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Did Heisenberg stall the German Bomb?

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posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 07:52 PM
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The common held belief that Werner Heisenberg delayed production of an atomic bomb for Germany in WWII. However, recent evidence seems to point towards the fact that he did not care one way or another. He simply did not build one because by the time they got close, Germany was in ruin and they could not get the items that they needed.

I feel that like the american scientist he would have built one regardless of the political and ethical consequences. Can you imagine a nuclear armend Nazi Germany? With a Jet powered blitz bomber to hit US cities



The leader of the Nazi atomic bomb program, Werner
Heisenberg, revealed its existence in September 1941 in a
meeting in Copenhagen with a scientist who later became
part of the Manhattan Project, the Allied effort to produce
the bomb, according to secret documents cited in a London
newspaper yesterday.

But contrary to several historical accounts of the meeting
and major themes of an award-winning play, "Copenhagen,"
Heisenberg never expressed moral qualms about building a
bomb for Hitler or hinted that he might be willing to
sabotage the project, the documents reveal.

Some of the new information about the documents -
especially a letter that Niels Bohr, the scientist with
whom Heisenberg met, wrote but never sent - was reported
yesterday by The Times of London, in an article citing Dr.
Finn Aaserud, director of the Niels Bohr Archive in
Copenhagen.

Dr. Aaserud is one of the few people outside the Bohr
family who have seen the letter, which may be the only way
to learn what happened at a meeting that is one of
history's enduring mysteries. Bohr died in 1962, and
Heisenberg died in 1976; both were Nobel laureates and
considered among the greatest physicists.

"Essentially, the letter shows that he told Bohr that it
was possible that the war would be won with atomic weapons,
indicating that he was involved in such work," Dr. Aaserud
said.

The only other living person outside the Bohr family known
to have read the letter is Dr. Gerald Holton, an emeritus
professor of physics and the history of science at Harvard.
Dr. Holton declined yesterday to describe the letter fully,
citing confidentiality agreements with the Bohr family. But
he said that "Dr. Aaserud's report about some of its
content is quite coherent with what we know" from other
sources, including statements by one of Bohr's sons, the
physicist Aage Bohr.

Dr. Holton said, "It is significant that Dr. Aaserud does
not mention that any moral scruples or intention to
sabotage the bomb project were reasons for Heisenberg's
visit to Bohr."

Historians and scientists have argued for decades over why
Heisenberg never succeeded in building an atomic bomb for
Hitler. But the journalist Thomas Powers, author of the
1993 book "Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the
German Bomb," has argued that Heisenberg sabotaged the
project.

In Mr. Powers's view, Heisenberg went to Copenhagen to make
a deal with Bohr: The Germans would not develop the bomb if
Allied scientists did not, either. The play "Copenhagen,"
by Michael Frayn, was inspired by Mr. Powers's book.

That view of Heisenberg has always generated skepticism
among some historians. The new information is likely to
solidify a less favorable view, that Heisenberg simply
failed despite his best efforts, said David Rhodes, the
author of a history of the Manhattan Project, "The Making
of the Atomic Bomb" (1986).

"This letter confirms what I think was always pretty clear
in the record, and that is that Heisenberg was not making
some deal with Bohr," Mr. Rhodes said. "He was trying to
find out what Bohr knew. He was trying to do a little
espionage."

Dr. Jeremy Bernstein, a theoretical physicist and author of
"Hitler's Uranium Club," a 2001 book on secret recordings
of members of the German bomb program, said the letter
appeared to support his own criticism of Heisenberg's
motives.

"This is exactly what Aage Bohr has been saying all along,"
Dr. Bernstein said.

Mr. Powers did not respond to messages seeking comment left
on his answering machine yesterday.

Dr. Holton also shed new light on why Bohr suddenly cut off
the meeting and why it destroyed what had been Bohr's
lifelong friendship with Heisenberg. Though some have
attributed Bohr's reaction to anger, another explanation is
more likely, Dr. Holton said.

"The first thing that would come to mind is not anger but
deep fright," Dr. Holton said of Bohr's reaction to
learning of a Nazi bomb program. "He understood what that
would mean for civilization."

Many historians have praised the historical studies that
Mr. Frayn undertook before writing the play. Still, in
contrast to the complex Heisenberg of the play, the
physicist in reality may have been easier to understand,
Dr. Bernstein said.

Mr. Frayn "wants to see both sides of the story," Dr.
Bernstein said, "and there's some stories where there's
only one side. This may be one of them."





posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 09:04 PM
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well thank god they didnt build it in time and we were the only country to have the atomic bomb for 4 years



posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
well thank god they didnt build it in time and we were the only country to have the atomic bomb for 4 years


Yeah it should have been longer than that thanks to the Rosenbergs



posted on Jul, 4 2004 @ 10:20 PM
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Well at least those trecherous spys were executed for treason. If the Nazis got those then we would have been screwed. They also would have began loading the V2s with them.



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 12:39 AM
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Originally posted by cyberdude78
Well at least those trecherous spys were executed for treason. If the Nazis got those then we would have been screwed. They also would have began loading the V2s with them.


Exactly, I don't think that they cast there web far enough. There was another member of the team a physicist that was really young like 18 or so, the name escapes me that they supposedly missed.

Actually they did have a jet powered bomber on the boards that would have been able to make it to New York from English Territory but it never got off the drawing board. The Trinity bomb, Fat Man, and Little boy may have been too big and weight too much for a V-2 though Ill take a look at the specs. A w-80 warhead would fitfine but those old ones were large bomb.



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 01:09 AM
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Originally posted by FredT

Originally posted by cyberdude78
Well at least those trecherous spys were executed for treason. If the Nazis got those then we would have been screwed. They also would have began loading the V2s with them.


Exactly, I don't think that they cast there web far enough. There was another member of the team a physicist that was really young like 18 or so, the name escapes me that they supposedly missed.

Actually they did have a jet powered bomber on the boards that would have been able to make it to New York from English Territory but it never got off the drawing board. The Trinity bomb, Fat Man, and Little boy may have been too big and weight too much for a V-2 though Ill take a look at the specs. A w-80 warhead would fitfine but those old ones were large bomb.


From memory the V-2 could deliver a payload of around 2,000 lbs. The first nuclear weapons were in the 15,000 pound range. Even the small W-78 warhead (in the Minuteman III Mk12 RV) weighs over 1000 lbs...



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 01:24 AM
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Originally posted by Starwars50

From memory the V-2 could deliver a payload of around 2,000 lbs. The first nuclear weapons were in the 15,000 pound range. Even the small W-78 warhead (in the Minuteman III Mk12 RV) weighs over 1000 lbs...


Yeah a bomber would have been the way to go. Junkers EF 130 which was a Jet powered wing design was to have a range of 4700 miles, with an 8000 lb bomb load could have done it if it had been developed or the Arado E 555-11 13,000 lbs with a range of almost 5000


E_T

posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 04:35 AM
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Originally posted by Starwars50
The first nuclear weapons were in the 15,000 pound range. Even the small W-78 warhead (in the Minuteman III Mk12 RV) weighs over 1000 lbs...

They were in 10000lb range.
nuclearweaponarchive.org...

And under 1000 lb.
nuclearweaponarchive.org...



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by E_T
They were in 10000lb range.
And under 1000 lb.


At least initally that would have to have pointed bombers as the delivery method of choice. I can't imagine them trusting the wonder weapon to a missile at least initally esp if they had the range to get to the CONUS with a plane.



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 12:34 PM
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[1]In June of 1942 Heisenberg metioned the military applications of nuclear energy to military and industrial leaders of the Reich, Speer questioned Heisenberg after the meeting where Heisenberg indicated that the scientific solutions had been found "but the technical prerequisites for prodution would take years to develop" Speers take on the possibilities were, "I had been given the impression that the atom bomb could no longer have any bearing on the course of the war" Following that according to Speer "on the suggestion of the nuclear physicists we scuttled the project to develop an atom bomb.....after I had again queried them about the deadlines and been told that we could not count on anything for three or four years."

In 1942 Hitler thinking that the war could be won soon had as a general policy limited war production to weapons that were in current production or nearly in production. Surprisingly it was not until the second half of 1943 that the German economy was put into full war production upon realization that the Russian campaign was turning into a war of attrition - of course by then things had progressed to far in favor of the allies.

[1] Quotes from Richard Rhodes book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 11:21 PM
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Originally posted by Phoenix
In 1942 Hitler thinking that the war could be won soon had as a general policy limited war production to weapons that were in current production or nearly in production. Surprisingly it was not until the second half of 1943 that the German economy was put into full war production upon realization that the Russian campaign was turning into a war of attrition - of course by then things had progressed to far in favor of the allies.


I have actually read the book as well as Heisenbergs War by Thomas Powers. No doubt Hitlers management of the war helped the allies. The Germans had all of the advantages. An early start, a whole lot of heavy water, and the a driven scientist with the brains to do it.




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