June Rittner was responsible for the installation by MI-6 of concealed microphones in all the bedrooms and living spaces at Farm Hall, near
Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire. Ten German nuclear scientists who had been gathered up by ALSOS and kept in a hotel at Luxembourg were flown from
Belgium to RAF Temspford on the 3rd of July 1945. Three days after their arrival, the hidden microphones recorded:
DIEBNER: “I wonder whether there are microphones installed here?”
HEISENBERG: “Microphones installed? [Laughing]. Oh no, they’re not as cute as all that. I don’t think they know the real Gestapo methods;
they’re a bit old fashioned in that respect.”
Notwithstanding Heisenberg’s reply Heisenberg whom KGB archives released in 2005 disclose was an ardent advocate of developing nuclear weapons in
July 1942 played up for the microphones, pretending at Farm Hall to have been opposed to the whole idea of nuclear weapons. For the benefit of
listening ears he pretended not to understand many basic things about critical mass which we now known he was aware of from a Paper by Houtermanns in
October 1940. (refer 1944 reprint of his earlier paper - Houtermanns’s August 1944 paper “Zur Frage der Auslösung von Kernhettenreaktionen”
found in Oak Ridge file box G-267 )
Indeed at one point Heisenberg pretended that he believed the critical mass for Uranium was 2 tons. Hahn innocently asked Heisenberg then why had he
always told him it was about 50 kilograms?
Hahn's embarrassing correction to Heisenberg is clear indication that throughout their Farm Hall, Heisenberg was faking it.
It is clear if taken in the wider context that both Diebner and Heisenberg had guessed from 6 July 1945 onwards that they were being bugged and
decided to play along with the ruse and tell the British a load of old Cobblers to mislead them.
During the first few days of their stay Heisenberg lamented that the Potsdam meeting would determine their fate and they might all be sent back to
Berlin to face punishment.
On the night 6-7th August 1945 in conversation with Von Weizäcker, Heisenberg after mentioning American efforts to build a bomb said:
HEISENBERG: in July 1944 a senior SS official had come to him and asked him whether he seriously believed that the Americans could produce an atomic
bomb. He said he had told him that in his opinion it was absolutely possible as the Americans could work much better and quicker than they could.
VON WEIZSÄCKER: again expressed horror at the use of the weapon.
HEISENBERG: replied that had they produced and dropped such a bomb they would certainly have been executed as War Criminals having made the "most
devilish thing imaginable".
At Farm Hall, upon learning of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Otto Hahn, who discovered atomic fission in Uranium, commented,
HAHN: “They can only have done that if they have uranium isotope separation.”
To which Karl Wirtz agreed by responding, WIRTZ: “They have it too,”
GERLACH: “It is not true that we neglected the separation of isotopes. On the contrary, we discussed the whole thing at Tubingen in February and
there was a meeting at Munich. Clusius, Harteck and I said that this photochemical thing must be done. It took until the end of the year before the
people who could do it were got together and the spectrograph obtained and special accommodation acquired, as the Litz Institute had been smashed
CONVERSATION 6-7 AUGUST 1945:
HARTECK: They have managed it either with mass-spectrographs on a large scale or else they have been successful with a photo-chemical process.
WIRTZ: Well I would say photo-chemistry or diffusion. Ordinary diffusion. They irradiate it with a particular wave-length. – (all talking together).
HARTECK: Or using mass-spectrographs in enormous quantities. It is perhaps possible for a mass-spectrograph to make one milligram in one day – say
of '235'. They could make quite a cheap mass-spectrograph which, in very large quantities, might cost a hundred dollars.
HAHN: I think it’s absolutely impossible to produce one ton of uranium 235 by separating isotopes.
WEIZÄCKER: What do you do with these centrifuges?
HARTECK: You can never get pure “235” with the centrifuge, but I don’t believe that it can be done with the centrifuge.
WIRTZ: No certainly not.
HAHN: Yes but they could do it with the mass spectrographs. Ewald has some patent.
DIEBNER: There is also a photochemical process.
Photochemistry is the process of using high speed collisions between Protons to create Neutrons. By exposing various elements such as Thorium 232 to
such slow neutrons they can uptake an extra neutron to become Protactinium and this was precisely what Heisenberg proposed harvesting in 1942 at
The real genius at the heart of this process was Dresden based Professor Max Steenbeck who went over to the Russians in 1945. The Swiss scientist
Dallenbach also helped the SS develop a heavy particle accelerator at Bisingen.
edit on 15-11-2012 by sy.gunson because: correcting dates
Harnack Haus re typo error