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Critical Mass
The Real Story of the Birth of the Atomic Bomb and the Nuclear Age
by Carter P. Hydrick

Copyright (c) 1998 by Carter P. Hydrick


Contents

Introduction

Prologue

Part One - The Uranium Bomb

1       U-234/U235                                          17
2       The Two Billion Dollar Bet                      31
3       Uranium                                                51
4       The Hidden Bomb                                  71
5       Oak Ridge                                            96

Part Two - The Plutonium Bomb

6       Timing                                                109
7       Hanford                                              122
8       Simple Math                                       136

Part Three - Martin Bormann

9       Maiden Voyage                                   153
10      A Pig Digging For A Potato                 167
11      Operation Fireland                              199
12      The Pig Finds A Potato                       216
13      Escape and Surrender                        263
14      Occam's Razor                                  301

Epilogue                                                     336


- Introduction -

        This micro-history is suggested as the result of newly discovered, very significant events that occurred during the closing weeks of World War Two. As the story of Critical Mass unfolds, it questions the foundations of the traditional history of the making and use of the first atomic bombs as well as our understanding of the Nuclear Age.  The facts reveal not only important new information about the race to produce the bomb; but the new information helps us understand how the sum of the history of man was combined in one brief moment to create a critical mass in humanity that shattered the old world forever and ushered in the Nuclear Age.

        The previously secret (now declassified) unpublished military, state, intelligence and Department of Energy documentation cited throughout Critical Mass suggests that the atomic bomb was not fully developed and built by American scientists and technicians, as the traditional and long-standing history asserts.  Instead, the evidence shows that enriched uranium and other atomic bomb components developed by Nazi Germany were surrendered to United States forces during the final weeks of the war - probably according to prearranged surreptitious agreements - and were a vital part of the materials used to create the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The evidence indicates that without these materials the United States would have fallen short of achieving its nuclear weapons objectives.

        Interwoven into this story - in fact, integral to it - is provocative evidence that connects Hitler's behind-the-scenes right-hand man, Nazi Party Chief Martin Bormann, to Germany's very nearly successful effort to create an atomic bomb; and to Germany's last-ditch efforts to transfer that technology to Japan. Evidence also suggests that Bormann, at the latest possible moment, turned against his Asian ally and decided to hand the keys of world dominion - in the form of the atomic bomb - to any Allied country that would treat with him. Thus Bormann covertly negotiated a separate, and very secret, personal peace with the United States that allowed him to disappear from the front page of history and slide silently between the shadows of a murky past and a phantasmal future.

        The events that initiated this story have each lead to astounding new revelations that had the net effect of continually, and, seemingly unendingly, expanding the scope of this book.  As a private citizen who researched and wrote the book around the demands of a full- time job and who, with the aid of generous friends and family, financed the research and writing, generating unlimited resources to constantly expand the book's scope was impossible.  Despite desires to throw light in every corner, proving the premises presented in Critical Mass has, of necessity, been circumscribed to proving the following basic assertions:

1. That the Manhattan Project was not successful producing all of the
needed enriched uranium - isotope U235 - in time to fulfill its atomic
bomb requirements, nor was it successful creating a triggering device
for the plutonium bomb without the help of captured German components.

2. While not proving conclusively that uranium was enriched in Germany,
it would be demonstrated that there was potential in Germany, despite
the traditional history that states otherwise, for the Nazi program to
successfully enrich U235.   Enrichment would have been in quantities
that could have supplied the bomb-grade uranium needed by the United
States to complete its atomic bomb project. Also, that Germany
successfully developed a triggering mechanism usable for the plutonium
bomb.

3. That U235 for the uranium bomb, and infrared fuses for the plutonium
bomb, were obtained by the U.S. from Germany and were transferred into
the possession of the Manhattan Project and ultimately used in the bombs
dropped on Japan.

        As a matter of sufficiently authenticating the above assertions,
I have tried to obtain a minimum of two corroborating pieces of evidence
to validate the theories presented.  In almost every case, as will be
seen, this has been accomplished.  In many, three or more proofs are
given.  In a few instances only one piece of evidence is extant; but
taken on the whole, the accumulated evidence is considerable if not
incontrovertible.

        The question may be asked that, with the hundreds if not
thousands of books, articles and histories that have been written about
the making of the first atomic bombs, how can any new and unpublished
information be added to the chronicle.  Remarkably, the answer, in part,
is that very few of the writers of those histories ever saw any of the
original records of the most seminal events that constituted the makings
of the bombs.  As far as I can tell, I was the first to review the
actual uranium enrichment production records, the shipping and receiving
records of materials sent from Oak Ridge to Los Alamos, the
metallurgical fabrication records of the making of the bombs themselves,
and the records and testimony regarding failure to develop a viable
triggering device for the plutonium bomb. Of the 38 boxes of Oak Ridge
records held in the Southeast Regional Archives in Atlanta, Georgia I
had pulled for review, only four had been opened since their
declassification in 1967 and 1978.  I was the first to open and cull
through many of these boxes, and within these containers I found many
critical documents.  And there are boxes that remain, their
declassification seals yet unbroken.

Apparently, the authors described above have relied on personal accounts
and the administrative, strategic and general records harbored in the
National Archives in Washington for their research.  The critical daily
production records of Oak Ridge and elsewhere have been all but ignored,
though they reveal important information not previously considered in
other histories, and although they tell a different story than that
presently believed.  Even if those authors had read, assimilated and
interpreted the available records, the discrepancies may have been
considered anomalous and possibly would have been ignored when compared
against the overpowering reputation of the traditional history.  Most of
that history can be traced in theme and content to Manhattan Project
Commanding General Leslie Groves' book on the subject, Now It Can Be Told.

        Now It Can Be Told presents the story of the making of the
atomic bomb that the United States government needed the world to hear
at the time.  There was, undoubtedly, justification for this guarded
approach considering the exigencies of the era.  The chronicle of
history should be corrected when opportunity allows, however - though it
all too often is not - for the understanding and benefit of generations
to come. And, frankly, for the recognition of all those who played a
part, as well as the enlightenment of those who simply desire to know
the truth.  Democracies especially depend on an informed citizenry to
safeguard the proper use of power and appropriate oversight of important
military and political policy.  Certainly not all information and
actions of a government at war or in conflict with another sovereignty
can be reviewed on an open basis contemporaneously with the critical
events.  But as timely issues are resolved or neutralized by new events,
it is incumbent upon that democratic society to carefully review and
analyze the events and equitably judge the system and the people
involved.  Through this course we ensure the nation's best interests
were preserved, and make whatever adjustments are necessary to provide a
guide for future like endeavors.

        Other official and semi-official accounts of the Manhattan
Project and the programs that competed against it have been written, the
best among them being Richard Rhodes' exceptional Pulitzer Prize winning
book, The Making Of The Atomic Bomb. Critical Mass attempts in no way to
re-document the otherwise reliable historical elements of a very complex
and detailed subject, other than to provide a basic understanding useful
to the reader's analysis of the scenario forwarded within these pages.
Critical Mass simply suggests that the data recently found describe some
very different events than are recounted in the presently accepted
history.

        As noted, many other authors' accounts are cited herein, but all
of them, ultimately, either directly or indirectly, by default or
design, have been molded by the man who presided over the project
itself, General Groves. During the very process of the making of the
atomic bombs, through compartmentalization and by mixing a high
percentage of genuine data with innuendo - as well as judicious use of
the occasional untruth - Groves was able to create a resilient and
coherent self-perpetuating myth of the birth of the atomic age.

        Much of the information used to tell the story in Critical Mass
does come from the writings of Groves and other authors.  David Irving,
Britain's controversial but documentation-dependant World War II
historian has recorded much of the German effort to create a bomb in his
book, The German Atomic Bomb.  His account alone, though he seems not to
realize it, goes a long way toward impeaching the accepted history that,
because Germany failed to create plutonium, it therefore failed to build
an atomic bomb.

There are two ways to build an atomic bomb, one of plutonium, the other
of uranium.  Irving brings to light ample information that, when
considered with other evidence newly discovered and revealed in Critical
Mass, suggests the Germans produced the material for and all but
assembled a uranium bomb.

        In the traditional history of the bomb, Groves has positioned
the German plutonium effort as the only nuclear initiative Germany ever
pursued.  And he has magnified this misinformation, couched in a cushion
of half-truths, to immense proportions - large enough to hide what
appears to be a huge German uranium enrichment project behind it - and
thus he has shielded the Nazi near-success from the view of the world.
His motivations for doing so will be discussed in detail later.

        One of many other authors quoted in Critical Mass is former
World War Two intelligence officer Ladislas Farago, who documented
Martin Bormann's escape from Nazi Germany at the end of the war and his
ensuing life in semi-secret exile in South America in his book,
Aftermath. Farago was accused and supposedly proven, with the help of
the CIA, of having forged the documentation he used to verify his claims
about Bormann. Critical Mass reviews the subject of the CIA and its
predecessor the OSS, and their involvement in the negotiations with
Bormann and eventual surrender of German-made nuclear bomb materials
during the course of the war, later within the body text of this book.
Suffice it to say here that involvement by the CIA in a fair perusal of
Farago's findings must be suspect.

        Critical Mass quotes other authors, as well, who have
independently discovered similar but different documentation to that Mr.
Farago cites, and whose findings exonerate and rehabilitate Ladislas
Farago's work.  Among these authors are Paul Manning, former journalist
for the New York Times and author of Martin Bormann - Nazi In Exile.
Manning's credentials as a journalist particularly are impeccable, and
his reputation is unassailable.  Although he did not accept an offer
immediately after the war to serve as the civilian deputy of the United
States' occupation zone of Germany, the offer itself attests to the high
regard in which he is held, as well as to the potential military
intelligence and other resources he had available when researching his
book.

Another author from whose writings I have drawn is William Stevenson,
author of the book A Man Called Intrepid, the approved biography of
another gentleman and friend of Stevenson's, a man by the same name, Sir
William Stephenson (unrelated, note spellings).  Sir William is the man
who oversaw the combined intelligence efforts of the United States and
England during World War II, and who, incidentally, plays a minor role
in our story within the covers of Critical Mass.  Author Stevenson's
book is titled The Bormann Brotherhood.
 
        Many other authors are quoted, as well, to highlight and
validate the conclusions presented in Critical Mass.  But the definitive
body of evidence is the actual documents cited in this book that
dispassionately record the numbers and weights and dates and times and
places and people that constitute the real events that occurred.

        The silent archives, in some cases long untouched, contain the
remaining few pieces of the picture that had been painted over with
duplicitous details and fraudulent facts.  Exposing those lost data to
the light of day is much like the art curator who takes a blacklight to
a painting to ascertain its origin.  Under scrutiny of light tuned only
to see the original, the primary picture is exposed underneath as well
as any revisions that may later have been made.  So it is with the
certifieds cited in Critical Mass.  The light of day, "always a great
disinfectant" as the saying goes, reveals through newly-disclosed
documentation the true story of the Manhattan Project during the birth
of its atomic offspring - with all its flaws, foibles and unholy
alliances as well as its ultimate, although somehow twisted, success.

        And even with those flaws and foibles it is, at once, a story of
genius and perseverance as well as a lesson in man's own struggle to
grow morally and spiritually at the same pace that he has grown
intellectually and technologically.  For, as social beings who must
share this earth, we are all interdependent upon one another.  When one
such as Hitler rises to power, the only defense against the bully who
insists on blood, when all reason has failed, is to be more the
aggressor, or submit and perish.  Such course devolves to a level of
behavior differentiated from the instigator's only by the moral
imperative of one's right to survive.

        The sad fact is we can rise as a race only to the level of our
least enlightened.  Until that time, the weight of our human frailties
and flaws will at irregular intervals compress to critical mass and
ignite a new explosion of pain and suffering until we learn once and for
all that our cumulative morality must meet or exceed our united
intellects.



Part One
 

The Uranium Bomb

Chapter One

U-234/U235
 

"The most important and secret item of cargo, the uranium oxide, which I
believe was radioactive, was loaded into one of the vertical steel tubes
[of German U-boat U-234]....  Two Japanese officers... [were]...
painting a description in black characters on the brown paper
wrapping....  Once the inscription U235 (the scientific designation for
enriched uranium, the type required to make a bomb =E6 author's note) had
been painted on the wrapping of a package, it would then be carried
over...and stowed in one of the six vertical mine shafts."i

                        Wolfgang Hirschfeld
                        Chief Radio Operator of U-234
 

"Lieut Comdr Karl B Reese USNR, Lieut (JG) Edward P
McDermott USNR and Major John E Vance CE USA
will report to commandant May 30th Wednesday in
connection with cargo U-234."ii
                                                US Navy secret transmission
                                                #292045 from Commander
                                                Naval Operations to
Portsmouth
Naval Yard, 30 May 1945

"I just got a shipment in of captured material....  I have just
talked to Vance and they are taking it off the ship....  I have
about 80 cases of U powder in cases.  He (Vance) is
handling all of that now."iii

Telephone transcript between
Manhattan Project security officers
Major Smith and Major Traynor,
14 June,1945.

         The traditional history of the atomic bomb accepts as an
unimportant footnote the arrival of U-234 on United States shores, and
admits the U-boat carried uranium oxide along with its load of powerful
passengers and war-making materials.  The accepted history also
acknowledges these passengers were whisked away to Washington for
interrogation and the cargo was quickly commandeered for use elsewhere.
The traditional history even concedes that two Japanese officers were
onboard U-234 and that they committed a form of unconventional Samurai
suicide rather than be captured by their enemies.

        The traditional history denies, however, that the uranium on
board U-234 was enriched and therefore easily usable in an atomic bomb.
The accepted history asserts there is no evidence that the uranium
stocks of U-234 were transferred into the Manhattan Project, although
recent suggestions have hinted that this may have occurred. And the
traditional history asserts that the bomb components on board U-234
arrived too late to be included in the atomic bombs that were dropped on
Japan.

The documentation indicates quite differently on all accounts.

        Before U-234 had landed at Portsmouth - before it even left
Europe - United States and British intelligence knew U-234 was on a
mission to Japan and that it carried important passengers and cargo.iv
A portion of the cargo, especially, was of a singular nature.  According
to U-234's chief radio operator, Wolfgang Hirschfeld, who witnessed the
loading of the U-boat:

        The most important and secret item of cargo, the uranium oxide,
which I believe was highly radioactive, was loaded into one of the
vertical steel tubes one morning in February, 1945.  Two Japanese
officers were to travel aboard U-234 on the voyage to Tokyo: Air Force
Colonel Genzo Shosi, an aeronautical engineer, and Navy Captain Hideo
Tomonaga, a submarine architect who, it will be recalled, had arrived in
France aboard U-180 about eighteen months previously with a fortune in
gold for the Japanese Embassy in Berlin.  I saw these two officers
seated on a crate on the forecasting engaged in painting a description
in black characters on the brown paper wrapping gummed around each of a
number of containers of uniform size.  At the time I didn't see how many
containers there were, but the Loading Manifest showed ten.  Each case
was a cube, possibly steel and lead, nine inches along each side and
enormously heavy.

Once the inscription U235 had been painted on
the wrapping of a package, it would then be carried over
to the knot of crewmen under the supervision of Sub-Lt
Pfaff and the boatswain, Peter Scholch, and stowed in
one of the six vertical mineshafts.v

Hirschfeld's straightforward account of the uranium being "highly
radioactive" - he later witnessed the storage tubes being tested with
Geiger countersvi - and labeled "U235" provides profoundly important
information about this cargo.  U235 is the scientific designation of
enriched uranium - the type of uranium required to fuel an atomic bomb.
While the uranium remained a secret from all but the highest levels
within the United States until after the surrender of U-234, a captured
German ULTRA encoder/decoder had allowed the Western Allies to intercept
and decode German and Japanese radio transmissions. Some of these
captured signals had already identified the U-boat as being on a special
mission to Japan and even identified General Kessler and much of his
cortege as likely to be onboard, but the curious uranium was never
mentioned.  The strictest secrecy was maintained, nonetheless, around
the U-boat.

As early as 13 May, the day before U-234 was actually boarded by the
Sutton's prize crew, orders had already been dispatched that commanded
special handling of the passengers and crew of U-234 when it was
surrendered:

Press representatives may be permitted to interview officers
and men of German submarines that surrender.  This message
applies only to submarines that surrender.  It does not apply to
other prisoners of war.  It does not apply to prisoners of the
U-234.  Prisoners of the U-234 must not be interviewed by
press representatives.vii

        Two days later, while the Sutton was slowly steaming toward
Portsmouth with U-234 at her side, more orders were received. "Documents
and personnel of U-234 are most important and any and all doubtful
personnel should be sent here,"viii the commander of naval operations in
Washington, D.C. ordered.  The same day, the commander in chief of the
Navy instructed, "Maintain prisoners U-234 incommunicado and send them
under Navy department representative to Washington for interrogation."ix
The effort to keep U-234 under wraps was only partially successful.
Reporters had been allowed to interview prisoners from previous U-boats,
and, in fact, were allowed to interview captured crews from succeeding
U-boats, as well.  When the press discovered U-234 was going to be off
limits, a cry and hue went up that took two days to settle. Following
extended negotiations, a compromise was struck between the Navy brass
and the press core.x  The reporters were allowed to take photographs of
the people disembarking the boat when it landed, but no talking to the
prisoners was permitted.xi  When they landed at the pier, the prisoners
walked silently through the gawking crowd and climbed into buses, to be
driven out of the spotlight and far from the glaring eyes of history.
On 23 May, the cargo manifest of U-234 was translatedxii by the office
of Naval Intelligence, quickly triggering a series of events.  On the
second page of the manifest, halfway down the page, was the entry "10
cases, 560 kilograms, uranium oxide."  Whoever first read the entry and
understood the frightening capabilities and potential purpose of uranium
must have been stunned by the entry.  Certainly questions were asked.
Was this the first shipment of uranium to Japan or had others already
slipped by? Did the Japanese have the capacity to use it?  Could they
build a bomb?

Whatever the answers, within four days personnel from the Office of
Naval Intelligence had brought U-234's second watch officer, Karl Pfaff
- who had not been brought to Washington with the original batch of
high-level prisoners, but who had overseen loading of the U-boat in
Germany - to Washington and interrogated him.  They quickly radioed
Portsmouth:
Pfaff prepared manifest list and knows kind documents and
cargo in each tube.  Pfaff states...uranium oxide loaded in
gold cylinders and as long as cylinders not opened can be
handled like crude TNT.  These containers should not be
opened as substance will become sensitive and dangerous.xiii

        The identification that the uranium was stowed in gold-lined
cylinders and that it would become "sensitive and dangerous" when
unpacked provides clear substantiation of radio officer Hirschfeld's
assertion that the uranium was labeled with the title U235. Uranium that
has had its proportion of the isotope U235 increased compared to the
more common isotope of uranium, U238, is known as enriched uranium.
When that enrichment becomes 70 percent or above, it is bomb-grade
uranium.  The process of enriching uranium during the war was highly
technical and very expensive - it still is.
 
Upon first reading that the uranium on board U-234 was stored in gold-
lined cylinders, this author tracked down Clarence Larsen, former
director of the leading uranium enrichment process at Oak Ridge,
Tennessee, where the Manhattan Project's uranium enrichment facilities
were housed.  In a telephone conversation, I asked Mr. Larsen what, if
anything, would be the purpose of shipping uranium in gold-lined
containers.xiv  Mr. Larsen remembered that the Oak Ridge program used
gold trays when working with enriched uranium.  He explained that,
because uranium enrichment was a very costly process, enriched uranium
needed to be protected jealously, but because it is very corrosive, it
is easily invaded by any but the most stable materials, and would then
become contaminated.  To prevent the loss to contamination of the
invaluable enriched uranium, gold was used.  Gold is one of the most
stable substances on earth.  While expensive, Mr. Larsen explained, the
cost of gold was a drop in the bucket compared to the value of enriched
uranium. Would raw uranium, rather than enriched uranium, be stored in
gold containers, I asked?  Not likely, Mr. Larsen responded.  The value
of raw uranium is, and was at the time, inconsequential compared to the
cost of gold.

Assuming the Germans invested roughly the same amount of money as the
Manhattan Project to enrich their uranium, which it appears they did,xv
the cost of the U235 on board the submarine was somewhere in the
neighborhood of $100,000 an ounce; by far the most expensive substance
on earth.  The fact that the enriched uranium had the capacity to
deliver world dominance to the first country that processed and used it
made it priceless.  A long voyage with the U235 stowed in anything but
gold could have cost the German/Japanese atomic bomb program dearly.
In addition to the gold-lined shipping containers corroborating
Hirschfeld's identification of the uranium as U235, the description of
the uranium's characteristics when its container was opened also tends
to support the conclusion the uranium was enriched.  Uranium of all
kinds is not only corrosive, but it is toxic if swallowed. In its raw
state, however, which is 99.3 percent U238, the substance poses little
threat to man as long as he does not eat it.  The stock of raw uranium
that eventually was processed by the Manhattan Project originally had
been stored in steel drums and was sitting in the open at a Staten
Island storage facility.xvi  Much of the German raw uranium discovered
in salt mines at the end of the war also was stored in steel drums, many
of them broken open.  The material was loaded into heavy paper sacks and
carried from the storage area by apparently unprotected G.I.s.xvii
Since then, more precautions have been taken in handling raw uranium,
but at the time, caution was minimal and raw uranium was considered to
be relatively safe.xviii  For the Navy to note the uranium would become
"sensitive and dangerous" and should be "handled like crude TNT" when it
was unpacked tends to indicate that the uranium enclosed was, in fact,
enriched uranium. Uranium enriched significantly in U235 is radioactive
and therefore should be handled with appropriate caution, as the
communiqué described.

By 16 June 1945, a second cargo manifest had been prepared for U-234,
this time by the United States Navy.  But the uranium was not on the
list.  It was not even marked as shipped out or having once been on
hand.  It was never mentioned.  It was gone - as if it never existed.

        Where did the uranium go? Eleven days after U-234 was escorted
into Portsmouth, and four days after Pfaff identified its location on
the U-boat, a team was selected to oversee the offloading of U-234.
Portsmouth received the following message:
Lieut. Comdr. Karl B Reese USNR, Lieut (JG) Edward P
McDermott USNR and Major John E Vance CE USA
[Corps of of Engineers, United States Army (the Manhattan
Project's parent organization)  - author's note] will report
to commandant May 30th Wednesday in connection with
cargo U-234.

It is contemplated that shipment will be made by ship to
ordnance investigation laboratory NAVPOWFAC Indian
Head Maryland if this is feasible.xix

The order, dispatched by the chief of naval operations, is revealing if
not outright startling for the selection of one member of its three-man
team. Including Major Vance of the Army Corps of Engineers in what was
otherwise an all Navy operation seems a telling selection.  The military
services of the United States, as in most other countries, were highly
competitive with one another.  True, U-234's cargo included a mixed bag
of aeronautics, rocketry and armor-piercing technology that the Army
could use, too, but the Navy had programs for all of these materials and
surely would have done its own analysis first and then possibly shared
the information with its service brothers.

Someone, somewhere at a very high level, appears to have seen that the
Army was brought into the scavenging operation that had become U-234;
not just any Army group, but the group that oversees the Manhattan
Project - the Corps of Engineers.

Major John E. Vance was not only from the Corps of Engineers, the Army
department under which the Manhattan Project operated, but, if a
telephone transcript taken from Manhattan Project archives refers to the
same "Vance" as the Major assigned to offload U-234 - as it appears to -
then he was part of America's super-secret atomic bomb project, as well.
The transcript is of a conversation between Manhattan Project
intelligence officers Smith and Traynor and was recorded two weeks after
"Major Vance" was assigned to the team responsible for unloading the
material captured on U-234.

Smith: I just got a shipment in of captured material and
there were 39 drums and 70 wooden barrels and all of that
is liquid.  What I need is a test to see what the concentration
is and a set of recommendations as to disposal. I have just
talked to Vance and they are taking it off the ship and
putting it in the 73rd Street Warehouse.  In addition to that I
have about 80 cases of U powder in cases.  He (Vance) is
handling all of that now.  Can you do the testing and how
quickly can it be done?  All we know is that it ranges from
10 to 85 percent and we want to know which and what.

Traynor: Can you give me what was in those cases?

Smith:  U powder.  Vance will take care of the testing of that.

Traynor:  The other stuff is something else?

Smith:  The other is water.xx

U-234's cargo manifest reveals that, besides its uranium, among its
cargo was 10 "bales" of drums and 50 "bales" of barrels.  The barrels
are noted in the manifest to have contained benzyl cellulose, a very
stable substancexxi that may have been used as a biological shield from
radiation or as a coolant or moderator in a liquid reactor.xxii  The
manifest lists the drums as containing "confidential material."  As
surprising as it may seem, this secret substance may have been the
"water" that Major Smith noted in his discussion with Major Traynor.
Why would Major Smith want the water tested?  And what did he mean when
he said that its concentration ranged "from 10 to 85 percent and we want
to know which and what"?

The leaders of the German project to breed plutonium had decided to use
heavy water, or deuterium oxide, as the moderator for a plutonium-
breeding liquid reactor.  The procedure of creating heavy water results
in regular water molecules picking up an additional hydrogen atom.  The
percentage of water molecules with the extra hydrogen represents the
level of concentration of the heavy water.  Thus Major Smith's seemingly
overzealous concern about water and his question about concentration is
predictable if Smith suspected the material was intended for a nuclear
reactor. And using heavy water as a major element of their plutonium
breeding reactor project, it is easy to see why the Germans labeled the
drums "confidential material."  The evidence indicates that U-234 - if
the captured cargo being tested by "Vance" was from U-234, which seems
very probable given all considerations - carried components for making
not only a uranium bomb, but a plutonium bomb, also.

Further corroborating the connection of the barrels and drums as those
that were taken from U-234 is a handwritten note found in the Southeast
national archives held at East Point, Georgia.xxiii  Dated 16 June,
1945, two days after Smith's and Traynor's telephone conversation, the
note described how 109 barrels and drums - the exact total given in the
Smith/Traynor transcript - were to be tested with geiger counters to
determine if they were radioactive.  The note also included instructions
that an "intelligence agent cross out any markings on drums and bbls.
[sic. - abbreviation for barrels - authors note] and number them
serially from 1 to 109 and make note of what was crossed out."  The note
goes on to say that this recommendation was given to and approved by Lt.
Colonel Parsons, General Groves' right-hand man on the military side of
the Manhattan Project.  And lastly, the writer of the note had called
Major Smith, apparently to report back to him, leading one to believe
the note's author may have been Major Traynor.

Was the captured cargo discussed by Smith and Traynor from U-234?  The
presence of a Mr. "Vance" who was in charge of "U powder," almost
certainly determines that such was the case.  The documents under
consideration and the conversation they detail are from Manhattan
Project files and are about men who worked for the Manhattan Project.
Using the letter "U" as an abbreviation for uranium was widespread
throughout the Manhattan Project.  That there could have been another
"Vance" who was working with uranium powder - especially "captured"
uranium powder - seems unlikely even for coincidence.  And the fact that
the contents of the barrels listed on the U-boat manifest were
identified as containing a substance likely to be used in a nuclear
reactor, benzyl cellulose, and that the barrels in the Smith/Traynor
transcript and the untitled note - as well as the drums - were tested
for radioactivity by geiger counter, certainly links the "captured"
materials to no other source than U-234.

The new-found evidence taken en mass demonstrates that, despite the
traditional history, the uranium captured from U-234 was enriched
uranium that was commandeered into the Manhattan Project more than a
month before the final uranium slugs were assembled for the uranium
bomb.  The Oak Ridge records of its chief uranium enrichment effort -
the magnetic isotope separators known as calutrons - show that a week
after Smith's and Traynor's 14 June conversation, the enriched uranium
output at Oak Ridge nearly doubled - after six months of steady output.xxiv  Edward Hammel, a metallurgist who worked with Eric Jette at the Chicago Met Lab, where
the enriched uranium was fabricated into the bomb slugs, corroborated
this report of late-arriving enriched uranium.  Mr. Hammel told the
author that very little enriched uranium was received at the laboratory
until just two or three weeks -certainly less than a month - before the
bomb was dropped.xxv

The Manhattan Project had been in desperate need of enriched uranium to
fuel its lingering uranium bomb program.  Now it is almost conclusively
proven that U-234 provided the enriched uranium needed, as well as
components for a plutonium breeder reactor.

References:

Wolfgang Hirschfeld and Geoffrey Brooks, Hirschfeld:The Story of A U-boat NCO 1940-1946, pp. 198,199

  US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, US Navy secret dispatch #292045, 30 May 1945

  US Archives Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia, telephone transcript titled Telephone Conversation
Between Major Smith, WLO and Major Traynor, 14 June, 1945

  US Archives NARA II, extract of intercepted transmission sent from Chief Inspector in Germany to
Bureau of Military Operations and Military Affairs, #165, 15 April, 1945, declassified # NND975001,
NARA date 9/15/97

  Wolfgang Hirschfeld and Geoffrey Brooks, Hirschfeld:The Story of A U-boat NCO 1940-1946, pp.
198,199

  Wolfgang Hirschfeld and Geoffrey Brooks, Hirschfeld:The Story of A U-boat NCO 1940-1946, Appendix

  US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, confidential dispatch #131509, 13 May 1945

  US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, secret dispatch #151716, 15 May, 1945

  US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, secret dispatch #151942, 15 May, 1945, declassified
#NND745085

  US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, Log of Public Relations – Restricted, by Commander N.R.
Collier, 17 May, 1945; transcript, Telephone Conversation Between Capt. V.D. Herbster, USN (Ret.), and Commodore Kurtz, U.S.N. E.S.F., 18 May, 1945; second telephone conversation transcript Captain
Herbster and Commodore Kurtz, 18 May, 1945

  US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, Log of Public Relations – Restricted, by Commander N.R.
Collier, 17 May, 1945; transcript, Telephone Conversation Between Capt. V.D. Herbster, USN (Ret.), and Commodore Kurtz, U.S.N. E.S.F., 18 May, 1945; second telephone conversation transcript Captain
Herbster and Commodore Kurtz, 18 May, 1945

  US Archives NARA II, Manifest of Cargo For Tokio On Board U-234, translated from German, 23 May, 1945, declassified #NND903015, NARA Date 12/11/93

  US Archives NARA II, secret dispatch #262151, 27 May, 1945

  Personal telephone conversation between the author and Clarence Larsen, Director of Y-12 calutrons
operations at Oak Ridge, no date recorded

Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben, p 116;
Paul Manning, Nazi In Exile, p.153; compare to Chapter Four, page 82

  Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 427
  Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb,p p. 608, 609
  Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 461
  US Archives NARA II, Manifest of cargo for Tokio (sic) on Board U-234
– forwarding of US Archives NARA II, U-boat U-234 file, US Navy secret dispatch #292045, 30 May 1945

  US Archives Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia, telephone transcript titled Telephone Conversation Between Major Smith, WLO and Major Traynor, 14 June, 1945

  Personal telephone conversation between the author and Dr. Susan Frost, PhD, Associate Professor
of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, 30 August 1999, also Dr. Wentworth, University of Houston

  Interscience Publishers, Concise Encyclopedia of Nuclear Energy, p. 688

  US Archives NARA Southeast Region, East Point, GA, untitled handwritten note dated 6/16/45

  Robert Serber, The Los Alamos Primer, pp. 29, 32, 44

  Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 631

  US Archives NARA Southeast Region, East Point, GA, Beta Oxide Transfer Report; see also chart on
page __

  Personal telephone conversation between the author and Edward Hammel, Manhattan Project
metallurgist, 14 May, 1996

Chapter Two

The Two Billion Dollar Bet

"A study of the shipment of (bomb-grade uranium) for the past three
months shows the following...: At the present rate we will have 10 kilos
about February 7 and 15 kilos about May 1."xxvi

                                From a memo written by chief Los Alamos metallurgist
                                   Eric Jette, December 28, 1944.
The uranium bomb
required 50 kilos by July 24.

        By mid-May of 1945, as U-234 was being escorted in to
Portsmouth, almost two billion dollars had been spent on the Manhattan
Project, making it the greatest wager ever to that point in time.  The
man who threw the dice, and was about to lose it all, was Brigadier
General Leslie Richard Groves.

         In the course of just three years, using taxpayers' money
unbeknownst to them, Groves had built a secret industry that outstripped
any other enterprise on earth.  He had purchased vast tracts of land in
Washington state, Tennessee, New Mexico and elsewhere, engulfing
hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of acres.  On these reservations
he built huge factories that contained the most advanced technology on
the face of the earth.  He made multi-million dollar deals with many of
the globe's top companies - companies like DuPont, Westinghouse, and
Raytheon.

        To support these contracts and newly constructed facilities, he
built whole towns, complete with roads, schools, postal services, banks,
unions and everything else necessary to maintain a community.  And he
manned these municipalities with hundreds of thousands of workers and
their families, including many of the greatest intellects alive.  No
fewer than 13 of the physicists and chemists involved in the Manhattan
Project either had already won, or later would go on to win, the Nobel
Prize.

        All of this had been assembled and focused on one task - to make
an atomic bomb. Now the effort seemed to be exploding in his face.

        The construction of an atomic bomb requires two things: enough
fissile material to achieve critical mass and explode, and a trigger to
start the explosion. Despite the immense investment, progress was
remarkably slow on both requirements. Contrary to presently accepted
history, by mid-May of 1945, neither requirement had been obtained.
According to recently uncovered information from contemporaneous
Manhattan Project documents - enriched uranium production charts and
memos on metallurgical progress and other never-before-revealed sources,
including first-hand information revealed to the author during
interviews with Manhattan Project personnel - the objectives still had
not been achieved. And Groves had a third requirement that was about to
make the other two points moot.  Time was a factor, and it was running
out.

        Germany, the chief rival in the atomic bomb race according to
intelligence reports,xxvii - notwithstanding its now-surrendered status
- planned to provide its Asian ally, Japan, with an atomic bombxxviii to
use in the Pacific. U-234 had not been the only U-boat scheduled to
voyage to Japan.xxix At least one other vessel, possibly more,
apparently also carried in its belly enriched uranium intended for
Tokyo.

        Apparently, the race for the atomic bomb was much closer than
most would have supposed - possibly even closer than Groves thought.
After all, the General had spy Paul Rosbaud, code named Griffin, keeping
him informed of German progress and possibly even of shipments to the
Island Nation.  There seems to have been no such counterpart in Japan to
serve Groves as a conduit.  If uranium had been sent to Japan, as
appears probable, Groves most likely knew through Rosbaud, but what was
happening to it in The Land of the Rising Sun he could only guess.

        Groves was not pressured by this threat only, he also had to
worry about the fact that, should the Allies' war effort survive the
German/Japanese conspiracy, in July, Truman, Churchill and Stalin were
scheduled to meet in Pottsdam to partition the remnants of Europe that
the Third Reich had left behind.  The result would go a long way toward
deciding the balance of power in the post-World War Two Era.xxx
Additionally, Stalin had already declared his intent to go to war with
Japan in mid-August.xxxi The United States and Britain could then expect
to share the Asia/Pacific region, as well as Europe, with Russia;
leaving the Communist Bear with a much greater share of the globe than
it had earned or that either democracy cared to relinquish.  A
demonstration of the power of 'the bomb' to end the war with Japan -
displaying to the rest of the world that the United States possessed
this awful weapon - would establish America as the military leader of
all nations; and would certainly impact these negotiations and the
resulting socio-political complexion of the modern age.

        But here stood Groves, as yet unsuccessful, with the sands of
time slipping through his hands.  Despite massive, sometimes reckless,
always all-out spending; despite playing all the odds, even those with
the slimmest chance of winning; despite assembling the greatest
braintrust ever brought together in the United States; and even despite
Groves' own expansive experience and unquestioned self-confidence, the
gamble appeared to be a bust.

        Almost $2 billion to produce just over 100 pounds of fissile
material for the uranium bomb and about 30 pounds for the plutonium
bomb, and a way to detonate them, had not been enough to meet the
deadline.  The cost, had the effort been successful, equaled almost
$100,000 per ounce of enriched uranium - in 1945 dollars. While the
great effort had been successful enriching uranium and reducing it to
its explosive metallic form, it appears that over one-half of the hard-
earned material never would see a uranium bomb; it was secretly being
used to fuel the huge plutonium-breeding reactors at Hanford,
Washington.  The reactors, fueled by the enriched uranium, would produce
several orders of magnitude more explosive plutonium than the enriched
uranium they consumed; promising quicker, easier, less expensive bombs,
and many more plutonium bombs than the single uranium bomb that could
have been produced with the amount of enriched uranium consumed in the
reactors.  The end result for the uranium enrichment effort was that
less than half of the enriched uranium metal required for a nuclear
device was available by mid-May, according to calculations based on data
given in a memo written by top Manhattan Project metallurgist, Eric
Jettexxxii and with which later information agrees, as do Jette's
resulting predictions.  Even doubling that rate of output, the program
would fall far short of the amount required for a bomb to have been
dropped in early August.  And yet the bomb dropped on Hiroshima is known
to have been a uranium bomb.

        Jette's calculations correspond almost precisely with and are
validated by information supplied in Richard Rhodes' book The Making Of
The Atomic Bomb, in which Rhodes sets the amount of enriched uranium
metal available for a uranium bomb by April 1945 as "a near critical
assembly."xxxiii  According to Rhodes' calculations, which are based on
information recorded at the time by James Bryant Conant, one of the
scientific advisors on the Manhattan Project and president of Harvard,
42 kilograms, or 92.4 pounds, of enriched uranium is equal to 2.8
critical masses.xxxiv  One critical mass therefore, the amount barely
available in mid-April with only three months of production time left,
is exactly 15 kilograms, or 33 pounds, the amount Jette predicted would
be available by 1 May. In theory, one critical mass was all that was
needed to make a bomb; but in reality, due to inefficiencies caused by
impurities still mixed throughout the enriched uranium, the bomb
actually required over three critical masses in order to achieve the
level of explosion desired.  Robert Serber, who wrote The Los Alamos
Primer, gives the total figure for the uranium bomb at "about 50
kilograms,"xxxv over three times critical mass.

        The point is, in mid-April, after almost a year of processing
enriched material, because of the demand to use enriched uranium to
produce the much more practical and powerful plutonium bomb, the uranium
program had barely one-third the processed uranium required to make a
uranium bomb.

        The uranium bomb option would have been inconsequential with a
valid plutonium bomb but it was later discovered that the plutonium bomb
could not be detonated efficiently enough to create a successful
explosion.  Now, with enriched uranium stocks depleted by plutonium
demand and the plutonium bomb, in turn, undetonatable, the entire
enormous enterprise appeared destined for defeat.

        Yet even now, both Groves and his superiors knew that the gamble
had been a strategic imperative.  To sit on the sidelines of
international influence, when America was just coming into its own; to
allow fascist, communist or imperialistic governments to control the
destinies of the countries of the world - especially those of free
nations - was immoral and inconceivable.  The wager was essential no
matter how small the chance of success.

        For the opportunity even to sit at the table and bet, knowing
that the stake was world dominion, Roosevelt had anted-up $2 billion,
and with foreknowledge some say, had allowed Pearl Harbor to be bombed.
Thus the United States entered the war for a chance to play the nuclear
game.  Now the deck almost had been played out and, as is so often the
case in war and politics, it appeared there would be no clear winner,
only varying degrees of losers.

        Even Groves, from the very beginning when he took over the
Manhattan Project from Colonel J.C. Marshall in September of 1942, xxxvi
despite all his later efforts, had given the improbable scheme a small
chance of success.xxxvii  Marshall had been the Manhattan, New York
district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers.  He was assigned to
the project shortly after Roosevelt received the famous letter in late
1939,xxxviii written by Albert Einstein at the behest of two renowned
Hungarian physicists, Eugene Wigner and Leo Szilard, that explained the
destructive realities of nuclear energy and that the Germans were
working feverishly on its unleashing.  The letter was delivered
personally to the president by economist and Roosevelt confidant
Alexander Sachs, who read it to the president aloud in the oval office.

        Roosevelt, by his own native genius, seems quickly to have
understood the full implications of the development.  Before Sachs left
the White House that day, the President had established a committee for
pursuing nuclear energy.

        But despite Roosevelt's quick reflexes, the work moved slowly.
Responding to a report by aid Vannevar Bush two years later, in the
early Spring of 1942, Roosevelt - who seemed to understand the urgency
of the atomic initiative better than most of his nuclear advisors -
wrote emphatically, "The whole thing should be pushed not only in regard
to development, but also with due regard to time.  This is very much of
the essence."xxxix  The President seems to have been the only one who
understood the full gravity of the circumstances.

        When James B. Conant reported in mid-1942 that Germany might be
ahead in the arms race by as much as a yearxl - and despite traditional
history there is evidence this was so - impetus was finally given to the
program, but it still took until September of that year to recruit
Groves.

        The colonel who had a decade earlier overseen the construction
of the great symbol of United States military might - The Pentagon - had
been made a brigadier general responsible for the development of the
weapon ultimately destined to guarantee that power.  Groves' response to
learning that the project for which he was being recruited could single-
handedly win the war speaks volumes about the size of his ego and the
extent to which his experience building the Pentagon and handling a $10
billion budget as the number two man in the Corps of Engineers had
alienated him from feelings of mere human dimensions.  He said simply:
"Oh."xli

        The one thing Roosevelt didn't need to worry about with Groves
was wasted  time.  The general went to work immediately, criss-crossing
the country to familiarize himself with the theory and processes and all
of the research and development programs presently in progress.  What he
found was discouraging.

        First, uranium, at least at the time, was rare and relatively
expensive.  Experts in the United States knew of only a few light
deposits of the very heavy element but were doing little to mine it.  Up
to that point, there had not been a lot of use for uranium except in
ceramic glazes.  To get what it needed, the Manhattan Project would have
to go outside of the sovereign borders of the United States, or so it
seemed.

        In a quirk of circumstance, over 1,000 tons of raw uranium ore
had been sent to New York and was sitting in open steel drums in a
warehouse on Staten Island.xlii  The uranium had come from what Groves
later identified, wrongly, as the richest uranium reserves in the world
- those of the Belgian Congo - by way of Belgium and the Brussels-based
company that owned the mines, Union Minière.  Union Minière had provided
rare-earth minerals for radiation studies performed by the famous French
Curie family.

        Groves' misstatement that the Belgian Congo held the richest
uranium reserves is the lead-off in a long litany of hidden or half-
truths, shaded assertions and outright lies later employed to paint a
public picture decidedly different than those events that actually
transpired.  The details of this deception will be outlined later.
Simply put, the mischaracterization is a single brushstroke - among a
multitude - that makes up part of a larger picture created after-the-
fact to hide the evidence that the Third Reich already had in its
possession far more raw uranium than it would ever need for its
purposes; and that it also held within its hands total control of the
largest and most high-grade uranium ore deposit in the world, that at
Joachimsthal, Czechoslovakia.

        The president of Union Minière, M. Edgar Sengier, having been
approached previously by agents of the German government to buy the
valuable mineral stocks, carefully avoided closing a deal with the
German emissaries.  Sengier knew of uranium's ultimate possibilities.
Through his dealings with the Curies he had been invited by Frederic
Joliot-Curie in 1939 to help build an atomic bomb in the Sahara desert,
according to General Grove's book, Now It Can Be Told.xliii

        Such a fascinating revelation from Groves demands a question:
Build an atomic bomb for whom?  Certainly Joliot-Curie was not planning
it for personal world dominion.  He must have known such a project could
only be accomplished at enormous cost and effort if it were possible at
all.  Given later accusations regarding Joliot-Curie that show every
indication of having been true, and despite his reported membership in
the French resistance, it is possible that he planned on consorting with
the Germans.  At any rate, Sengier appears to have declined that offer,
as he presently did the agents' bid for the bulk uranium stores.

        Instead, right under the Germans' noses, he had shipped the
uranium to the United States for safe keeping.  Once having made such a
prudent and noble move at the potential cost of the loss of great profit
for himself and his company, not to mention the threat to his physical
safety that defying the Nazis could mean, he tried to make a deal with
the United States to cover his lost investment. But the old Manhattan
Project regime, for whatever reason, had not responded.

        Groves, on the other hand, now snapped it up.  Over twelve
hundred tons of uranium might be enough to harvest the 110 pounds of
U235 needed to make a bomb.  But raw uranium ore is only the basest form
of uranium.  From the ore, full of a variety of polluting elements and
minerals, pure uranium must be refined; a considerable process in and of
itself.  Then the real challenge begins:  Uranium atoms, like most
elements, exist in various versions called isotopes.  These different
versions of the atom contain the same numbers of protons and electrons,
which define the element and create its characteristics, but have a
different number of neutrons, which, while not changing the element's
characteristics, alter the atom's structure and weight.

        The vast majority of uranium is the isotope identified as U238
(U for uranium, 238 for this particular isotope's atomic weight), which
constitutes 99.3 percent of all of the uranium on earth.  The remaining
less-than-one percent is mostly U235 - the fissile form of uranium.
Unlike the more balanced lattice-work of the U238 nucleus, the
unbalanced structure of a U235 nucleus is unstable.  When the nucleus is
struck with enough force by a passing neutron or other sub-atomic
particle, the nucleus will fracture and divide, leaving two sub-uranic
elements behind, while at the same time releasing additional neutrons
along with a portion of the energy that had kept the uranium nucleus
bound together.  This nuclear energy is by far the strongest force known
to man and, although because of each atom's minuscule measurements the
energy released seems like an infinitesimal force, actually, the power
discharged is proportionally enormous.

        To appreciate the truly diminutive size of an atom, journalist
Chapman Pincher has given the following scale against which the
minuteness of atoms can be measured.  Envision a straight pin magnified
so large that its head lay in London, England and its point terminates
in the country of Bangladesh, on the far side of India - a distance
covering approximately one-third the circumference of the earth.  The
atoms of such a needle would be the size of golf balls.xliv  Yet
according to real-world examples cited in Richard Rhodes' book, The
Making of the Atomic Bomb, the strength of the nuclear force in a single
atom contains enough energy to make a grain of sand jump, a mass
hundreds of thousands if not millions of times greater than that of an
atom. Rhodes adds that there is enough power in one cubic meter of
uranium to lift one million million kilograms (or 2.2 million million
pounds) 27 miles into the air.  Put another way, one pound of uranium
can produce nine million kilowatt hours, for which New York City would
pay about $1.2 million.

        Almost as soon as the first atom was split, physicists the world
over realized that if these great forces could be systematically
released and controlled in large quantities of atoms, an enormous source
of energy would be made available.  On the heels of this realization
came the revelation that if this energy could all be released in an
instant, a super powerful explosion would occur, the likes of which had
not been experienced on earth.

        Calculations and experiments soon proved that in properly
prepared uranium, for each neutron that split a nucleus, of the many
neutrons that would be released an average of two-and-a-half would hit
and split other nuclei, which would split yet two more each, and so on -
creating a chain reaction that theoretically could sustain itself until
the nuclear fuel ran out. This knowledge, along with the fact that Nazi
Germany was the first to uncover these cosmic secrets, is what caused
Einstein, Szilard and Teller to write their famous letter of warning to
Roosevelt.

        The great challenge of this task for all warring factions was in
accumulating enough uranium that was predominantly pure U235, and whose
atoms were closely enough positioned together, so that released neutrons
could reach the surrounding U235 atoms and create a chain reaction.
This meant that a method had to be found to virtually pluck U235 atoms
one at a time from the average of 140 U238 atoms surrounding each one of
them, and gather them together in a single body.  Given the acutely
minute, super-submicroscopic media to be meddled with and the
overwhelming ratio of U238 to U235, the prospects were surely daunting.

        When Groves had been given the assignment to oversee this
Draconian task in the fall of 1942, however, he had nonetheless been
told by his superior that the project was well in hand.  He was stunned
to find upon his review that so little had in fact been accomplished.

        For starters, almost no one in the United States had been able
to technically devise how to separate U235 from raw uranium.  Thus far
everything was theory - with one small exception.  Nobel Laureate Dr.
Ernest Lawrence at the University of California in Berkeley was just in
the process of developing an electro-magnetic mass separator that, using
mammoth-sized magnets and hundreds of thousands of volts to power them,
could separate U235 from U238 to at least a nominal degree of
enrichment.  Groves presumably was encouraged when he heard about the
breakthrough.

        Traveling to Berkeley, the General entered Lawrence's laboratory
and was brought to where he could see the enriched uranium product - he
was led to a microscope. Undoubtedly dumbfounded and disappointed,
Groves bent over the lens to see a spec of uranium that measured 75
micrograms of only 30 percent enriched uranium.xlv   For comparison, a
dime weighs 2,500,000 micrograms. He knew by this time that the amount
needed for a bomb was still a matter of theory but that estimates ranged
anywhere from five pounds to 600 pounds (Manhattan Project scientists
would ultimately conclude the bomb would need to be about 110 pounds) of
from 80 to 90 percent enriched material. Compared against the meager
offering he was staring at through the microscope lens, the requirement
to produce any and all amounts of material between those few micrograms
and the roughly calculated critical quantities made the chances of
achieving bulk production amounts in a usable time frame so astronomical
as to be meaningless.

        Despite Groves' disappointment, the perennially optimistic
Lawrence assured the General that what he had seen represented great
strides, and that from this feeble foundation he could build a device
capable of separating uranium in mass production quantities - tens of
grams at a time. Groves was nonplused.  They were still talking in
fractions of ounces.  But Lawrence's process was the best chance he had
- for everyone else so far, any kind of serious isotope separation had
been impossible.xlvi

        While in Berkeley, the new-formed cradle of American nuclear
research, the General also took the time to visit several other
researchers, experimenters and theoreticians, and this proved to be
fortuitous.  He met J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man Groves would
eventually choose to direct the laboratory that would develop the United
States atomic bomb. Robert Serber, a close friend and co-worker of
Oppenheimer's, in his preface to the post-war publication of The Los
Alamos Primer, which he wrote at Oppenheimer's request to orient newly
arriving Manhattan Project personnel into the program, described Groves'
ego-emanating entrance the first time they met.xlvii  Apparently Groves
had no more than entered the room, when he removed his jacket and handed
it to a colonel he had "in tow," and curtly ordered the high-ranking
officer to find a laundry and get his tunic cleaned.

        Oppenheimer, on the other hand, was quite a different
personality.  He was young, ascetic, wealthy, and seemingly frail,
although later events would prove him to be a glutton for physical,
psychological, emotional and intellectual abuse.  Oppy, as he was
affectionately known by friends, was scientifically and clinically
critical while at the same time embracing Far Eastern metaphysical
mysticism.  The paradox made him an astonishing choice for project
director.  The greater half of the astonishment was that Oppy was a
theoretician, not an experimentalist.  The new laboratory was, of
necessity, going to be nothing if not overwhelmingly experimental.

        Oppenheimer's lack of experimental experience caused many who
coveted the position, or who otherwise had what appeared to be
legitimate concerns, to cry foul.  Groves would have none of it.  He had
quietly grasped Oppenheimer's unique genius, his brilliantly quick
analytical and intuitive facility and a talent for exciting people about
the work, and was not about to let him go.

        What concerned Groves more was the future lab director's leftist
connections.  Not that Groves felt they were much of a hindrance to
Oppy's doing the job, but security checks had to be performed and they
soon revealed that not only had Oppenheimer once been a registered
member of the American Communist Party, but his wife, brother and ex-
fiancé, as well, were presently members or had been members at one time. =

        The endless pursuit by military security to rectify this
apparent security breach kept Groves almost continually in a position of
having to protect his chief deputy.  His willingness to do so is surely
a strong endorsement of Groves' belief and confidence not only in
Oppenheimer but in his own extraordinary ability as a judge of people.
The results Oppenheimer brought forth stand as an undeniable testament
to the General's sense of 'good horse flesh.'  What is most remarkable
is that although he had considered others, Groves was 99 percent decided
Oppy was his man after only one or two meetings.

        A month later, in November 1942, Groves and Oppenheimer, with a
handful of others, were at a boys ranch standing atop a 7,200-foot-high
plateau in New Mexico.  Oppenheimer, who owned property in New Mexico
and loved the vast, scenic expanses of countryside, had suggested the
location over several rivals, some close by, others as far away as Utah
and Washington state.  As they stood under the cottonwood trees - for
whose Spanish appellation the boys school had been named, Los Alamos -
Groves consented to purchase the property as the sight for America's new
atomic bomb laboratory.xlviii

        A full four months after that, in the end of March 1943,xlix the
small group would finally return, accompanied by a nucleus of scientists
that would ultimately grow to be one of the greatest collections of
intellects concentrated on one task ever: Enrico Fermi, Emilio Segré,
Hans Bethe, Otto Frisch and many others, all Los Alamos personnel during
the war, were just a few of several scientists at the project who had
already won or would go on to win the Nobel Prize and other top awards
of science.  Along with them they brought equipment commandeered from
laboratories across the United Statesl and a support force of almost
5000 people, many with their families.

        Despite the thin chance, and so far almost non-existent success,
that the American effort had to achieve separating uranium isotopes,
General Groves made an early and full commitment to the project.  Before
he had pinned the new general's star on his collar (an inducement to get
him to accept the Manhattan Project assignment over his preference to
serve in a theater of war), before he even ran to Berkeley to find what
level of scientific talent was available, Groves signed the directive
that began the purchase of 59,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land in
Eastern Tennessee.  The complex built there would soon come to be known
as Oak Ridge, and it would house most of the technologies tried - many
of which would fail or only achieve nominal success during the war - to
enrich production quantities of bomb-grade uranium.li

        On the site eventually would be established a gaseous diffusion
isotope separation plant what would utilize hundreds of thousands of
stacks of pipes in an all-but-failed effort to enrich uranium before the
war was over.  This plant would enclose almost 42 acres under a single
roof and cost one-half a billion dollars, the greatest single
expenditure of the war-time program.  A liquid thermal diffusion plant
under the operation of the Navy would be constructed as well.  By far
the most successful form of isotope separation would be the
electromagnetic isotope separators pioneered by Ernest Lawrence.  Groves
would one day brag that every gram of U235 produced for the Manhattan
Project had been processed through Oak Ridge's magnetic isotope
separators - called calutrons, after the California State University
(Cal. U.) at Berkeley, where it was developed.  But even with the
calutrons, none of these processes were close to being viable at
production-level quantities at the end of 1942.  And the famous claim
that all of the uranium enriched passed through the celebrated calutrons
during that process has now become questionable, based on recently
discovered information.

        Five days less than a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, on
December 2, 1942, Italian émigré physicist Enrico Fermi and his research
team, working in an old squash court under the University of Chicago's
Stagg Field grandstand, opened another door leading to an atomic bomb -
they produced the first man-made self-sustaining nuclear chain
reaction.lii  The experimental reactor pile, built of over 400 tons of
graphite and uranium, provided not only proof that a slow chain reaction
could be achieved and controlled, but the means to further test the
theory that uranium bombarded by neutrons will absorb those neutrons
until it metamorphs into a new and previously unknown element - which
the theorists called plutonium.

        Plutonium, besides being the first man-made element, would
fission as easily as U235.  The bomb makers counted this a blessing.
And plutonium as an element all its own, rather than an isotope of one,
had chemical characteristics that were different from other
substances.liii  By finding these differentiating properties, the
plutonium could then be separated from its parent, uranium, by chemical
means, a far less expensive and comparatively easy process than the
impossibly demanding physical separation procedures required to harvest
one atom at a time, as was necessary to enrich uranium.  There was now a
second, much better, option for developing an atomic bomb.

        Hopes were high.  Everyone from Groves and Oppenheimer to Fermi
and Lawrence were enthused over the plutonium prospect.liv  In fact, the
whole object of creating a reactor pile changed from creating heat to
make steam for industrial power to breeding plutonium for a bomb. Groves
immediately went to work establishing a plutonium pilot plant at Oak
Ridge, as well as beginning the procurement of property in the state of
Washington for the purpose of constructing a series of plutonium
breeding reactors.

        The researchers, however, soon found problems with the plutonium
option.  Previous plutonium breeding experiments had been performed in a
cyclotron that could bombard target uranium with only very small amounts
of neutrons.  The result was the expected transmutation of U238 to
plutonium 239 (Pu239).  The comparative flood of neutrons released in a
chain reacting pile, however, placed the parent U238 awash in stray
neutrons.  While some of the U238 absorbed one neutron to become Pu239,
many of the nuclei absorbed two neutrons, transmuting to Pu240, a highly
spontaneous fissioning isotope of plutonium.lv  This would have been
good news except that the spontaneous fission rate of Pu240 is three
times faster than that of U235 or Pu239.  The latter two isotopes
fission slowly enough that, theoretically, to assemble a critical mass
one needed simply to shoot one subcritical piece of material into
another piece. The total of the two pieces came together to achieve
critical mass at about 3,000 feet per second - roughly the velocity of a
high-powered cannon.  Voile, a nuclear explosion.

        Pu240, on the other hand, releases its nuclear energy, in the
form of extremely high temperatures, so fast upon fissioning that the
resulting burst of heat blows the surrounding atoms away. The
probability that released neutrons will collide with, and therefore
split, other neutrons is greatly reduced - thus the chain reaction ends
before it has ever begun.

        Groves and his cadre of scientists now had a challenge creating
a plutonium bomb as perplexing and problematic as the original isotope
separation assignment.  They must find a way to trigger a critical
assembly, in other words, to move multiple blocks of matter at
velocities no human, for any reason, had ever envisioned attempting, and
to move them in less than 1/3000th of a second.  The plutonium option
was now just as much a long shot as the original uranium bomb.

Chapter Three

Uranium

 "Oh what idiots we have all been."

                                Niels Bohr, physicist, Nobel Prize winner,
                                upon hearing of the splitting of the atom.

        Until 14 May, 1945, the day U-234 surrendered to the United
States at sea, Germany had always held the lead in the race for the
atomic bomb - even before anybody knew there was a race being run.  Way
back in 1789, 150 years before the pernicious purpose of uranium was
conceived, Martin Klaproth discovered this last, and heaviest, of the
elements found in nature.  Appropriately, given later physics history -
or maybe inevitably - Klaproth was German.  In the century and a half
between Klaproth's discovery and the splitting of the first atom - a
uranium atom - little happened with the element.  In the small amounts
that it could be found, uranium was considered relatively rare, although
it has since been discovered in varying quantities almost everywhere on
earth.   Prior to the effort to build a bomb, however, uranium was used
almost exclusively as a pigment in ceramic glazes; no one could devise
any other practical use for it.  But when the first atom was split at
the end of 1938, the whole world changed.

        Advances in physics, particularly the effort to understand the
make-up of the atom, had physicists and radiochemists across the globe
experimenting with uranium, the natural world's largest atom.  As a
result, the first atom was split, quite by accident, by Otto Hahn and
Fritz Strassmann, two Germans, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of
Physics in Berlin.

        Hahn and Strassmann - both radiochemists not physicists - did
not immediately realize what they had achieved.  They had been
bombarding uranium with slow neutrons expecting its transmutation to
other isotopes of uranium or other heavy elements.  But the result of
their experiment showed, along with isotopes of uranium, of which U238
is the most common, evidence of traces of barium were present as well,
which has an atomic mass slightly larger than half of uranium's mass.

        At first, neither scientist could reckon how the atomic weight
had been cut in half. The cleaving of an atom, with its powerful
internal force holding it together, was considered impossible and
splitting the atom had never crossed their minds. The pair assumed they
had not carried out their experiments correctly; but careful checks
using control samples they knew were pure proved they had not
contaminated the experiment with material already containing barium.
Only then did they consider that the impossible may have happened.  Hahn
wrote his former co-worker, Lise Meitner, an Austrian-born Jew who, now
in her 60s, had over 40 years experience in radiochemistry and a native
genius for diagnosing chemical and nuclear puzzles.

        On Christmas Eve, while contemplating the remarkable events
written to her in Hahn's letter during a holiday at the seaside in
Sweden, Meitner was visited by her nephew and fellow researcher Otto
Frisch.  Frisch would later be the one who coined the term 'fission'lvi
- borrowed from the microbiology lexicon and which describes the
dividing of living cells - as the moniker for the splitting of atoms. He
would also shortly immigrate to the United States and perform the
famous, and very dangerous, critical mass experimental studies on
uranium at Los Alamos known as "tickling the tail of the dragon."

        Meitner and Fritsch discussed how it could be possible that
barium should come from uranium, and in the course of considering
several possibilities contemplated the puzzle in the light of Niels
Bohr's new model of the nucleus - not a collection of tightly bound
neutrons and protons, but "freely" bound neutrons and protons.  They
reasoned that, although the nuclear force holding these components
together is undoubtedly the strongest on earth - even though active for
extremely small distances only - each proton in the nucleus contains a
small electrical force of its own that counters, to a degree, that
nuclear force.  As the nucleus of each element in ascending order
contains one or more additional protons than the previous element, by
the time uranium - the natural element with the most protons of all, at
92 - is reached, the countering force of the cumulative protons is
barely less than the total nuclear force.  The scientists realized that
this would explain why there are no more natural elements beyond uranium
- because the accumulated electrical force of the extra protons in an
atom larger than uranium would counter the atomic force to a point where
the nucleus is no longer able to hold itself together.  Any elements
beyond uranium must have disintegrated to other elements earlier in
earth's history.

        But the uranium nucleus holds together barely, the opposing
forces causing the sub-nuclear particles to float "loosely" around one
another in a liquid-like form.  The unstable geometric construction of a
U235 atom, particularly, when struck by the energy of a neutron, may
then start "wobbling," possibly becoming narrower in the middle,
allowing the nuclear force in each of the two outer lobes to take
control and parse off the lobes into independent, non-uranic spheres of
their own - one of them barium.

        Thus Meitner and Frisch had explained, and therefore validated,
Hahn's and Strassmann's discovery - and set in motion with their
explanation the fearful, surreal absurdity that would become man's
future.  Meitner also calculated that the nuclear reaction after the
split caused by the repulsion of the protons in each nucleus pushing
away from each other at one-thirtieth the speed of light, would generate
about 200 million electron volts of energy per atom.lvii  In comparison,
the strongest of chemical reactions such as a dynamite explosion,
produces a very paltry five electron volts.

        Hahn had written not only Lise Meitner on that fateful December
night, he had also contacted Paul Rosbaud, the editor of Germany's
foremost scientific publication, Naturwissenschaften.lviii  Rosbaud
would soon come to be known in Allied intelligence circles as The
Griffin, the code-name assigned him upon joining the ranks of Germans
spying for the Allies, and would from beginning to end of the war
provide constant updates on the progress of Germany's atomic bomb
project, including Ardenne's and Houtermans' efforts.  Many of Rosbaud's
activities are recorded in Arnold Kramisch's excellent book, The
Griffin.

        Presumably, General Groves would have received Rosbaud's reports
through the United States/British intelligence master, Sir William
Stevenson, and therefore known on an ongoing basis what was the
condition of his nemesis' program.  Statements the General made during
the war indicating that he often thought the enemy was a year or two
ahead of the United States' program can, therefore the author believes,
generally be considered accurate.  If this is the case, assertions made
by General Groves after the war indicating that he had been wrong in
this conclusion were probably designed to divert attention from the
German isotope separation program. The idea being that if the existence
of the German uranium enrichment program could be hidden, then the cover
story could be established that Germany's atomic bomb effort consisted
only of failed efforts to create a reactor pile to breed plutonium.
This will be reviewed in more detail in a later chapter.

        On Hahn's request, Rosbaud had agreed to hold space in the next
issue of his journal for an upcoming paper Hahn promised to prepare by
print time.  The article not only ran in early January 1939, quickly
spreading the news throughout the global scientific community, but
Frisch returned to work with Niels Bohr in Copenhagen after his
Christmas holiday with Meitner and told 'The Great Dane,' as he was
affectionately called, of their theory.lix  Bohr responded before Frisch
had hardly finished explaining, gasping, "Oh what idiots we have all
been!  Oh but this is wonderful!  This is just as it must be."  The
Great Dane left Denmark within a week of this revelation on a
previously-planned trip to the United States to work for a short period
at the Institute for Advanced Study. Once there, he was instrumental in
disseminating the news to the rest of the world.  Then the new
discovery's ultimate outcome was calculated - that a nuclear chain
reaction might be created.  Szillard and Teller, quickly recognizing the
unthinkable possibilities, contacted Einstein, who wrote his famous
letter to Roosevelt in response to such a prospect.

        The chain reaction conclusion also made Hahn consider an action
he had never before contemplated.  Upon realizing that the likely
outcome of his discovery would be the loss of tens- or hundreds-of-
thousands of lives - possibly millions - Otto Hahn seriously considered
taking his own life.lx

        The taking of one life would have been a small matter and a
futile action, however. The door had been opened and could never be
closed again.  Despite later and persistent claims that Germany put
little effort - and that erring - into the development of an atomic
bomb, quite the opposite actually appears to have occurred.  As a nation
with a disciplined, precise and loyal nationalistic character and a
tradition of cultivating the ultimate in technology, under the rule of a
dictator with a fetish for innovative armaments and a commitment to
using them, Germany was already on the verge of waging war using the
most technically-advanced fighting machine ever.  The airplanes, tanks
and submarines of Blitzkrieg were unsurpassed and it would be years
before the Allies equaled the armaments of the Third Reich. During the
course of the war, Hitler added rocketry, silent electric torpedoes and
jets to his arsenal, none of which were matched by any other belligerent
nation during the course of the conflict.  In truth, on the whole,
German weaponry was probably never equaled during the war:  Many experts
maintain that Germany lost World War II directly because of strategic
blunders committed by Adolf Hitler and little else.

        With a superior technical culture, a lead on the field, and many
of the best scientists available - all at the behest of a madman well-
established to have a penchant for ingenious and decisive weaponry - it
certainly would be expected that Germany would be running hard in the
nuclear arms race and would break out of the gate first.  The idea
accepted wholesale in the traditional history, that German efforts to
produce the deciding weapon of the war, an atomic bomb, were vapid,
poorly executed, uninspired projects, runs wholly counter to the
character of the regime and the Germanic race, which to this day, in a
world of global parity, is still looked up to as a technical leader of
the world.

        According to author/historian David Irving, in his book, The
German Atomic Bomb, the post-war criticism of Germany's supposedly
insipid effort to create an atomic bomb is both inaccurate and
unwarranted.lxi  And Irving adds that those who spread the
misinformation should have known better; they knew the story and had all
of the documentation.  Far from the official story of a handful of half-
hearted German scientists working on an impotent reactor pile intended,
but failing, to breed plutonium - as goes the story promoted by General
Groves and the Manhattan Project's intelligence arm, Alsos (Greek for
'grove,' Alsos was the codename given the Manhattan Project's enemy
information gathering function) - Irving states that some 50 German
scientistslxii toiled night and day throughout the war, in both
plutonium breeding and uranium separation efforts, many of which
achieved high levels of success.

        By the Summer of 1939, scant months after Hahn's and
Strassmann's discovery had been published, the German Army had
established a uranium project in Gottow, near Berlin, with Dr. Kurt
Diebner at the head.lxiii  By the time war broke out, Germany was the
only country studying the use of atomic power for military means, and it
pushed forward with vigor.  By contrast, the United States efforts
stalled and were not to be purposefully pursued until General Groves was
appointed head of the program more than two years later, near the end of
1942.

        A first secret conference on atomic power was held in Berlin on
September 16, 1939.lxiv  Most of the Reich's top nuclear scientists soon
afterward were inducted into the army - an action Groves would later
seriously consider for the American program but was convinced otherwise
by Oppenheimer -and assigned to laboratories throughout the Fatherland
to study nuclear fission for military uses.  The first laboratory, in
Dahlem, near Berlin, was established and called 'The Virus House,'lxv a
name concocted as a ruse to cultivate an atmosphere of fear around the
facility and thus drive off unwanted observers.

        Despite later assertions, the Third Reich very soon had on hand
copious amounts of raw, as well as very highly refined, uranium, and
controlled a great deal more - almost a limitless supply for its needs.
The first ton of "extremely pure" uranium oxide was delivered in the
first weeks of 1940.lxvi  This had already been refined from the raw
uranium ore and was, for all intents and purposes, ready to be used for
experimentation - or for enriching to bomb grade as soon as the
technology could be developed.

        From June of 1940 to the end of the war, Germany seized 3,500
tons of uranium compounds from Belgium - almost three times the amount
Groves had purchased from Union Minière - and stored it in salt mines in
Stassfurt, Germany.lxvii  Groves brags that on 17 April, 1945, as the
war was winding down, Alsos recovered some 1,100 tons of uranium ore
from Stassfurt and an additional 31 tons in Toulouse, France, as well as
eight tons of refined oxide from the Stassfurt mines.lxviii  And he
claims that the amount recovered was all that Germany had ever held,
asserting , therefore, that Germany had never had enough raw material to
process the uranium either for a plutonium reactor pile or through
magnetic separation techniques.

        Obviously, if Stassfurt once held 3,500 tons and only 1,130 were
recovered, some 2,370 tons of uranium ore was unaccounted for - still
twice the amount the Manhattan Project possessed and is assumed to have
used throughout its entire wartime effort - and a quantity certainly far
in excess of the amount Germany would have used for experimental needs.
The material has not been accounted for to this day.

        Such copious quantities of this little-used material could have
been employed virtually nowhere else, if not in full-scale atomic bomb
production processes - as was the case with the United States using
comparably colossal amounts in its enrichment efforts.

        As early as the Summer of 1941, according to historian Margaret
Gowing,lxix Germany had already refined 600 tons of uranium to its oxide
form, the form required for ionizing the material into a gas, in which
form the uranium isotopes could then be magnetically or thermally
separated or the oxide could be reduced to metal for a reactor pile.  In
fact, Professor Dr. Riehl, who was responsible for all uranium
throughout Germany during the course of the war, says the figure was
actually much higher.lxx  In addition, the Nazi program was extracting
one ton per month of uranium oxide from separate ore stocks left over
from a private commercial venture following a previous extraction of
radium to be used in German toothpaste!

        To create either a uranium or a plutonium bomb, at some point
uranium must be reduced to metal.  In the case of plutonium, U238 is
metalicized; for a uranium bomb, U235 is metalicized.  Because of
uranium's difficult characteristics, however, this metallurgical process
is a tricky one.  The United States struggled with the problem early and
still was not successful reducing uranium to its metallic form in large
production quantities until late in 1942.lxxi  The German technicians,
however, true to their whiz-kid reputations, by the end of 1940lxxii had
already processed 280.6 kilograms of uranium into metal, over a quarter
of a ton.

        Dr. Werner Heisenberg headed the plutonium bomb effort for
Germany.  As with the United States program, the Germans early had
realized the benefits of a plutonium bomb over a uranium
explosive.lxxiii  They knew plutonium could be bred from uranium and
separated chemically much easier, faster and less costly than the
isotopes of uranium could be separated from one another.  In addition,
because the plutonium fission process was three times more powerful than
uranium's, theoretically, to make an equal-size bomb only one-third the
amount of plutonium was required.

        Heisenberg's efforts ran into a roadblock, however, when, in
1940, his co-worker Dr. Walther Bothe seriously miscalculated the
neutron absorption rate of graphite,lxxiv which the researchers thought
to use as a moderator to prevent any experimental chain reaction from
becoming ungovernable and causing a meltdown.  The error would prove to
have a profound impact on the success of the German plutonium project.
In want of an alternate moderator, the scientists turned to deuterium
oxidelxxv - heavy water - an isotope of common water but with an
additional neutron.  The new requirement for heavy water, a rare
substance not found in nature but requiring long amounts of time to
process, would ultimately resign the German plutonium effort to - not
failure, a chain reaction was eventually achieved - but to second place
behind the American plutonium project.lxxvi

        The carbon miscalculation combined with the shortage of heavy
water constituted the failure of the Germans to build a plutonium bomb,
which proved later to be the perfect screen behind which General Groves
was to hide Germany's other atomic bomb effort, uranium isotope
separation.  As seems to have happened at almost every serious juncture,
the two nations' programs appear to have followed parallel thinking and
parallel processes.  But General Groves has buried the history of the
German uranium enrichment effort.  Desiring after the war to destroy the
evidence of German uranium isotope separation for reasons to be reviewed
later, the General de-emphasized the Nazi uranium enrichment effort
until its historic profile was small enough to be hidden safely behind
the failed plutonium picture.

        General Groves does not appear to be the only person after the
war to distort the facts of this episode to suit his own purposes.
Professor Heisenberg and others, purportedly desiring to divest
themselves of what they said was the undeserved stigma of working on an
atomic bomb for the Nazis, but in reality desiring to hide their failure
to build a nuclear reactor despite great and earnest efforts, decided to
inculcate the fantasy, as well - and successfully did so, possibly in
collusion with Groves.

Heisenberg later contended that he and others of his staff had
innocuously but bravely resisted their fascist government.  He insisted
that he did not believe at the time the making of an atomic bomb to be a
possibility at all, but had acted as though it were in order to keep the
Nazis happy and distracted.lxxvii  The professor assured those who would
listen that he had been resisting and subverting the objectives of the
Nazi regime by monopolizing the invaluable services of some of the
Reich's greatest men of science, who might otherwise have been forced to
put their efforts to use for Hitler in projects more productive to the
Fuehrer's pernicious purposes.

        In reality Heisenberg, like most scientists of his bent and
professional stature, not only could not resist the pursuit of his
science for the sheer inducement of discovering what lay around the next
cosmic corner, but he did indeed believe a nuclear blast initiated by
man was possible.  He had admitted to Manfred von Ardennelxxviii and to
Niels Bohr, before the latter had escaped Denmark upon its occupation by
the Nazis, that he thought an atomic bomb was possiblelxxix - even
though Bohr, himself, at this time, did not believe such an explosion
would ever be achieved.  Heisenberg tried to explain away this statement
after the war as having been misunderstood by the Danish Nobel Laureate;
but the Great Dane was certainly convinced he had understood correctly
what had been said.

        Furthermore, Dr. Heisenberg was in the forefront from February
to June of 1942, in an effort to get party leadership to more fully
appreciate the value that atomic explosives could serve in the war.lxxx
In June, he estimated a bomb could be built in as little as two
years.lxxxi

        While developers of the American plutonium project would realize
relatively late-in-the-game that they had a problem with triggering the
plutonium bomb, and up to that time had given the plutonium program
their prime effort and resources, serious doubts about the success of
the German plutonium program came early because of the heavy water
crisis, forcing the Nazis from almost the very beginning to concentrate
their efforts, resources and expectations on isotope separation to
enrich uranium.  By virtue of this fact alone, one would expect that the
German isotope separation program would have been more successful than
the plutonium effort, and would not have been left completely unpursued,
as is asserted.

        At about this time, in mid-1942, American James B. Conant, one
of the civilian administrators of the Manhattan Project and a personal
confidant of Roosevelt, reported to the president that the Germans
"might be ahead of us by as much as a year."lxxxii  Considering British
spy, Paul Rosbaud's, position in the midst of the German effort, one can
assume that Conant got this estimate from good sources.

        In fact, this estimate may have understated Germany's lead.  By
this time, Germany already had at least five, and possibly as many as
seven, serious isotope separation development programs underway.  From
among these devices, three very innovative technologies were being
pioneered, beginning with Dr. Erich Bagge's "isotope sluice" and a
similar machine constructed by a Dr. Korsching.  Before the middle of
1944, Bagge's isotope sluice would enrich uranium on a single pass to
four times that reported in the United States using gaseous
diffusion.lxxxiii  Gaseous diffusion is supposed to have saved the bomb
enrichment program in the waning days of the American separation effort
by providing needed, partially enriched, feedstocks to Lawrence's beta
calutrons in the final hour.  (Oak Ridge records discovered by the
author and reviewed later in this book, however, contradict this
assertion.)  While Oak Ridge's first-phase production calutrons produced
only partially enriched material, raising the U235 concentration from .7
percent to around 10 to 12 percent, Bagge's experimental isotope sluice
alone had yielded 2.5 grams of "much enriched" uranium.lxxxiv  If a
production quantity version of the isotope sluice was ever actually
built, the yield was probably significantly higher than the United
States' output.

        Had the Germans actually enriched uranium on a large-scale
basis, and there is ample evidence they did, they may have used a multi-
stage technique.  Passing already enriched uranium through enrichment
processes a second or third time to further increase the level of U235
concentration was a procedure used by the American effort to bring
enrichment levels up into the high eighty and low ninety percentiles
required for a bomb. One may assume that the German effort followed a
similar obvious path, as so often happened between the two programs, and
that the product of the isotope sluice - or any of the other separation
technologies - might therefore have been used as feedstocks for one of
the other four separation techniques.

        The isotope sluice was not the strongest of the Nazis'
separation efforts.  A stronger performer was the centrifuge, and then
its progeny, the ultracentrifuge.  A special alloy called 'Bondur' had
already been developed in 1941 specifically designed to handle the
harsh, corrosive uranium compounds used in the ultracentrifuge.lxxxv
The United States' isotope separation effort, on the other hand,
struggled to find a similar material that would serve well against the
corrosive uranium gases.

        By May 1944, compared with American production efforts that at
their best resulted in enriching uranium from its raw state of .7
percent to about 10 to 12 percent on the first pass, the first German
experimental ultracentrifuge succeeded with enriching the material to
seven percent.lxxxvi  The experimental result was less than American
production efforts and what had been predicted by its German inventors,
but it was a good showing in its first experimental outing compared to
what the Manhattan Project would produce from its already-tweaked
production model calutrons.

        Ultracentrifuge output was so impressive, in fact, that
following its very first experimental run, funding and authority were
established to build ten additional production model ultracentrifuges in
Kandern, a town in the southwest of Germany far from the fighting. When
Allied bombing became continuous in the north, many separation processes
had been moved south; Bagge's isotope sluice went to Hechingen and the
10 ultracentrifuges went to Kandern, located near the juncture of the
borders of  Germany, Switzerland and France. The Nazis were now
committed in a big way to ultracentrifuge production - and therefore to
enriching uranium.

        True to form, however, Groves once again warped the truth,
downplaying the production plants by mentioning only that "U235
separation experiments" were being conducted in Celle and
Freiburglxxxvii - never anything of the ten ultracentrifuge production
plants being built near the latter city or of Ardenne's efforts at
Lichterfelde.

        Despite such subjugation of the truth, David Irving, in his book
The German Atomic Bomb, identifies what, at least for a time, were
thought by the Allies to be fourteen isotope separating facilities being
built in the area.lxxxviii Groves himself admitted concern that these
plants were being erected to enrich uranium. According to Groves, he saw
patterns similar to Oak Ridge in these plants; but quick intelligence
analysis suggested the facilities were crude and inefficient factories
for synthetically converting shale to oil.  Such a revelation hints at
their actually being a cover for nuclear weapons activity.  After all,
synthetic processing was the cover given the buna plant at Auschwitz.
And there appears to have existed a "gentlemen's agreement" between I.G.
Farben and Allied forceslxxxix not to bomb synthetic processing plants.
Despite the "shale oil" plants' seeming inconsequence, as ultimately
described by Groves, compared to the important schedule of non-nuclear
strategic targets needing attention, Allied bombers were diverted from
some of their important missions to destroy the chain of plants.  Surely
the bombing was counter to the "gentlemen's agreement" unless there was
something that justified their destruction beyond the fact they were
allegedly synthetic processing plants.

        The converting of shale to oil is a synthetic gasification
process pioneered by I.G. Farben and its technology is in many ways
similar to that of producing synthetic rubber, also called buna.  Given
events related later in this chapter and elsewhere, it would not be
surprising to find that these plants had, indeed, been enriching
uranium.

        Even the impressive successes of the ultracentrifuge do not
match up to the "most far reaching" achievements attained in isotope
separation by Baron Manfred von Ardenne.  Ardenne and his associate,
Fritz Houtermans, as early as 1941, had already calculated the critical
mass xc of U235  and had begun construction of  "a magnificent
laboratory" underground - safe from the bombing of Allied airplanes - in
Berlin Lichterfelde.xci  The laboratory contained a two million-volt
electrostatic generator and a cyclotron - at the time there was only one
other cyclotron throughout the Reich, that of the Curies, which had been
commandeered in France.  By April 1942, Ardenne also had in his
laboratory a completed magnetic isotope separatorxcii not unlike the
calutrons of Ernest Lawrence, which General Groves would not deploy at
Oak Ridge for another year-and-a-half.  Ardenne had designed the
separators in 1940, barely on the heels of the discovery of a possible
fission explosion.  And so, supplied with his million-volt generator to
provide the copious amounts of power needed to operate the magnetic
separator, he seems to have been ahead of everybody else in the field of
uranium enrichment.  In addition, the ion plasma source Ardenne had
designed for his isotope separator to sublime the uranium compound was far superior to that
provided for the calutrons - a key distinction considering the
calutron's sublimation process was one of its key weaknesses.  Calutron
efficiency for sublimation ran between 40 and 75 percent.  Ardenne's
invention was four times more efficient - and has come to be the
premiere source world-wide for emitting particle rays, and is known to
this day as 'The Ardenne Source.'

        One other important distinction separated Ardenne's and
Houtermans' work from the other German efforts.  The other programs all
worked under the direction and as part of the German Army, supplied by
and accountable to the military.  By contrast, all of Ardenne's
facilities - the bomb-proof lab, the million-volt generator, the
cyclotron, and the magnetic isotope separators themselves - were
provided by, and ongoing funding made available through, the patronage
of one man, Reich Minister of Posts and member of the Reich President's
Research Council on Nuclear Affairs, Wilhem Ohnesorge.  Like the
Manhattan Project scientists, Ardenne and Houtermans worked within the
intellectually freer environment of a civilian organization.

        Production for the German isotope enrichment projects, once the
experimental and design work were completed by Ardenne and the others,
appears to have been undertaken by the I.G. Farben company under orders
of the Nazi Party. The company was directed to construct at Auschwitz a
buna factory,xciii allegedly for making synthetic rubber. Following the
war, the Farben board of directors bitterly complained that no buna was
ever produced despite the plant being under construction for four-and-a-
half years; the employment of 25,000 workers from the concentration
camp, of whom it makes note the workers were especially well-treated and
well fed; and the utilization of 12,000 skilled German scientists and
technicians from Farben.  Farben also invested 900 million reichsmarks
(equal to approximately $2 billion of today's dollars) in the facility.
The plant used more electrical power than the entire city of Berlin yet
it never made any buna, the substance it was "intended" to produce.

        When these facts were described to an expert on polymer
production (buna is a member of the polymer, or synthetic rubber,
family), Mr. Ed Landry,xciv Mr. Landry responded directly, "It was not a
rubber plant, you can bet your bottom dollar on that."

        Landry went on to explain that while some types of buna are made
by heating, which requires......
 
 

Part Two - The Plutonium Bomb

Chapter six

Timing

"Lt. (JG) H E Morgan, Lt. (JG) F M Abbott, Ens F L Granger with Dr. Schlicke POW in custody leaving
Anacostia noon Friday via plane.  This party expert in bomb disposal and proximity fuses and being sent
to assist in securing certain infra red proximity fuses important BUORD [Navy Bureau of Ordnance —
author’s note] and in cargo U-234.  Fuses when secured to be returned Washington custody above
party."

Dispatch from Chief of Naval
Operations to Portsmouth
Naval Yard, 25 May, 1945

"After Dr. Schlicke completes his lecture he will be available for questions that people ask.  But we will
kindly ask you not to ask any questions during the lecture and after the lecture Mr. Alvarez will sit at the
table and the person who wishes to ask a question is asked to come forward so that we can get in the
microphone and keep a record of all the questions and answers."

>From the transcript of an introduction to a lecture given by Dr. Heinz Schlicke to the Navy Department.
"Mr. Alvarez" appears  to be Dr. Schlicke’s handler.  Manhattan Project physicist Luis  Alvarez was
credited with at the last  minute solving the plutonium bomb’s  fuse problems.

        Uranium does not appear to be the only component aboard U-234 capable of being used to make
an atomic bomb.  There were the steel drums and wooden barrels full of fluids, noted in Chapter One,
which Manhattan Project personnel tested, apparently to see if the materials had been, or could be, part
of a plutonium breeder reactor.   And there were tons of lead, possibly for radiation protection; mercury,
possibly for very fast mercury switches; and infra-red proximity fuses.

The infra-red fuses were discovered within five days of U-234’s landing at Portsmouth, apparently as the
result of Dr. Heinz Schlicke’s interrogation.  A memorandum written by Jack H. Alberti dated 24 May
1945  stated, "Dr. Schlicke knows about the infra-red proximity fuses which are contained in some of
these packages….Dr. Schlicke knows how to handle them and is willing to do so."  According to the
following transmission, at noon the very next day, Schlicke was placed on an airplane with a three-man
escort and flown back to Portsmouth, for the sole purpose of retrieving the proximity fuses.

"Lt. (JG) H E Morgan, Lt. (JG) F M Abbott, Ens F L Granger with Dr. Schlicke POW in custody leaving
Anacostia noon Friday via plane.  This party expert in bomb disposal and proximity fuses and being sent
to assist in securing certain infra red proximity fuses important BUORD [Navy Bureau of Ordnance —
author’s note] and in cargo U-234.  Fuses when secured to be returned Washington custody above
party."

        The dossier on the technology portfolio Schlicke was accompanying to Japan was extensive.
Beyond fusing and explosives expertise, he was either referenced by other prisoners of U-234, listed in
documents onboard U-234, or admitted to being knowledgeable in or responsible for: very high
technology radar and radio systems,  guided missile development, and V2 rockets.   While still in
Germany, he also had met with a long list of scientists.  He noted in his interrogation that the intent of
many of these meetings was for him to receive the transfer of their technologies and to later disseminate
them in Japan, and to serve as the listed scientists’ liaison and advisor with Japan.   Among the
scientists with whom he had coordinated, which he listed for American interrogators, were Professor Dr.
Esau and Professor Gerlach,  both of whom, at one time or another, were important members of
Germany’s atomic research programs.  Dr. Esau had served as head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and
was a member of the Reich Research Council.  Much of the technology accompanying Schlicke to his
destination was the product of this group of 54 obviously very high-level scientists.

        That Schlicke was personally and almost immediately flown back to U-234 specifically to retrieve
the infra-red fuses, from among all the technology for which he was responsible, seems very revealing.  It
suggests that the infra-red fuses were of immediate interest to the United States, not just as the booty of
war, as were all the other technologies on the boat, but expediting retrieval of the fuses seems to have
been driven by a need to have them immediately available for some purpose.  That purpose may have
been hinted at a short time later.  On 19 July 1945, Dr. Schlicke presented a lecture to members of the
Navy Department.  A portion of the transcribed introduction of Dr. Schlicke bears an innocuous clue to
the possible purpose of the infra-red fuses. "After Dr. Schlicke completes his lecture he will be available
for questions that people ask.  But we will kindly ask you not to ask any questions during the lecture
and after the lecture Mr. Alvarez [italics added] will sit at the table and the person who wishes to ask a
question is asked to come forward so that  we can get in the microphone and keep a record of all the
questions and answers."

        The presence of a "Mr. Alvarez" as Dr. Schlicke’s apparent host or "handler" may be a singular
indicator regarding the importance of the infra-red fuses.  The reference to Mr. Alvarez was not the first to
be made from among U234’s passengers and crew.  Three weeks earlier, General Kessler had written a
letter regarding missing personal items in which he identified a "Commander Alvarez" as having seen
some of these items.   The identification that Alvarez held the rank of commander appears on the face to
indicate he was a Navy Officer; no other United States services maintain a rank of Commander except
the Coast Guard, which is very unlikely to have been involved with the U-234 intelligence operation.

U-234’s skipper, Captain Lieutenant Johann Heinrich Fehler, also identified Alvarez in a letter written
decades after the war, but he identified Alvarez as a Lieutenant Commander.   The distinction between
whether Alvarez was a full Commander or a Lieutenant Commander would be minimal, except that it
may be a moot point altogether. Alvarez may not have been a Navy officer at all.  In parenthesis in his
letter, Fehler, following his identification of Alvarez, noted that Alvarez is "probably not his real name."

Fehler seems to have sensed that there was something disingenuous about Alvarez but assumed that it
was his name, not his rank, that was dubious.  The name, in fact, may have been a counterfeit.  There is
no listing of any officer surnamed Alvarez in either the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of
the United States Navy and Marine Corps for either July 1, 1943 or it publication two years later on July
1, 1945.

But there is another explanation.  The name Alvarez may have been real, but the rank of commander
was a fraud, and that was the ill-defined deception Fehler was sensing.

At the time U-234 was escorted into Portsmouth Harbor, the Manhattan Project was near desperation.
Because Groves appears to have decided to use some of the already enriched uranium to fuel the
plutonium reactors at Hanford, he was short of enriched uranium for the uranium bomb. The Manhattan
Project scientists had not figured out a way to efficiently trigger the plutonium bomb.  At that point in
time, neither bomb was viable.  And the mid-August deadline for any kind of bomb was fast approaching.

The plutonium bomb consisted of a hollow sphere of plutonium the size of a small orange.  The key
requirement to make the bomb explode — besides the creation of the requisite amount of plutonium —
was to compress the plutonium sphere so it would reach critical mass.  To achieve this compression, 32
redundant detonators — 64 in all — needed to be fired within 1/3,000th of a second, or the bomb would
fail.

The challenge was daunting.  For a year-and-a-half, the Los Alamos scientists tried to develop a
simultaneously firing detonation system.

Just a month before U-234 landed, there was "more than a bare possibility that the detonators will be
unsatisfactory"  wrote Norris Bradbury, who headed the team responsible for triggering the explosion.
Indeed, into late June and early July, just two weeks before the first atomic bomb test at Alamogordo,
New Mexico, the detonator timing problem was still not resolved.

The experts at Los Alamos had been working on the timing problem since the fall of 1943,  but had failed
to solve it when, in October 1944, Robert Oppenheimer created a committee to tackle the detonator
problem.  The first name on the three-man team was Luis Alvarez.

Alvarez had begun his wartime work in the Radiation Lab at MIT, then worked on Ground Controlled
Approach Radar, which allowed controllers to "talk down" a pilot whose vision was impaired.   He then
worked on Phased-array Radar, which allows a radar system to track an object electro-magnetically
rather than steering the system by manual means.  After the war, Alvarez went on to win the Nobel Prize
for Physics in 1968 for his work on aeronautical navigation systems.  And he, with his son Walter and
geologist Frank Asaro, were the first to forward the theory that Earth was struck by a meteorite that
caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.  They based their theory on findings of high levels of iridium in
concentrated locations on earth.  At first scorned, the theory has become widely accepted.

Luis Alvarez also became one of the great heroes of the atomic bomb story when he solved the
plutonium bomb detonator timing problem in the last days before the Trinity Test.   In his own account of
his work in the Manhattan Project, he wrote simply that he "cleaned up some loose ends in detonator
design."   The understatement and lack of detail may be telling — especially if it was meant to hide how
he "cleaned up" those details.

Of all the Manhattan Project personnel whose name one would expect to see connected to Heinz
Schlicke’s and U-234’s infra-red proximity fuses, if there was a connection, Luiz Alvarez’s name would
be at the top of that list.  The two scientists’ backgrounds were strikingly similar; both men were leaders
in the field of high frequency light waves.  When it came to science, they spoke the same language.  If
the Manhattan Project wanted somebody to debrief Schlicke, or anyone aboard U-234, about atomic
bomb development, Alvarez would have been the logical choice.  By assignment and as a close
confidant of Oppenheimer, he was one of the very few people who had a broad view and understanding of
all the aspects of the program.  By late spring 1945, when U-234 arrived on American shores with just
two months left until the Trinity Test — the first test of an atomic bomb — the detonator problem was
still unsolved and its resolution was now paramount to the success of the entire program.  Alvarez, as
the key man assigned to the problem, was in desperate need of a fusing system that could fire multiple
detonators simultaneously.  Schlicke had fuses that worked on the principles that govern light —
presumably they worked at the speed of light.

In fact, among the documents Schlicke was accompanying to Japan was a report on "the investigation of
the usability of ultraviolet (invisible) light for transmitting messages or commands and particularly for the
remote ignition of warhead fuses."   The report had been prepared based on research done from 1939
through 1941 by Hans Klumb and Bernard Koch.  In suggesting that "the ultraviolet method permits the
transmission of much more concentrated energy compared with the infra-red method," the inference is
made that infrared was also usable for similar purposes, though lower concentrations of energy made it
problematic.  Ultraviolet light, on the other hand, according to the same report, appears to have
presented its own challenges to the task because it had a "stronger absorption rate."

Certainly nothing is proven regarding Schlicke’s fuses from this independent report, but the document
appears to show that the technology could be used for controlling the type of warhead detonation Luis
Alvarez required for the plutonium bomb.  The fact that somebody named "Alvarez" was in contact with
Schlicke and apparently involved in his and others of U-234’s passengers’ interrogations, seems to be
more than a coincidence.

And the fact that "Commander Alvarez" was not actually perceived by Captain Fehler as being who he
claimed to be, provides an interesting, if subjective, observation regarding Commander Alvarez. Fehler
mentioned in his letter that Alvarez, who was his interrogating officer, "has always been correct, even
when sometimes trying to press some knowledge out of me and to threaten me in a rather primitive
way." (sic)  The statement that Alvarez was "always being correct, even when threatening in a primitive
way" seems on the face of it to be incongruent.  But if Alvarez, whoever he was, was not used to
interrogating people — as Luis Alvarez surely would not have been — if he was doing his best without
the interrogation skills required, would that not qualify as a primitive interrogation, too?  Especially if the
language in which you were describing the event — English — is your second language, as it was
Fehler’s?

But what about the identification of Alvarez as a Commander in the Navy?

General Groves supplied military identities — uniforms, ranks and papers — to scientists Robert Furman
and James Nolan, so they could escort the enriched uranium bomb cores to Tinian on board the USS
Indianapolis without raising suspicion.   Harlow Russ also recounted in his writings how a Major Vanna,
an intelligence officer responsible for the technical crew of the plutonium bomb, always carried with him
a cigar box full of rank insignias from every military service.  He passed one to each of the team of
civilian technicians to wear on their uniform-looking coveralls, so they would not be hindered by military
personnel as they concluded their secret project.   General Groves, himself, corroborated this story in
his book Now It Can Be Told, when he recounted how each civilian in the 37-man team of the First
Technical Service was required to wear a uniform with a simulated Army rank.

That Schlicke was returned to U-234 specifically to pick up the proximity fuses further seems to
substantiate that Commander Alvarez, Schlicke’s handler, and Luis Alvarez, who solved the plutonium bomb fusing problem, are one and the same.

This suggestion is also strongly supported by two factors.  First, according to Harlow Russ, who wrote in his book Project Alberta about his work on the team that assembled the plutonium bomb, two significant changes were made to the bomb design at the last minute.  One was the development and inclusion in the plutonium bomb of "detonator chimneys"  that were developed so late in the process that they were not included in the first four shipments of equipment to Tinian, the Pacific airfield from which the bombs were dropped on Japan.  The second design addition was a series of small-diameter stainless steel tubes that "vented" radiation from the plutonium core, according to Russ’s explanation, to allow the technicians to monitor activity at the core.

Russ makes a point of stating both additions were new and just in time for the Trinity Test. These modifications suggest that very late before the plutonium bomb’s use, passages were being built into the bomb that, presumably, would allow the free flow of radiation, or light waves, throughout the device. Theoretically, with these passages in place, once any one of the 64 detonators was ignited, the system allowed emitted infrared waves to travel at the speed of light through the "detonator chimneys" to the other detonators/fuses and simultaneously ignite all the fuses at the speed of light.  As a back-up plan, once any one of the firing detonators compressed the plutonium core at the center enough to achieve even a partial chain reaction, the radiation from that event would be emitted out to the detonators, again at the speed of light, and, again, simultaneously fire all of the detonators.

Given the timing of the developments, from Alvarez’s arrival on the U-234 scene, to Schlicke’s special trip to retrieve the fuses, to Alvarez’s solving the timing problem so late in the process, and Russ receiving last-minute design changes apparently initiated to provide paths for the free movement of light waves within the bomb, such a scenario certainly seems viable.

In an effort to substantiate or eliminate this theory, I tried to call Harlow Russ on the telephone at his home in Los Alamos to ask him about the detonator chimneys, venting tubes, and if, in general, there were any significant changes to the actual detonators themselves.  Unfortunately my call came too late; I was informed Mr. Russ had died in the few months between when I received from him his book and when I had developed the above scenario.

The second factor suggesting the detonators used to fire the plutonium bomb came from Dr. Schlicke is the striking success of the Trinity Test of the plutonium bomb. Trinity was "successful beyond the most optimistic expectations of anyone," wrote General Groves.   "Nearly everyone was surprised,"  Robert Serber recorded.  In his quintessential tome on the subject, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes wrote that Trinity was four times its expected yield.

What could have caused such a remarkable miscalculation by the experts?

Those who knew the problems the system was experiencing in firing all of the detonators at once by mechanical means, but were unaware that the proximity fuses were being utilized to make detonation occur at the speed of light, certainly would not have expected the profoundly superior results.  Thinking the detonation was still limited by hard-cable restrictions and physical switches, and based on tests of these systems, the scientists were expecting a much less dramatic event.  Instead, they were surprised by the power and efficiency of the explosion.  That so many who knew what the outcome of the detonation should have been were so surprised by how efficient it actually was, tends to indicate that Schlicke’s infra-red proximity fuses were used to compress the plutonium core at the speed of light.



References:

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, U-234 file, secret dispatch from chief of naval operations to Portsmouth Naval Yard, 25 May, 1945

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, transcription of a lecture given by Dr. Heinz Schlicke to the Navy Department, 19 July 1945

US Archives NARA II, Manifest of Cargo For Tokio On Board U-234, translated from German, 23 May, 1945, declassified #NND903015, NARA Date 12/11/93

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, memorandum written by Jack H. Alberti to Captain John L. Rihaldaffer, 24 May, 1945, declassified #NND903015, NARA date 12/12/91

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, secret dispatch from chief of naval operations to Portsmouth Naval Yard, 25 May, 1945

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, Report of Interrogation, U-234 POW Kay Nieschling, 24 May 1945

  Geoffrey Brooks and Wolfgang Hirschfeld, Hirschfeld: The Story of a U-boat NCO 1940-1946, pp. 212, 213

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, Report of Interrogation, U-234 POW Heinz Schlicke, Appendix V and VI, declassified #NND750122, NARA date 9/15/97

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, Report of Interrogation, U-234 POW Heinz Schlicke, Appendix V and VI, declassified #NND750122, NARA date 9/15/97

  Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 402, 513; David Irving, The German Atomic Bomb, pp. 172, 173, 230-237, 305 and elswhere throughout

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, transcription of a lecture given by Dr. Heinz Schlicke to the Navy Department, 19 July 1945

 U.S. National Archives NARA II, letter written by Luftwaffe General Ulrich Kessler, Subject: Personal Belongings — Through: Channels, 28 August 1945

  Heinrich Fehler, in an undated letter to Sharkhunters, p.2

  U.S. National Archives, Southeast Region, East Point, Ga, memorandum from N.E. Bradbury to N. Ramsey, 18 April 1945, A-84-019-82-16

  U.S. National Archives, Southeast Region, East Point, Ga, memorandum from G.B. Kistiakowsky to L. Fussell, X Units for Trinity, 6 June 1945, A-84-019-55-9; memorandum from N.F. Ramsey to J.R. Oppenheimer, W.S. Parsons and Norris Bradbury, Unsatisfactory Features of Weapons Program, 23 June 1945, A-84-019-82-25; memorandum from F. Oppenheimer to K. Greisen, D.F. Hornig, E.J. Lofgren, Rehearsals at TR, 26 June 1945; memorandum from D.F Hornig to N.E. Bradbury, Schedule of Firing Team at TR, 28 June 1945, A-84-019-55-9; memorandum from D.P. Irons to W.S. Parsons, July Kingman Schedule Revision I, 3 July 1945, A-84-019-67-7

  Robert Serber, The Los Alamos Primer, p. 60

  U.S. National Archives, Southeast Region, East Point, Ga, Minutes of Meeting on the Electric Detonator Program, p.2, 25 October 1945, A-84-019-41-11

  Glenn Seaborg, The Plutonium Story: The Journals of Professor Glenn T. Seaborg, pp. 862, 863 note

  Robert Serber, The Los Alamos Primer, p. xvii note

  Luis Alvarez, Alvarez, p. 137

  U.S. National Archives NARA II, document surrendered with U-234 titled,Verwendung ultraviolette Strahlung, FB 1598, by Hans Klumb and Bernhard Koch – N Wa 30571/44

  Max Morgan Witts and Gordon Thomas, Enola Gay, pp. 169, 170

  Harlow Russ, Project Alberta, pp. 18, 58

  Leslie Groves, Now It Can Be Told, p. 282

  Harlow Russ, Project Alberta, p. 55

  Harlow Russ, Project Alberta, pp. 55, 56,

  Leslie Groves, Now It Can Be Told, p.433

  Robert Server, The Los Alamos Primer, p. 60

  Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, p. 677