A BOOK FROM BERLINFebruary 28, 2011
I just received a book from Berlin, from my German publisher Thomas Kirschner of Mosquito Verlag. This one has me mightily intrigued, for it's titled Fuer und Wider "Hitlers Bombe": Studien zur Atomforschung in Deutschland, One can guess at the nature of the book with the words "Hitler's Bomb" but the bland subtitle, "Studies in Atomic Research in Germany" does not quite say everything that is in the book. Having just received the book I obviously haven't started to read it, but I have, of course, glanced at the table of contents, and...the cover, which is depicted above.
At first I thought, "Gee, what's a badly-executed 'eye of Horus' doing on the cover of a book about the Nazi a-bomb?" Well, sure, the Eye of Horus is also sometimes the Eye of Ra, and Ra is a sun-god, and ...well, you get the nuclear connection. But why was the eye all blood-shot? I looked closed, and suddenly realized I wasn't looking at the eye of Horus/Ra at all, but at the simplified schematic of an implosion detonator for an atomic bomb! And the bloodshot eye? The wave-fronts driving the clearly depicted core inward upon itself into supercriticality.
But the real surprises came when I opened the book. One of the first things I always do is to read the table of contents as it lets me see the general shape of the book's argument. Well, if the actual text of the book is anything like the hints dropped in the table of contents, this one is going to be a doozy. The book itself is a collection of short papers edited by Prof. Rainer Karlsch, divided up into topics raised by post-reunification German researchers concerning the actual state of Nazi atomic bomb research during the war. As anyone who has read my book Reich of the Black Sun will recall, I mentioned two possible Nazi atomic tests...one in October 1944 in the Baltic near the Island of Ruegen, and the other in March 1945 near the troop parade ground of Ohrdruf, a test that posed special problems, not the least of which was the very low critical mass allegedly used for the device, a mass so low that it inevitably implied - if it was successful and an actual atomic test - that the Nazis had pressed the enrichment of isotopes to very extreme degrees, and that they had also pressed the concept of "boosting" to a high degree as well.
A mere glance at the book's table of contents has me salivating: Karlsch himself begins the collection of papers with one entitled "Was gesschah in Maerz 1945? Dokumente and Zeugenaussagen zu den Tests auf dem Truppenuebungsplatz Ohrdruf", What Was Seen in March, 1945? Documents and Witness Testimony Concerning the Tests on the Troop Parade Ground at Orhdruf. This is followed in chapter three by a paper from Vladimir Mineev and Alexander Funtikov entitled "Physikalische Analysen zur Energiefreisetzung bei den deutschen Atomtests von 1945", Physical Analysis of the Liberation of Energy during the German Atomic Tests of 1945. Yet another caught my eye: Heiko Petermann's "Unvergleichbar? Die Luftbildanalysen von White Sands und Ohrdruff" or No Comparison? The Analysis of Aerial Pictures from White Sands and Ohrdruf. And finally, one that literally leaped off the page was Wolfgang Ebsen's paper The Interrogation Report of Rudolf zinsser: Why didn't the American President Fly to London at the End of 1944?
Clearly the Germans are taking the story of wartime atomic research very seriously, and are continuing to raise disturbing questions about the postwar Allied Legend. One might even go so far as to say that this is a kind of "history" or "culture" war, a war over telling the truth - no matter how unpleasant it may be - concerning the strange end of the war in Europe. There will, of course, be a deafening silence to this book on this side of the Atlantic... but such wars are not won with silence or ever-more-studied repetitions of the same old legend. While scholars on this side of the Atlantic are writing books on whether Heisenberg did, or did not, sabotage the Nazi atom bomb, the Germans, Poles, and Russians are unearthing new documents, aerial reconnaissance photographs, and numerous other types of data to recount - to their satisfaction - what was really happening in, and to, their countries during World War Two at the hands of the Nazi regime.
This is not a story that will go away, try as people on this side of the Atlantic may to make it do so....