Germany's Nuclear Weapons

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That National Socialist Germany had a nuclear weapons programme which was ultimately unsuccessful.


It has been said that the man behind the independent German atomic research programme was Dr. Wilhelm Ohnesorge (1872-1962). He had obtained a Doctorate in mathematics and physics, but chose to pursue a career as an engineer in the new fields of telegraphy and telephony. He had an inventive mind and one of his several patents, the four-wire trunking switchgear, became used world-wide. During The Great War he served at the Kaiser's General HQ as Chief of Telegraphy. By 1929 he was President of the Reichspost Central headquarters at Berlin Templehof; in 1933 he became Secretary of State for the Post Office; and in 1937 Reichspostminister, a position he retained until May 1945. The Post Office had a large budget for research, part of which was now allocated to an atomic development programme for which Ohnesorge had a particular interest. As the programme developed Baron (Freiherr) Professor Manfred von Ardenne was particularly enthusiastic and he had discussed it at length with the great physicist Max Planck. He also reported to Ohnessorge towards the end of 1939 on the enormity of Professor Otto Hahn's discoveries including the splitting of the uranium nucleus. In addition, writing in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung on 15 August 1939 the theoretical physicist Dr. Siegfried Flugge spelt out a summary of The Use of Atomic Energy.[1]

Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker[2], the Professor of Physics who died in April 2007, was the last surviving member of the team which attempted to develop atomic weapons for National Socialist Germany during World War II. He had been a protégé of Werner Heisenberg who headed Germany's nuclear programme.[3] Weizsacker attended the crucial meeting at Army Headquarters in September 1939 which launched the German atomic weapons project. (After the war Weizsacker became a pacifist.)[4]

To this day, there is a degree of disjointed secrecy surrounding National Socialist Germany’s nuclear weapons program, which had commenced in 1939.[5] The United States Army had captured Weizsacker's laboratory at Strassburg and stole all his papers[6].

Several revisionist books have argued that National Socialist Germany actually succeeded in developing and testing the prototypes of a small nuclear device as well as a delivery system, the long-range A9/A10 missile whose characteristics and capabilities were comparable to the later U.S. Titan II. Tests are stated to have occurred on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea and in Ohrdruf in Thuringia. The first is stated to have occurred on 12 October 1944.[7][8] Several hundred people (mostly from a nearby concentration camp) who were used as support personnel are stated to have been killed by one of the tests. This has been argued to have caused those involved in these tests to not speak openly about their work due to fear of being accused of war crimes.[7] These tests were several months before the American test that occurred on 16 July 1945.


They took me to a concrete bunker with an aperture of exceptionally thick glass. There was a slight tremor in the bunker; a sudden, blinding flash, and then a thick cloud of smoke. It took the shape of a column and then that of a big flower.

The officials there told me we had to remain in the bunker for several hours because of the effects of the bomb. When we eventually left, they made us put on a sort of coat and trousers which seemed to me to be made of asbestos and we went to the scene of the explosion.

The effects were tragic. The trees around had been turned to carbon. No leaves. Nothing alive. There were some animals - sheep - in the area and they too had been burnt to cinders.

From Italian war correspondent Luigi Romersa who visited German weapons production facilities as an envoy of Mussolini. He stated he witnessed a nuclear weapon test on October 12, 1944, on the island of Reugen in the Baltic.[9]

On March 4, 1945, Clare Werner was standing on a hillside in Thuringian, Germany. Not too far away was the military training base near the town of Ohrdruf. Unexpectedly there was a flash of light. "I suddenly saw something," she said, " ... it was as bright as hundreds of bolts of lightning, red on the inside and yellow on the outside, so bright you could've read the newspaper. It all happened so quickly, and then we couldn't see anything at all. We just noticed there was a powerful wind..., from Hitler's Bombe by Rainer Karlsch.

See also


  • Brooks, Geoffrey, Hitler's Nuclear Weapons, Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword Books, London, 1992, ISBN: 0-85052-344-3
  • Ardenne, Manfred von, Ein Gluckliches Leben fur Forschung und Technik, Verlag der Nation, East Berlin, 1972.
  • Hermann, Armin, Heisenberg, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek, 1976.
  • Irving, David, The German Atomic Bomb, Da Capo Press, New York; published in England as The Virus House, William Kimber books, London, 1967.

External links



  1. Brooks, 1992, pps:94-5 and 99-101.
  2. Son of Baron (Freiherr) Ernst von Weizsacker who was Secretary of State at the German Foreign Office 1938-1943.
  3. Heisenberg received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932. He was Head of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Leipzig 1932-1941.
  4. The Daily Telegraph newspaper, London, 30th April 2007, Obituary.
  5. Nazi nuclear waste from Hitler's secret A-bomb programme found in mine
  6. Telegraph, 30 Apr 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 German Nuclear "Wunderwaffen" in 1945? [Dead link]
  8. Hitler A-bomb
  9. I saw Nazis test A-bomb, says author, rewriting history