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Did Nazi Germany explode a nuclear bomb in its last days?

A German historian has claimed in a new book that Nazi scientists successfully tested a tactical nuclear weapon in the last months of World War II.

Rainer Karlsch said that new research in Soviet and also Western archives, along with measurements carried out at one of the test sites, provided evidence for the existence of the weapon.

"The important thing in my book is the finding that the Germans had an atomic reactor near Berlin which was running for a short while, perhaps some days or weeks," he told the BBC.

"The second important finding was the atomic tests carried out in Thuringia and on the Baltic Sea."

Mr Karlsch describes what the Germans had as a "hybrid tactical nuclear weapon" much smaller than those dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

'Bright light'

He said the last test, carried out in Thuringia on 3 March 1945, destroyed an area of about 500 sq m, killing several hundred prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates.

The weapons were never used because they were not yet ready for mass production. There were also problems with delivery and detonation systems.

"We haven't heard about this before because only small groups of scientists were involved, and a lot of the documents were classified after they were captured by the Allies," said Karlsch.

"I found documents in Russian and Western archives, as well as in private German ones."

One of these is a memo from a Russian spy, brought to the attention of Stalin just days after the last test. It cites "reliable sources" as reporting "two huge explosions" on the night of 3 March.

Karlsch also cites German eyewitnesses as reporting light so bright that for a second it was possible to read a newspaper, accompanied by a sudden blast of wind.

The eyewitnesses, who were interviewed on the subject by the East German authorities in the early 1960s, also said they suffered nose-bleeds, headaches, and nausea for days afterwards.

Karlsch also pointed to measurements carried out recently at the test site that found radioactive isotopes.

Sceptical response

His book has provoked huge interest in Germany, but also scepticism.

It has been common knowledge for decades that the Nazis carried out atomic experiments, but it has been widely believed they were far from developing an atomic bomb.

"The eyewitnesses he puts forward are either unreliable or they are not reporting first-hand information; allegedly key documents can be interpreted in various ways," said the influential news weekly Der Spiegel.

"Karlsch displays a catastrophic lack of understanding of physics," wrote physicist Michael Schaaf, author of a previous book about Nazi atomic experiments, in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

"Karlsch has done us a service in showing that German research into uranium went further than we'd thought up till now, but there was not a German atom bomb," he added.

It has also been pointed out that the United States employed thousands of scientists and invested billions of dollars in the Manhattan Project, while Germany's "dirty bomb" was allegedly the work of a few dozen top scientists who wanted to change the course of the war.

Karlsch himself acknowledged that he lacked absolute proof for his claims, and said he hoped his book would provoke further research.

But in a press statement for the book launch, he is defiant.

"It's clear there was no master plan for developing atom bombs. But it's also clear the Germans were the first to make atomic energy useable, and that at the end of this development was a successful test of a tactical nuclear weapon."


More on Nazi Weapons

Did Hitler have an atom bomb?
Nazi Superguns: Karl Gerat: Used in Warsaw Uprising...
Nazi Superguns: Schwerer Gustav and Dora
The Nazi scientist who made the V-2: Wernher von Braun
Nazi Secret Weapons: Wind Cannon: WindKanone
Nazi Germany's Secret Weapons and crafts: The 'UFO' Haunebu


Simon Gunson said...

Critics miss the point that Nazi hollow charge explosives experts Schumann & Trinks produced a workable patent for tactical nuclear weapons as early as 1941. The fact these were workable patents is underscored by the fact USA copied them to produce the Swan device in 1956. The German tactical nuke is said to have required only 250 grams of HEU per bomb and that was in fact quite achievable with cyclotrons.

These tactical nukes created Deuteron Beams by crushing Deuterium and Lithium against fissile Uranium at very high temperatures and pressures with conventional explosives to mimic the effect of a critical mass.

If Uranium in it's warhead gets a rush of neutrons bombarding it as potent as the rush of neutrons in a larger critical mass warhead it will explode just the same way but with less overall power. Gentner & Bothe working with a cyclotron in Paris were quite capable of enriching 250g of U235 several times per year.

There is evidence from declassified Japanese diplomatic signals (Stockholm to Tokyo, No. 232.9 December 1944, National Archives, RG 457, declassified 1st October, 1978) that such tactical nukes were used against the Soviets. Indeed the reason that so much remains classified today appears to be that in 1944 the Americans entered negotiations with Hitler on the basis that the Western Allies would join Germany in a fight against Bolshevism. Whilst that may just have been a ploy, Stalin was paranoid. It may very well have caused the Cold War.

Karlsch has revealed enough to make plausible the claims in Japanese diplomatic signals.

Anonymous said...

In the Last days of WW2 the German Navy had 24 submarines around coast of USA. The carried basic missile launch equipment for the use of working Red Mercury Dirty Bomb missiles.
The reason they werent launched was because Admiral donitz ordered the German navy to give themselfs up to the allied fleet.
there were no more German navy bases as allies took them.
So in the last few days of war the germans subs surrendered.
24 submarines with basic nukes were hidden from history once again by allies.

Why do you think 2 great armys faught in the desert ? That was the germans testing ground for nuclea weapons.
Not much profit in arbas sand camels and numerous flies huh :)

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Quotes about war....

"War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man."
--Napoleon Hill

"We have failed to grasp the fact that mankind is becoming a single unit, and that for a unit to fight against itself is suicide."
--Havelock Ellis

'Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
--Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
--George McGovern

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
--Joseph Stalin

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
--Voltaire, War

In war, truth is the first casualty.
-- Aeschylus

"The ability and inclination to use physical strength is no indication of bravery or tenacity to life. The greatest cowards are often the greatest bullies. Nothing is cheaper and more common than physical bravery."
--Clarence Darrow, Resist Not Evil

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
--Adolf Hitler

"To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization."
--George Orwell

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."
--Bertrand Russell

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
--Francis Meehan

Snippets From History

German Soldiers in Russia: Part 1

Hubert Menzel was a major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers, the German Army headquarters), and for him the idea of invading the Soviet Union in 1941 had the smack of cold, clear logic to it: 'We knew that in two years' time, that is by the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, the English would be ready, the Americans would be ready, the Russians would be ready too, and then we would have to deal with all three of them at the same time.... We had to try to remove the greatest threat from the East.... At the time it seemed possible.'

Battle for Berlin, 1945

'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. 'They weren't human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.'


Berlin after it fell to the Russians, 1945

"Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror of the whole event, when he tells how he took personal revenge on German soldiers: 'I can admit it now, I was in such a state, I was in such a frenzy. I said, 'Bring them here for an interrogation' and I had a knife, and I cut him. I cut a lot of them. I thought, 'You wanted to kill me, now it's your turn.'
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Dramatic Pictures: Battle For Stalingrad
"...Effective command no longer possible... further defense senseless. Collapse inevitable. Army requests immediate permission to surrender in order to save lives of remaining troops."
General Paulus' radio message to Hitler on January 24, 1943

"...Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty at Stalingrad until the last man, the last bullet..."

Hitler's response to General Friedrich Paulus' request to withdraw from the city


Points To Ponder....

The fall of France was shocking. It reduced France to virtually a non-player in the Second World War. The efforts of Charles de Gualle were more symbolic than material. But the martial instincts of the French must never be doubted. Under Napoleon they were a formidable military power. The French definitely have more iron in their blood then say, the Italians [I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. War never makes sense]


Bias Of Western Historians

Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany.

It can hardly be called mere 'resistance'! If it hadn't been for the Russians, Hitler would have made mincemeat of British forces in Africa and landed on British shores in no time. Hitler attacked Russia first because it had more land and resources than Britain. It is as simple as that.

Eastern Front: Bias Of Western Historians