- Introduction -
This micro-history is suggested as the result of newly discovered, very significant events that occurred during the closing weeks of World War Two. As the story of Critical Mass unfolds, it questions the foundations of the traditional history of the making and use of the first atomic bombs as well as our understanding of the Nuclear Age. The facts reveal not only important new information about the race to produce the bomb; but the new information helps us understand how the sum of the history of man was combined in one brief moment to create a critical mass in humanity that shattered the old world forever and ushered in the Nuclear Age.
The previously secret (now declassified) unpublished military, state, intelligence and Department of Energy documentation cited throughout Critical Mass suggests that the atomic bomb was not fully developed and built by American scientists and technicians, as the traditional and long-standing history asserts. Instead, the evidence shows that enriched uranium and other atomic bomb components developed by Nazi Germany were surrendered to United States forces during the final weeks of the war - probably according to prearranged surreptitious agreements - and were a vital part of the materials used to create the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The evidence indicates that without these materials the United States would have fallen short of achieving its nuclear weapons objectives.
Interwoven into this story - in fact, integral to it - is provocative evidence that connects Hitler's behind-the-scenes right-hand man, Nazi Party Chief Martin Bormann, to Germany's very nearly successful effort to create an atomic bomb; and to Germany's last-ditch efforts to transfer that technology to Japan. Evidence also suggests that Bormann, at the latest possible moment, turned against his Asian ally and decided to hand the keys of world dominion - in the form of the atomic bomb - to any Allied country that would treat with him. Thus Bormann covertly negotiated a separate, and very secret, personal peace with the United States that allowed him to disappear from the front page of history and slide silently between the shadows of a murky past and a phantasmal future.
The events that initiated this story have each lead to astounding new revelations that had the net effect of continually, and, seemingly unendingly, expanding the scope of this book. As a private citizen who researched and wrote the book around the demands of a full-time job and who, with the aid of generous friends and family, financed the research and writing, generating unlimited resources to constantly expand the book's scope was impossible. Despite desires to throw light in every corner, proving the premises presented in Critical Mass has, of necessity, been circumscribed to proving the following basic assertions:
1. That the Manhattan Project was not successful producing all of the needed enriched uranium - isotope U235 - in time to fulfill its atomic bomb requirements, nor was it successful creating a triggering device for the plutonium bomb without the help of captured German components.
2. While not proving conclusively that uranium was enriched in Germany, it would be demonstrated that there was potential in Germany, despite the traditional history that states otherwise, for the Nazi program to successfully enrich U235. Enrichment would have been in quantities that could have supplied the bomb-grade uranium needed by the United States to complete its atomic bomb project. Also, that Germany successfully developed a triggering mechanism usable for the plutonium bomb.
3. That U235 for the uranium bomb, and infrared fuses for the plutonium bomb, were obtained by the U.S. from Germany and were transferred into the possession of the Manhattan Project and ultimately used in the bombs dropped on Japan.
As a matter of sufficiently authenticating the above assertions, I have tried to obtain a minimum of two corroborating pieces of evidence to validate the theories presented. In almost every case, as will be seen, this has been accomplished. In many, three or more proofs are given. In a few instances only one piece of evidence is extant; but taken on the whole, the accumulated evidence is considerable if not incontrovertible.
The question may be asked that, with the hundreds if not thousands of books, articles and histories that have been written about the making of the first atomic bombs, how can any new and unpublished information be added to the chronicle. Remarkably, the answer, in part, is that very few of the writers of those histories ever saw any of the original records of the most seminal events that constituted the makings of the bombs. As far as I can tell, I was the first to review the actual uranium enrichment production records, the shipping and receiving records of materials sent from Oak Ridge to Los Alamos, the metallurgical fabrication records of the making of the bombs themselves, and the records and testimony regarding failure to develop a viable triggering device for the plutonium bomb.
Of the 38 boxes of Oak Ridge records held in the Southeast Regional Archives in Atlanta, Georgia I had pulled for review, only four had been opened since their declassification in 1967 and 1978. I was the first to open and cull through many of these boxes, and within these containers I found many critical documents. And there are boxes that remain, their declassification seals yet unbroken.
Apparently, the authors described above have relied on personal accounts and the administrative, strategic and general records harbored in the National Archives in Washington for their research. The critical daily production records of Oak Ridge and elsewhere have been all but ignored, though they reveal important information not previously considered in other histories, and although they tell a different story than that presently believed. Even if those authors had read, assimilated and interpreted the available records, the discrepancies may have been considered anomalous and possibly would have been ignored when compared against the overpowering reputation of the traditional history. Most of that history can be traced in theme and content to Manhattan Project Commanding General Leslie Groves' book on the subject, Now It Can Be Told.
Now It Can Be Told presents the story of the making of the atomic bomb that the United States government needed the world to hear at the time. There was, undoubtedly, justification for this guarded approach considering the exigencies of the era. The chronicle of history should be corrected when opportunity allows, however - though it all too often is not - for the understanding and benefit of generations to come. And, frankly, for the recognition of all those who played a part, as well as the enlightenment of those who simply desire to know the truth. Democracies especially depend on an informed citizenry to safeguard the proper use of power and appropriate oversight of important military and political policy.
Certainly not all information and actions of a government at war or in conflict with another sovereignty can be reviewed on an open basis contemporaneously with the critical events. But as timely issues are resolved or neutralized by new events, it is incumbent upon that democratic society to carefully review and analyze the events and equitably judge the system and the people involved. Through this course we ensure the nation's best interests were preserved, and make whatever adjustments are necessary to provide a guide for future like endeavors.
Other official and semi-official accounts of the Manhattan Project and the programs that competed against it have been written, the best among them being Richard Rhodes' exceptional Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Making Of The Atomic Bomb. Critical Mass attempts in no way to re-document the otherwise reliable historical elements of a very complex and detailed subject, other than to provide a basic understanding useful to the reader's analysis of the scenario forwarded within these pages. Critical Mass simply suggests that the data recently found describe some very different events than are recounted in the presently accepted history.
As noted, many other authors' accounts are cited herein, but all of them, ultimately, either directly or indirectly, by default or design, have been molded by the man who presided over the project itself, General Groves. During the very process of the making of the atomic bombs, through compartmentalization and by mixing a high percentage of genuine data with innuendo - as well as judicious use of the occasional untruth - Groves was able to create a resilient and coherent self-perpetuating myth of the birth of the atomic age.
Much of the information used to tell the story in Critical Mass does come from the writings of Groves and other authors. David Irving, Britain's controversial but documentation-dependant World War II historian has recorded much of the German effort to create a bomb in his book, The German Atomic Bomb. His account alone, though he seems not to realize it, goes a long way toward impeaching the accepted history that, because Germany failed to create plutonium, it therefore failed to build an atomic bomb.
There are two ways to build an atomic bomb, one of plutonium, the other of uranium. Irving brings to light ample information that, when considered with other evidence newly discovered and revealed in Critical Mass, suggests the Germans produced the material for and all but assembled a uranium bomb.
In the traditional history of the bomb, Groves has positioned the German plutonium effort as the only nuclear initiative Germany ever pursued. And he has magnified this misinformation, couched in a cushion of half-truths, to immense proportions - large enough to hide what appears to be a huge German uranium enrichment project behind it - and thus he has shielded the Nazi near-success from the view of the world. His motivations for doing so will be discussed in detail later.
One of many other authors quoted in Critical Mass is former World War Two intelligence officer Ladislas Farago, who documented Martin Bormann's escape from Nazi Germany at the end of the war and his ensuing life in semi-secret exile in South America in his book, Aftermath. Farago was accused and supposedly proven, with the help of the CIA, of having forged the documentation he used to verify his claims about Bormann. Critical Mass reviews the subject of the CIA and its predecessor the OSS, and their involvement in the negotiations with Bormann and eventual surrender of German-made nuclear bomb materials during the course of the war, later within the body text of this book. Suffice it to say here that involvement by the CIA in a fair perusal of Farago's findings must be suspect.
Critical Mass quotes other authors, as well, who have independently discovered similar but different documentation to that Mr.Farago cites, and whose findings exonerate and rehabilitate Ladislas Farago's work. Among these authors are Paul Manning, former journalist for the New York Times and author of Martin Bormann - Nazi In Exile. Manning's credentials as a journalist particularly are impeccable, and his reputation is unassailable. Although he did not accept an offer immediately after the war to serve as the civilian deputy of the United States' occupation zone of Germany, the offer itself attests to the high regard in which he is held, as well as to the potential military intelligence and other resources he had available when researching his book.
Another author from whose writings I have drawn is William Stevenson,
author of the book A Man Called Intrepid, the approved biography of another
gentleman and friend of Stevenson's, a man by the same name, Sir William
Stephenson (unrelated, note spellings). Sir William is the man who
oversaw the combined intelligence efforts of the United States and England
during World War II, and who, incidentally, plays a minor role in our story
within the covers of Critical Mass. Author Stevenson's book is titled
The Bormann Brotherhood.
Many other authors are quoted, as well, to highlight and validate the conclusions presented in Critical Mass. But the definitive body of evidence is the actual documents cited in this book that dispassionately record the numbers and weights and dates and times and places and people that constitute the real events that occurred.
The silent archives, in some cases long untouched, contain the remaining few pieces of the picture that had been painted over with duplicitous details and fraudulent facts. Exposing those lost data to the light of day is much like the art curator who takes a blacklight to a painting to ascertain its origin. Under scrutiny of light tuned only to see the original, the primary picture is exposed underneath as well as any revisions that may later have been made. So it is with the certifieds cited in Critical Mass. The light of day, "always a great disinfectant" as the saying goes, reveals through newly-disclosed documentation the true story of the Manhattan Project during the birth of its atomic offspring - with all its flaws, foibles and unholy alliances as well as its ultimate, although somehow twisted, success.
And even with those flaws and foibles it is, at once, a story of genius and perseverance as well as a lesson in man's own struggle to grow morally and spiritually at the same pace that he has grown intellectually and technologically. For, as social beings who must share this earth, we are all interdependent upon one another. When one such as Hitler rises to power, the only defense against the bully who insists on blood, when all reason has failed, is to be more the aggressor, or submit and perish. Such course devolves to a level of behavior differentiated from the instigator's only by the moral imperative of one's right to survive.
The sad fact is we can rise as a race only to the level
of our least enlightened. Until that time, the weight of our human
frailties and flaws will at irregular intervals compress to critical mass
and ignite a new explosion of pain and suffering until we learn once and
for all that our cumulative morality must meet or exceed our united intellects.
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