Session E15: Manhattan Project and Beyond
3:30 PM–5:18 PM, Saturday, April 12, 2008
Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront (formerly Adam's Mark Hotel), Room: St. Louis H
Sponsoring Unit: FHP
Chair: Jeffrey Dunham, Middlebury College
Abstract ID: BAPS.2008.APR.E15.2
Abstract: E15.00002 : Did the Allies Know in 1942 About Nazi Germany's Poor Prospects for an Atomic Bomb?
3:54 PM–4:18 PM
(The City College of the C.U.N.Y, emeritus)
According to official accounts, the U.S. knew nothing about Nazi Germany's efforts to get an atomic bomb until the end of the World War II, but had feared the worst. As it turned out, the Germans had made little progress. But did someone in the Allied camp know in 1942? In his 1986 book, The Griffin, Arnold Kramish relates how Paul Rosbaud, a spy for MI6, the British secret intelligence service, kept his handlers informed during the War about the German atomic project and reported the decision to give up on a bomb. Kramish's revelations are, understandably, thinly documented and Rosbaud's name can hardly be found independenly anywhere else. But as Samuel Goudsmit's papers in the Bohr Library show, he knew and communicated with Rosbaud from August 1945 on. In 1986, 15 letters exchanged by Goudsmit and Rosbaud were removed by the Government from the Library and eventually placed in the National Archives under classification review. Renewed interest in the Rosbaud story was engendered last year when his family sued MI6 in an English court for the release of the Rosbaud file. So far the spy agency has refused to reveal even that there is such a file. Discovering authoritatively what Rosbaud told the British and what they did with the information is clearly of historical interest.
To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2008.APR.E15.2