"MEIN HUT ER HAT DREI ECKEN"; THE TEST SITES
At the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals after the war, an amazing exchange occurred between former architect cum Nazi minister of armaments, Albert Speer, and Mr. Jackson, the chief American prosecutor.
1 Cited in Harald Fath, Geheime Kommandosache -S III Jonastal und die Siegeswaffenproduktion: Weitere Spurensuche nach Thuringens Manhattan Project (Schleusingen: Amun Verlag, 1999), pp. 82-83. Original text cited in English.
This exchange is remarkable in several respects, not the least of which is that its "explosive contents" are almost entirely overlooked in standard histories of the war and its aftermath.
Previous chapters have presented evidence that there was a large, and very secret, uranium enrichment program inside Nazi Germany, beginning sometime ca. late 1940 or early 1941, and continuing, apparently unabated - as the surrender of the U-234 would imply - right up to the end of the war. Zinsser's affidavit goes further, and alleges an actual atom bomb test, complete with descriptions of all the signatures of an atom bomb: mushroom cloud, electromagnetic pulse effects, and continued combustion of nuclear materials in the cloud. The Japanese military attaché in Stockholm further corroborated the story with undeniably fantastic allegations of the German use of some type of weapon of mass destruction on the Eastern Front ca. 1942 (the siege of Sevastopol in the Crimea), to 1943, just days prior to the massive German offensive at Kursk.
Now, at Nuremberg, we have a third corroboration of the use of some type of weapon of awesome explosive power in the east by the Germans, this time from no less an individual than the chief American prosecutor at the Tribunal. And in his case, it is apparent that he is relating information gathered by intelligence. It is worth pausing to consider the implications of the exchange between Jackson and former armaments Reichminister Speer.
We shall begin with Speer. Albert Speer was successor to Dr. Fritz Todt as minister of armaments and production for the entire Third Reich. Speer's accomplishments are not to be gainsaid, it was largely owing to his efforts to organize the huge Nazi industrial capacity and streamline its efficiency that the wartime production of Germany increased dramatically under his oversight. In fact, in all pertinent areas of German industrial war production, Specr managed to achieve peak production levels in all categories during the same precise period that Allied strategic bombing also was at its height.
His methods in achieving this feat were simple but effective: German industry was decentralized and dispersed into smaller plants, and, to the extent possible, moved into underground bomb-proof factories. "Modular" construction techniques were employed wherever possible. For example, German U-boats were produced in modular fashion, in sections, far inland in such factories, and transported to ports for final assembly. The deadly Type XXI U-boats with their exotic and revolutionary underwater propulsion systems - allowing an underwater cruising speed in excess of 21 knots, an unheard of speed for that time - were produced in this fashion at the end of the war.
But notably absent from Speer's comments is any indication that he was even aware of the huge extent of the German atom- bomb project and its enormous uranium enrichment program. Lofty as his position in the Nazi hierarchy was, it would appear that Speer was entirely in the dark on the programs and totally oblivious to any progress that had been made. The reason for Speer's ignorance will be addressed in due course (and by Speer himself!), but suffice it to say, the German government, like its American counterpart, had rigidly "compartmentalized" its atom bomb production program and placed it under the tightest security. But clearly, by the time of the exchange between Jackson and him, Speer and the whole world had heard of the atom bomb. So Speer appears to obfuscate his answer somewhat by redirecting the topic to chemical warfare.
The question of a revolutionary chemical explosive is not, however, as far-fetched as it might at first seem, for Jackson's comments suggest it by referring to temperatures of 400 to 500 degrees centigrade, far below the enormous temperatures produced by an atomic explosion. Was Speer obfuscating his answer, or was Jackson his question?
The prosecutor's statements and question also corroborate in loose fashion another component of our developing story, for he clearly alludes to the use of some type of weapon of mass destruction, possessed of enormous explosive power, in the east, and significantly, at or near Auschwitz, site of the I.G. Farben "Buna factory." It is to be noted that the Nazis had apparently gone so Far as to build an entire mock town and placed concentration camp inmates in it, an obvious though barbaric move to study the effects of the weapon on structures and people.
His statements, along with those of the Japanese military attaché in Stockholm cited in the previous chapter, afford a serious clue - and one often overlooked even by researchers into this 'alternative history" of the war - into the nature of the Nazi's secret weapons development and use, for it would appear that insofar as the third Reich possessed weapons of mass destruction of extraordinary power, atomic or otherwise, they were tested and used against enemies consider by the Nazi ideology to be racially inferior, and that means, in effect, they were used on the Eastern Front theater of the Reich's military operations.
Thus we are also afforded a speculative answer to the all- important question: If the Germans had the bomb, why didn't they use it? And the answer is, if they had it, they were far more likely to use it on Russia than on the Western allies, since the war in the East was conceived and intended by Hitler to be a genocidal war from the outset. And it certainly was that: fully one half of the approximately fifty million fatalities of World War Two were inflicted by the efficient Nazi war machine on Soviet Russia.
The use of such weapons on the Eastern Front by the Germans would also tentatively explain why more is not known about it, for it is highly unlikely that Stalin's Russia would have publicly acknowledged the fact. To do so would have been a propaganda disaster for Stalin's government. Faced with an enemy of superior tactical and operational competence in conventional arms, the Red Army often had to resort to threats of execution against its own soldiers just to maintain order and discipline in its ranks and prevent mass desertion.
Acknowledgment of the existence and use of such weapons by the mortal enemy of Communist Russia could conceivably have ruined Russian morale and cost Stalin the war, and perhaps even toppled his government. As we proceed further into our investigation of German secret weaponry, its connection to Nazi ideology, and its use on the eastern front, we will encounter more and more examples of the strange story or event.
For now, however, we note the strangely ambiguous quality of Mr. Jackson's remarks.
By the time Mr. Jackson uttered these remarks, Hans Zinsser's statements were almost a year old, raising the possibility that Zinsser's affidavit may itself have been the "certain information" alluded to by Jackson, who may have intentionally altered its correct location. In this regard, it is significant that Zinsser expressed mystification that the test took place so close to a populated area. If Jackson deliberately altered the location of the test, he did not alter the nature of its victims. But another possibility is that the event took place where he says it did, "near" Auschwitz.
The question of the location of a possible German atom bomb test comes from five very unlikely sources: an Italian officer, a Russian marshal's translator, and Benito Mussolini himself, an American heavy cruiser, and an island off the coast of northern Germany in the Baltic Sea.
Before he and his mistress Clara Petacci were murdered by Communist partisans, and then later hung from meat hooks in Milan to be pelted with rocks from an angry mob. Benito Mussolini, by the end of the war reduced to a mere puppet of Hitler and governing a "Fascist republic" in German-controlled northern Italy, spoke often of the German "wonder weapons":
It would be easy to dismiss Mussolini's statements as more delusional and insane ravings of a fascist dictator facing defeat, clinging desperately to forlorn hopes and tattered dreams. It would be easy, were it but for the weird corroboration supplied by one Piotr Ivanovitch Titarenko, a former military translator on the staff of Marshal Rodion Malinovsky, who handled the Japanese capitulation to Russia at the end of the war. As reported in the German magazine Der Spiegel in 1992, Titarenko wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In it, he reported that there were actually three bombs dropped on Japan, one of which, dropped on Nagasaki prior to its actual bombing, did not explode. This bomb was handed over by Japan to the Soviet Union.3
Mussolini and a Soviet marshal's military translator are not the only ones corroborating the strange number of "three bombs", for yet a fourth bomb may actually have been in play at one point, being transported to the Far East on board the US heavy cruiser Indianapolis (CA 35), when the latter sank in 1945.4
2 Benito Mussolini, "Political Testament," April 22, 1945, cited in Edgar Meyer and Thomas Mehner, Hitler und die ,,Bombe": Welchen Stand erreichte die deutsche Atomforschung und Geheimwaffenentwicklung wirklich? (Rottenburg: Kopp Verlag, 2002), p. 87, my translation from the German.
3 Edgar Meyer and Thomas Mehner, Das Geheimnis der deutschen Atombombe: Gewann Hitlers Wissenschaftler den nuklearen Wettlauf doch? Die Geheimprojekte bei Innsbruck, im Raum Jonastal bei Arnstadt und in Prag. (Rottenburg: Kopp Verlag, 2001), p. 146.
4 Fath, op. cit., p. 81
These strange testimonies call into question once again the Allied Legend, for as has been seen, the Manhattan Project in late 1944 and early 1945 faced critical shortages of weapons grade uranium, and had yet to solve the fusing problem for the plutonium bomb. So the question is, if these reports are true, where did the extra bomb(s) come from? That three, and possibly four, bombs were ready for use on Japan so quickly would seem to stretch credulity, unless these bombs were war booty, brought from Europe.
But the strangest evidence of all comes from the German island of Rugen, and the testimony of Italian officer Luigi Romersa, an eyewitness to the test of a German atom bomb on the island on the night of 11-12 October, 1944, approximately the same time frame as indicated in Zinsser's affidavit, and it is also the same approximate area as Zinsser indicated.
In this context it is also extremely curious that this time frame in 1944 was, for the Allies, a banner year for atomic bomb scares. On Saturday, August 11, 1945, an article in the London Daily Telegraph reported British preparations for German atom bomb attack on London the previous year.
NAZIS' ATOM BOMB PLANS BRITAIN READY A YEAR AGO
Britain prepared for the possibility of an atomic attack on this country by Germany in August, 1944.
It can now be disclosed that details of the expected effect of such a bomb were revealed in a highly secret memorandum which was sent that summer to the chiefs of Scotland Yard, chief constables of provincial forces and senior officials of the defense services.
An elaborate scheme was drawn up by the Ministry of Home Security for prompt and adequate measures to cope with the widespread devastation and heavy casualties if the Germans succeeded in launching atomic bombs on this country.
Reports received from our agents on the Continent early last year indicated that German scientists were experimenting with an atomic bomb in Norway. According to these reports the bomb was launched by catapult, and had an explosive radius of more than two miles.
In view of our own progress in devising an 'atomic' bomb the Government gave the reports serious consideration. Thousands of men and women of the police and defense services were held in readiness for several months until reliable agents in Germany reported that the bomb had been tested and proved a failure.5
The August 1945 London Daily Telegraph Article about a 1944 German Atom Bomb Scare in Britain
This article, coming as it does a mere two days after the bombing of Nagasaki, and almost a year since the actual alert in Britain was called, deserves careful scrutiny.
First, and most obviously, the alert in Britain was apparently conducted entirely in secret, as law enforcement, defense, and medical personnel were placed on high alert. The reason for security is obvious, since to have signaled a public alert would have notified the Germans that there were Allied spies close enough to the German bomb program to know about its tests.
Second, the site of the alleged test - Norway - is unusual in that the timing of the test would place it a full two years after the British commando raid on the Norsk heavy water plant at Ryukon. This might indicate two things:
Third, the presumed "alert" continued from August 1944 "for several months," that is, the alert could conceivably have stretched into October, i.e., into the time frame of the test mentioned in Zinsser's affidavit. Thus, the news account indicates something else: Allied intelligence was aware, and genuinely fearful, of German atom bomb testing.
Fourth, the article mentions that the test concerned a bomb launched from a "catapult". The V-l "buzz bomb", the first generation of the cruise missile, was launched from large steam-driven catapults. Putting two and two together, then, the "Norway" test may have been a test of an atom bomb delivery system based on the V-l, or of an atom bomb itself, or possibly both an atom bomb and its delivery system.
With these thoughts in mind, we come to the final point. The alert was canceled when the test was proven a failure. The question is, what failed? Was it the bomb itself? The delivery system? orboth? An answer lies, perhaps, in another curious news article that appeared in the British press almost a year earlier, on Wednesday, October 11, 1944, in the London Daily Mail:
6 Walter Farr, "Berlin is 'Silent' 60 Hours: Still No Phones," London Daily Mail, Wednesday, October 11, 1944, cited in Meyer and Mehner, Hitler und die ,,Bombe" p. 81, emphasis added.
The October 1944 Daily Mail Article about Berlin Telephone Service Disruption
Of course we now know what was not known in October of 1944: when an atomic or thermonuclear bomb is detonated, the extreme electromagnetic pulse knocks out or interferes with electrical equipment for miles from the detonation site, depending on the size of the blast, the proximity of such equipment to it, and the degree of "shielding" such equipment has. For the normal, non-military phone lines in Berlin, the strange disruption of phone service is explainable precisely as the result of such an electromagnetic pulse.
But this would imply that such a pulse, if the result of an atom bomb test, be considerably closer to Berlin than Norway. Presumably if telephone service in Berlin was affected by an atom bomb test in Norway, similar disruptions would have occurred in large cities that were much closer to the test, such as Oslo, Copenhagen, or Stockholm. Yet, not such disruptions are mentioned; only Berlin appears to have been affected.7
Thus, if the atom bomb test mentioned in the 1945 London Daily Telegraph article occurred, then one must look for a site considerably closer to Berlin than Norway. The Daily Mail phone service disruption article stands as clear corroboration of the probable test of a German atom bomb sometime in October of 1944, the same time frame as Zinsser's affidavit, and within the time frame mentioned in the Daily Telegraph article about a secret alert in Britain from August of 1944, and continuing for "several months."
But the Daily Mail's phone service disruption article does more: it suggests why the Germans may have considered the test a failure. At that time the effects of nuclear explosions -electromagnetic pulse and disruption of electrical equipment, radioactivity and fallout - were still largely unknown and not well understood. The Berlin telephone service was one of the finest, if not the finest, in the world at the time.8
7 There is another possibly, though extremely unlikely explanation, for the lack of reports in other cities. Very simply, it may reflect a lack of intelligence from those areas.
8 Up to the very end of the war, for example, the cable lines between Berlin and Tokyo remained open, allowing the Japanese to send condolences to the Nazi government even as Russian tanks were rolling over the streets of the city.
The Nazis may very well have been shocked at this curious result of their alleged test of an atomic "wonder weapon", and therefore considered it a "failure" until more tests could be done and the phenomenon of electro-magnetic pulse more fully understood. After all, it would do no good, so to speak, to deploy the "ultimate weapon" only to be unable to receive the telephone call of surrender after having used it! And to the totalitarian and paranoid Nazi state, a disruption of communications from its capital city to its provinces, armed forces, and occupied territories was literally an unthinkable nightmare, being the perfect opportunity for a coup d'etat.
Finally, to round out the newspaper scavenger hunt, a curious series of articles from the London Times between May 15 and May 25, 1945, covered a story about German troops on the Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm that refused to surrender to attacking Russian forces.9 Bornholm was within one hundred miles of the German rocket site at Peenemunde, and quite close to an alleged atom bomb test site on the small island of Rugen on the Baltic coast close to the port city of Kiel.
9 Meyer and Mehner, Das Geheimnis der deutschen Atombombe, p. 51.
Most communications lines in Berlin were laid underground by the Deutsche Reichspost before the war for the express purpose of mitigating phone service disruption during bombing attacks. If the phone service disruption was therefore a result of EMP from a nuclear detonation, then the size of the detonation would have to have been rather large to cause this lengthy disruption of the entire city's telephone service for that length of time, shielded as the lines were by being underground. The other alternative, a second coup attempt, may be a possible explanation, but there is no mention of such an attempt in any literature.
It is here on this island that Italian officer Luigi Romersa was the guest and eyewitness to a German "wonder weapon" test on the night of October 11-12, 1944. After journeying by a night drive for two hours in the rain from Berlin, Romersa reached the island by motorboat. According to his statements to German atom bomb researchers Edgar Meyer and Thomas Mehner, the island was guarded by a special elite unit, which we can only presume was an SS unit, and that admission to the island was only granted by special passes issued directly by the OberKommano Der Wehrmacht (OKW).10
At this point, it is best to cite Romersa's own words:
Around 4:00 PM, in the twilight, shadows appeared, running toward our bunker. They were soldiers, and they had on a strange type of "diving suit". They entered and quickly shut the door. "Everything is kaput," one of them said, as he removed his protective clothing. We also eventually had to put on white, coarse, fibrous cloaks. I cannot say what material this cloak was made of, but I had the impression that it could have been asbestos, the headgear had a piece of mica-glass12 in front of the eyes.
Having donned this clothing, the observation party then left the bunker and made its way to ground zero:
There are peculiarities of Romersa's account that one must mention, if this were the test of nuclear bomb. First, some of the blast damage described is typical for a nuclear weapon: sheering of trees, obliteration of structures, and so on.
and Mehner, Hitler und die ,,Bombe", p. 64.
The protective clothing worn by the German technicians as well as the polarized glasses also are typical. And the test does appear to have involved use in a "populated area" with houses and so on, in similar fashion to prosecutor Jackson's exchange with Speer, and Zinsser's own comments in his affidavit. However, Romersa, apparently a careful observer, fails to make any mention of a fusion of soil into silicate glassy material that also normally accompanies a nuclear blast close to the ground.
But whatever was tested at Rugen, it does have enough of the signatures of an atom bomb to suggest that this is, in fact, what it was. Most importantly it is to be noted that it coincides with the time frame of Zinsser's affidavit and the phone service outage in Berlin, and the timing of the British alert.15 Finally, it is perhaps quite significant that during this same time frame, Adolf Hitler finally signed an order for the development of the atom bomb. In context, this can only mean that he has given approval to develop more of a weapon already tested.16
15 One significant difference that does emerge is that Zinsser's affidavit places the test close to the hours of twilight, whereas Romersa has it taking place in full daylight. The latter would make sense, from a security point of view, since daylight would tend to mask the visibility of the blast more effectively from prying eyes in the distance.
16 Rose, op. cit., notes that Hitler actually gave a formal order in October of 1944 for the immediate development of the atom bomb.
A more controversial allegation, however, concerns the alleged test of a high yield atom bomb by the SS at the troop parade ground and barracks at Orhdruf, in south central Thuringia in March of 1945. As we shall see, this date too is significant. Shortly after the German reunification in 1989, old rumors of an atom bomb test conducted by the SS late in the war in south central Germany, in what was formerly East Germany, again surfaced. The test is alleged to have taken place on March 4, 1945.17
17 Meyer and Mehner, Hitler und die „ Bombe " , p. 226.
However, as we shall soon see, there is an additional problem associated with the allegation of this test near the Three Corners. The Three Corners part of the story begins with a component of the Allied Legend. According to former Last German sources, one plausible reason for the swift advance of US General Patton's divisions on this region of Thuringia was that the last Fuhrer Headquarters (Fuhrerhauptquartier), a facility code-named "Jasmine" by the Germans, was located in the vast underground facilities at Jonastal.18
Thus, the Legend is elaborated: Patton's drive was to cut off the escape route of fleeing Nazis and seize Hitler's last secret underground headquarters, and, presumably, the Grand Prize himself.
This entire facility was part of a vast complex of underground sites under the command structure of the SS, and named "S III" - a designation not without its own suggestive possibilities as we shall discover in subsequent parts of this work - and the Fuhrer Headquarters was but one component of this complex.20
The problem with the view that this complex was simply a headquarters complex is that SS Obergruppenfuhrer Hans Kammler - a man with whom we shall have much to do later in this work - was directly involved in the construction of all facilities in the region since 1942, thus making it unlikely that they were constructed merely for Hitler's last headquarters, since Kammler was directly involved with the most sensitive areas of the Reich's secret weapons research and development.
It is therefore more likely that they were a part of Kammler's vast SS Secret weapons black projects empire.21 There is no mention of any of these facilities in surviving German archives, or, seemingly, any where else for that matter, and yet, they are definitely there for all to see.22
18 Meyer and Mehner, Das Geheimnis der deutschen
Atombombe, p. 209.
So what were these facilities researching? Almost nothing was known about them until witnesses and relatives of witnesses began to talk after German reunification. One such man was Adolf Bernd Freier who, before his death in Argentina, wrote German researchers Edgar Meyer and Thomas Mehner a letter detailing his knowledge of the facilities gained while he was on the construction staff. There were, Freier alleged, facilities dedicated to special circular aircraft(!), to the "Amerika Raket", the intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States, and research facilities of atomic experiments under the direction of Dr. Kurt Diebner, and a complete underground factory for the production of heavy water!23
But most importantly, Freier alleges that the "atomic weapon" was ready on July 2, 1944!24 What type of atomic weapon is meant here? A "dirty" radiological bomb, designed to spray a vast area with deadly radioactive material but far short of an actual nuclear fission bomb? Or an actual atom bomb itself?
23 Meyer and Mehner, das Geheimnis., p. 242.
24 Ibid., p. 245. According to Freier's allegations, the bomb was ready on July 2, 1944, but not its delivery system, meaning presumably the "Amerikaraket" (p. 249).
Freier's choice of words is not clear. But one thing does stand out, and that is the date of July 2, 1944, the same month as the attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in the - very aptly named - "Bomb Plot" approximately two weeks later. The consequence of a successful German development of even a radiological bomb might thus be one of the primary motivations for the anti-Hitler conspirators to attempt to remove the Fuhrer when they did, and might explain their hidden logic in assuming that the Allies would negotiate with an anti-Nazi (or at least un-Nazi) provisional German government in spite of the Allies' own demands for an unconditional surrender, for the possession of such a weapon would have given the conspirators considerable negotiation leverage.
And if the conspirators knew of the existence of the weapon, and of Hitler's plans to deploy it in actual use, it may have been the final moral compulsion for them to act.
In any case, the most problematical aspect of the alleged test of an atom bomb by the Nazis in the Ohrdruf-Three Corners region of Thuringia comes from a rather specific, and rather startling, assertion. According to Freier, the test took place on March 4, 1945 at the old troop parade ground at Orhdruf. There, a small scaffold about 6 meters high had been erected, a the top of which a small "atomic weapon"25 was placed. The weapon, according to Freier, was "100 g", a mere one hundred grams!
This is one of the most significant, and highly problematical, allegations regarding the real nature of the Nazi atom bomb project, made by someone supposedly involved in it, for as will be immediately obvious, 100 grams is far short of the 50 or so kilograms of critical mass reportedly needed for a uranium-based atom bomb, as has been seen, and it is still well below the amount needed for the critical mass for a typical plutonium bomb. Yet, Freier is insistent upon this point, and moreover alleges that all the "slaves", the luckless concentration camp victims that were forced to take part in the test, within a circle of 500-600 meters from ground zero were killed.26
25 "A -Waffe", the wording again is not "Atombombe" but only A-waffe, or "A-weapon".
26 Meyer and Mehner, Das Geheimnis, p. 245.
This would give an area of approximately 1 to 1.2 kilometers of blast damage, roughly the effect of a modern tactical nuclear bomb. Such a blast radius would require an enormous amount of the then available conventional explosives, and that amount would far exceed the mere 100 grams Freier alleges for the device. These points indicates that the "A-Waffe" or "atomic weapon" was in fact a fully fledged atom bomb. So how does one explain the extraordinarily small critical mass, especially since the Manhattan Project was aiming for a uranium critical mass of around 50 kilograms?
This question deserve serious consideration, for it affords yet another possible clue - if the allegation is to be credited with accuracy - into the real nature of the Nazi atom bomb project. We have seen already that the project was developed under several different and discreet groups for reasons partly due to security, and for reasons partly due to the practical nature of the German program. For security reason, I believe the "Heisenberg" group and the high-profile names associated with it were deliberately used by the Nazis as the "front" group for public, namely Allied, consumption.
The SS security and intelligence apparatus would have undoubtedly concluded, correctly, that these high profile scientists would be high priority targets for Allied intelligence for kidnapping and assassination. Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that the Nazis would have concentrated any genuine atomic bomb secrets or development exclusively in the hands of this group. The very existence of the Allied Legend for so many years after the war is direct testimony to the success of this plan. The real atom bomb development occurred far from the prying eyes of Allied intelligence, under the auspices of the Reichspost and more importantly, under the direct auspices of the SS.
The second facet of the German atom bomb program we have likewise previously encountered: its emphasis on what was practically achievable during the war. Hence, while the Germans knew of the possibilities of plutonium and a plutonium-based atom bomb, and therefore knew that a functioning reactor used to produce plutonium for bombs would thereby enable Germany to develop more bombs for the same investment of fissile material, they also knew that a major technical hurdle lay across the path: the development of a successful reactor in the first place.
Thus, as has been previously argued, they opted to develop a uranium-based bomb only, since uranium could be enriched to weapons grade purity without the necessity of the development of a reactor, and since they already possessed the necessary technologies to do so, if employed en masse. Like its American Manhattan Project counterpart, the SS-run program relied on massive numbers of enrichment units to separate and purify isotope.
Now let us extend this line of reasoning further. Germany was also seeking to be able to deploy such bombs as warheads on its rockets. And that meant, given their limited lift capabilities, that the weight of the warheads had somehow to be reduced by several orders of magnitude for the rockets to be able to carry them. And there is an economic factor.
Knowing that their industrial capacity would be stained by the effort, even with the help of tens of thousands of slave laborers from the camp-, another problem may have presented itself to the Germans, a problem illuminated for them by their own knowledge of the possibilities offered by plutonium-based bombs: How does one get more bang for the Reichsmark without the use of plutonium? Is there a way to rely on less uranium in a critical mass assembly than is conventionally thought?
And so we return to Freier's statement of a remarkably small 100 g atom bomb test at Ohrdruf on March 4, 1945. There does exist a method by which much smaller critical masses of fissile material can be used to make a bomb: boosted fission. Essentially, boosted fission simply relies on the introduction of some neutron- producing material - polonium, or heavy hydrogen: deuterium, or even tritium - to release more neutrons into the chain reaction than is actually released by the fissile critical mass assembly by itself.
This raises the amount of free neutrons initiating chain reactions in the critical mass, and therefore allows two very important things:
Thus, "boosted fission" would have afforded the German bomb program a practical way to increase the number of bombs available to them, and a reliable method for achieving an uncontrolled nuclear fission reaction with lower purity of enriched material.27 it is perhaps quite significant, then, that Freier's testimony concerning the Three Corners underground weapons factories also mentions the existence of an underground heavy water plant in the facilities, for heavy water, of course, contains atoms of deuterium and tritium(heavy hydrogen atoms with one and two extra neutrons in the nucleus respectively).
27 Q.v. Meyer and Mehner, Hitler, pp. 121-123.
In any case, the test of a small critical mass, boosted fission device of high yield at Ohrdruf on March 4, 1945, is at least consistent with the parameters of the German bomb program and its practical needs. But there are interesting, and intriguingly suggestive, corroborations of the test. According to Freier, Hitler himself was indeed in the Three Corners headquarters for a brief period at the end of march 1945.28
It is known that Hitler did personally visit and address the officers of the German Ninth Army, operating in that precise area, in March of 1945., and stated to them that there were still things that needed to be "finished", an interesting comment if seen in the light of Freier's allegations that it was not the bomb that Germany needed, but the delivery systems. It does make sense that if there were such a test, that Hitler would have been present as an observer to witness the final success of German science in delivering to him the "ultimate weapon".
But perhaps the most persuasive bit of evidence that there is far more about the end of World War Two than we have been told can be found in two exceedingly odd facts that emerge from the Three Corners region of Thuringia in south central Germany. In a statement made on March 20, 1968, former German General Erich Andress was in the Three Corners region at the end of the war, when suddenly, more American military personnel (who were already occupying the area), arrived with jeeps and heavy transports, and immediately ordered all the buildings and houses in the area to have their windows totally blacked out, leaving one to conclude that the Americans were removing something from the area of great value to them, something they wished no one to see.
The second odd fact is even more curious, for it is a fact that, of all the areas in modern Germany, the region of Thuringia, precisely in the area of Jonastal and Ohrdruf, is the region of Germany with the highest concentration of background gamma radiation.29
28 Meyer and Mehner, Das Geheimnis, p. 228.
So, what is really signified by the unique exchange of remarks between former Reich Minister of Armaments Albert Speer, and Chief American Prosecutor Jackson at Nuremberg? That Jackson is privy to information similar in nature to reports only recently declassified is clear from his question. That this information concerns the real nature of German atom bomb research and its -what appear to be astounding achievements completely at variance with the postwar Allied Legend - would also seem to be indicated.
And that Albert Speer seems either unwilling to talk about them candidly, or is simply entirely ignorant of them, also seems indisputable. Thus Jackson's question would seem to imply a test of the extent of Speer's knowledge of the program and his complicity in the two tests at Rugen and Ohrdruf. If the Minister if Armaments for the entire Third Reich knew nothing of it, then indeed, we are dealing with a black Reich within the black Reich, a beast in the belly of the beast, of which even high ranking Nazis such as Speer knew very little, if anything.
The great secret of World War Two, one which the victorious Allies and Russians wish to keep secret to this day, was that Nazi Germany was indisputably first to reach the atom bomb, and was indisputably for a very brief period before the end of the war, the world's very first nuclear power. But why is the Allied and Russian secrecy continued even to the present day? The answer to that disturbing question will be addressed more completely in the subsequent parts of this book, for the answer, disturbing as it is, concerns far more than mere nuclear weapons. But why didn't the Nazis use their bombs if they had them?
The answer to that question has already been partly addressed in this chapter: if they used any weapons of mass destruction, nuclear or Otherwise, they would have been far more likely to have used them in a fashion consistent with their racist and genocidal ideology, as well as against the enemy that was their largest military threat: on the Eastern Front, against the Soviet Union, where a paranoid Stalinist regime would have been loathe to admit to the world or to its own war-savaged people that they faced an enemy with overwhelming technological superiority.
Such an admission would likely have so demoralized the Russians, already forced to spend rivers of their own blood in every engagement with the Wehrmacht, that Stalin's regime itself may not have survived such an admission. But why not use them against the Western Allies in the last stages of the war, as the military situation grew increasingly desperate? There is every indication that the Nazi leadership contemplated just such an operation....