(Via The Right Coast.)
Some Chicago Boyz know each other from student days at the University of Chicago. Others are Chicago boys in spirit. The blog name is also intended as a good-humored gesture of admiration for distinguished Chicago School economists and fellow travelers.
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10 thoughts on ““Last hero of Telemark: The man who helped stop Hitler’s A-bomb””
Thank you for putting up this post! It hardly got a mention in the Norwegian media :-(
There was a NOVA program on this – though specifically the sunken Ferry boat Hydro that carried heavy water
If it took this huge Manhattan Project in Los Alamos to bring this how close do you think the Nazis were?
I honestly don’t know
They were not even close,but we had no way of knowing that. Heisenberg made a conceptual error in calculating the critical mass and didn’t think a weapon was practical. The graphite used as a moderator in their experiment was apparently contaminated poisoning criticality. These people were not exactly good at managing.
I agree with Renminbi, they were not even close. They had not gotten much U235,had no industrial scale separation processes working which would have been needed to get the amount of U235 needed to get a workable bomb and had no reactor capable of producing PU239. Just look at the scale of the Manhatten project – the huge separation plant in Oak Ridge and the two reactors in hanford and Oak Ridge and by 1945, we had enough material to make two plutonium and one uranium bombs.
All good interesting information.
It’s now alleged that the Nazis may have been able to develop something like a radioactive dirty bomb
There may have been two tracks of development, one group with Heisenberg and his circle of miscalculating physicists and the other group in the army led by
By then the war was surely lost regardless. It may have simply been a case of our scientists being more capable combining the theoretical and the practical especially with Enrico Fermi. Had Germany dedicated an all out effort to the A bomb like it did the rocket program, the momentum may have changed things.
Germany did not have the engineering/technical manpower to do a credible job on an atomic bomb. All available technical talent was employed on either the rocket program or war production, or in the Army.
That is the feeling I got – when you look at the size and scope of the Manhattan project, the Nazis came up short.
Keep in mind that a lot of the best minds of Europe who would have been working on such a thing had fled the Nazis, and the Fascists in Italy, to the USA.
That brain drain had a lot to do with why the USA succeeded and Germany probably wasn’t even close.
What Smock Puppet said.
“That is the feeling I got – when you look at the size and scope of the Manhattan project, the Nazis came up short.
Amen bro. Would Hitler have really nuked London and were the Germans capable of doing it? Thank God that we didn’t have to find out.
One thing that made their calculations easy to accept, was the fact that they had suffered some setbacks in 1942 due to mishaps with hydrogen. Not only was their math pointing to the impossibility, but it was looking to be too dangerous also. Who knows, if they hadn’t been so sloppy with their material handling it may have bought Diebner an extra few months in the development process.
While the Germans weren’t apparently technically capable of producing an A bomb, it didn’t really fit into their core strength which was the integrated lightning strike. On the other hand, tactical battlefield atomic weapons may have been more their style. A few months here, a few months there and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the Nazis could have had something by the time of the Battle of the Bulge or in Belarus. The Soviets plowed through Eastern Europe absorbing tens of thousands of fatalities, but things would have slowed if that was more like hundreds of thousands.
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