Skip to main content

A few months ago, I found an old paperback book called Skis Against the Atom by Captain Knut Haukelid (London:  William Kimber and Company, 1954) and bought it.  As a lifelong skier with a father who served in the original US ski troops, the 10th Mountain Division, in WWII, I felt that I had to pick it up.  It is the memoir of a Norwegian soldier who fled Norway to England when the Germans occupied his country and then returned after training to commit sabotage and organize the resistance in his home country, far behind enemy lines.  Captain Haukelid was one of the soldiers who committed what some call the most successful act of sabotage in WWII:  they blew up the heavy water manufacturing facility in Vemork near the Rjukan Falls in the Telemark region and, later, destroyed the store of heavy water that it had produced while it was en route to Germany.  This small group stopped the Nazis from building an atomic bomb.

The 60 MW Vemork hydroelectric power station was built by Norsk Hydro in 1934, the first commercial plant capable of producing heavy water, a byproduct of fertilizer production. Just before the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, the Deuxième Bureau (French military intelligence) removed the store of heavy water from the plant with the permission of Norsk Hydro.  Eventually, the heavy water was transported to England.

As the Allies knew that the Germans were still producing heavy water at Vemork, they were anxious to stop the process and eliminate their capacity to produce the components of a possible atomic weapon.  The first attempt met with disaster.  On November 19, 1942 the British launched a glider attack on Rjukan with two gliders and two tow planes, 34 men in all. Both gliders and one of the two planes crashed in bad weather with 9 killed on impact in one glider, 3 in another.  The other 22 soldiers were captured by the Nazis and shot, after being tortured.

The second attempt occurred on the night of February 27-28, 1943 and was a successful commando raid on the electrolysis plant at Vemork.  Two parties of Norwegian soldiers, 10 men in all, trained as commandos and saboteurs, had been parachuted into Norway and hid in the Hardanger Vidda region in hunting cabins, living off the land in the dead of winter.  They skied to the plant and entered from the unprotected rear of the complex, descending into a ravine, fording an icy river, and climbing a steep hill until they reached a railway track that led straight into the plant.  They met no guards or sentries and entered the main basement through a cable tunnel.  Inside the plant, they encountered the Norwegian caretaker who cooperated with them, the only person they encountered on the raid.  They placed explosive charges on the heavy water electrolysis chambers, lit a long fuse, and escaped, leaving a British Sten submachine gun behind to fool the Nazis into thinking the sabotage was done by British forces and not by the local resistance, an attempt to avoid reprisals.  All the heavy water produced during the German occupation, over 1,100 pounds, was destroyed along with equipment critical to the operation of the electrolysis chambers.   There were no casualties. Although the Nazis mobilized 3000 soldiers to search the area, all of the saboteurs escaped, with five of them skiing 400 kilometers to Sweden and two traveling to Oslo to assist the Milorg, the Norwegian underground military operation.

However, by April the plant was operational again and the US Army Air Force began a series of raids on Vemork.  In November, the plant was attacked by a massed daylight bombing raid of 143 B-17 heavy bombers which dropped 711 bombs, at least 600 of which missed the plant.  Twenty two “mostly women and children” died when one bomb hit a shelter.  There was minimal damage to the plant and it continued to produce heavy water.  [In everything I have read about air warfare, bombing has never been anything that could be described as “surgical” and the effects on civilian populations have not been demoralization but more determination to fight against an enemy that would target non-combats.  If we recognize the courage of the people of England during the Battle of Britain and the V-2 raids, why do we think the Germans or the Vietnamese or anyone else would be so different?]  Because of the bombing campaign, the Nazis decided to to abandon the plant and move the remaining stock of heavy water and critical components back to Germany in 1944.

Captain Haukelid, who was still active in the area, learned of the Nazi plans and was ordered to destroy the shipment.  He decided to sabotage the ferry carrying the cargo across Lake Tinnsjö and on Sunday, February 20 1944, a day purposefully chosen to minimize civilian casualties, he and his team blew up the ferry.  A secondary commando party was waiting in Heröya if he failed and submarines were stationed in the Skagerrak as a further fail safe.  Eighteen people were killed on the ferry, twenty-nine survived. The dead included 8 German soldiers, the crew of 7, and 3 passengers. "Some of the Norwegian rescuers felt that the Germans should not be saved, but this attitude did not prevail and four German soldiers were saved."

The destruction of the Nazi heavy water capability cost the lives of 34 British commandos, 22 Norwegian women and children in Vemork, and 18 people on the Tinnsjö ferry.  Whether they knew it or not, these 74 people were casualties in the first nuclear war.  Looking back from this distance, I was surprised that such an important victory cost so few lives, even though each one of them was an incalculable loss.

In his memoir, Captain Knut Haukelid wrote about a failed attempt to shoot a reindeer for food in deep winter:  "Hunting is like war in that there is only one standard of success.  Either one wins the war or one loses it.  Either one gets the meat or one doesn’t.”  These heroes of Telemark won their war.

Originally posted to gmoke on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers and History for Kossacks.


More history?

95%2572 votes
0%13 votes
0%4 votes
1%38 votes
0%11 votes
0%9 votes
1%42 votes
0%10 votes

| 2700 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  while heroic and necessary (127+ / 0-)

    my understanding of the latest research is that the Nazi atomic team grossly miscalculated the size and weight of a potential atomic bomb, apparently not really comprehending the difference between a nuclear reactor and a nuclear bomb. Sounds crazy, I know, but when we snatched up as many of their atomic guys as we could before the Russians got them, our investigators were stunned by how the Germans (who started before the Allied program) had taken a blind alley to nowhere. The screw-up was so astounding that some historians have even argued that the German scientists were sabotaging the program as no one could be that stupid. Maybe, though there were plenty of engineering mistakes by everybody during the war. But the raid on the heavy water plant was certainly an act of great courage and daring, and no one knew how close the Germans were until Germany itself was overrun.

    "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

    by Reston history guy on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:15:54 PM PDT

    •  I was just about to post something less detailed (36+ / 0-)

      My reading had them nowhere near completion, though the detail  of the size wasn't in my reading.

      Nevertheless, London had no way of knowing where they were, much less how they would progress. The heavy-water raid was brave and certainly set them back

      •  The great physicist Werner Heisenberg (7+ / 0-)

        kept the Nazis from making an atomic bomb.

        He had met with Neils Bohr just prior to Bohr's escape to England and participation in the Trinity Project. They agreed that this bomb was a game changer and threat to human life. Heisenberg organized the Nazi project so that it had no chance for success.

        These two sabotages of the heavy water operations provided Heisenberg with the excuses he needed to excuse main project delays and put off Albert Speer and Hitler, who knew coming in that an atomic explosion would produce a staggering release of energy.

        If anything, however, keeping the top Nazis from learning about plutonium was the critical success point. A famous meeting between Heisenberg and Speer in June of 1942 initiated the Nazi bomb project. Subsequent meetings went ahead through 1944.

        They had shaped-charge technology well in hand, so building explosive lenses to detonate plutonium would have taken at most a few months. But then -- and a mircle that it succeeded -- Heisenberg concealed the existence of plutonium, a by-product of running the project's first reactor. His meetings with Speer, Hitler, and the money managers never ever mentioned plutonium. Ignorance of plutonium extended to the Nazis and to the other physicists in Nazi controlled Europe.

        If the Nazis had known about plutonium in early 1943, they could likely have built a bomb in 1944. Maybe prior to D-Day on June 6th. Give Hitler an atomic bomb and he would have used it immediately.

        Save the whole world from tyranny? Not a whole lot of guys get a chance to do that. And Werner Heisenberg would have been tortured and shot if the Nazis had discovered his cover-up. Thankfully they were authoritarians to an extreme. They never said word one to his staff or the Nazi officials on site, who had taken the usual lip-zipping security oaths.

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

        by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:27:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Enjoyed your comments again today waterstreet. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmoke, waterstreet2013

          I can't fact check your ideas to know if you are a genius or a lying anarchist or both.  But your commentary always seems insightful in a way that I find compelling.  I appreciate the contribution you make to DKos.

          Mmmmm. Sprinkles. - H.J. Simpson.

          by ten canvassers on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:16:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            llywrch, gmoke

            I got interested in this working out a Berkeley, supporting the first supercomputer. This is standard mainstream history.

            Right after the war the Allies' scientists looked at what Heisenberg had assigned his team to do and concluded they were dunces.

            You had to go back to August 1939 and the letter to Roosevelt to see the terror shared by Bohr, Wheeler, and Heisenberg. Then in March of 1941 before Pearl Harbor, Americans discovered that plutonium was a candidate for bomb production. No one alive today knows when Heisenberg's team discovered the same element. They promptly "forgot" it. Screwing around with heavy water and a uranium plate reactor burned 3 years with no results.

            August 6, 1945, the one and only uranium bomb destroyed Hiroshima. August 9th the first plutonium bomb took out Nagasaki.

            After the war the Wolf Pack SS fanatics were still a nasty problem out of Bavaria. Between the Brits and Bethe, a solid cover story was put together. Heisenberg got his perfect job running Max Planck -- he already had his Novel from 1932 -- all's well that ends well.

            "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

            by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 11:55:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, Heisenberg, though not a Nazi (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Krypto, gmoke

          himself, was a militant German patriot who would not have deliberately sabotaged the German A-bomb project.

          The German effort was undermined by a combination of factors, including the loss of many top scientists due to Hitler's racial fanaticism, crucial miscalculations of such things as the neutron cross-section of uranium (its likelihood of absorbing neutrons, which affected both the likelihood of fission and, in the case of U-238, the production of plutonium) and relentless infighting between the Wehrmacht and the SS over control of the program. Loss of the Norsk Hydro plant's heavy-water production was just one more blow. Given time, the Nazis could have designed and built a graphite-moderated reactor instead, as the U.S. did--but thankfully they were not given the time.

          •  German bomb (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Krypto, gmoke, Katannah

            Ultimately, the biggest reason for the failure of the German atomic bomb effort was academic stubbornness. In order to sustain a chain reaction in a nuclear reactor, a "moderator" is required. It is a material that slows neutrons from one fission so they can be captured by another Uranium atom. Very early on, it was decided that Heavy water was the only substance that would do. The alternative was Carbon and that was excluded by Nazi scientists.

            The US used Carbon in the Hanford reactors which were used to produce the Plutonium that was used in the Nagasaki bomb. Uranium-235 was used in The Hiroshima a bomb.

            A variety of methods were tried to separate the U-235 from U-238. We did a startup at the US Navy Yard in Philadelphia, using a method called Thermal Diffusion. Not very efficient, but some of the product was used for further development at Oak Ridge. At Oak Ridge, a gaseous diffusion plant was built for the same purpose. It is little known but virtually all of the Silver stock at Ft. Knox was "loaned" to the Manhattan Project, and it was used at Oak Ridge in the Gaseous Diffusion plant. The final product was produced in "calutrons" using a magnetic separation not unlike a mass spectrometer. The gas centirfuges used now were not available then.

            Japan was never even close. At the Riken Institute, where the work was done, there was never enough money, and only the thermal diffusion method of separating U-235 and U-238 was used. There were fires and other setbacks. It really did not go very far.

            Late in the war, Germany shipped some U-235 to Japan in a newly invented submarine that used Hydrogen Peroxide as an oxidant, so it could remain submerged for most of the voyage. The end of the war intervened, as I recall.

            •  Thanks for expanding on this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Krypto, gmoke

     might not have noticed that this is a diary that is a few days old.  In general, that means most discussion on this topic has probably fallen away, so your very helpful comment is less likely to garner a lot of attention.

              Here's hoping you find other, more current diaries that interest you and are able to engage with other users while the conversations are still fresh.

              Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.
              ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 04:28:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Germans' a-bomb project (0+ / 0-)

            I remember a chemistry teacher who said that the Germans' overlooking of graphite as a moderator was commented on by a junior working at their plant and his input was ignored due to his inferior position.  Does this seem true?  I believed it at the time. (1960)

        •  The rest of this story is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That the Germans goofed by designing their reactor to use heavy water for a moderator. Had they done as Fermi did - use graphite as the moderator - they could have built a working reactor over night. In the 70s I tried to demonstrate that Heisenberg had purposely gone down the heavy water route to sabotage the German bomb project. however, I was never able to unearth any convincing evidence at that time. If anything has emerged since then, I'd be delighted to know about it.

          The 99% are watching.

          by unclejohn on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:33:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Still Controversial (0+ / 0-)

          Heisenberg's role in the non-development of a German atomic bomb during WWII remains controversial today.  The latest I recall seeing was  Whatever Heisenberg was about, it's pretty well accepted by now that (a) heavy water was an unproductive dead end and (b) Germany would have been nowhere near developing atomic weapons in any case.

          Nevertheless, as the top post points out, the Allies had no idea where the Nazis were with this and the raid remains a monumental act of bravery.

          As for "a handful of guys who saved the world from Hitler" stories go, my favorite is the one in "A Man Called Intrepid", about how a few MI5 nerds in a London cellar, despairing of convincing Stalin that he was about to be doublecrossed, succeeded, with the help of psychological analyses of Hitler's personality, in sabotaging the diplomatic channels between Germany and Yugoslavia in order to delay Operation Barbarossa by six weeks, causing Hitler to miss the last bus to Leningrad and Moscow.  I have no idea how true this tale really is, but the notion that a few beanie-heads with slide rules as weapons might have won WWII is just too delicious to ignore.

    •  I read something similar (42+ / 0-)

      An editor for Jane's Defence looked into the Nazi atomic program (Nick Cook, The Hunt for Zero Point, for the most part a history of failed attempts to use heterodox physics to build advanced aircraft and so on, but he also ran into the Nazi bomb stuff) and found that they were going down the wrong trail, with all manner of bizarre and obscure apparatus that couldn't have possibly led to an atomic bomb.  

      It seemed to me that the Nazis' captive scientists (a bunch of whom were later taken out and shot) had been attempting to get thorium fission to work, not realizing that while thorium can be used in a reactor, it can't be used to make a bomb.  Or perhaps they knew it, and were attempting to sabotage the bomb program by getting deliberately stuck in a dead end, that would be just tantalizing enough to the Nazi regime to keep it going (and getting nowhere).

      Do you have any references or links to what you read?

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:34:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i should mention, re. bizarre apparatus... (29+ / 0-)

        ...One of the things Cook found was the ruins of an underground complex where Nazi nuclear experiments took place.

        One of the devices found, was described as "the bell," presumably a bell-shaped crucible or reactor.  Another was described as something that could be spun at high speed but was not exactly a centrifuge.  

        Some of these things appear to be related to various threads of heterodox physics that became parts of late 1950s - early 1960s attempts at advanced propulsion, and even "antigravity" lifting devices, one of which was depicted in an aerospace company's publicity materials at the time.  Cook found that none of this ever bore fruit, but his search for the various threads of it makes an interesting read none the less.

        Nazi nuclear experiments were described where various plants and animals were placed in a shielded room and subjected to the effects of some of these devices.  From which I would infer that the goal was to see if any of the devices or combinations of materials produced an increase in ionizing radiation output that would have effects on organisms.  

        It's possible that the assumption was that stepping up the radiation output was essential to working toward a bomb, but the increases sought were subtle enough to not be detectable with instruments. Or alternately, that a successful outcome would produce, among other effects, a sudden flash of ionizing radiation that would kill all of the organisms that were exposed to it.

        Alternately it's possible that some of those efforts were intended to produce a radioactive dispersal device (RDD), today commonly known as a "dirty bomb," to weaken its victims with radiation sickness.

        It's probable that the US and Russia each have large collections of scientific material including interviews with captured scientists, that would shed further light on what was going on there.  But much of this material is probably still classified, on the basis that some of it could lead to additional approaches to WMD.  Since the US and USSR had successful atomic and thermonuclear programs, those "roads not taken" would not have been worth additional major research efforts, but it would still have been worthwhile to keep the material classified to prevent nuclear proliferation.

        Perhaps at some point all of that stuff will be released, and the scientific history of the Nazi atomic program can be written with most of the presently-remaining ambiguities resolved.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 02:45:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ironic but a nuclear reactor, U-boat suitable, (13+ / 0-)

        might have been an innovation with far more usefulness for Germany than a bigger bomb. It was the vulnerability of surfaced U-boats to radar-guided air attacks that sealed the Battle of the Atlantic.

        The range and under-water speeds even a very crude nuclear reactor would have allowed U-boats would have been far more a threat to allied victory than a one-off bomb.

    •  Among other things, they were fooled by (22+ / 0-)

      impurities in the graphite they were using in their own version of the "pile" used by Fermi in verifying the fission cross-section of U-235. Fermi's people had run into the same problem, traces of cadmium were in the carbon they used at first if I remember correctly. With purified carbon their measurements corresponded with theory better and they had confidence to proceed. I think the cadmium came from cadmium-plated steel used in some part of the forming process for the graphite blocks. Not sure what impurities the Germans had, just that they didn't realize it was impurities causing the problem and not an insufficiently large fission cross section in U-235.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:48:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Traces of boron (16+ / 0-)

        Cadmium is also a good neutron absorber, but raw graphite tends to be contaminated with small amounts of boron (graphite is processed by depositing it onto boron electrodes). As a result, their computations showed that they could not make a Fermi-style atomic pile using carbon/graphite.

        Leo Szilard, the physicist who made that measurement for the Allies, was rather "AR" (as well as a chemical engineer), procured the purest graphite to be found, measured a very much smaller neutron capture/cross-section, and so Fermi built his pile using graphite.

        •  Thanks, I found that a little while ago. (7+ / 0-)

          I think I read about our program mostly in the book by Rhodes a couple of decades ago. I still seem to remember some problem with cadmium, maybe it had something to do with the processing of the uranium used in the pile? Oh well...

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 05:00:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ...? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gmoke, confitesprit, billmosby, llywrch

            When the piles at Hanford were built, they were built with extra room for additional core material (~ 30%). Once they were built and started, they tended to 'chug' -- they'd run at high power for a while, then they'd slow down quite a bit, and then they'd start back up.

            The cause was that the fissioning uranium created a number of isotopes that absorbed neutrons aggressively. Fortunately, they were radioactive w/ short half-lives, and once they decayed, the reactor would start producing more power.  IIRC, a radioactive Xenon isotope was the prime cause, but there were probably others, likely including cadmium.

            In this case, the extra 30% turned out to be needed, as the extra core was filled and used and could then offset the chugging due to the neutron-absorbing fission products.

            That also meant, however, that the control rods needed more active control than anticipated -- as the poisoning proceeded, the control rods needed to come out to keep the reactor going at design power.  (These rods are most often made of cadmium alloys.)

            •  Absolutely right, with one addition- (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gmoke, llywrch

              Xenon 135 is also a burnable poison. As it absorbs neutrons it becomes something else which is not an effective absorber. So first it decays, letting a little rise in the neutron population and resultant increase in fission occur, which burns off a bit more than the inherent Xe 135 decay rate, and that progresses until the Xe 135 level drops to where it suddenly can't limit the rising fission rate anymore. Actually the whole process is continuous and is an exponential function of time. At some point the fission reaction might start to increase faster than the control rods can be moved in to control the process. That was the main cause of the explosion at Chernobyl if I remember correctly.

              Moderation in most things.

              by billmosby on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:39:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What is AR (0+ / 0-)

          WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

          by ruthhmiller on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:26:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  close (6+ / 0-)

      they knew how big it could be, they misstated the scale
      of the effort.

      however they were never working on more then
      a reactor effort

    •  Actually, some of the scientists were sandbagging. (29+ / 0-)

      The handling of the project was so inept that some of them were amazed to find the Werner Heisenberg, who led the project, was really trying to build a bomb.
        Apparently the Nazi scientists started with a rough estimate of how much fissionable material they needed, and never actually did the calculation to get the actual answer...which was much lower than their estimates.
         On the basis of one flawed experiment, they decided that carbon would not be effective as a damper for a nuclear reactor, so they conducted experiments using heavy water as the damper - which led to Heisenberg coming close to setting off a nuclear explosion within the city of Berlin.
        Most egregiously, rather than having a centralized program, they relied on research done by scientists in universities scattered around the Reich, some of who carefully husbanded their resources, so that they never got enough fissionable material to one location to build a bomb.
        Finally, the whole works was under the jurisdiction of the post office department.

      •  I think I've heard that too. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmoke, confitesprit

        I can't remember where though, the third reich wasn't my area of concentration.

      •  Nonsense (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NYFM, petral, gmoke

        The Nazis never even came close to manufacturing enough "pure" U-235 to come close to creating a nuclear "explosion."

        It's not a question of "getting enough fissionable material," rather it is a question of getting the ratio of U-235/U-238 high enough, which is 90%+.

        That's why Iranian enrichment is not nearly as dangerous as RW nutjobs like to claim it is. Getting to levels appropriate for a nuclear reactor is relatively easy. Getting to nuclear bomb levels is not.

        The fact of the matter is that Hitler did not put much resources behind making an atomic bomb and that is the main reason they never came close.

      •  When George Patton and Third Army (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmoke, llywrch

        got busy reorganizing German science, post-war, they had protection of Werner Heisenberg on their top priority list.

        The guys at Trinity knew exactly what he had managed to do. When they found that he had concealed plutonium from the Nazis, it was break-out-the-champagne time !

        Heisenberg had volunteered to head the Nazi nuclear program, going out of his way to get it in 1942. Then he 86'd it.

        He was appointed head of what is now the Max Planck Institute, equivalent to Cal Tech here. Not "de-Nazified." And the story was buried until after his death in 1976.

        My read of history: Einstein, Gandhi and Heisenberg are the great men of the 20th Century.

        Hitler had started out a year, year and a half ahead of the Allies -- only failing because of the Jewish refugees working at Trinity and because of Heisenberg.

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

        by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Preferred End (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heisenberg coming close to setting off a nuclear explosion within the city of Berlin.

        I prefer that end to WWII rather than having to nuke Japan twice to show it was truly inevitable. We'd still have the example of nuclear horror to inhibit further nuking, the only real silver lining from Nagasaki and Hiroshima except the prompt total surrender.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 11:16:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Competition (0+ / 0-)

        I always thought that one primary difference between the Nazi program, which failed, and the US program, which succeeded, was that the Nazis made it a competition. We, on the other hand, forced our scientists to cooperate. Of course, there were conflicts and disagreement among the scientists, but cooperation always results in better  results.
        Cooperation, a better model for progress, a better model for an economy.

        "To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence." - Mark Twain

        by CaptainAnalog on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:47:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Also little known, the Japanese had their own (8+ / 0-)

      atomic bomb program.

      They were a lot closer at the end of the war than the Germans were.

      Hitler's biggest problem was he instituted the final solution against what would have been his best atomic scientists, so they ended up developing the bomb for the allies.

      What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

      by Walt starr on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:47:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now I haven't heard that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmoke, confitesprit, Rashaverak

        I thought it was discovered that they were working on new bombers, fighters, and advanced ordinance?

        •  the German military were working on... (4+ / 0-)

          ... a number of new weapons toward the end of WW2.  There was the V2 rocket, there were jet fighter aircraft, and there were various odd projects that never produced workable weapons.  

          Japan was also working on jet fighter aircraft toward the end of the war.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:30:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Advanced Projects (0+ / 0-)

            Are part of the repertoire of any military in an advanced economy;  The Allies also had Jet programs, new Subs, new Armor Piercing Ammo, etc, etc,

            For example, the British started a program to build an entirely new class of submarine in the middle of the War (The "A" Class), which would have been much more suitable for the Pacific Campaign, they were all geared up (For mass production) and the first boats were on trials when the war ended.  Submarines may be the most complex single "weapon system" "series" produced.

            (German U-Boats were designed for short, wartime service lives;  All the US and British Submarines did have the possibility of long, peacetime careers built in).  

            In the dark shadow of the Great Satan of Retail

            by OzarkOrc on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:08:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, they wouldn't have developed it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for another few years and they got started late in the game, but they had a program.

          They made a lot of the same mistakes the Germans did, too.

          What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

          by Walt starr on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 05:20:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  My understanding is that the Japanese . . . (0+ / 0-)

        weren't anywhere near a bomb. They simply didn't have the resources, despite having some top-flight physicists.

        There was a novel some years back which argued that America basically barely beat Japan to the punch, but it was completely implausible.

    •  It was "Jewish Science". Even on Alt History sites (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, gmoke, Dbug, Rashaverak, OHdog, petral

      you have to whip out the "Alien Space Bats" (AH term for waving a magic wand basically) to make Nazi nukes a reality.

      Thank God.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 06:02:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's fair to say that a big part of what (10+ / 0-)

      prevented the Nazis from getting the Bomb was their scientific illiteracy and their embrace of ideology over science ("German Physics"). This had a number of effects. Instead of a big centralized program, there were several teams working on alternate and incompatible concepts/hypotheses and being promoted or hindered by bureaucrats with a limited or deeply flawed comprehension of the science. Plus, there is a story (perhaps apocryphal) according to which Hitler was wary of the A-bomb because he feared it would trigger the Weltenbrand, the consuming of the world by fire of Nordic mythology. If true, that might be a unique example of scientific illiteracy actually saving the world from a lot of evil.

      "I understand, Mr. Spock. The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."

      by brainwave on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:18:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's Complicated (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Like Nuclear Weapons themselves;  The United States had the resources to pursue multiple paths (We built two completely different bombs), and the enormous infrastructure investment in refining the fissile material.

      It was the single most, or possibly second most expensive procurement program during WW II.  The B-29 program may have cost more, and this is mostly in 1943/44 when we had not yet defeated the Axis.  And we benefited from the scientific contribution of all the British, Canadian and European Scientists with relevant expertize.

      The Germans just did not have the resources (Financial or Human) for that kind of multi-disciplinary program.

      And every successful Nuclear Weapons program since has cribbed from our experience.  

      In the dark shadow of the Great Satan of Retail

      by OzarkOrc on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:44:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nor did they have the time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Haven't seen this noted yet, but the German high command didn't give high priority to a bomb because of the development time required. Even the US, with more resources and no fleets of heavy bombers dropping blockbusters every night, did not complete its first bomb until well after Germany was out of the war. The high command figured this out early in the conflict: by the time a German bomb was ready for use, the war would be over--either with a German victory by 1943, or a German defeat by 1945. Therefore, the bomb project was low priority, for a possible future war with the US, but not for the conflict in Europe.

      •  I also Recommend (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Nuclear Express (2009)
        By Reed & Stillman;

        Spectacular bad timing, a Nuclear Weapon exploding in Lower Manhattan would wreck our economy (Published in January 2009).  Ooops.

        Yeah, Osama had his fantasies. Worry more about Pakistani's going off the reservation.

        But the background History is very sound. More about the History of Proliferation than you knew there was to know.

        They were (are) still giving a high count for casualties at Hiroshima & Nagasaki.  I guess that makes us more evil or something.

        (I was a History Major at the University of New Mexico, plus some other background)

        In the dark shadow of the Great Satan of Retail

        by OzarkOrc on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:16:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you! (19+ / 0-)

    I will republish this to Readers & Book Lovers and add tags.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:20:26 PM PDT

  •  As I understand it (21+ / 0-)

    The Germans were skipping the a-bomb and going right for the h-bomb.
    In the end, the physics behind the bomb was easy.  What was hard was having the people, resources, and manufacturing capability you could divert on a massive scale from fighting the war.  Only we (the allies) could do it.
    I remember reading somewhere the German were still manufacturing consumer goods, refrigerators, etc, well into 1943.

    I was a liberal when liberal was cool, I was a liberal when liberal wasn't cool, but I always was and always will be a liberal.

    by LemmyCaution on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:25:14 PM PDT

    •  The Manhattan Project was huge (17+ / 0-)

      I've read that it was almost the size of the pre-war auto industry.

      Anyone considering a dog for personal safety should treat that decision as seriously as they would buying a gun.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:02:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  first i've ever heard that; sources? (10+ / 0-)

      As we now know, you need a fission bomb to make a fusion bomb work.  What could possibly have led anyone to believe that another approach would work?

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:35:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was cities large. (6+ / 0-)

        Los Alamos,  Sandia,  Livermore, OakRidge,
        Berkeley,  Argonne,

        really an enormous effort

        •  of course; but what i was asking about was: (11+ / 0-)

          The comment, "The Germans were skipping the a-bomb and going right for the h-bomb."

          I've never heard before that the Nazi regime had any idea that a fusion bomb could be built, much less that they were seeking to build one.

          A fission bomb is needed as a trigger for a fusion bomb, you can't get a fusion bomb without getting the fission bomb first.  This is "conventional knowledge," so if someone is suggesting otherwise, I'm interested to see the facts and reasoning they used to get there.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 02:08:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes we know we need a fission bomb to set off (10+ / 0-)

            our fusion bombs, but did the Germans at the time?  I've been reading stuff for well over 60 years.  I don't remember where I can across that statement, but for some reason it stuck with me.
            I haven't read it yet but you might want to look at Rainer Karlsch's Hitler's Bomb.
            Also Joseph Farrell's Reich of the Black Sun: Nazi Secret Weapons and Cold War Allied Legend.
            It could have just been a tin foil hat statement.

            I used to assemble and inspect nuclear weapons for a living, and had access to classified information including CNWDI for most my career.  At one time I got to visit one of the Nazi underground facilities where they did some of their work.  However, since retirement my mind has begun to leak like a sieve. If I had the basic stuff to include fissile materiel, I am pretty sure I could still build a working device in my basement. It really is not that hard. Again, getting the stuff is the problem.

            I was a liberal when liberal was cool, I was a liberal when liberal wasn't cool, but I always was and always will be a liberal.

            by LemmyCaution on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 03:41:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I"m sure the germans knew about Fusion (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, gmoke, confitesprit, Rashaverak

              but it was a much harder problem then
              the A Bomb.

              Fission was i think completely unknown beyond the basic

            •  OK, so based on your expertise... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gmoke, confitesprit, Rashaverak, jcrit

              ... you consider it credible that the Nazi regime was going for fusion weapons.  Very interesting, that gives rise to all manner of scenarios and questions.

              Do you have any insight into what body of theory the Nazi regime might have been using, that gave them reason to believe they could have done it?  

              Do you think there's any other technologically feasible route to a fusion bomb aside from the one that was actually used?

              Given the various approaches to controlled fusion (ITER, Polywell), do you have any thoughts about what is likely to succeed?

              How would you estimate the likelihood of a subnational group gaining access to atomic weapons over the next few decades?

              And BTW, thanks for contributing to the deterrent that kept the peace until the Soviet empire collapsed.  Those times were scary, but in the end, the strategy worked.

              We got the future back. Uh-oh.

              by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:43:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Didn't say I felt it was credible. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek, gmoke

                After your comment, I did some looking on google and got side tracked by some evidence that Germany was working on fuel air explosive bombs and that some observers mistook these tests for nuclear weapons.
                You have to remember before 1945 no one knew what an atomic bomb looked like.  I remember Alfred Bester wrote a story that an atomic powered rocket caused all the radioactive materiel on earth to go critical and destroy the world (Adam and No Eve.)

                I was a liberal when liberal was cool, I was a liberal when liberal wasn't cool, but I always was and always will be a liberal.

                by LemmyCaution on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 01:29:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yes, and H.G. Wells even coined the term... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  ... "atomic bomb" in one of his fictional stories in the very early 20th century.

                  In his description, it would detonate with a powerful explosion, but its defining characteristic was that it would continue to burn where it struck, immune to any attempt to put it out, until its radioactive constituents had been depleted. That was a pretty good layman's guess at a time when nobody had any idea of how the newly-emerging physics of the time could affect warfare.  (I've never heard of the Alfred Bester story, that's interesting.)

                  I did a bunch of additional reading last night, including the witness reports of the first test in the desert.  What was striking was the sense that this was a thing of awesome beauty, with towering glowing cloud that reached up to the heavens.  No doubt part of that sense of appreciation was due to the pressing feeling that this was finally the thing that was going to bring a devastating war to an end, and that the enormous amount of work put into it had succeeded.

                  The conclusion I came to was that the world was very fortunate that the atomic bombs were used at the conclusion of a war when hostilities would cease, rather than at the beginning of a war when they would escalate.  

                  Envision an alternative history in which Japan had a spy who observed the first atomic test in the desert, and as a result of his information, the Imperial Japanese government had unconditionally surrendered rather than facing the risk of annihilation.  In that case, the world would also not have seen the devastating power of these weapons in use.  The Soviet Union would in due course have gotten them as they did.  And as a result, it's entirely likely that their use would have become almost routine, rather than an extraordinary event that had to be prevented from occurring again.

                  The fact that humanity successfully handled the enormous responsibilities that came from developing nuclear weapons, is potentially an indication that we have the capacity to address the major existential threat of our time, which is climate change.

                  We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                  by G2geek on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 01:01:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Lemmy Caution (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              How was it to work with Jean-Luc Godard?

            •  Maybe a Hiroshima (0+ / 0-)

              "Gun" type device, but not a Fat Man Implosion devise;

              And the Chinese favor Uranium (U-235) Implosion Devices.  

              In the dark shadow of the Great Satan of Retail

              by OzarkOrc on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:20:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Also , Hitler was dead set against German women (6+ / 0-)

      working outside the home. It was part of the relegation of women to the arena of kinder, küche, kirche (children, kitchen, church). While Germany imported what was essentially slave labor from other countries such as France, the Netherlands, and the Soviet Union, it couldn't produce as much as it needed with the vast majority of German men in uniform, in hospital, or dead. And that imported work force was prone go sabotaging it's own work.

      If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? When I am only for myself, then what am "I"? And if not now, when?

      by betorah on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:34:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  yep. but sometimes you have to go vegan (8+ / 0-)
    In his memoir, Captain Knut Haukelid wrote about a failed attempt to shoot a reindeer for food in deep winter:  "Hunting is like war in that there is only one standard of success.  Either one wins the war or one loses it.  Either one gets the meat or one doesn’t.”

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:33:47 PM PDT

  •  There were a ton of reasons (45+ / 0-)

    why Germany never developed the A-Bomb, not the least that they distained "Jewish science" and Jewish scientists who provided the theoretical and practical physics necessary to construct one.

    On top of that, Hitler felt the V-1 and V-2 programs were far more important than the nuclear bomb project. The Manhattan Project had tens of thousands of people working on the bomb. The equivalent German program probably had around a dozen. In the end, the Nazis simply didn't allocate enough resources to build a bomb.

    This is a nice story of war heroism and was certainly a blow against Nazi Germany. But it wasn't the reason Germany didn't get the bomb. The famous OSS report after seeing Heisenberg at a symposium in Switzerland read "No baby. Not even pregnant."

    "Because Romney's a clown . . ."--Henry Francis

    by LeftCoastTimm on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:41:22 PM PDT

    •  The British tapes (35+ / 0-)

      of the German bomb scientists interned after the war make it quite clear that they had no chance of building a bomb. Heisenberg didn't even have an approximate idea of the critical mass. Some of them expressed regret about not having had the courage to ask Hitler for more resources, but even if they had they wouldn't have succeeded in time. Of course none of that was known by either the extraordinary heroes described here or by the people who sent them.

      Michael Weissman UID 197542

      by docmidwest on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:48:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Nazis were busy with UFOs and time machines (6+ / 0-)

      and (back in the real world) with developing jet aircraft too.

    •  yep, victim of their own anti-Semitism. (20+ / 0-)

      They chased away all the "Jewish scientists," which had a ripple effect throughout Europe, and one result was that Einstein and a bunch of his colleagues ended up in the USA.

      I don't know that we can say there was any "one" reason why the Nazis didn't get the bomb.  Each of these elements clearly had a role.  Anti-Semitism devalued the scientists whose theories were essential.  The escape of Jewish physicists depleted the available talent pool.  The scientists who actually worked on the Nazi bomb were stuck (deliberately or otherwise) in a dead-end approach.  The British and Norwegian attacks on the heavy water facilities deprived the Nazis of essential raw materials.

      All of those ingredients led to the Nazis not getting the bomb, and all of those people deserve credit for their contributions to that outcome.

      Each of them might have been sufficient in and of itself, but the combination of all of them ensured that it would be impossible for the Nazis to get the bomb.  

      From time to time there are threats so extreme that humanity mounts a collective immune response to tackle them from every available angle.  The threat of a Nazi A-bomb was one of these.

      The threat posed by climate change is another.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:48:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  had the Nazi's worked on Jet Fighters (8+ / 0-)

      and about one jet fighter would be
      the same effort as a V-2, they could have
      delayed defeat long enough for the Americans
      to nuke Berlin.

      •  There is no path forward that I can see (12+ / 0-)

        which would have resulted in an eventual German victory.  Setting aside the fact that the Russians probably would have beaten the Germans all by themselves if they had had to, consider that the B-36 program was initiated in early 1941, to accommodate the possibility that England would surrender and the US would have to fight a unified Europe under Germany from the Continental US.

        The inevitable consequence would have been B-36 nuclear raids and a war that would probably have lasted until the early 50s.  What we got was pretty horrible, but it easily could have been a whole lot worse.

        •  German supremacy was always a chimera. (12+ / 0-)

          They were so enthralled with their Seigfried Mythology that they were blind to resource inequity, Allied oil production, manpower deficits, and acting against a common front.

          It was always a mythological martyrdom complex that drove them, a suicide pact, a feeling of Live German or Die, and given the choice, the world decided, well... die.

          Not that it was easy. It took all the nations of the world allied against them to win, in 5 years. Not easy because they were so ginned up with their own adrenaline that they were hard to kill, individually or in groups. But, it was only a matter of time when the Soviets captured three armies at Stalingrad, and the Anglo Americans captured another one in Tunisia.

          Germany could possibly have "won" by shooting Hitler in 1943 and surrendering to the Allies. That is what many smart Germans were hoping for up to the end.  In that case, the Cold War would have started in 1944, and would have been a really HOT war. No telling how that would have worked out.

          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

          by OregonOak on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:07:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one in German High Command, including Hitler, (13+ / 0-)

            really bought into that fantasy (although many footsoldiers may have); they weren't at all blind to the resource inequality.  Hitler was counting on taking down Britain fast, as he did France; and failing that he was counting on taking out the Soviet state and getting ahold of their resources, as well as Mideast oil (either via Turkey or via Rommel's campaign).  If the Soviets had collapsed in '42 there would never have been a meaningful two-front war, esp since the US was supposed to stay out.  Obviously this involved a couple of miscalculations :-)  But up until Stalingrad, and really Kursk, nobody was sure about the outcome.  

            And of course after Stalingrad and Kursk, most of the German career generals were either actively conspiring to take out Hitler or at least keeping out of the way.  Maybe the bulk of the SS--command on down-- really did believe the mythology; and that was the problem.  

            •  I would add that the belief in a Soviet collapse, (11+ / 0-)

              in itself, was hardly dependent on racialist fantasy.  The Germans knew that Stalin had wiped out most of his top generals in the purges; they knew that Stalin himself was no military genius (as he proved in spades for the first 6 months into Barbarossa); and they guessed that the whole Stalinist state apparatus was fairly fragile.  FDR and Churchill themselves were desperately concerned that Stalin would either fall or (as in '17) conclude a separate peace.   How about if Hitler and Tojo had coordinated, at all, and the Japanese had put off their Pacific offensive for a year and instead gone after the Soviets from the east?

            •  no way the Nazi's take the UK (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, gmoke, Rashaverak

              only 2 successful invasions in recorded history.

              The Romans and William the Conqueror.

              •  I guess the Celts, and the Anglo-Saxons, weren't (7+ / 0-)

                'recorded' in the same way so their invasions don't count...

                Seriously, though: tell your "no way" to the British Army who were frantically building invasion barriers and trying to train civilians in July and August of '40.  Having left ALL of their heavy weaponry in Dunkirk, except for like 3 anti-tank guns.  Tell it to the RAF, who were about 70 pilots away from being completely effed when the Germans effed up first and bombed London (probably on the initiative of individual aircrews) and thus diverted the whole Luftwaffe effort away from the airfields.  

                Britain on the ground was maybe 20% as well prepared to repel an invasion as the Germans were in Normandy in '44 (and we know how that went).  The twenty-nine army and airborne divisions of Sea Lion were just waiting for air superiority.  The invasion was postponed several times and then cancelled when it became clear that the Luftwaffe wouldn't gain air superiority before the weather window closed.  The British military had no confidence that they could stop either a landing or an inland advance without air and naval interdiction.  Obviously in the end Hitler made the intelligent call (in this one regard), but this whole question is very far from "no way" territory.  

                •  except the Nazi's lacked the sealift. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  confitesprit, Rashaverak, gmoke

                  The germans didn't have the naval capacity to do this.

                  You want to invade, you need fleets. Big fleets.
                  Not just ships to bombard and soften up the beaches but
                  you need troop transports, amphib assault boats,
                  you need, oilers, hospital ships, command ships,
                  ammo ships, logistics.

                  What the germans didn't have was any of that.

                  All the nazi tactics in blitzkrieg don't work in the the
                  assault mode.  The Germans only had 10 mechanized divisions.

                  No, if the nazi's were going to do something with those troops, the best thing would have been to go down,
                  cut a deal with Franco, seize gibraltar,  cross to North Africa,
                  and that would have prevented the Brits from bombarding the french fleet at Oran.

                  Maybe the nazi's could have gone and seized Iceland
                  and greenland, made it much nastier for the brits to
                  control the north atlantic,  but,  

                  They never had the sealift and the fleet  and
                  they needed to destroy the british home fleet,
                  and seize the french fleet and then put together one heck of an invasion fleet.  

                  The Nazi's never had the airborne capacity for a large invasion, they had 1 division of paratroopers,  at Normandy
                  we used 3 parachute divisions.

                  Sure people were scared, but, what did the germans have?

                  they didn't have the amphibous tanks we used at Normandy.

                  I'm not sure how they pulled off the invasion of denmark and normandy, but they went right into the harbors there with
                  not a lot of resistance.

                  i just don't see it.

                  •  The invasion of denmark and normandy (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    patbahn, gmoke

                    The Germans marched into Denmark.  There is a common land border in the area of Schleswig-Holstein.  As regards Normandy, I assume you had a slip of the keyboard and meant to write Norway,

                  •  now here I think you're probably right--at least (5+ / 0-)

                    this is a considerably more fact-based objection than the failure of the Spanish Armada or whatever :-)

                    In the summer of '40 Germany was racing to develop large fleets of modern landing craft, amphibious tanks and all the rest of the stuff you'd need, but very little of that was ready in the SeaLion window--they were relying mostly on river barges.  Which still might have gotten the job done--once they scaled down the plan from 40+ divisions to 29--if NOT for the threat of harassment/interdiction by the british home fleet.  Yes, the use of the intact French Fleet would have made a big difference there.  Really, to me the big question is whether Germany could have succeeded with a more determined and (far) better prepared effort the following Spring, rather than turning East.  Might also have given them time to bring in the material and technical expertise of the Japanese, who had a little more experience with opposed invasion.  One of those many hypotheticals...

                    •  amphibous invasion is hard (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      and the Germans would be launching it from hostile territory.

                      Many of the german divisions were tied up occupying northern France and the Low countries.

                      Using river barges in the channel is a mistake

            •  I dont think he was that sane. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek, gmoke, confitesprit, PeterHug

              He was gifted with hope to the point of delusion, suffering from PTSD, childhood abuse, failure to impress much of anyone, and an overcompensatory nature.

              His chief skill was in allowing people to inhabit his elaborate and  well-crafted delusion. He was a really good novelist, a writer of children's fantasy books.  

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 06:12:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  wierd--do you think FDR and Churchill inhabited (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                G2geek, gmoke, confitesprit

                his delusion?  They were pretty convinced of the reality of Hitler's threat to the world.  And the Soviets were convinced, ultimately to the tune of 20 million dead.  Then there were all those Jews.  I'd say Hitler wrote his children's novel over a very broad canvass...

                •  They were scared of his delusion (5+ / 0-)

                  and the fact that every Allied country had a significant minority who subscribed as well. Charles Lindbergh. Emile Zola. Intellects, Divines, Local Politicians. It was a worldwide movement, and it threatened every democracy and every civilized person. In Norway, they were called Quislings. Every nation had a core of these delusional fantasists, and that was a true existential threat which had to be fought externally, finally, to show people how evil and delusional it was.

                  Obviously, I dont think the leaders of the free world inhabited his delusion, but they were worried that too many people did, and that each country could be taken out from within.

                  I think his delusion was infantile. It was about the emotional state of a child, complete with egocentrism, fantasy thinking, huge toys, and an elaborate rambling narrative meant to entertain, but not inform.

                  Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                  by OregonOak on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:14:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Hitler and PTSD (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                confitesprit, Rashaverak

                Not sure what you base that opinion on.  Hitler seems to have been bloodthirsty from at least 1914 on:

                Silent Night:  The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce_ by Stanley Weintraub
                NY:  Penguin Books, 2001
                ISBN 0-452-28367-1

                (70)  Phillip Maddison's creator wrote as himself, "I was talking to Germans with beards and khaki-covered PIckelhauben, and smoking new china gift-pipes glazed with the Crown Prince's portrait in color, in a turnip field amidst dead cows, and England and German corpses frozen stiff.  The new world, for me, was germinated from that fraternization.  Adolf Hitler was one of those 'opposite numbers' in long field-gray coats."  Later, in the pacifist futility of the 1930s, [Henry] Williamson would write hopefully that Hitler's wartime experience and the warm rapprochement in his sector might coalesce in memory to stave off another war, but Hitler had never welcomed the truce or such utopian dreaming.

                (71)  Although he [Hitler] was out of the line in reserve, discussion arose about crossing into Niemandsland to share Christmas with the British.  He refused.  "Such a thing should not happen in wartime," Hitler argued.  "Have you no German sense of honor left at all?"  More than patriotic scruples were involved.  Although a baptized Catholic, he rejected every vestige of religious observance while his unit marked the day in the cellar of the Messines monastery to which they had retired on the 23rd.

                •  I don't know that it could be avoided.. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gmoke, confitesprit, Rashaverak

                  given what he saw. But more to the point there is evidence that he probably suffered from childhood PTSD from both his mother and his father, and that raising children in this era of Germany (England as well) was a Grimm Tale of Infanticide, Physical and Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse, fear, and just plain BAD potty training. Much work has been done about the conditions of childhood from 1890 to 1910, and it is NOT a pretty picture. Most childern were scarred, some more deeply than others, and WW1 merely made things worse for them as young people.

                  Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                  by OregonOak on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:13:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Alice Miller? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    confitesprit, Rashaverak

                    Her work, based on her work, or someone else?

                    Adolf Hitler was obviously a very twisted individual and everything I've read says his father was pretty brutal.  

                  •  So you are saying that if little Adolf could have (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Rashaverak, gmoke

                    held his poo that things might have been a little bit better for the whole world?  PTSD from childhood?  Really?  

                    I would love to see the evidence you speak of that Hitler suffered such trauma while learning to control his excretory functions that he became.......Hitler.  

                    There is an endless supply of white men, there has always been a limited number of Human Beings

                    by ratprique on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:20:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  According to some Social Researchers (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rashaverak, gmoke

                      Childrearing in Empire Germany was horrific. Children were taught shame and guilt for excratory functions, and were beaten randomly for it. Fathers were often alternately abesnt, or drunk, and mothers had multiple children and in the lower classes, horrible living conditions, especially in rural areas. The practice of infanticide was common under such conditions, and all children were taught fear as a control mechanism by the unedited Grimms Fairy Tales, in their starkest most depressing versions. Kids were prepared to fight the world of pain, and not to worry about dying, because in most cases, it was better than the life they were living. Do I need more examples? This was also largely true in Victorian England and across Europe, and it explains the hopelessness and resignation to cross no man's land in the millions and be slaughtered in the millions. They were primed and trained for such awful fates by their early training.

                      So no, I dont think what you said. I think about the culture of stupidity and cruelty that produced MILLIONS of kids who were cruel, careless and lacking in hope and empathy. If not for those millions of damaged psychologies, a person like Hitler would never have come to power, elected.

                      Start thinking. It helps the world.

                      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                      by OregonOak on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:38:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, "according to some social researchers" (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Rashaverak, gmoke

                        pretty much is all the evidence I need. Poor childhood treatment led to millions of unhappy men walking gladly into the hell of no man's land, which was actually better than their childhood.

                        Luckily Dr. Spock came along and ended all war.

                        There is an endless supply of white men, there has always been a limited number of Human Beings

                        by ratprique on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:46:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Google it yourself.. Childrearing Practices (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Rashaverak, golem, petral, gmoke

                          German Empire..use those four key words, or do I have to do all your work for you? Of course, I expect you will find something wrong with this. You are not arguing in good faith. Your mind is made up.

                          I found these in just a few minutes of searching. Serious scholars have documented the worldwide practice of child abuse leading to mental illness, aggression, violence, war and transmission of these qualites to the next generation. There is no dispute that it happened, and was the norm for centuries.



                           In light of the critique of the "authoritarian personality" by the German sociologist Theodor Adorno and others, some middle-class parents have tried to practice an anti-authoritarian form of child rearing. Adorno and his colleagues thought that certain child rearing practices, especially strict and arbitrary discipline, encourage stereotypic thinking, submission to authority, and aggression against outsiders or deviants. In the past, they argued, the prevalence of such practices in Germany contributed to the success of National Socialism.

                          Stargardt, Nicholas. 1998. "German Childhoods: The Making of a Historiography." German History 16, no. 1: 1–15.

                          A very good exercise in the art of self-denial, appropriate for this age, is to give the child frequent opportunity to learn to watch other people in his immediate vicinity eating and drinking without desiring the same for himself' [A. Miller: For our own good: Hidden cruelty in childrearing and the roots of violence, New York 1984].

                          Here Schreber emphasizes that mere external compliance with the frustration of one's desires is not enough; there must be a heartfelt acceptance of the deprivation, so that the child forms a genuine spirit of self-denial. The practice of requiring the child to watch others eating and drinking without desiring the same for himself must have been quite widespread, for biographers of Ralph Waldo Emerson note that his parents often ate their dinners while their children hungrily watched.

                          A quotation from another German expert in child-rearing at the time, K. A. Schmid, indicates that biblical support for these practices was commonly put forward, including such texts as "Thou shalt beat him [the child] with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell" (Proverbs 23:14). Commenting on this proverb, Schmid writes:
                          "With these words, Solomon reveals to us that true love can also be severe. This is not the kind of stoic or narrowly legalistic severity that is full of self-satisfaction and would rather sacrifice its charge than ever deviate from its principles; no, however severe, it lets its tender concern shine through, like the sun through the clouds, in a spirit of friendliness, compassion, and patient hope" (Miller 1984).
                          Schmid's exegesis of the proverb suggests that the parent will be able somehow to communicate her love for her child even as she is beating him. The child should perceive her love shining through the beating, like the sun through the clouds. This is no 'stoic or narrowly legalistic severity'. Rather, the pain is inflicted 'in a spirit of friendliness, compassion, and patient hope'.



                          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                          by OregonOak on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 11:25:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Two points. You are not doing my work for me. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            You made a point.  i asked for evidence.  I respect your argument more now that you have documented your evidence.

                            More importantly though, I still don't think that evidence of widespread child rearing practices, however poor, could lead human beings into willingly, en masse, suffer the horrors of trench warfare.  I am old enough to have known relatives who fought in WWI.  I still carry my Uncle Frank's medic's pin which he gave me as a child.  He was born in Poland in 1888 and came here with his parents in 1901.  11 children in that family (my maternal grandmother's family) and I knew five of them.  Different than me and my siblings for certain in work ethic, religious practice, taste in foods, child rearing (my great aunt from that family potty trained me) and especially in their reverence for the dead. But while they seemed a bit more serious in general there was no cruelty or lack if empathy in any of my Poiish relatives.  And, of course, they were part of a much larger Polish immigrant community in Toledo where I was raised.  Warm, friendly, industrious, funny and high spirited is how I remember the older generations.  So, from a personal observation of human beings raised under the European system you speak of I see absolutely no indication of the twisted psyches and lack of human feelings which you imply were the root cause of WWi.

                            There is an endless supply of white men, there has always been a limited number of Human Beings

                            by ratprique on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 11:53:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, Americans, even new ones, were different. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Many of those who came here, including my German relatives who fought in WW1 and 2, did not have the authoritarian personality disorder which is spoken of in the citations. They were, as yours were, loving, compassionate and funny and unwilling to accept authoritarian militarism as a revolt and a rebellion of their parents growing up in that atmosphere. If anything American parents are seen as overly indulgent and hand's off, which has its own consequences.

                            In fact, many of those people came here to avoid militarism, authoritarianism, abuse of the lower classes, the class system itself, and the rules of primigeniture which still apply in some places in the former Royal Empires.

                            So, I agree. Your relatives and my relatives were not nearly as affected as those kids in Europe who suffered en masse, and answered the call to sacrifice themselves for The Emperor.

                            But there is little dispute that what made America different than other "European" cultures is exactly this; we tried our best not to pass down the worst of the practices of the Old World, and to a limited degree, we did. Our Armies and men had compassion, empathy and were literally forced to go, despite huge Pacifist sentiments before both wars.

                            I dont think we really disagree. I know, having researched this, that the legacy of murderous and shameful childrearing in Europe played a major role in creating militarism, authoritarianism, and a disdain for minorities resulting in the Holocaust.

                            I was using the No Man's Land reference as a shorthand for the willingness to kill and be killed among the European armies. Americans were different, and remain so to a degree.
                            The cost of authoritarian personality and its acceptance is high.

                            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                            by OregonOak on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 06:14:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  no, I think the Germans had no victory path (6+ / 0-)

          Once they engaged Russia.

          Had the Germans stayed in the Balkans
          and gotten a deal to crush Gibraltar,  they
          probably could have established some sort
          of stalemate.

          If they owned the Med, then they could have starved out
          Tobruk seized the suez canal,  and slowly reduced
          malta and Cyprus.

          That would have made the british very defensive in the far east against Japan,  and the Germans may have been able to launch strikes across the channel to wipeout the RAF.

          I doubt the Germans could have invaded the UK but with British air power slaughtered the Germans could have attacked the Home fleet on better terms and perhaps forced
          a long stalemate.

          But then in 1945 the Americans build a nuke and drop it on

          •  Malta Was the Key (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            subtropolis, gmoke, patbahn, Rashaverak

            The Germans didn't need to own the Med by taking out Gibraltar, which would have required persuading yet another dictator (Franco) to enter the war on their side.

            Hitler had a choice in 1941 of taking out Crete after the spring Balkan campaign or going after Malta.  Crete protected the Balkan flank of the German push into the Soviet Union.  Malta would have enabled the Italians to resupply without hindrance the German and Italian forces in North Africa.  Hitler chose Crete.  History suggests Malta would have been a much wiser decision, no matter what happened with Crete.

            With Malta under Axis control, the Italian and German forces in North Africa could have been expanded in size and resupplied pretty well.  Rommel caused all sorts of trouble for the British with two panzer (armor) divisions and the equivalent of an panzer grenadier (armored infantry) division.  That was one tenth or less of the mechanized forces the Germans hurled against the Soviets.  What could he have accomplished with a doubling of the force he had, along with the necessary supply in fuel and ammo?  How long could the British have held out in the western desert when faced with a real German juggernaut and not the joke even the German high command considered the Deutsche Afrika Korps?

            "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

            by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:10:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Franco (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rashaverak, llywrch

              Franco was interesting.  Spain, reportedly, sheltered some Jews with the tacit approval of Franco's government.  Not sure Franco bought completely into Hitler's vision of the world.

            •  they could have done better (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rashaverak, gmoke

              in north africa,
              but that war wasn't winnable for the nazis

              •  Not Winnable As Fought (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rashaverak, gmoke

                With a secure logistics line between Libya and Italy and able to supply a larger German force, it just might have been winnable for the Nazis in 1941-1942.  If Rommel had had more units fielded in his last offensive campaign in the spring 1942 with better supply lines because the British did not hold Malta to disrupt his logistics, he would have had a very good chance of punching through to Alexandria and the Canal.  Operating on a shoe-string in a backwater theater insofar as the Germans were concerned he put the fear of the lord into the British.  And, I'm not a real Rommel booster, but an extra panzer corps does possess a quality all its own.

                "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:09:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  oh, in a optimal German Scenario (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rashaverak, gmoke, llywrch

                  the Germans take north Africa, seize the suez canal,
                  take tobruk, malta, Crete, Invade Gibraltar.

                  But, I don't see any scenario where they get much further.

                  If the Nazi's didn't sink the home fleet during dunkirk the left the brits with too much of a lever.

                  Even if they do, the Americans lend lease every ship in the US Navy to keep the brits fighting. FDR would have given them every ship in the fleet except the flagship

                  The germans could have done better, but, say they stalemate the brits, then a dragged out war, hangs until the Nuke shows up in 45.

                  •  Except It's Not a Stalemate (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I don't believe in any optimal Third Reich solutions, but had the Germans been able to drive beyond the Suez Canal they would potentially have been looking at the petroleum resources available from the Middle East.  Once Alexandria fell, the British would have had to withdraw from the eastern Med back to Aden and then ultimately Trincomalee.  They don't even need to take Gibraltar to secure the Med.

                    The real issue is their reaching the oil resources in Iraq and Iran.  If they do, then the Germans have the oil they need for their on-going battles in the Soviet Union and over the Third Reich.  If they don't, then the war plays out pretty much as it did historically.  Rommel would had had to drive from Alexandria to Basrah in 1943, since fighting in Egypt would have continued all through 1942.  The Brits might have even tried making a stand along the same line the Turks had defended in 1917.  Could the Germans build a pipeline from Iraq to the Med during 1944, since they weren't going to be shipping any oil via the Straits of Hormuz?  It does look like the sun is going to be licking the streets of Berlin, doesn't it?

                    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                    by PrahaPartizan on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:54:26 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Even with oil, lots of oil (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gmoke, PrahaPartizan

                      the Germans still pretty much max out.

                      Lets say they own All of Western Europe,
                      Poland, The Norse Countries,  North Africa,
                      Own the Med,  Take Egypt, and drive across
                      the Middle East.

                      I doubt in any scenario they invade turkey.
                      Even if they drive into Russia, the problem they had
                      was logistical.

                      There was one rail line supporting the entire eastern front.

                      Suppose they sink the Home Fleet, and with their modern Kriegs marine they are heavily attritting the Lend-Lease fleet.
                      Maybe they take Moscow,  but, then what?
                      They still fight a guerilla war against the russians.

                      The russians weren't going to surrender, and the
                      German army lacked the men, Russia lacked the roads
                      to seize everything west of the Urals.

                      No way the Germans were driving east out of the Red Sea and taking India. The Indian forces would fight like devils
                      across the northwest plains of Punjab.  They died like flies fighting the Japanese in Burma. They were going to die in waves against Nazis.

                      So best case, the Germans end up with some sort of stalemate. The Americans can get enough supplies into the UK to keep the germans from invading,  and
                      the americans keep working on the bomb.

          •  The American nuclear bomb (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gmoke, patbahn, Rashaverak

            is the absolute lid on all the German paths to eventual "victory".  It's there no matter what, and I don't see any likely avenue that would have gotten Hitler to a negotiated stable peace with the US.

            Setting aside the fact that once they attacked Russia, they were basically completely screwed independent of anything the other Allies did - the Eastern Front is the single catastrophic thing that destroyed the German Army all by itself.

      •  Guess they had one in '44. (6+ / 0-)
        The plans for the first operational jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe were drawn up in 1939, and the airplane first flew under jet power in 1942.[4] The Me 262 was not operational until 1944,[4] and its effectiveness was crippled by the deteriorating infrastructure of Nazi Germany; the advanced materials needed for its engines were in short supply. World War II ended before jet fighters were common.

        From what I read, I think in Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,  I believe they were pretty much bombed on the ground and fuel was in short supply for the few that weren't bombed.

        •  They were still able to bring some into combat (7+ / 0-)

          and those worried the allied forces quite a bit.  I think the Germans also mis-used them, trying to have them be bombers instead of fighters, for the most part.

          •  yes--Hitler himself delayed the Me262 deployment (6+ / 0-)

            for nearly a year by insisting they be modified to carry bombs.  500 or so operational 262s in late 1943 would have given the allied bomber command a considerable headache.  But even so, events would show that 4 or 5 Mustangs could take care of a 262, just like 4 or 5 Shermans or T34s could take care of a Tiger (although that may have been cold comfort for indiv Sherman crews).  The super-weapons still won't save you without the productive capacity...  

            •  The decision had no real effect (5+ / 0-)

              It wasn't until 1944 that the Luftwaffe had a reliable enough engine to make the 262 practical for deployment. Prior to that point the engines they were using simply didn't have the lifespan or durability to do much except make the plane a really sophisticated aircraft that from time to time could get into the air and might make it back without the engine blowing up or falling apart.

              In essence the whole "It's a fighter-it's a bomber-it's a fighter" argument took place during a period of time when the plane couldn't fly anyway.

              •  hmmm--I guess I'd need to refer that question to (6+ / 0-)

                shortfinals, who seems to be the uber-expert on WWII military aircraft around here.  There's certainly a lot of historical writing that accepts the idea of the fighter vs bomber delay, though Wikipedia says it's 'debatable' whether Hitler's Schnellbomber vision or the engine-vibration issues were a more decisive factor.  Apparently it was Speer himself who started the blame-Hitler argument, and one never knows about his motivations in his post-war testimony.  

                •  Something to Ponder (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gmoke, confitesprit, Rashaverak, ColoTim

                  Recently I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by a retired US pilot who had interviewed the American pilots who had gone to Europe at the end of WW2 to bring back the wunder aircraft of the Third Reich.  During the interview, he spoke about the pilots' experience with flying the various German jet fighters which were available.  We talked about the differences between the German and Allied jet fighter programs, especially the German decision to pursue axial-flow designs and the Allied decision to pursue centrifugal-flow design turbojets.

                  Centrifugal-flow turbo jets were similar to the turbo super-chargers mounted on the piston engines for high altitude flight in many regards, so the manufacturing techniques and materials needed to make them were known.  They were not as elegant as the axial-flow designs nor as aerodynamically clean nor as scalable for size.  The German choice of the axial-flow approach meant the Me262 was aerodynamically cleaner than the British and American jets.  It also meant the German jets were more difficult to build in quantity in 1944-45 and the engines might have a shorter operational life.

                  My interlocutor said that the German engines were expected to have an operational life of 100 hours before being replaced for maintenance.  He also pointed out that the American Air Force's experience with its turbo jets in the 1950s yielded about a similar 100 hour operation life.  By the 1950s the US Air Force first-line jet aircraft had pretty much shifted to axial-flow designs as well.  So, the operational life expected from the axial-flow designs itself couldn't explain away the problems the Germans had with their turbojet designs.  Their lack of adequate amounts of metal alloys to produce good steels might, because it would have contributed to a poor quality control in the components resulting in erratic failures.  It's one thing to know you'll need to pull that engine at 100 hours and altogether another to not know if the turbines shred at 1 hour, 10 hours, 100 hours, or 10000 hours.    

                  "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                  by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:32:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  There's a lot of that in history (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  llywrch, ColoTim, gmoke

                  Especially World War 2. Things which are commonly accepted as common wisdom which, in fact, turn out not to be the case at all on closer inspection. Just off the top of my head, and some I've actually seen here in the last few months:

                  The Maginot Line was not in fact, a stupid idea. It worked exactly as it was intended to.

                  The Nazis were not close to making an atomic weapon.

                  The Germans were not just barely stopped from invading England. Had they tried in 1940 it would, in fact, have resulted in probably the largest military disaster in European history and might have ended the war earlier.

                  Operation Barbarossa was not delayed by the Germans having to help the Italians in the Balkans. It was one factor, but probably the most important one was the weather conditions: 1940-41 had been a very wet winter and rivers were still in flood (and mud still deep) until June, so they couldn't have attacked in May as they'd planned.

                  •  I've never even heard the last one (delay in (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Barbarossa caused by helping the Italians).  Is the claim that this made a decisive difference, like the Germans would actually have gotten to Moscow in that first push if they'd had another month?  That seems unlikely.  

                    Maginot it worked exactly as intended except for the Germans just going around it via Belgium?  Frikken Belgians--I always knew they were to blame...

                    •  Yep, that's the claim (0+ / 0-)

                      The argument being that if they'd had another month, they'd have grabbed Moscow and won.

                      As for the Maginot Line, the plan was to force the Germans to go around it into Belgium, where the Belgians would use their fortifications to hold them up while the British and French moved their mobile forces to face them.

                      The plan failed because the non-Maginot parts of the strategy screwed up. The Maginot Line part worked exactly like it was supposed to: denying the Germans access to France straight across the border.

  •  The fact that many of the world's top physicists (23+ / 0-)

    at the time (including Albert Einstein) were Jews who had to flee Europe when the Nazis took over also had something to do with it.  But the atomic bomb is so dangerous that the Allies had to do everything possible to make it harder for the Nazis to get the bomb.

    Einstein's role in the atomic bomb was mainly lending his fame by signing the letter to President Roosevelt warning about the possibility of the bomb.  That letter helped set in motion the Manhattan Project.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:47:02 PM PDT

  •  There was a segment of one of (4+ / 0-)

    the series on one of the cable channels about this and it was very interesting.  I looked it up and it was pretty accurate.  I think it was Secret War or Secrets of WWII, something like that.  Thank you for this excellent diary.  

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:55:23 PM PDT

    •  I did my (5+ / 0-)

      military training and service with the son of one of the guys in the picture above (2nd Lt. Knut Haugland). A good chunk of our basic training took place in the mountains only a handful of miles from Vemork (this was back in the mid-70s), and my home town is about an hours drive away.

      Incidentally, my partner is coming to Norway for vacation in 2 weeks. Part of the "program" includes a drive through south-east Norway, including a night at Rjukan and a visit to the museum at Vemork.

      Today, Rjukan's claim to fame may be the sun mirrors that provide a glimpse of the sun during winters.

      We'll be taking the cable car inside the mountain to the summit of Gaustatoppen. A well-kept military secret until quite recently, but now open to tourists.

      Gaustabanen consists of a battery driven car on a cable that carries passengers approximately 860 metres horizontally
      [sic - they mean vertically] up inside the mountain.

      Right in the centre of the mountain there is a station, with an angled shuttle line  of 1040 metres that rises to 1800 metres above sea level.

      From the top, there is an exit to the so-called Tuddalstippen, situated right under the Gaustatoppen Tourist Cabin.

      Unique in the world
      Gaustabanen was constructed to carry people and equipment up to 1800 metres height, and as a military transport facility it is unique in the world. A Military Defense Department had installed radio cables at Gaustatoppen, and it wanted to be able to arrive at the top regardless of weather conditions, year round.

      So the idea was born to copy developers of energy, and drill a tunnel inside the mountain. The price tag when the cable car was completed in 1959 was 1 million US dollars. Today, the price would have been so prohibitive that the cable car would not have been built.


      Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. - S. Stills

      by ask on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A couple of images (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, Rashaverak, gmoke, llywrch

        The factory at Vemork as it stands today:

        During World War II, Vemork was the target of Norwegian heavy water sabotage operations. The heavy water plant was closed in 1971, and in 1988 the power station became the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum. (from Wiki)

        Gaustatoppen and the town of Rjukan (Vemork is outside the image, up the valley to the right):

        Gaustatoppen is the highest mountain in the county Telemark in Norway. The view from the summit is impressive, as one can see an area of approximately 60,000 km², one sixth of Norway's mainland. (from Wiki)

        Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. - S. Stills

        by ask on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:53:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pay My Respects (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Please pay my respects to those Norwegian heroes when you visit.  Their story obviously inspired me to write and will continue to give me much to think about in the coming months and years.

        In the last chapter of his memoir, Captain Knut Haukelid writes:  

        In May, 1945, the most curious army our country has ever seen appeared in the light of day.  About 57,000 men of the Norwegian home forces took over control and authority throughout the country.  They were nearly all young lads, who for several years had been training and preparing for the day when they would be able to strike a blow for their faith and their people.

        This army is all the more curious in that it was a hundred-per-cent volunteer force;  not one man had been called up to serve against his will.  For several years it had been their daily lot to give ground, and to go on giving ground, in the face of German encroachments, while man after man was taken and disappeared.  Now they came forth in a body.

        A people which can mobilize 57,000 men in such conditions will always be able to exist as a free people.

        The story of that organization is something I would like to learn more about.  Haukelid's justifiable pride in his country and countrymen, that image of thousands arising to recover their country stirs me deeply.

        Please carry that feeling of mine back to Norway and release it there.

        •  Will do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I am actually in Norway now, though reside parts of the year in NYC.

          There is a wealth of information on the Norwegian WWII resistance online for further reading/reference.

          You might appreciate these YouTube clips (3) where you meet the real guys and not some actors in a rather poor Hollywood movie:

          Norwegian Resistance 1 of 3

          Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away. - S. Stills

          by ask on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 01:50:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well there's a few other reasons, such as: (28+ / 0-)

    The main reason the Germans did not develop the bomb was because they did not have the key scientists who understood nuclear fission.

    Fission was discovered by German scientists: Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Fritz Strassmann and Otto Frisch (Meitner's nephew) were key in the discovery of fission which lies at the hard of the bomb.  Meitner, an Austrian Jew, had fled Germany following the Anschluss in late 1938.  Otto Hahn did not work on the German atomic bomb program. Strassman resigned from the Society of German Chemists in 1933 and was blacklisted by the NAZIS (he actually harbored a Jewish friend during the war). Frisch moved to England in the 30's.

    So most of the folks who had been doing the science in Germany that resulted in the discovery of Nuclear fission and possibly represented the best chance for the Germans to develop a bomb were actually against the NAZIS.

    Now look at who the allies had:

    1) Leo Szilard, a Hungarian scientist and also a Jew, conceived of the nuclear chain reaction.  He also holds the patent (with Enrico Fermi) for the nuclear reactor.  He moved to the USA in 1938.

    2) Neils Borh, a Danish scientist, learned he was to be arrested by the Germans, and fled to Sweden in 1943.  The British flew him out of Sweden, and he became part of the Tube Alloys project.

    3) The Tube Alloys project involved French scientists, such as Pierre Juliot Curie and others such as Otto Frisch (Meitner's nephew), was set up in England, was moved to Canada before being absorbed into the Manhattan project.

    4) Enrico Fermi had a Jewish wife and fled Italy in 1938 due to the racial laws. He came to the USA.

    5) Eduard Teller, a Hungarian scientist and also a Jew, had left Hungary for the USA, in part due to racial quotas implemented under the Horthy regime.

    6) Eugene Wigner, a Hungarian scientist and also Jewish, had left Hungary for the USA.  It was Wigner who introduced Szilard to Einstein, which resulted in the Einstein-Szilard letter to FDR which initiated the Manhattan project.

    These are some of the key people in the development of the atomic bomb. Many of them fled the Axis because of the inhumane racial laws.  

    However, the NAZI's quite simply did not have the scientists to do the job.  In early 1942, the Germans determined that building an atomic weapon was infeasible, and although research did continue (split up at multiple research institutes) many of the scientists went to work in other areas important to the German military.

    The attacks on the supply of Norwegian D2O were important, in that they prevented the NAZIS from accessing materials that could have helped them create a bomb.  The purging of Jewish scientists and mathematicians and the politicization of German research were far more important.

    When it comes to politics, one has to do as one [does] at sea with a sailing ship... reach one's course having regard to prevailing winds. - William Lyon MacKenzie King

    by Johnny Nucleo on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 12:59:24 PM PDT

    •  don't forget einstein (7+ / 0-)

      Herr Doktor Professor Einstein had come to Princeton
      long before.

    •  they also lacked the women (15+ / 0-)

      US Industry sent Women to the workforce.

      The US Program had hundreds of women mathemeticians
      grinding out matrix calculations

      Human computers played integral roles in the World War II war effort in the United States, and because of the depletion of the male labor force due to the draft, many computers during World War II were women, frequently with degrees in mathematics. In the Manhattan Project, human computers, working with a variety of mechanical aids, assisted numerical studies of the complex formulas related to nuclear fission.[4] Because the six people responsible for setting up problems on the ENIAC (the premiere general-purpose electronic digital computer built at the University of Pennsylvania during World War II) were drafted from a corps of human computers, the world's first professional computer programmers were women, paving the way for careers in data processing as socially acceptable for women in an era of gender roles. These six computers-turned-computer-programmers were Kay McNulty, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman, Betty Jean Jennings, and Fran Bilas.
      Arnold Lowan, a physicist who had fled anti-Semitic pogroms in Europe but could not find a regular teaching position in the United States, was the director of the Mathematical Tables Project. His first lieutenant was Gertrude Blanch, another Eastern European immigrant who could not find academic employment, despite a doctorate in mathematics. Blanch proved to be a true leader. While the regulations of the W.P.A. seemed well-designed for a make-work project of endless mediocrity, she and Lowan worked overtime to check calculations and ensure high-quality products free of errors. Blanch even organized a lunch-hour math curriculum for willing workers that took them from elementary arithmetic through high school algebra, trigonometry, all the way to college calculus and, finally, matrix calculations, the theory of differences, and special functions. It was the most successful mathematical tables project in history.

      The arrival of World War II sounded the death knell for work-relief projects, but the Mathematics Tables Project was certified as an urgent wartime program, granting it a reprieve and a degree of respect Lowan had otherwise sought in vain. Grier notes an interesting moment of contact between Lowan and John Brainerd at the University of Pennsylvania, where a team was struggling to build what would become ENIAC, an electrical analyzer that was being developed to calculate ballistics for the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Brainerd was looking for highly skilled human computers, but Lowan’s group was not what he had in mind. Lowan used machines to facilitate the work of human computers; Brainerd wanted human computers to aid the work of his machine. Brainerd then met his own Nicole-Reine Lepaute figure, Adele Goldstine, the wife of a ballistics officer who had done graduate work in mathematics. Goldstine set up a classroom program to educate their own team of computers and promptly hung a “women only” sign on the door of their lab.

      At the time, there were almost no researchers whose primary interest was computing, still seen as a mere handmaiden to other, more substantial scientific interests. But this was changing fast as machines began to outperform human computers. Up until World War II, human computers had the advantage. As Grier writes: “A punched-card tabulator could work much faster than a human being, but this advantage was lost if the operator had to spend days preparing the machine.” Richard Feynman, then a junior staff member at Los Alamos, arranged a showdown between man and machine, pitting a group of human computers against the Los Alamos IBM facility with both performing a calculation for the plutonium bomb. For two days, the human computers were able to keep up with the machines.

      I doubt the NAZIs could get slave laborers to work on this
      as efficiently or get the electronics right during a war.
      •  for those who don't know this: (9+ / 0-)

        The term "computer" originally referred to a person engaged in the profession of "computing" or performing mathematics manually with relatively little technological assistance.

        Many such individuals were used in various phases of the war effort, including cryptanalysis (code-breaking).

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 02:51:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This explains why the project worked (16+ / 0-)

        What the Allies did was, essentially, throw unlimited money and resources at the Manhattan Project. Need a few hundred mathematicians? You got 'em. Can't decide which of two paths might be the right one? Start people working on both.

        There's a reason why there were two different functional bomb designs by 1945 (the uranium gun and plutonium implosion). They weren't willing to put all their eggs in one basket and had the resources to have multiple baskets.

        The Germans simply couldn't match this.

        •  there were 2 bomb designs because of physics (6+ / 0-)

          the Uranium bomb they knew they could make work
          easy as pie but the uranium U-235 production was
          miserable.  they could make uranium but it was
          all of oak ridge's production using all of TVA's output
          for 4 months to make one.

          plutonium they could make in a few weeks running a
          reactor at hanford but  the trigger was very flaky.

          until they got the explosive lens figured out and fast consistent triggers, it was just dodgy.

          Now they had different approaches to uranium production
          centrifuges, gas diffusion and cyclotrons,  and they
          had a lot of resources,  but, yeah it was
          something the Germans were never going to get to.

          I wonder if the US had just put the resources
          into aircraft carriers, jet fighters and better  
          bombers  if the war would have ended sooner.

          •  According to the US Army Strategic Bombing Survey (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gmoke, petral

            conducted in the aftermath of World War II to assess the effectiveness of different tactics, that's extremely likely the cse. Their assessment was that Japan was right on the verge of surrender anyway. The emperor had already prepared to send his son on a diplomatic mission, publicly to try to reach a negotiated peace deal, but in secret told to accept any conditions at all - but the trip got delayed by the Potsdam conference. There had been a regular attrition of power from the war hawks in Japan, but it was a slow process. At the time of the bombings, it was deadlocked, and no surrender agreement could be reached. After the atomic bombings, not a single leader changed their position. The only difference the bombings was that it upped the sense of urgency on the side of the doves, which led to getting the imperial conference, which allowed the emperor (who had already joined the doves) to break the deadlock. And even with that, there was a coup attempt to try to prevent the surrender. It's amazing when you read about it, how much the hawks took the news of the bombings in stride. After the firebombings of Tokyo, they were pretty jaded.

            The Strategic Bombing Survey, after reviewing all of the evidence taken from Japan after the war, determined that the war would have ended on its own without the atomic bombings - if I remember the timeframe correctly, it was "likely within three months" and "almost certainly within six".

            So if all of those resources were dedicated to producing a weapon that only pushed up the timescale a couple months... yeah, I think it's quite reasonable to say that they were  misallocated.

            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

            by Rei on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:55:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not (4+ / 0-)

              The story above is little more than an extended fantasy. It was encouraged by high Japanese officials because then they looked a little better. But historical research over the last twenty or so years has left it in tatters.

              All effective power was by that time in the hands of the military. The diplomats who were playing at negotiation -- or who said later that they were playing at negotiation -- could never have ordered a surrender. Any attempt at doing so would have led to their own deaths -- the military had been knocking off politicians they deemed insufficiently martial since the 1930s.

              Meanwhile, the civilian population had been indoctrinated in a no-surrender ideology that would have made it extremely difficult to give up even if the military had decided to go along. Try talking to some people who were in Japan at the time. One of my Japanese Literature professors was about twelve in 1945, and he told us that the students in his school were informed that if the Americans won, all the girls would be raped and all the boys would be castrated. The entire kamikaze myth predicted a miraculous victory after the enemy had invaded and established himself on land (as the Mongols had done, only to be wiped out by a huge storm).

              Last but not least, the Japanese population was already on the verge of starvation. A six month wait with food supplies collapsing and the distribution system in ruins would have meant a huge number of deaths. If the Allies had been seriously interested in wiping out the Japanese as a people, blockade and continuing air attacks on transportation would have been the ideal method. And needless to say, civilians would have starved first.

              This is the landscape that we understand, -
              And till the principle of things takes root,
              How shall examples move us from our calm?

              (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

              by sagesource on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:21:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  we might have tore up their navy faster (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                confitesprit, Rashaverak, gmoke

                the IJN was pretty much shattered in Late 44.

                With more resources to carriers and fast cruisers and destroyer squadrons and with more raids the USN
                could have pushed harder and faster to take key islands
                and hop into the Phillipines and korea.

                Japan wasn't going to surrender unconditionally without the bombs at Hiroshima but they might have been convinced to take "Some Terms" once the IJN was finished off.

                if the Japanese merchant marine was getting captured
                or sunk and the army was stuck in manchuria,  there might have been some terms in 44.  Perhaps a withdrawal from
                Manchuria, back to the islands, a disarmament term
                and a surrender of land claims.

                However, that wasn't something the Americans would have liked

              •  I'm sorry (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But you're asking me to take your word over that of the army's official investigation based on all of the documents taken from Japan right after the war?

                Gee, which side to believe, hmm...

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:05:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  japan could be beaten on the sea (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              confitesprit, gmoke, llywrch

              but getting them to surrender on the home islands, would have been harder.

              With more ships and carriers we probably could have bottled up the japanese something fierce, but it would hav ebeen hard to get them to surrender.

              Now Germany could have been beaten faster with
              resources from the atom bomb program

              more fighters would have allowed faster ability to tear up the german luftwaffe and more ships would have gone after the
              kriegsmarine sooner.

              the real fight was Germany.  Forcing a German surrender
              in early 44 might have beenmore useful in
              getting the japanese to surrender but when i discuss
              the atomic bomb resources, it struck me as being more important for the German campaign.

              •  You can find the Bombing Survey (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                patbahn, gmoke, petral

                here. I know it's a very popular myth in the US that Japan was going to cause millions of casualties and the US "had" to drop the bomb, but that's just not supported by evidence, according to the US army's own investigation.

                The conclusions of  the Strategic Bombing Survey:

                The conviction and strength of the peace party was increased by the continuing Japanese military defeats, and by Japan's helplessness in defending itself against the ever-growing weight of air attack on the home islands. On 7 April 1945, less than a week after United States landings on Okinawa, Koiso was removed and Marquis Kido installed Admiral Suzuki as premier. Kido testified to the Survey that, in his opinion, Suzuki alone had the deep conviction and personal courage to stand up to the military and bring the war to an end.

                Early in May 1945, the Supreme War Direction Council began active discussion of ways and means to end the war, and talks were initiated with Soviet Russia seeking her intercession as mediator.

                The talks by the Japanese ambassador in Moscow and with the Soviet ambassador in Tokyo did not make progress. On 20 June the Emperor, on his own initiative, called the six members of the Supreme War Direction Council to a conference and said it was necessary to have a plan to close the war at once, as well as a plan to defend the home islands. The timing of the Potsdam Conference interfered with a plan to send Prince Konoye to Moscow as a special emissary with instructions from the cabinet to negotiate for peace on terms less than unconditional surrender, but with private instructions from the Emperor to secure peace at any price. Although the Supreme War Direction Council, in its deliberations on the Potsdam Declaration, was agreed on the advisability of ending the war, three of its members, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Navy Minister, were prepared to accept unconditional surrender, while the other three, the Army Minister, and the Chiefs of Staff of both services, favored continued resistance unless certain mitigating conditions were obtained.

                On 6 August the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and on 9 August Russia entered the war. In the succeeding meetings of the Supreme War Direction Council, the differences of opinion previously existing as to the Potsdam terms persisted exactly as before. By using the urgency brought about through fear of further atomic bombing attacks, the Prime Minister found it possible to bring the Emperor directly into the discussions of the Potsdam terms. Hirohito, acting as arbiter, resolved the conflict in favor of unconditional surrender.

                The public admission of defeat by the responsible Japanese leaders, which constituted the political objective of the United States offensive begun in 1943, was thus secured prior to invasion and while Japan was still possessed of some 2,000,000 troops and over 9,000 planes in the home islands. Military defeats in the air, at sea and on the land, destruction of shipping by submarines and by air, and direct air attack with conventional as well as atomic bombs, all contributed to this accomplishment.

                There is little point in attempting precisely to impute Japan's unconditional surrender to any one of the numerous causes which jointly and cumulatively were responsible for Japan's disaster. The time lapse between military impotence and political acceptance of the inevitable might have been shorter had the political structure of Japan permitted a more rapid and decisive determination of national policies. Nevertheless, it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.

                Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

                We underestimated the ability of our air attack on Japan's home islands, coupled as it was with blockade and previous military defeats, to achieve unconditional surrender without invasion. By July 1945, the weight of our air attack had as yet reached only a fraction of its planned proportion, Japan's industrial potential had been fatally reduced, her civilian population had lost its confidence in victory and was approaching the limit of its endurance, and her leaders, convinced of the inevitability of defeat, were preparing to accept surrender. The only remaining problem was the timing and terms of that surrender.
                It wasn't even believed beforehand by US army officials, either, it's this post-war creation to justify the US's use of an atrocity deliberately targetting civilians (and yes, read the Targeting Committee logs, they specifically ruled out more militarily-valuable targets in order to kill as many civilians as possible). There was not a single pre-war US study that suggested millions of Americans would die. They were the Chiefs of Staff study (109k dead for 90 days, 267k dead if it took 180), Stimson's study (400-800k dead, by far the highest estimate), Nimitz's study (41k US casualties if it took 30 days, 105k if 120 days  - note these are casualties, not dead), MacArthur's estimate (23k casualties in 30 days), and Marshal and King's estimates (both in the ballpark of MacArthur and Nimitz -  tens of thousands of casualties).

                The postwar analysis (the Strategic Bombing Survey) suggested that even the low estimates were too high.

                Now, note that this is a simple "if the US had done everything else the same but not dropped the atomic bombs" scenario. But that's not what we're discussing in this thread. What we're discussing is what would have happened had the US put its atomic bomb resources into other aspects of the war. Into technology (jet engines, rockets, better aircraft, guided bombs, better tanks and landing craft, etc) and military operatios (better economic blockading, more naval power, more air raids, etc).

                The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                by Rei on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 08:31:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  in an alternate scenario (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  What we're discussing is what would have happened had the US put its atomic bomb resources into other aspects of the war. Into technology (jet engines, rockets, better aircraft, guided bombs, better tanks and landing craft, etc) and military operatios (better economic blockading, more naval power, more air raids, etc).
                  I think in the scenario above if the US had done the island hopping to establish bases and crush the IJN  and then
                  had gone and landed on Korea. The IJA would have been crushed on Korea. That would have allowed a base for both naval operations and air attack, easily.

                  I think any serious invasion of the home islands would have been miserable but brigade sized raids where troops stop,
                  blow up a bunch of stuff, and then hop back on ship would have made negotiations a lot more practical.  

                  We wouldn't have needed a D-Day style invasion, just a series of Dieppe style raids,  and see what happens.

                  The other thing is by pulling off an Inchon in Korea,  
                  the korean people would have participated in getting rid of the japanese much like in the phillipines, and the IJA would have had to launch attacks down the Korean peninsula.

                •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

                  Maybe Japan would have surrendered from the attrition of a blockade & constant bombings. But your report is a single study. All the other documents on ending WWII -- both from the Japanese & American point of views I've read -- assume that had it not been for the Atom Bomb, the war could have only ended with a nasty, bloody & probably soul-shattering combat on the Japanese Home Islands.

                  The reasoning was quite simple. On the one side, the Allies would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender from the Japanese. On the other, Japanese martial tradition only accepted one of two outcomes: victory or death. Neither side was willing to accept the possibility of a conditional surrender or armistice, & no one on either side could seriously pursue those options without risking their reputations, if not their lives. Any sacrifice to achieve ultimate victory was considered worth making.

                  Facing the harm of an indefinite naval blockade & the resulting chronic violent unrest due to famine & poverty would have been considered a win by the Japanese elite. Present-day North Korea has been coping with a similar situation for decades, isolated economically & in many other ways from the rest of the world & shows no signs of surrendering. Militaristic Japan would have coped just as well.

                  The Japanese plan of killing enough Americans to lead to a negotiated surrender was a crazy one with little hope of succeeding, but their only alternative to unconditional -- & unthinkable -- surrender. When Nagasaki was destroyed with one bomb, the Japanese leadership was forced to accept even that plan was unworkable.

          •  unlikely because the casualty count... (4+ / 0-)

            ... in the Pacific was escalating over the months leading up to Truman's decision to use the A-bomb.

            Japan was prepared to fight on the mainland with well over 2 million soldiers to the Allies' planned 1 million.  At best it would have been attrition warfare.

            The best estimates at the time were for a half million casualties in conventional warfare.

            Casualties from the atomic bombs were about 120,000.

            Net difference: 380,000 lives saved, compared to what might have been.

            Also, had atomic bomb development been delayed until after WW2, there is a higher likelihood that the atomic bomb would have been used between the US and USSR, possibly shortly after the USSR conducted its first tests.

            As it was, the horrors of atomic bombings were discovered at the conclusion of a war, which set the world on track for the military doctrine of deterrence, rather than using them in an actual warfighting role.

            Had history gone differently we might not be here to talk about it.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:03:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Apart from the A-bomb casualty count.... (4+ / 0-)

              ....which is definitely low, perhaps by 50% or more, all these are correct points. The battles on Okinawa gave a mini-picture of what an invasion of Japan would have been like. It isn't pretty.

              I think too that the half-million dead in battle would have been accompanied by up to ten times that amount starved or dead of disease. Did you know that the US military was preparing for full-scale biological and chemical warfare against Japan provided the atom bombs proved to be duds? They had a toxin or virus lined up to use against every crop: even the cotton and tobacco fields would have been attacked. It would have been perfectly "legal" as well; the US had not signed the treaties against chemical warfare at that point in time and the Japanese had repeatedly broken them on mainland Asia.

              This is the landscape that we understand, -
              And till the principle of things takes root,
              How shall examples move us from our calm?

              (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

              by sagesource on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:31:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  if anything, biowarfare is far worse. (0+ / 0-)

                Germs do something fallout doesn't: they multiply.

                Thing is, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were true existential threats to the world, and had demonstrated the capacity to do harm on a global scale, with a degree of cruelty that was almost incomprehensible.

                In the face of that, almost anything would have been reasonable to put a stop to it.  Even chemical and biological warfare, especially against a foe that had used them itself.

                We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                by G2geek on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 01:11:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Niels Bohr was of jewish heritage too (10+ / 0-)

      I don't know what he considered himself, but his mother was out of a well known jewish family in Copenhagen.

      Bohr himself had been outspokenly anti-nazi and instrumental in helping several german scientists flee during the 1930's.

      Ironically Heisenberg was a student of his and worked for a while as his assistent in the '20's.

      (note: the occupation in Denmark had a much different course than in any of the other occupied countries, as the government simly surrendered in 1940 and was allowed to remain in place. Thus there was no persecution of jews or most political opponents (except the communists) until the Danish government finally refused to give in to ever tightening German demands and resigned in august 1943)

  •  In truth we came so close (0+ / 0-)

    And that's the reason the Manhattan project was so secret and why we have fluoride in our water.
    as we could not mine uranium ore with out notice which would of resulted in the Germans fast tracking there development and they were already well ahead of us so we instead got it from the low level in Phosphate so we needed a cover so processing out the Fluoride which was previously and industrial toxic waste so removal of Fluoride to use in drinking water was used as an as a cover for uranium processing. and it worked but we got stuck with fluoride in our water ever since which is not healthy for us and very little impact on our teeth.
    so we really should respect the 74 who slowed then down so one nuke at Brittan or the USA would of change the out come massively

  •  Nazi Atomic Bomb (6+ / 0-)

    The documentary "Stealing the Fire" contains an interview with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, who worked with Werner Heisenberg. Von Weizsäcker
    answers the question why Germany never built the bomb.  

  •  If you liked that book, you'd probably also like (10+ / 0-)

    We Die Alone, by David Howarth.

    A Norwegian commando raid staged from the UK is compromised almost immediately on landing.  All but one of them is killed or captured.  After swimming to shore, Jan Baalsrud, soaking wet and missing one sea boot, escapes up into a snow gully and eventually manages to make his way overland (part of the way on skis) to Sweden.

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:24:19 PM PDT

  •  A small note on H-bombs (11+ / 0-)

    Just a small note, we currently do not posses the technology to build an H-bomb without using an A-bomb as a trigger.  It certainly could not have been done 60 years ago, so there was no danger of the German program succeeding, uranium was the only viable starting point.

    A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. - Dwight David Eisenhower

    by Mestral on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:32:39 PM PDT

  •  I've just finished (12+ / 0-)

    The bombers and the bombed : Allied air war over Europe, 1940-1945 by Richard Overy in which the author confirms your conclusion about the ineffectiveness (or counter-effectiveness) of strategic bombing in World War II.

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Join the site, then the group at

    by rhutcheson on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:32:58 PM PDT

      •  Not to be contrarian or anything..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        confitesprit, Rashaverak

        ....but there are serious flaws in any such argument. As a matter of fact, after stating it in the body of this post, you immediately contradicted yourself:

        [In everything I have read about air warfare, bombing has never been anything that could be described as “surgical” and the effects on civilian populations have not been demoralization but more determination to fight against an enemy that would target non-combats.  If we recognize the courage of the people of England during the Battle of Britain and the V-2 raids, why do we think the Germans or the Vietnamese or anyone else would be so different?]  Because of the bombing campaign, the Nazis decided to abandon the plant and move the remaining stock of heavy water and critical components back to Germany in 1944.
        First you say bombing was ineffective. Then you say it shut down this plant. WTF?

        Bombing is inefficient, not ineffective. And if there is no other way to get at the enemy, inefficient is better than nothing. The effectiveness of aerial bombardment was grossly overstated in the 1920s and 1930s, leading to an assumption that any bombing campaign that did not cause the target society to collapse was a failure. This was an absurd and impossible standard to postulate.

        Let's give one example. IIRC, the Germans lost 10-15% of theiir industrial production to bombing. How much is 10% of all of industry? It's an enormous amount of damage. There are also the countermeasures to take into consideration. Again IIRC, there were about 10,000 large-caliber anti-aircraft guns in the Ruhr district alone. Some of them would have been there under any conditions -- just in case -- but do you think that another, say, 8000 high-velocity cannon pointed at our Russian allies would have helped or hindered them? Until the Normandy invasions, and for quite a while afterwards, the only way that the German war machine could have been damaged was by bombing. It was inefficient, as I said, but when it's a choice between inefficient and no effect at all, inefficient wins by a mile.

        This is the landscape that we understand, -
        And till the principle of things takes root,
        How shall examples move us from our calm?

        (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

        by sagesource on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:51:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Conflation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          confitesprit, petral

          Bombing a civilian population into submission is very, very different from convincing a military command to remove strategic supplies to another area that may be safe from bombing or destroying industrial capacity through bombing.

          I doubt that either the firebombing of Tokyo or Dresden were focused on destroying industrial capacity or aimed at purely military targets.  They were terror bombings, from what I've read, aimed at destroying civilian morale.  I don't believe they accomplished that purpose.  Nor did the terror bombing of Hanoi.

          But I could be wrong.

  •  Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes (17+ / 0-)

    The Making of the Atomic Bomb, written by Richard Rhodes, is a great book that covers in detail the people involved and how they came about the idea, the science, the Manhattan Project, and the results in Japan.  It explains the need for heavy water as a neutron moderator in a reactor to create plutonium for an atomic bomb.

  •  they also scared Albert Einstein right out of (8+ / 0-)


    So, he worked on the bomb for us.

    In February 1933 while on a visit to the United States, Einstein knew he could not to return to Germany with the rise to power of the Nazis under Germany's new chancellor, Adolf Hitler.  In a letter that month, he wrote, "Because of Hitler, I don't dare step on German soil."

    "Republicans: the party that brought us 'Just Say No.' First as a drug policy, then as their entire platform." ---Stephen Colbert

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:39:03 PM PDT

  •  the Nazi's never had a Nuke Program (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, G2geek, gmoke, confitesprit

    While they were working on bits of the research
    and particularly atomic power
    they never committed to a bomb.

    Spear was staggered when they showed him the scale
    of the American Effort.  He said he knew an atom bomb
    program would be big, he had no idea how big.

    Hitler kiboshed a nuke when he was told it would
    take until 1945. He said the War would be won or lost by 43.

    To do a nuclear weapon, the facilities would be
    big and getting bombed routinely by air.

  •  Initially Churchill (8+ / 0-)

    did not believe in terror bombing and thought it would rally the civilian population to the Nazis. He changed his mind despite the direct evidence of the Blitz which supported his earlier (and correct) view.

    In the 1920s the Italian air warfare theorist, Guilio Douhet, made the argument that terror bombing would break the public spirit and erode support for war efforts--"the will of the people" was one of the five prime targets for aerial bombardment. After 1942 that was official RAF policy--known as "area bombing."

    You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

    by gnothis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 01:59:24 PM PDT

  •  Agree with other commenters. (4+ / 0-)

    From everything I've read, they were never close to a nuke.

  •  Do you have any information about the involvement (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, G2geek, gmoke, confitesprit

    of the Japanese in atomic bomb making towards the end of WWII?
        I read somewhere or saw on The History Channel (which is sometimes very suspect)  that Japan actually had physicists working on atomic fission at the beginning of the war, that they had a steady flow of information and materials and personnel back and forth with the Reich, and that a submarine with a large shipment of radioactive materials from Germany was sent to Japan for their use.

    The were unable to test explosions successfully, and planned to use the radioactive materials with regular explosives in a 'dirty bomb' over San Francisco Bay.

    I haven't ever found any information that confirms this story -- do you think it might be true?   Any idea what was happening with atomic energy in Japan in WWII?

    Thank you.  

    •  By the last quarter of 1943, (4+ / 0-)

      Japan was having difficulty producing ammunition for its soldiers and fuel for their combat aircraft, no less committing resources to nuclear research. They simply didn't have the resources to commit to the necessary research.

      And as far as the submarine is concerned, the story I got was that it was full of reclaimed gold from the fillings of concentration camp prisoners, sent to the Japanese emperor as a token gesture of aid for his Imperial Army to finance their war effort in the Pacific. The sub was presumably sunk in the Indian Ocean on its way to Japan by the British navy shortly after the first iteration of the Enigma code was broken.

      •  I've been googling around, and found some info (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, gmoke, PrahaPartizan, confitesprit

        at odds with what you say.    There was a submarine that was on the way to Japan when the German's surrendered, and turned itself in to the Allies, who found cargo marked U-235 and may have been uranium oxide.   The cargo was dumped in the ocean.   Interestingly enough, the designation of the sub was "U-234."

        Japan actually bought a cyclotron from Univ. California at Berkeley and was running experiments at the beginning of the war.   They had a couple of noted physicists and a staff of about 200.   The Cyclotron was dismantled and thrown into Tokyo Bay at the beginning of the U.S. occupation.

        There were papers circulated in Japan about the possible use of atomic energy in weapons, the same ones that were in Europe and the U.S. just before the war.   The government had the academics studying and commenting very early on, and resources were indeed given to them.  

        Heavy water was produced by a couple of power plants in Japan and occupied Korea in their processes of electrolysis and were used in Atomic studies in Tokyo.

        A number of Japanese scientists were possibly working on nuclear processes at Hongnam, a rock quarry in what is now North Korea.    Much of what went on there was swallowed up by the Russian invasions, and disappeared.

        While looking for information,  it struck me that the Japanese may have been in as much a hurry to surrender not only to the Americans due to the bombs dropped, but also because they didn't want a Russian occupation, which was rolling down from the north after the German's surrendered.

        We probably won't know all the details until some historians are given clearance in the Kremlin, the Pentagon, and even Korea to put it all together with bona fide proof.    A lot of what is listed is hearsay with no actual documentation, and a lot of people have died since then.    


  •  Good find with the book and author (4+ / 0-)

    thanks for the historical diary.

  •  Thanks for the diary! Ferry later found and drums (6+ / 0-)

    brought up.  Documentary on PBS years ago.  Tested the water in the drums and one still had some heavy water.

    Hat tip to the people mentioning Richard Rhodes excellent books, the A-bomb book won the Pulitzer.

  •  I thought first line of diary would be = (3+ / 0-)

    The Nazis thought atomic science was a Jewish subject.

  •  in 1942 how much actual conversation was there (3+ / 0-)

    about nuclear weapons?

    when did the dialog start and by/with who?

    I had somehow assumed that it all started after ww2 and someone had the bright idea..obviously I was wrong, and surely the product of a whole line of research.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 02:46:46 PM PDT

  •  Here are a few links gleaned from the internet: (4+ / 0-)

    Essay for recent Stanford University course

    NOVA program summary

    Turns out my memory was a little faulty, they didn't have a problem stemming from contaminated graphite, they chose to use heavy water as a moderator in a reactor because it was more readily available to them.

    Also, the impurity in the carbon we initially used was boron, not cadmium. Both are very effective neutron absorbers.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:15:11 PM PDT

  •  Best book on German WII a-bomb effort (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, G2geek, gmoke

    Mark Walker, German National Socialism and the Quest for Nuclear Power, 1939-1949.

    Walker's conclusion is that, mostly due to economic and political developments, Germany in World War II did not prioritize the development of nuclear weapons and that this was a reasonable policy at the time.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 04:45:50 PM PDT

  •  that and... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, gmoke

    The Nazis kicked out Jewish scientists and dismissed Einstein's ideas for the same ideological reasons that Russians embraced Lamarckianism.  They could still build a bomb but their racial BS made it harder than it needed to be.  

    Tom Frank was a pseudo that I coined before I found out about that guy who writes books.

    by Tom Frank on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 05:21:22 PM PDT

  •  I just LOVE to read history written NOT by the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, gmoke

    "winners", but by those who lived it.

    Please, write more.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 05:30:52 PM PDT

    •  Living History (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State

      We're all living history now.  I, of course, did not live through the events in Norway, a country I have yet to visit.  

      Also love first person accounts of historical events.  There used to be a paperback series of American first person accounts - Indian captive narratives from the 17th to the 19th centuries, Father Henson's Story, the model for Uncle Tom's Cabin, the surviving sailors' story of the mutiny on the whaleship Essex, a source of Melville's Moby Dick.  Great stuff. If I recall correctly, Ted Wilentz, who with his brother once ran the great 8th Street Bookstore in Greenwich Village, edited and published them with Anchor Books.  I'm glad I took the opportunity to thank him for his work once.

  •  According to the history of nuclear accidents by (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, gmoke

    James Mahaffey I am currently reading, the Nazis weren't even using the heavy water in atomic bomb research but the Allies knew it was an excellent neutron moderator and had convinced themselves that the Germans knew something we didn't. The Americans used British scientists for bomb development during the Manhattan Project but froze them out of uranium enrichment research and plutonium production because that was the hard part. Instead the Americans encouraged the Canadians and British to look into heavy water reactors to "catch up" with the Germans. That is why the Canadians use Candu reactors to this day.

  •  This reminded me of a story that a (5+ / 0-)

    now deceased, distant relative told me years ago when I was travelling through Europe. I stayed with this relative for a couple days whilst in Germany (He and his wife had visited my family when I was in Junior High). It turned out that he was a raging Nazi, much to my horror. Nice enough gentleman when not talking about WWII.

    But he was still under the delusion that Hitler had 5 or 6 atomic bombs, but had refused to use them because "Hitler was too nice." I shit you not. This was his belief.

    Incidentally, this is why I understand the power of Right Wing propaganda, and how it has such a death grip on many Americans today. If a smart man can be convinced that Hitler was 'too nice', then the crap that RW propaganda spews is child's play.

    •  I worked for a guy once who was a helluva nice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      fellow personally. He carried a picture of his father in full SA regalia in his wallet. He himself had been in the Hitlerjugend and had gotten beaten up by a GI during the occupation because he was still wearing his membership medallion. This was the early eighties and he was still going on about how the Jews had stabbed Germany in the back during WWII. According to him, they'd put sawdust in the ammo they manufactured rather than gun powder and that's why Germany lost WWI.

      Further proof, if any were needed, that people can talk themselves into believing damn near anything.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:39:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  both yes and yes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:06:32 PM PDT

  •  Richard Feynman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, gmoke

    Helped with the bomb and was the guy who discovered why the Challenger Spacecraft exploded (O-Rings). Genius times 2.

    Netroots Nation: Burning Man for Progressives

    by Gilmore on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:01:08 PM PDT

    •  His real work was on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      begone, PrahaPartizan, gmoke
      the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.
      Wikipedia: Richard Feynman

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 11:08:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Nazi persecution of the Jews... (0+ / 0-)

    ..was for me the primary reason for Germany not succeeding with the development of the Bomb.

    If the European expats continued with their work back home, then maybe we would be speaking German?

  •  The raid on the hydroelectric plant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and the ferry were dramatized in the movie The Heroes of Telemark back in 1965. It starred Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris. I remeber it quite clearly considering I would have been 10 or 11 at the time

    Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

    by OIL GUY on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:51:35 PM PDT

  •   There wasn't "one reason" there were many... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013, gmoke

    A crucial failure was the overestimation of how much uranium was needed to make a bomb.

    They were off by 1000x or something like that, figured it was impractical and had scaled back the serious A-Bomb effort by 1942.

    There were many failures in personnel, infrastructure, and resources over the years.  If there had only been one they probably would have worked around it.

    •  Concealing plutonium is way up there. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We know from Albert Speer that this alternative was concealed. And without plutonium, even if the critical mass problem had been reworked, uranium requires building thousands of large capacity centrifuges.

      The U.S. pursued the uranium option. This effort produced one bomb, cost a billion 1940s dollars, and took a big part of TVA electrical power and so much silver for wiring that they had to raid the Treasury for its silver reserves.

      Plutonium ??? Completely different problem.

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

      by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:28:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I accidentally voted no (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When I meant yes! Arrggghhh

    Women create the entire labor force.
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:28:44 AM PDT

  •  Hunting Isn't Like War (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hunting is like war in that there is only one standard of success.  Either one wins the war or one loses it.  Either one gets the meat or one doesn’t.

    Tell me: who won the Iraq War Jr? Sr? Nobody wins wars but the warmongers and profiteers. They always get the meat.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 11:00:50 AM PDT

  •  Our Germans Were Better (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We already had Einstein, who'd fled long before. And plenty of other German geniuses. Indeed we had Richard Feynmann, whose family had already fled Germany generations before. These people pulled off a herculean mathematical, engineering, manufacturing and organizational feat in a flash. It helped that they worked in the most convenient and well funded conditions, rather than in a Germany coming out of Depression into total war (and losing the last few years). Plus the conditions after victory for each were probably more inspiring for people in America.

    If only there had been some WWII mission inside Japan that convinced its rulers to surrender once defeat was inevitable, instead of waiting for two atomic bombs on their homeland. But then perhaps we might never have had such a heinous demonstration that we should never fight with such a weapon again, which has given us at least 68 years without doing it.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 11:06:50 AM PDT

  •  Nazi Bomb (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So Speer said in his memoirs that the Reich released 1100 tons of uranium 235 in 1944? I never heard that. It would be interesting to know how short the Manhattan Project was on uranium 235 at that point in time, it is my general understanding that the squeeze was on the project to bridge that shortfall somehow and come up with sufficient material to develop the Bomb.

  •  Also... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is well to remember that the Germans sent a big Junker bomber aircraft on an exploratory long-distance flight over Manhattan before the end of the war. They had the capability of delivering a destructive weapon to NYC, but apparently had not finalized the weapon - yet.

    In addition, German scientists worked under the protection of the Peron Govt. In Argentina on various advanced projects, in particular at a facility on an island in the lake near Bariloche in the Patagonia, an area populated to this day by a large German-speaking community.

  •  Oops, Bad Guess about Nationality (0+ / 0-)

    When I read the title Skis Against the Atom, I thot at first it was about Polish guerrillas.

  •  Nazi Nuke (0+ / 0-)

    Werner Karl Heisenberg is generally credited with having sidetracked the Nazi nuclear program and publicly admitted doing so.
    Thankfully so,since the Nazis had an advanced rocket program it would have been possible for them to have launched a demonstration attack on Chicago or some other major non capitol city, the outcome of WW2 would have been a Nazi dominated Europe and a stalemated West.

  •  Colorado (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When I was living in Colorado (1962-1972) I would often drive by the former 10th Army Mountain Regiment base near Leadville. I often thought about what they accomplished in Italy and Scandinavia during WW2. My own father was posted in the Philippines, and was almost killed by a Japanese shell that landed a few yards from him and a friend. Fortunately, it did not explode, or I wouldn't be here today to tell this story.

    To this day, I still love to cross-country ski!

  •  Another reason... (0+ / 0-)

    Another reason that the Nazis never built an A-bomb was because they either sent their best physicists to the camps or chased them out of the country.  They were mostly Jewish, Einstein being a perfect example.

  •  THe Poll (0+ / 0-)

    Looking over the results, it seems there are a lot more Tea-Baggers checking this forum than I would have thought.

  •  Good story (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    scoop, despaminate3000

    Good story

  •  see the movie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Heroes of Telemark is a great film about this event.

    The neo-Nazis in Ukraine have threatened to reconstitute their nuclear arsenal ("in 3 to 6 months") in order to nuke the Russians, and the runner up in the recent Presidential election had vowed to nuke the 8 million troublesome Russian ethnics in Ukraine.

    So we may yet see a Nazi regime with nukes, funded and defended by the US of A.  

    Oh, it's just rhetoric.  Hitler started with nothing but hate-filled rhetoric and it ended up killing millions.

    And of course Nazis helped both the US and Russia to develop their nukes.  

  •  Fascinating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


  •  Philip Henshall's "Hitler's Rocket Sites" (0+ / 0-)

    A rather dry read, but the author spells out in detail how at least five missile silos (photos of each appear in the book) were constructed  around Europe, each intended to hold a nuclear-tipped V-2.  Whether those responsible had any idea of the science behind or the state of progress toward and atomic bomb I have no idea.  However, the plan was to use the missile silos as a means of effectively holding Europe hostage, and vaporizing any incoming invasion force before it could establish a foothold.

    Certainly the Nazis were following a slow and complex path toward an atomic bomb by relying on heavy water.  Could they have done it had the production facilities not been repeatedly attacked?  I am glad we did not find out.

  •  In simplest terms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can someone tell me what heavy water is and why its important to nuke stuff?

  •  colonel hogan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Because Colonel Hogan and his fellow prisoners destroyed the heavy water that was stored in Stalag 13, by pouring the water out or pouring it into the ground or convincing Colonel Klink that drinking the water would make hair grow on his head or smuggled the heavy water to England.

  •  More history. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In hopes we can avoid repeating its' failures.

  •  WW 2 Japanese Atomic Bomb (0+ / 0-)

    In 1945 the Japanese not only completed an A-Bomb, they also tested it in Korea.
    This was in the last days of the war.
    They had yet to build a deliverable A-Bomb and didn't have an aircraft capable of carrying the weapon.

Meteor Blades, skybluewater, jbou, Bob Johnson, Thumb, Alumbrados, PrahaPartizan, Phoenix Woman, lapin, murphy, melo, Timaeus, drybones, PeterHug, Shockwave, Wintermute, chuco35, Jay C, eeff, RFK Lives, gjohnsit, Walt starr, tom 47, davelf2, opinionated, cskendrick, mbayrob, whenwego, sharman, grassroot, ask, taonow, PeteZerria, Iberian, splashy, Cedwyn, Alna Dem, sidnora, Cardinal96, Redfire, Texknight, tomephil, psnyder, TexDem, brainwave, Bailey Savings and Loan, johanus, JimWilson, defluxion10, Court Jester, razajac, Dood Abides, Major Kong, ybruti, side pocket, hayden, Steven D, jcrit, sebastianguy99, Gowrie Gal, G2geek, historys mysteries, Bluesee, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, Treg, unclejohn, subtropolis, SherwoodB, dewtx, lennysfo, cfk, Sun Tzu, GreyHawk, Steve in Urbana, onanyes, turnover, deepsouthdoug, turdraker, bunsk, SocioSam, kkjohnson, mightymouse, bently, xaxnar, begone, Knucklehead, Dolphin99, WB Reeves, golem, Mr Bojangles, BlueInARedState, Themistoclea, Ky DEM, profundo, dopper0189, ruleoflaw, smokeymonkey, AoT, Gottlieb, slampros, Lefty Coaster, Alexandra Lynch, DarkestHour, erratic, agnostic, Crashing Vor, novapsyche, Fox Ringo, armadillo, ER Doc, hlsmlane, oakroyd, llbear, CA Nana, downwithtyranny, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, miss karen, blueoregon, MadMs, crystal eyes, OHdog, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, john07801, out of left field, Mr K, oklacoma dem, Dartagnan, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, terabytes, deepeco, jayden, millwood, OIL GUY, Wreck Smurfy, leonard145b, janatallow, aseth, keyscritter, on the cusp, Empower Ink, revm3up, JeffW, 6412093, Involuntary Exile, dadadata, bythesea, Jeff Y, codairem, JamieG from Md, palantir, toom, rhutcheson, statsone, Leftleaner, Rhysling, bluemoonfever, greengemini, Mislead, maryabein, janmtairy, mkor7, dskoe, kevinpdx, Munchkn, stevenwag, sfarkash, Randtntx, jpmassar, Larsstephens, Railfan, henlesloop, confitesprit, Mokurai, roadbear, Grainpaw, Polly Syllabic, DrTerwilliker, Loose Fur, kerflooey, Bluefin, WineRev, Oldowan, slowbutsure, implicate order, FarWestGirl, deeproots, lupinella, marleycat, IllanoyGal, BarackStarObama, muddy boots, sofa turf, Grandma Susie, Reinvented Daddy, worldlotus, Andrew F Cockburn, Miggles, dradams, jadt65, Rashaverak, BlueDragon, anodnhajo, DeadHead, IndieGuy, AnnieR, winglion, 2thanks, Trotskyrepublican, Jake Bodhi, hotheadCA, BusyinCA, doroma, Buckeye54, dotdash2u, RonK, Windowpane, CalBearMom, Jason Libsch, Hammerhand, TheMeansAreTheEnd, Late Again, goodpractice, Dewstino, unfangus, alice kleeman, Aunt Pat, IndyinDelaware, peterfallow, blue91, River Rover, TheDuckManCometh, Volt3930, Rich Lyles, RUNDOWN, richardvjohnson, RightHeaded, Fish Man, Sonnet, gnothis, Gurnt, thanatokephaloides, theBreeze, Independent Progressive, boppersan, MichaelG7355, dcnblues, bobcat41702, Wes Kobernick, Blackwolf53, Wolfemann, indinaz, Luciffer

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site