit freundlichem Gruss und, Heil Hitler!” ("With friendly greetings, Heil Hitler!") Overall, the settlement of the Heisenberg affair was a victory for academic standards and professionalism. However, the replacement of Sommerfeld by Wilhelm Müller on 1 December 1939 was a victory of politics over academic standards. Müller was not a theoretical physicist, had not published in a physics journal, and was not a member of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
The Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 60,000, as of 2011...

 (DPG, German Physical Society); his appointment as a replacement for Sommerfeld was considered a travesty and detrimental to educating a new generation of theoretical physicists.

Missing generation of physicists


Politicization of the academic community, combined with the impact of the deutsche Physik movement and other policies, such as drafting physicists to fight in the war (e.g., Paul O. Müller
Paul O. Müller
Paul O. Müller was a German theoretical nuclear physicist who worked in the German Uranverein. He was drafted into the German armed forces and died on the Russian Front in World War II. -Education:...

, a member of the Uranverein who was killed at the Russian front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

), had the net effect of bringing about a missing generation of physicists. At the close of the war, physicists born between 1915 and 1925 were almost nonexistent.

Autonomy and accommodation


Members of the Uranverein, Wolfgang Finkelnburg
Wolfgang Finkelnburg
Wolfgang Karl Ernst Finkelnburg was a German physicist who made contributions to spectroscopy, atomic physics, the structure of matter, and high-temperature arc discharges...

, Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

, Carl Ramsauer
Carl Ramsauer
Carl Wilhelm Ramsauer was an internationally notable professor of physics and research physicist, famous for the discovery of the Ramsauer-Townsend effect...

, and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker was a German physicist and philosopher. He was the longest-living member of the research team which performed nuclear research in Germany during the Second World War, under Werner Heisenberg's leadership...

 were effective in countering the politicisation of academia and effectively putting an end to the influence of the deutsche Physik movement. However, in order to do this they were, as were many scientists, caught between autonomy and accommodation. Essentially, they would have to legitimize the National Socialist system by compromise and collaboration.

During the period in which deutsche Physik was gaining prominence, a foremost concern of the great majority of scientists was to maintain autonomy against political encroachment. Some of the more established scientists, such as Max von Laue
Max von Laue
Max Theodor Felix von Laue was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals...

, could demonstrate more autonomy than the younger and less established scientists. This was, in part, due to political organizations, such as the Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Dozentenbund (National Socialist German University Lecturers League), whose district leaders had a decisive role in the acceptance of an Habilitationsschrift, which was a prerequisite to attaining the rank of Privatdozent
Privatdozent
Privatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications to become a tenured university professor...

 necessary to becoming a university lecturer. While some with ability joined such organizations out of tactical career considerations, others with ability and adherence to historical academic standards joined these organizations to moderate their activities. This was the case of Finkelnburg. It was in the summer of 1940 that Finkelnburg became an acting director of the NSDDB at Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt. As such, he organized the Münchner Religionsgespräche, which took place on 15 November 1940 and was known as the Munich Synod . The Münchner Religionsgespräche was an offensive against deutsche Physik. While the technical outcome may have been thin, it was a political victory against deutsche Physik. Also, in part, it was Finkelnburg’s role in organising this event that influenced Carl Ramsauer
Carl Ramsauer
Carl Wilhelm Ramsauer was an internationally notable professor of physics and research physicist, famous for the discovery of the Ramsauer-Townsend effect...

, as president of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
The Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 60,000, as of 2011...

, to select Finkelnburg in 1941 as his deputy. Finkelnburg served in this capacity until the end of World War II.

Early in 1942, as president of the DPG, Ramsauer, on Felix Klein’s
Felix Klein
Christian Felix Klein was a German mathematician, known for his work in group theory, function theory, non-Euclidean geometry, and on the connections between geometry and group theory...

 initiative and with the support of Ludwig Prandtl, submitted a petition to Reich Minister Bernhard Rust
Bernhard Rust
Dr. Bernhard Rust was Minister of Science, Education and National Culture in Nazi Germany. A combination of school administrator and zealous Nazi, he issued decrees, often bizarre, at every level of the German educational system to immerse German youth in the National Socialist philosophy...

, at the Reichserziehungsministerium
Reichserziehungsministerium
The Reichserziehungsministerium was officially known as the Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung .-Background:...

 (Reich Education Ministry). The petition, a letter and six attachments, addressed the atrocious state of physics instruction in Germany, which Ramsauer concluded was the result of politicization of education.

Exploitation and denial


Near the end of World War II, the principal Allied war powers made plans for exploitation of German science. In light of the implications of nuclear weapons, German nuclear fission and related technologies were singled out for special attention. In addition to exploitations, denial was an element of their efforts, i.e., the Americans and Russians conducted their respective operations to try to deny German technology, personnel, and materiel to the other party. Application of denial often meant getting there first, which to some extent put the Russians at a disadvantage in some geographic locations, even if the area was to be in the Russian zone of occupation. When it came to applications of exploitation and denial, all parties were sometimes heavy-handed.

A general United States denial and exploitation effort was Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in the aftermath of World War II...

. Operations directed specifically towards German nuclear fission were Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

 and Operation Epsilon
Operation Epsilon
Operation Epsilon was the codename of a program in which Allied forces near the end of World War II detained ten German scientists who were thought to have worked on Nazi Germany's nuclear program. The scientists were captured between May 1 and June 30, 1945, and interned at Farm Hall, a bugged...

, the latter being done in collaboration with the British. In lieu of the codename for the Russian operation, if it had one, it has been referred to by Oleynikov as the Russian “Alsos”
Russian Alsos
The Russian Alsos was an operation which took place in early 1945 in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and whose objectives were the exploitation of German atomic related facilities, intellectual materials, materiel resources, and scientific personnel for the benefit of the Soviet atomic bomb...

.

American and British


Berlin had been a location of many German scientific research facilities. To limit casualties and loss of equipment, many of these facilities were dispersed to other locations in the latter years of the war.

Unfortunately for the Russians, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik (KWIP, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics) had mostly been moved in 1943 and 1944 to Hechingen
Hechingen
Hechingen is a town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated about south of the state capital of Stuttgart and north of Lake Constance and the Swiss border.- City districts :...

 and its neighboring town of Haigerloch
Haigerloch
-Geography:-Geographical situation:Haigerloch lies at between 430 and 550 metres elevation in the valley of the Eyach, which forms two loops in a steep shelly limestone valley...

, on the edge of the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

, which eventually became the French occupation zone. This move allowed the Americans to take into custody a large number of German scientists associated with nuclear research. The only section of the institute which remained in Berlin was the low-temperature physics section, headed by Ludwig Bewilogua, who was in charge of the exponential uranium pile.

Nine of the prominent German scientists who published reports in Kernphysikalische Forschungsberichte as members of the Uranverein were picked up by Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

 and incarcerated in England under Operation Epsilon
Operation Epsilon
Operation Epsilon was the codename of a program in which Allied forces near the end of World War II detained ten German scientists who were thought to have worked on Nazi Germany's nuclear program. The scientists were captured between May 1 and June 30, 1945, and interned at Farm Hall, a bugged...

: Erich Bagge
Erich Bagge
Erich Rudolf Bagge was a German scientist. Bagge, a student of Werner Heisenberg for his doctorate and Habilitation, was engaged in German Atomic Energy research and the German nuclear energy project during the Second World War. He worked as an Assistant at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik...

, Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

, Walther Gerlach, Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

, Paul Harteck
Paul Harteck
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:Harteck studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin...

, Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

, Horst Korsching
Horst Korsching
Horst Korsching was a German physicist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:...

, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker was a German physicist and philosopher. He was the longest-living member of the research team which performed nuclear research in Germany during the Second World War, under Werner Heisenberg's leadership...

, and Karl Wirtz
Karl Wirtz
Karl Eugen Julius Wirtz was a German nuclear physicist. He was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated at Farm Hall for six months in 1945 under Operation Epsilon.-Education:...

. Also, incarcerated was Max von Laue
Max von Laue
Max Theodor Felix von Laue was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals...

, although he had nothing to do with the nuclear energy project. Goudsmit, the chief scientific advisor to Operation Alsos, thought von Laue might be beneficial to the postwar rebuilding of Germany and would benefit from the high level contacts he would have in England.

Oranienburg Plant

With the interest of the Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Ordnance Office), Nikolaus Riehl
Nikolaus Riehl
Nikolaus Riehl was a German industrial nuclear chemist. He was head of the scientific headquarters of Auergesellschaft. When the Russians entered Berlin near the end of World War II, he was invited to the Soviet Union, where he stayed for 10 years...

, and his colleague Günter Wirths
Günter Wirths
Günter Wirths was a German chemist who was an authority on uranium production, especially reactor-grade. He worked at Auergesellschaft in the production of uranium for the Heereswaffenamt and its Uranverein project. In 1945, he was sent the Soviet Union to work on the Russian atomic bomb project...

, set up an industrial-scale production of high-purity uranium oxide at the Auergesellschaft
Auergesellschaft
The industrial firm Auergesellschaft was founded in 1892 with headquarters in Berlin. Up to the end of World War II, Auergesellschaft had research activities in the areas of gas mantles, luminescence, rare earths, radioactivity, and uranium and thorium compounds. In 1934, the corporation was...

 plant in Oranienburg
Oranienburg
Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Oberhavel.- Geography :Oranienburg is a town located on the banks of the Havel river, 35 km north of the centre of Berlin.- Division of the town :...

. Adding to the capabilities in the final stages of metallic uranium production were the strength’s of the Degussa corporation’s capabilities in metals production.

The Oranienburg plant provided the uranium sheets and cubes for the Uranmaschine experiments conducted at the KWIP and the Versuchsstelle (testing station) of the Heereswaffenamt (Army Ordnance Office) in Gottow. The G-1 experiment performed at the HWA testing station, under the direction of Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

, had lattices of 6,800 uranium oxide cubes (about 25 tons), in the nuclear moderator paraffin.

Work of the American Operation Alsos teams, in November 1944, uncovered leads which took them to a company in Paris that handled rare earths and had been taken over by the Auergesellschaft. This, combined with information gathered in the same month through an Alsos team in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, confirmed that the Oranienburg plant was involved in the production of uranium and thorium metals. Since the plant was to be in the future Soviet zone of occupation and the Russian troops would get there before the Allies, General Leslie Groves
Leslie Groves
Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves, Jr. was a United States Army Corps of Engineers officer who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. As the son of a United States Army chaplain, Groves lived at a...

, commander of the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

, recommended to General George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

 that the plant be destroyed by aerial bombardment, in order to deny its uranium production equipment to the Russians. On 15 March 1945, 612 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the Eighth Air Force
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

 dropped 1,506 tons of high-explosive and 178 tons of incendiary bombs on the plant. Riehl visited the site with the Russians and said that the facility was mostly destroyed. Riehl also recalled long after the war that the Russians knew precisely why the Americans had bombed the facility – the attack had been directed at them rather than the Germans.

French


From 1941 to 1947, Fritz Bopp
Friedrich Bopp
Friedrich Arnold Bopp was a German theoretical physicist who contributed to nuclear physics and quantum field theory. He worked at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik and with the Uranverein. He was a professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and a President of the Deutsche...

 was a staff scientist at the KWIP, and worked with the Uranverein. In 1944, when most of the KWIP was evacuated to Hechingen
Hechingen
Hechingen is a town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated about south of the state capital of Stuttgart and north of Lake Constance and the Swiss border.- City districts :...

 in Southern Germany due to air raids on Berlin, he went there too, and he was the Institute’s Deputy Director there. When the American Alsos Mission
Operation Alsos
Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

 evacuated Hechingen and Haigerloch
Haigerloch
-Geography:-Geographical situation:Haigerloch lies at between 430 and 550 metres elevation in the valley of the Eyach, which forms two loops in a steep shelly limestone valley...

, near the end of World War II, French armed forces occupied Hechingen. Bopp did not get along with them and described the initial French policy objectives towards the KWIP as exploitation, forced evacuation to France, and seizure of documents and equipment. The French occupation policy was not qualitatively different from that of the American and Russian occupation forces, it was just carried out on a smaller scale. In order to put pressure on Bopp to evacuate the KWIP to France, the French Naval Commission imprisoned him for five days and threatened him with further imprisonment if he did not cooperate in the evacuation. During his imprisonment, the spectroscopist Hermann Schüler, who had a better relationship with the French, persuaded the French to appoint him as Deputy Director of the KWIP. This incident caused tension between the physicists and spectroscopists at the KWIP and within its umbrella organization the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science was a German scientific institution established in 1911. It was implicated in Nazi science, and after the Second World War was wound up and its functions replaced by the Max Planck Society...

 (Kaiser Wilhelm Society).

Soviet


At the close of World War II, the Soviet Union had special search teams operating in Austria and Germany, especially in Berlin, to identify and “requisition” equipment, materiel, intellectual property, and personnel useful to the Soviet atomic bomb project
Soviet atomic bomb project
The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

. The exploitation teams were under the Soviet Alsos
Russian Alsos
The Russian Alsos was an operation which took place in early 1945 in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and whose objectives were the exploitation of German atomic related facilities, intellectual materials, materiel resources, and scientific personnel for the benefit of the Soviet atomic bomb...

 and they were headed by Lavrentij Beria’s
Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Georgian Soviet politician and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years ....

 deputy, Colonel General A. P. Zavenyagin. These teams were composed of scientific staff members, in NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 officer’s uniforms, from the bomb project’s only laboratory, Laboratory No. 2, in Moscow, and included Yulij Borisovich Khariton
Yulii Borisovich Khariton
Yulii Borisovich Khariton was a Soviet physicist working in the field of nuclear power...

, Isaak Konstantinovich Kikoin
Isaak Kikoin
Isaak Konstantinovich Kikoin was a Soviet physicist and academic. He was awarded the Stalin/Lenin Prize six times , named a Hero of Socialist Labor , and was a recipient of the Kurchatov Medal .Kikoin was with Igor Kurchatov as one of the founders of the Kurchatov...

, and Lev Andreevich Artsimovich
Lev Artsimovich
Lev Andreevich Artsimovich was a Soviet physicist, academician of the Soviet Academy of Sciences , member of the Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences , and Hero of Socialist Labor .- Academic research :Artsimovich worked on the...

. Georgij Nikolaevich Flerov
Georgy Flyorov
Georgy Nikolayevich Flyorov was a prominent Soviet nuclear physicist.-Biography:Flyorov was born in Rostov-on-Don and attended the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute Georgy Nikolayevich Flyorov (March 2, 1913 – November 19, 1990) was a prominent Soviet nuclear physicist.-Biography:Flyorov was born...

 had arrived earlier, although Kikoin did not recall a vanguard group. Targets on the top of their list were the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Physik (KWIP, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics), the Frederick William University (today, the University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
The Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...

), and the Technische Hochschule Berlin (today, the Technische Universität Berlin (Technical University of Berlin
Technical University of Berlin
The Technische Universität Berlin is a research university located in Berlin, Germany. Translating the name into English is discouraged by the university, however paraphrasing as Berlin Institute of Technology is recommended by the university if necessary .The TU Berlin was founded...

).

German physicists who worked on the Uranverein and were sent to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 to work on the Soviet atomic bomb project
Soviet atomic bomb project
The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

 included: Werner Czulius, Robert Döpel
Robert Döpel
Georg Robert Döpel was a German experimental nuclear physicist. He was a participant in a group known as the “first Uranverein,” which was spawned by a meeting conducted by the Reichserziehungsministerium, in April 1939, to discuss the potential of a sustained nuclear reaction...

, Walter Herrmann
Walter Herrmann (physicist)
Walter Herrmann was a German nuclear physicist who worked on the German nuclear energy project during World War II...

, Heinz Pose
Heinz Pose
Rudolf Heinz Pose was a German nuclear physicist.He did pioneering work which contributed to the understanding nuclear energy levels. He worked on the German nuclear energy project Uranverein. After World War II, the Soviet Union sent him to establish and head Laboratory V in Obninsk...

, Ernst Rexer
Ernst Rexer
Ernst Rexer was a German nuclear physicist. He worked on the German nuclear energy program during World War II. After the war, he was sent to Laboratory V, in Obninsk, to work on the Soviet atomic bomb project...

, Nikolaus Riehl
Nikolaus Riehl
Nikolaus Riehl was a German industrial nuclear chemist. He was head of the scientific headquarters of Auergesellschaft. When the Russians entered Berlin near the end of World War II, he was invited to the Soviet Union, where he stayed for 10 years...

, and Karl Zimmer
Karl Zimmer
Karl Günter Zimmer was a German physicist and radiation biologist, known for his work on the effects of ionizing radiation on DNA. In 1935, he published the major work, Über die Natur der Genmutation und der Genstruktur, with N. V...

. Günter Wirths
Günter Wirths
Günter Wirths was a German chemist who was an authority on uranium production, especially reactor-grade. He worked at Auergesellschaft in the production of uranium for the Heereswaffenamt and its Uranverein project. In 1945, he was sent the Soviet Union to work on the Russian atomic bomb project...

, while not a member of the Uranverein, worked for Riehl at the Auergesellschaft
Auergesellschaft
The industrial firm Auergesellschaft was founded in 1892 with headquarters in Berlin. Up to the end of World War II, Auergesellschaft had research activities in the areas of gas mantles, luminescence, rare earths, radioactivity, and uranium and thorium compounds. In 1934, the corporation was...

 on reactor-grade uranium production and was also sent to the Soviet Union.

Zimmer’s path to work on the Soviet atomic bomb project was through a prisoner of war camp in Krasnogorsk
Krasnogorsk
Krasnogorsk may refer to one of the following:*Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast, a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia*Krasnogorsk, Uzbekistan, a town in Uzbekistan...

, as was that of his colleagues Hans-Joachim Born
Hans-Joachim Born
Hans-Joachim Born was a German radiochemist trained and educated at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Chemie. Up to the end of World War II, he worked in Nikolaj Vladimirovich Timofeev-Resovskij’s Abteilung für Experimentelle Genetik, at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Hirnforschung. He was taken...

 and Alexander Catsch
Alexander Catsch
Alexander Catsch was a German-Russian medical doctor and radiation biologist. Up to the end of World War II, he worked in Nikolaj Vladimirovich Timefeev-Resovskij’s Abteilung für Experimentelle Genetik at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Hirnforschung...

 from the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für Hirnforschung (KWIH, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research, today the Max-Planck Institut für Hirnforschung), who worked there for N. V. Timofeev-Resovskij, director of the Abteilung für Experimentelle Genetik (Department of Experimental Genetics). All four eventually worked for Riehl in the Soviet Union at Laboratory B in Sungul’
Laboratory B in Sungul’
Laboratory B in Sungul’ was one of the laboratories under the 9th Chief Directorate of the NKVD that contributed to the Soviet atomic bomb project. It was created in 1946 and closed in 1955, when some of its personnel were merged with the second Soviet nuclear design and assembly facility. It was...

.

Von Ardenne, who had worked on isotope separation for the Reichspostministerium
Reichspostministerium
The Reichspostministerium, during the reign of National Socialism, had authority over research and development departments in the areas of television engineering, high-frequency technology, cable transmission, metrology, and acoustics .-Formation:On 1 January 1937, Department VIII of the former...

 (Reich Postal Ministry), was also sent to the Soviet Union to work on their atomic bomb project, along with Gustav Hertz, Nobel laureate and director of Research Laboratory II at Siemens
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

, Peter Adolf Thiessen
Peter Adolf Thiessen
Peter Adolf Thiessen was a German physical chemist. He voluntarily went to the Soviet Union at the close of World War II, and he received high Soviet decorations and the Stalin Prize for contributions to the Soviet atomic bomb project.-Education:Thiessen was born in Schweidnitz .From 1919 to...

, director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut für physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie (KWIPC, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry and Electrochemisty, today the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max-Planck Society
Fritz Haber Institute of the MPG
The Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society is a science research institute located at the heart of the academic district of Dahlem, in Berlin, Germany....

), and Max Volmer
Max Volmer
Max Volmer was a German physical chemist, who made important contributions in electrochemistry, in particular on electrode kinetics. He co-developed the Butler–Volmer equation. Volmer held the chair and directorship of the Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry Institute of the Technische...

, director of the Physical Chemistry Institute at the Berlin Technische Hochschule (Technical University of Berlin
Technical University of Berlin
The Technische Universität Berlin is a research university located in Berlin, Germany. Translating the name into English is discouraged by the university, however paraphrasing as Berlin Institute of Technology is recommended by the university if necessary .The TU Berlin was founded...

), who all had made a pact that whoever first made contact with the Soviets would speak for the rest. Before the end of World War II, Thiessen, a member of the Nazi Party, had Communist contacts. On 27 April 1945, Thiessen arrived at von Ardenne’s institute in an armored vehicle with a major of the Soviet Army, who was also a leading Soviet chemist, and they issued Ardenne a protective letter (Schutzbrief).

Comparison of the Manhattan Project and the Uranverein


The joint American, British, and Canadian Manhattan Project developed the uranium and plutonium atomic bombs, which helped bring an end to hostilities with Japan during World War II. Its success is attributable to meeting all four of the following conditions:
  1. A strong initial drive, by a small group of scientists, to launch the project.
  2. Unconditional government support from a certain point in time.
  3. Essentially unlimited manpower and industrial resources.
  4. A concentration of brilliant scientists devoted to the project.


Even with all four of these conditions in place the Manhattan Project succeeded only after the war in Europe had been brought to a conclusion. Mutual distrust existed between the German government and the scientists.

For the Manhattan Project, the second condition was met on 9 October 1941 or shortly thereafter. Significant here is that by the end of 1941 it was already apparent that the German nuclear energy project would not make a decisive contribution to ending the German war effort in the near term, and control of the project was relinquished by the Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Ordnance Office) to the Reichsforschungsrat
Reichsforschungsrat
The Reichsforschungsrat was created in Germany in 1937 under the Education Ministry for the purpose of centralized planning of all basic and applied research, with the exception of aeronautical research...

 (RFR, Reich Research Council) in July 1942.

Concerning condition three, the needs in materiel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 and manpower for a large-scale project necessary for the separation of isotopes for a uranium-based bomb and heavy water production for reactors for a plutonium-based bomb may have been possible in the early years of the war.

As to condition four, the high priority allocated to the Manhattan Project allowed for the recruitment and concentration of capable scientists on the project. In Germany, on the other hand, a great many young scientists and technicians who would have been of great use to such a project were conscripted into the German armed forces, while others had fled the country before the war due to antisemitism and political persecution.

Germany fell short of what was required to make an atomic bomb.

Recent developments


A book by Rainer Karlsch
Rainer Karlsch
Rainer Karlsch is a German historian and author.He studied economic history at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He graduated in 1986 as a Doctor of Economics.From 1992-1994, assistant to the Historical commission on...

, Hitlers Bombe
Hitlers Bombe
Hitlers Bombe 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...

, published in 2005, alleged that Diebner's
Kurt Diebner
Kurt Diebner was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to built weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi Germany during the course of World War II...

 team conducted the first successful nuclear weapon test of some type (employing hollow charges
Shaped charge
A shaped charge is an explosive charge shaped to focus the effect of the explosive's energy. Various types are used to cut and form metal, to initiate nuclear weapons, to penetrate armor, and in the oil and gas industry...

 for ignition) of nuclear related device in Ohrdruf
Ohrdruf
Ohrdruf is a small town in the German federal state of Thuringia. It lies some 30 km southwest of Erfurt.-Medieval settling:Ohrdruf was founded in 724–726 by Saint Boniface, as the site of the first monastery in Thuringia, dedicated to Saint Michael. It was the first of several religious...

, Thuringia on 4 March 1945. However, Karlsch has been criticized for displaying "a catastrophic lack of understanding of physics" by physicist Michael Schaaf, who is himself the author of an earlier book about Nazi atomic research, while Karlsch himself has acknowledged that he lacked absolute proof for the claims made in his book.

A similar project was described in David Irving
David Irving
David John Cawdell Irving is an English writer,best known for his denial of the Holocaust, who specialises in the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany...

's 1967 book The Virus House, where it was claimed that some of Diebner's researchers had unsuccessfully attempted to produce fusion using conventional explosives and heavy paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

 as a deuterium carrier. Irving also describes a further experiment in 1943 carried out by Trinks and Sachsse, which used a hollow sphere of silver filled with deuterium
Deuterium
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. It has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in of hydrogen . Deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% of all naturally occurring hydrogen in Earth's oceans, while the most common isotope ...

, imploded by conventional explosives. Again it was unsuccessful, no trace of radioactivity being produced.

Science historian Mark Walker also published his analysis in 2005, and in 2005 Karlsch and Walker published an article on the controversial historical evidence, briefly referenced in the article. The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt is based in Braunschweig and Berlin. It is the national institute for natural and engineering sciences and the highest technical authority for metrology and physical safety engineering in Germany....

 (PTB, Federal Physical and Technical Institute) tested soil samples in the area of the alleged test, and in 2006 it issued its results: keinen Befund (nothing found). Karlsch published a follow-on book with Heinko Petermann to elaborate on issues raised in his first book.

See also


  • Copenhagen (play)
    Copenhagen (play)
    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. It debuted in London in 1998...

  • Enriched uranium
    Enriched uranium
    Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

  • Hanford Site
    Hanford Site
    The Hanford Site is a mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government. The site has been known by many names, including Hanford Works, Hanford Engineer Works or HEW, Hanford Nuclear Reservation...

  • History of nuclear weapons
    History of nuclear weapons
    The history of nuclear weapons chronicles the development of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons possess enormous destructive potential derived from nuclear fission or nuclear fusion reactions...

  • Isotope separation
    Isotope separation
    Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium into enriched uranium and depleted uranium. This is a crucial process in the manufacture of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations, and is...

  • Japanese atomic program
    Japanese atomic program
    The Japanese program to develop nuclear weapons was conducted during World War II. Like the German nuclear weapons program, it suffered from an array of problems, and was ultimately unable to progress beyond the laboratory stage before the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Japanese...

  • List of countries with nuclear weapons
  • Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

  • Manhattan Project
    Manhattan Project
    The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

  • Metallurgical Laboratory
    Metallurgical Laboratory
    The Metallurgical Laboratory or "Met Lab" at the University of Chicago was part of the World War II–era Manhattan Project, created by the United States to develop an atomic bomb...

  • Norwegian heavy water sabotage
    Norwegian heavy water sabotage
    The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions undertaken by Norwegian saboteurs during World War II to prevent the German nuclear energy project from acquiring heavy water , which could be used to produce nuclear weapons...

  • Nuclear weapon
    Nuclear weapon
    A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

  • Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 27,387 at the 2000 census...

  • Operation Alsos
    Operation Alsos
    Operation Alsos was an effort at the end of World War II by the Allies , branched off from the Manhattan Project, to investigate the German nuclear energy project, seize German nuclear resources, materials and personnel to further American research and to prevent their capture by the Soviets, and...

  • Soviet atomic bomb project
    Soviet atomic bomb project
    The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

  • Tube Alloys
    Tube Alloys
    Tube Alloys was the code-name for the British nuclear weapon directorate during World War II, when the development 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...

  • Zippe-type centrifuge
    Zippe-type centrifuge
    The Zippe-type centrifuge is a device designed to collect Uranium-235. It was developed in the Soviet Union by a team of 60 Austrian and German scientists captured after World War II, working in detention...



External links