The story of the interplay between science and espionage, morality and military necessity, which marked the German-bomb programme and the Allied response to it. It revolves round Werner Heisenberg, one of the century's greatest physicists and the only one of real stature to stay on during the war. The Allies knew the Germans had the materials to ...
The story of the interplay between science and espionage, morality and military necessity, which marked the German-bomb programme and the Allied response to it. It revolves round Werner Heisenberg, one of the century's greatest physicists and the only one of real stature to stay on during the war. The Allies knew the Germans had the materials to construct the bomb; in Heisenberg they also had the intellectual know-how. What role did he in fact play, and what were his aims and motives?
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Publishers Weekly, 1993-01-25 In this important study, Powers addresses one of the lingering mysteries of WW II: why Germany, with its able scientists, material resources and the support of high military officials, failed to build an atom bomb. Throughout the war Allied authorities, fearing that the Germans would ``get there first,'' took steps to thwart their apparent efforts toward that end: the commando raid that destroyed the heavy-water plant in Norway, for instance, and the scheme to assassinate preeminent physicist Werner Heisenberg. Powers also describes how the Allies learned that the Germans never even came close to producing the Bomb, and he examines the popular theory that German scientists concocted a postwar story of moral compunction to excuse their failure. Sifting through the evidence, Powers concludes that Heisenberg did not exercise passive resistance but actually ``killed'' the Bomb program by convincing the authorities that it was unfeasible. But the question remains: why did Heisenberg not take credit for his heroic action? Powers is author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets. Photos. BOMC, History Book Club and QPB alternates. (Mar.)
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