Did Hitler have a Nuclear Weapon?
There is no doubt that Nazi Germany spent a lot of time, effort and money on creating technologically superior weapons to that of the Allies, during World War 2. In fact, they started this process well before the war began, as is evident of the initial superiority of the Tiger Tank and the Messerschmitt Me109 fighter.
But what super secrets were Nazi scientists working on? It became clear after Germany surrendered that plans for the Jet engine Frank Whittle created had been stolen by Germany as these plans were found in research labs all over Germany. So what else where they up to?
Albert Einstein sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America on August 2nd 1939, outlining his fears that the Nazi's were developing a nuclear weapon. He pointed out that Germany had recently taken control of Uranium mines in Czechoslovakia and stopped the sale of the ore. A clear indication that the Nazis wanted the ore for themselves. Uranium is five hundred times more common in the Earth's crust than gold. It can be found almost everywhere in rock, rivers, oceans and soil. But the trick is to find enough of it and to find U235 which is the only Uranium that is fissile, i.e., it can sustain a fission chain reaction, which is what you need if you want an Atomic Bomb to go off and destroy a large number of people, buildings and infrastructure. Ironically, some of the best minds of the day were actually German Jews who had escaped Nazi Germany before the war started. These men and women contributed significantly to the Allied effort, The Manhattan Project, to create the first Nuclear Bomb.
But did Hitler actually get there first?
German historian Rainer Karlsch wrote a book in 2005 suggesting that the Nazis actually tested a Nuclear weapon near the small town of Ohrdruf in Germany. This is disputed by some historians but others have pointed to limited evidence.
However, what is not in dispute is the fact that the Nazi's were developing experimental aircraft and one of them had stealth capabilities. The Horten 229, or Ho 229, was developed by the Nazis, but Germany surrendered before it could go into mass production. The Americans, during Operation Paperclip, found the site where the Ho 229 was being developed. Parts and Blueprints were shipped to America after the war for analysis. Recently the same company that makes the USAF B2 stealth bomber built a replica of the Ho 229. Amazingly, during tests, they discovered that flying at a few dozen feet above the English Channel the Radar stations of the time would not have detected the aircraft. It could have slipped past the RAF and dropped a Nuclear Bomb on London.
So, if the war had continued for another year or so, would the outcome have been very different. According to many historians it would. The Nazi's may have beaten the Allies to create the first Atomic Bomb as fictional books such as Operation Werewolf tell and they may have won the war with it. If so, the world would have been a very different place.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2011