Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Book: "Nazis THIS close to having nuclear bomb"

little off-topic, but fascinating nonetheless: Economic historian Rainer Karlsch, in his new book Hitler's Bomb, is claiming that the Nazis had a crude version of a nuclear bomb actually invented and working in the final months of WWII, and successfully detonated the device at the Ohrdruf concentration camp, just south of Berlin. Now, granted, you shouldn't get your historical erasers out just yet: Karlsch cannot directly prove that such a device was invented, but instead bases his claim on historical and circumstantial evidence - such as the radiation levels currently found at the Ohrdruf facility, as well as recently-declassified documents from the KGB concerning such a test. Also, Karlsch makes it clear that "Hitler's bomb" had far less power than the eventual A-bomb that Americans created; Hitler's didn't even achieve fission, as a matter of fact, and only ended up killing a couple of hundred unlucky Jews who happened to be near the bomb when it went off. Still, though, the entire prospect is a little frightening, as far as I'm concerned. (Thanks to the Associated Press for pointing this out; readers can find a ton of more information about this subject there.)