By Rudolph Herzog
Within the spirit of Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Café, a blackly sardonic people’s heritage of atomic errors and near-misses revealing the hushed-up and forgotten episodes during which the nice powers gambled with catastropheRudolph Herzog, the acclaimed writer of lifeless humorous, offers a devastating account of history’s so much irresponsible makes use of of nuclear know-how. From the rarely-discussed nightmare of “Broken Arrows” (40 nuclear guns misplaced through the chilly struggle) to “Operation Plowshare” (a thought to take advantage of nuclear bombs for big engineering initiatives, reminiscent of a the development of a moment Panama Canal utilizing three hundred H-Bombs), Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten nuclear initiatives that almost ended in disaster.In an unheard of people’s heritage, Herzog digs deep into records, interviews nuclear scientists, and collects dozens of infrequent photographs. He explores the “accidental” drop of a Nagasaki-type bomb on a educate conductor’s domestic, the implanting of plutonium into sufferers’ hearts, and the discovery of untamed tactical nukes, together with guns designed to kill enemy astronauts.Told in a riveting narrative voice, Herzog—the son of filmmaker Werner Herzog—also attracts on early life stories of the ultimate period of the chilly battle in Germany, the rustic as soon as noticeable because the nuclear battleground for NATO and the Warsaw Pact international locations, and discusses facts that Nazi scientists knew how one can make atomic weaponry . . . and selected to not.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Nuclear Folly
Their experiments were made even more dangerous because Zippe and Steenbeck filled their prototypes with uranium hexafluoride, which occurs as sparkling crystals in an airless void but is transformed at the slightest contact with water into a potent acid. Any contamination with water meant that the liquid would eat through the centrifuge drum, even if it was made of the strongest glass. Moreover, the unpredictability factor was dramatically increased by the fact that Zippe’s Russian laboratory assistant habitually drank a full measuring cup of 192-proof alcohol before starting every shift.
Among the legacies of previous decades are sites on every continent that have been permanently contaminated by atomic tests, uranium mining, or accidents with nuclear reactors and atomic waste. Meanwhile, the knowledge of how to build atomic weaponry continues to spread across the globe. Whereas before 1989 the primary danger was a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, nowadays the Middle East has become the main political powder keg. The majority of experts believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and other countries, like Saudi Arabia, are developing civilian nuclear programs with ambiguous purposes.
Particularly coveted were members of the German “Uranium Association”—the researchers who had worked in Hitler’s atomic program. Disputes remain about how close German scientists got to building an atomic bomb for the Führer, but it is clear that in the early years of World War I, they had a significant lead over their American counterparts. Less than a year after Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, and Lise Meitner discovered atomic fission in 1938, a Hamburg professor named Paul Harteck approached the Nazi War Ministry to discuss with the military leadership the possibility of constructing a nuclear weapon.
A Short History of Nuclear Folly by Rudolph Herzog