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The still ongoing question 'how close were the nazis to have the atomic bomb' was answered a few years ago. They were ready in 1941. They knew how to get the material and they knew how to built it. The only thing they didn't had was a reactor to produce plutonium. But why didn't they built this reactor?
Nazis were always aware they never would have been able to produce charged uranium in an amount crucial for the war. This was their believe. So the atomic bomb wasn't really high on their priorities list. But in 1941 the so called 'uranium project' around Werner Heisenberg had discovered another fission product: plutonium. And they developed also a method without the need of uranium235 (charged uranium), the implosion driven chain reaction.
According to Heisenbergs own memories, in 1942, he was asked by Albert Speer (minister of armaments industry) how long it would take to make an 'uranium bomb' (the nazi-german atom bomb project was called 'uranium project' and therefore the familiar name by this time was 'uranium bomb' instead of 'atomic bomb'). He answered, about 3 years, concealing that they were ready to built a plutonium only bomb. (Well, he even didn't lie). That was the point, according to Heisenberg, Nazi leaders lost interest on the 'uranium project'.
Until 2007 there was no proof for this testimony given in 1952. By then in an archive in Moscov was discovered a patent application from Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, written in 1941. Weizsäcker by this time was a member of Heisenbergs research team on the 'uranium bomb'. Weizsäcker died in 2007 and therefore a biographer who wanted to write about him, made this discovery. This patent application describes exactly the plutonic bomb. As this application seems never to have been handed over to nazi authorities - it seems true what Heisenberg wrote later. They were ready to built it since 1941 but they didn't tell it to authorities and therefore no fission reactor was built to produce the necessary plutonium.
But then - this are really strange coincidences.
As till summer 1941 the manhatten project didn't made any great progress by searching how to get the process stable to split uranium 235 from uranium ore. Then suddenly they discovered how they could split plutonium from the uranium and they developed the idear of an implosion based bomb (the principle later leaded to the two-stage-reaction of the hydrogen bomb), all at the same time. And in 1942 they had in Chicago the world wide first reactor ready to produce plutonium. And it is the next strange coincidence that the russians shortly after the end of ww2 made the same progress, so that Edward Teller and Andrei Sakholov had both the exactly same concept for a nuclear fusion based weapon ready at the same time, in 1948.
And the world wide first nuclear bomb, the trinity test bomb, was a plutonium only bomb with the principle of an implosion bomb - exactly as described by Weizsäcker in 1941 in his unpublished patent application.
The bomb on Hiroshima, 1945, was a complete different technology than the bomb in the trinity test. The Hiroshima bomb was build in a more 'old fashioned' way, not to compress the material, but to unite materials (plutonium and uranium235) to reach critical mass.
Apart from plutonium and uranium 235 there are roundabout 200 other fission products you can get by shooting neutrinos on an uranium core.
Don't want to go for a conspiration theory - but it's strange that they went for the same combination of fission product and technique to cause a chain reaction, as there are quite many possible combinations to realize a nuclear bomb.
Well, it's know Weizsäcker and Heisenberg met Niels Bohr - guess when - 1941 in Copenhagen. And until today this meeting is a big enigma to historians - what was the reason? What did they talk about? Heisenberg later explained, he wanted to convince Bohr, that the germans weren't able to built the bomb and therefore americans should stop researches too. But it's also known that Bohr remained deeply shocked by what they told him. And his memories are completely different. Until his death Weizsäcker was asked about that meeting and Weizsäcker always said "Bohr missunderstood us completely". Well, maybe not? Maybe thats the key to this enigma? Maybe they told him about the possibility to built a plutonium based implosion bomb. And Bohr recognized the possibility and told Teller. And Teller ... well the rest of the story is known.
The Guardian website has been running a series of articles about the history of cities, urbanization, and urban planning for a couple of months. Each article is about a particular city in the world during a particular period of history and how certain events in that period impacted that city. The articles cover a number of cities from ancient Alexandria to the planned cities of the 20th and 21st Centuries. The series is 50 articles long and is currently up to number 34.
The series is at http://www.theguardian.com/cities/series/the-story-of-cities
Dawn of Humanity is a town-building strategy game that puts you in control as you experience the growth and development of your hunter-gatherer tribal settlement into a prosperous town fit for a modern civilization. Starting in 10,000 BC, you must ensure that you evolve and grow your village through the perils of prehistoric Stone Age to the challenges and opportunities presented by the late Middle Ages up to the Renaissance era. The player will have a choice of four different civilizations and cultures in which to develop their town that will be based on the climate and geographical location of the original settlement. To secure victory, the player must ensure that all available resources are used to their best potential in order to have a healthy, happy and productive population who will be the backbone of your success.
Check out more details on Kickstarter and feel free to contact me if you need any more details
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