Chapter 12: Foreign Intelligence Operations
The Manhattan Project’s security system involved the conduct of not only domestic but also foreign intelligence operations, for in terms of military strategy gaining all possible information about atomic activities in the Axis nations – especially Germany – was as important as safeguarding state-of-the-art information on American nuclear research and developments. Hitler’s recurring claims that Germany had devised secret weapons, as well as existing intelligence reports on both German interest in the nuclear research of French physicist Frederic Joliot-Curie and German production of heavy water at the Rjukan (Norway) plant, convinced project administrators of the likelihood that Germany had under way a well-developed atomic energy program. In order to carry out necessary countermeasures against these presumed enemy efforts to produce atomic weapons, Allied military leaders in 1943 and 1944 intensified their foreign intelligence operations in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), giving a high priority to securing more information about enemy atomic activities. Manhattan Project officials initiated much of this intelligence effort, but eventually the War Department General Staff, General Marshall, Secretary Stimson, and a number of other military leaders contributed directly to its success.1
Organization of the Alsos Mission
Upon receipt of any intelligence information on atomic developments in enemy nations, the Army G-2, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Office of Strategic Services, as well as other existing intelligence agencies, dispatched a current intelligence report to the Manhattan District for the attention of General Groves. Until the fall of 1943, this reporting system had served to keep the Manhattan commander and other project leaders apprised of at least the accessible areas of enemy atomic activities. But in September, after the Fifth Army had landed in southern Italy, Groves perceived a unique opportunity for the Army to exploit new sources of information, especially about the German atomic program, as U.S. forces moved up the Italian peninsula. With the firm support of OSRD Director Vannevar Bush, Groves met with Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, the Army G-2, to explore ways of achieving
this objective. The proposed course of action, with which Bush concurred, was the establishment of a special intelligence mission in Italy.
Shortly thereafter, Strong met with General Marshall and suggested that a small group of civilian scientists, assisted by military personnel, be sent to Italy to conduct inquiries into scientific projects in that country, with the hope that they might reveal something about German developments. Marshall promptly approved the plan and asked Groves to take responsibility for foreign intelligence related to atomic energy. Apparently the Chief of Staff was convinced that Manhattan Project personnel and direction would result in better coordination, coverage, and less risk to security.2
Manhattan, OSRD, Army G-2, and the Navy all furnished personnel for the newly designated Alsos mission,3 which completed its organization by late fall of 1943. As chief of Alsos General Strong appointed Lt. Col. Boris T. Pash, an intelligence officer whose earlier competence in the Manhattan District’s espionage investigations at the Radiation Laboratory had impressed Groves. When the new mission reached Italy in late December, it had fourteen members, including Pash, an administrative officer, four scientists – two OSRD, one Army, one Navy – four interpreters, and four attached counterintelligence agents. Opening the Alsos field headquarters near Naples on the seventeenth, Pash established liaison with the Fifth Army Intelligence Section and representatives of Marshal Pietro Badoglio’s Italian civil government.
Alsos Operations in Italy
Alsos teams in the early weeks of 1944 interviewed Italian scientists and examined captured technical documents in Naples, Taranto. and Brindisi, and elsewhere in the zone of occupation.4 They soon realized that little data on scientific developments in Germany and northern Italy was available in southern Italy, but discovered that Rome held more promise. To gain access to the Italian capital, Alsos officials prepared two alternate plans: the first, have Alsos personnel enter Rome with the Fifth Army as soon as the city fell; the second, bring Italian scientists out of Rome and northern Italy even before this occurred. Neither plan succeeded, however, because of the unexpectedly slow advance of the Allies. Alsos teams also had little success securing information from Italian scientists behind enemy lines, and by March
most team members had returned to the United States.
From the information secured in southern Italy, Alsos scientists concluded that the Germans were carrying on little, if any, experimental activity with atomic energy. From their reports Groves estimated that the German program was at about the same stage the American program had been when the Army assumed responsibility for its further development. But the evidence was not sufficient. For this reason and with an eye to the coming invasion of Western Europe, Alsos scientists recommended that measures be undertaken to secure knowledge of scientific developments in new theaters of operation.5
When Colonel Pash, who was in London preparing the Alsos mission to accompany the invasion of Western Europe, received word that Allied troops had entered Rome on 4 June, he immediately left for Italy. Arriving in Rome on the fifth, he helped to identify a number of important scientific intelligence objectives, including questioning of the members of the physics laboratory at the University of Rome. A reconstituted Alsos group for Italy carried out this and other tasks. Two Manhattan officers, Maj. R. C. Ham, who took charge of the group when Pash returned to England, and Maj. Robert R. Furman, a special projects officer from Groves’ Washington staff, played an important part in its work. The results of the group’s investigations tended to reaffirm those of the earlier Alsos mission that German atomic activities were on a very limited scale.6
Manhattan’s Special Intelligence Activities, 1944
Anticipating that Alsos would continue its operations in Western Europe, Groves established a liaison office in London. In December 1943 he sent Major Furman to make preliminary arrangements with the British government, and in January 1944 he assigned Capt. Horace K. Calvert, chief of the Manhattan District’s security program, to head the new office. Calvert quickly established working relations with G-2, European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army (ETOUSA), with the American embassy, and with the British atomic energy organization, and also assembled a small staff of researchers and investigators.
In the early months of 1944, Calvert’s group concentrated on collecting further background data on German atomic activities, seeking especially to obtain more information on the number of atomic scientists and technicians at work, on the location of physics laboratories and industrial facilities engaged in operations related to atomic energy, and on the mining and stockpiling of ores containing fissionable materials (uranium and thorium). For example, by perusing German physics journals and questioning refugee European scientists, they learned the names and likely whereabouts of the most important German atomic scientists; and by periodic aerial surveillance of the
mines at Joachimsthal (Jachymov), Czechoslovakia, they maintained a check on the production of uranium ore, an indicator of the extent of German atomic activities. Thus by the time a revived Alsos mission prepared to follow the Allied invasion that summer, the London group had ready a promising list of matters to be investigated.7
At the same time, other representatives of the American program were in England to advise the Allied military leaders on development of defense measures against atomic weapons. There had been a growing conviction among a number of the administrative and scientific leaders of the Manhattan Project that the Germans might employ some type of atomic weapon, either in attack upon Great Britain or in defense against an Allied landing in Western Europe. Most American scientists believed that if the Germans did attempt to employ nuclear materials on the battlefield, they would use radioactive fission products in the form of some kind of poison gas. The Germans, the American scientists reasoned, were most likely to have concentrated their efforts on development of a plutonium-producing pile, because this was the method that promised to produce the most active material with the least investment in plants and fissionable materials. The Americans knew from their own experience that pile operation produced not only plutonium but also a large amount of radioactive by-products. If the Germans had succeeded in developing and operating a pile – and no one was certain they had not – they would have built up a considerable supply of these radioactive materials.8
General Groves, very much aware of the possibility of radioactive warfare, took specific measures to inform American and British military leaders of how to deal with the threat. In late 1943, he directed that a project team prepare an instruction manual on the use of radioactive materials in warfare, for distribution to the military leaders, and in December, with the concurrence of General Marshall, he authorized a briefing of four officers from the ETOUSA staff temporarily on duty in the United States. Maj. Arthur V. Peterson, a chemical engineer long associated with the pile program, conducted the briefing at the Metallurgical Laboratory, including information on probable uses of the materials, their effects and how they could be treated, and possible defense measures. He also instructed the four officers to inform key officers in ETOUSA, suggesting they report any unusual or unexplained symptoms observed by medical personnel and fogging of films detected by signal or air personnel. Headquarters, ETOUSA, took the recommended actions promptly, but in the early months of 1944 found no evidence of
the use of radioactive materials by the Germans.9
As time for the Allied invasion of Western Europe approached, General Groves turned his attention to the possibility that the Germans would employ radioactive warfare to disrupt the landings on the Continent. He consulted with a number of Manhattan Project leaders but did not get any information or helpful advice, except from James B. Conant. He decided, nevertheless, to warn General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commanding General, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), directly of the danger of radioactive poisoning. With approval from General Marshall, he sent Major Peterson to England to brief Eisenhower and his chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, and other members of the SHAEF and ETOUSA staffs. Eisenhower’s reaction was restrained. “Since the Combined Chiefs of Staff have not brought this information officially to my notice,” he wrote to Marshall, “I have assumed that they consider, on the present available intelligence, that the enemy will not implement this project. Owing to the importance of maintaining secrecy to avoid a possible scare, I have passed this information to a very limited number of persons; moreover, I have not taken those precautionary steps which would be necessary adequately to counter enemy action of this nature.10
Nevertheless, Eisenhower did take several measures to alert his command. Briefings on radioactive warfare were held for the chiefs of the American Navy, Army Air Forces, and logistical commands in Europe, as well as for a limited number of their staff members. He also informed Lt. Gen. Sir Hastings L. Ismay, Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Churchill. At the request of the Supreme Headquarters, ETOUSA prepared a plan of operation for the American forces under the code name PEPPERMINT, which provided that detection equipment be readied for quick dispatch to the Continent, if needed, and made arrangements for obtaining more equipment and the technical personnel required to use it. The plan also called for briefing of specified staff officers and again requested reports of unexplained fogging of photographic film and certain types of clinical symptoms and medical cases. The British subsequently devised a similar plan. A short time before the invasion of Normandy, Headquarters, Chemical Warfare Service, ETOUSA, carried out rehearsals of Operation PEPPERMINT to test the plan and equipment. Aerial and ground surveys checked for presence of radioactivity in bombed areas along the coast of England and at troop- and supply-concentration centers. Survey results indicated that the Germans had not used radioactive materials, so Operation
PEPPERMINT never went into effect.11
Alsos Operations in Western Europe, 1944–1945
In early 1944, while planning its special intelligence objectives, the Manhattan Project also took the initiative to reestablish an even larger Alsos mission in Western Europe. Groves and Bush in March requested the newly assigned Army G-2, Maj. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell, to form a new Alsos group along the same lines as the earlier Italian mission. Bissell agreed a new high-level scientific organization was needed to exploit intelligence opportunities in the wake of the invasion armies, but there was indecision in the War Department General Staff as to what kind of organization should be used. Concerned by the delay, Groves personally intervened with the G-2. As a result, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, approved a reorganization plan on 4 April, with Groves and Bush selecting the military and civilian scientific personnel and General Bissell the intelligence and administrative staff.12
The new Alsos mission had its own advisory committee, a scientific director, and an enlarged staff of military and civilian personnel. The advisory committee was comprised of the directors of Naval Intelligence and the OSRD, the commanding general of the Army Service Forces, and the Army G-2, each of whom appointed a deputy to carry out the actual work of supervising the mission. The committee members and their deputies shared responsibility with the scientific director, Samuel A. Goudsmit, a physicist from the University of Michigan, who had been on leave to work at MIT’s Radiation Laboratory.
Born in the Netherlands and educated in European universities, Goudsmit had a first-rate scientific reputation and a command of several languages. As a student and later a frequent visitor to many of the scientific centers of Europe, he had become personally acquainted with many of the leading physicists on the Continent. That he had not been employed on the Manhattan Project was an advantage, because, in the event of his capture by the enemy, he could not be forced to reveal secret information about the atomic program.13
With assistance from the OSRD, Goudsmit expanded the civilian scientific staff until, by the end of August, it included more than thirty scientists. Colonel Pash, after establishing a London office, recruited additional military personnel required for the increased administrative and operational duties of a larger mission. For purposes of military administration and supply, Alsos was attached to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, ETO. In spite of direct support from Eisenhower’s headquarters, Pash experienced some difficulties in securing adequate counterintelligence personnel and in making other organizational arrangements. Part of the problem was that Alsos’s high security classification limited knowledge of its purpose and activities to only a few high-ranking Allied officers.
While the directive establishing the new Alsos stated its mission in very broad terms (it was to secure “all available intelligence on enemy scientific research and development, particularly with reference to military application”), both its military and scientific leaders viewed its primary purpose to be uncovering and analyzing German atomic activities. Furthermore, the limited size of its staff (there were never more than slightly over one hundred military and civilian personnel) precluded any extensive investigations outside the nuclear physics field, although it did give some attention to bacteriological warfare, aeronautical research, proximity fuses, guided missiles, and similar developments.
The first Alsos operations in France were largely unproductive investigations at the University of Rennes and at L’Arcouest, where Joliot-Curie’s summer home was located. Joliot was not in L’Arcouest, but Colonel Pash, Major Calvert, and two counterintelligence agents found him in his laboratory at the College de France when they accompanied the 2nd French Armored Division as it led the forces liberating Paris in late August 1944. After receiving news of the French physicist’s whereabouts, the Alsos scientific director proceeded to Paris to interview Joliot. Goudsmit subsequently learned that the German scientists had used Joliot’s cyclotron and other laboratory facilities; however, he failed to obtain enough data during the interview to determine the extent of enemy progress in atomic matters.14
Alsos investigative efforts became much more productive following relocation of its headquarters from London to Paris in mid-September 1944. Alsos teams established contact with officials of the Belgian uranium mining firm, Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, and obtained information on the shipments of uranium products that had gone into Germany. They also learned that there were still uranium materials in Belgium and that other stock had been shipped to France. Groves undertook immediate measures to bring these materials under control of the Manhattan Project agency that had been formed for that purpose, the Combined Development Trust, and dispatched Major Furman, who had taken part in the Italian Alsos mission, to locate all uranium stocks in areas under Allied control.
Soon Alsos teams had tracked down and secured 68 tons of uranium materials in Belgium and about 30 tons at Toulouse, France. Groves directed prompt shipment of these stocks to England and thence later to the United States for safekeeping. A subsequent Alsos mission located and eventually secured substantial uranium stock in storage near Stassfurt in central Prussia.15
As Allied armies moved eastward toward the Rhine in the fall of 1944, Alsos teams gained considerable knowledge about the probable locations of German atomic activities. Research had begun at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin but had been moved near the small towns of Hechingen and Bissingen in Württemberg, located in the Black Forest region of southwest Germany, when heavy bombing of the German capital started in 1943. Aerial photo surveillance instituted by the Manhattan intelligence office in England that summer had concluded new construction there was not an atomic plant, but other Allied intelligence sources indicated the Germans had some kind of atomic operations in progress in the area. Questioning of German prisoners, too, had cast suspicion on the town of Oranienburg, 18 miles north of Berlin, as a possible location of a processing plant for thorium and other ores related to atomic energy research.
Finally, in late November 1944, Alsos representatives were able to question German atomic scientists at the University of Strasbourg. The 6th Army Group’s special unit, the Strasbourg T-Force, and Alsos teams entered the city with the first Allied elements. From the scientists and the documents they found there, they learned that Germany’s wartime atomic research program had begun in early 1942. It had not, however, gotten beyond the research and development stage. When the Nazi leaders had learned of the possibility of producing atomic weapons, they had offered to provide the atomic program with more money. But the German scientists had turned down the funds as premature. By 1944, they still had not discovered an effective way to separate U-235 from ordinary uranium, although they had succeeded in manufacturing uranium metal for use in the piles they had built. They had not, however, attained a chain reaction in these piles.16
While the Strasbourg data indicated strongly that the Nazis had not achieved significant progress toward the fabrication of atomic weapons, it was not sufficient to convince General Groves, Allied military leaders, and Allied scientists. Some argued, for example, that the Strasbourg evidence might have been planted deliberately. In fact, some Alsos military members advocated bombing raids on suspected German atomic sites in the Black Forest region, but Alsos scientists dissuaded them from this course.
The latter group, however, raised no objections to Groves’ request for
bombing of installations at Oranienburg. The town was in the projected Russian occupation zone and therefore could not be investigated by Alsos. Groves dispatched an officer from his staff to explain the mission to General Carl A. Spaatz, commander of the United States Army Strategic Air Forces in Europe, who on 15 March 1945 ordered Eighth Air Force bombers to drop almost 1,300 tons of bombs and incendiaries on the facilities at Oranienburg.17
Preparing to follow the Allied armies into Germany in early 1945, Alsos corrected certain organizational weaknesses revealed during the Strasbourg operations. Full-time assignment of German-speaking scientists helped ensure their prompt availability when they were most needed. Establishment of close liaison with SHAEF and ETOUSA headquarters, in Paris, and with the 21st, 12th, and 6th Army Groups headquarters enabled Colonel Pash to keep more abreast of front-line military developments, and hence in a better position to exploit intelligence opportunities.
The reorganized Alsos units demonstrated their greater effectiveness as they followed the Allied armies toward the Rhine in February 1945. Establishing another advance base at Aachen, they investigated scientific intelligence objectives in the university cities of Cologne and Bonn, at metal-making plants in Frankfurt, and, a short time later, at the IG Farben Industries plants in Ludwigshafen. As Alsos scientists had anticipated, none of these investigations turned up significant information on German atomic developments. But they helped to prepare the way for effective exploitation of the important atomic objectives in southwest Germany.
The first of these to become accessible in the spring of 1945 was Heidelberg. There an Alsos team captured several leading German atomic scientists; nuclear equipment, including a cyclotron; and many valuable documents. Data uncovered in Heidelberg also further substantiated earlier evidence that most of the other important German atomic scientists and their research installations were in the region south and east of Stuttgart. But Alsos penetration of this area posed a problem because of the decision by the Allied leaders in early 1945 that it fell within the French zone of operations.
In April 1945, while American atomic leaders endeavored to work out a solution to the French zone problem, Alsos teams operating out of advanced base headquarters at Heidelberg and Aachen investigated a variety of atomic targets at other points in west and southwest Germany. Northeast of Frankfurt, at the town of Stadtilm in Thuringia, where the German government had relocated a part of the physics branch of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Alsos found many technical documents relating to the atomic program, parts for a low-temperature pile, heavy water equipment, and 8 tons of uranium oxide. The Gestapo had evacuated
the most important laboratory staff members, but Alsos scientists interviewed a number of lesser status who had remained in Stadtilm. At the university town of Göttingen, located south of the city of Hannover, and at the adjoining village of Lindau, another Alsos team found several scientists and technicians who had considerable knowledge of German wartime scientific programs. Most notable among this group was the chief of the planning board of the Reichsforschungsrat (National Research Council), the central German agency for scientific research for military purposes. From Göttingen, an Alsos team pushed north to Celle, located 22 miles northeast of Hannover, where, according to information obtained at Stadtilm, the Germans had installed an experimental centrifuge for separating uranium isotopes. On the seventeenth, the team found the centrifuge in a laboratory located in a spinning mill guarded by British troops.
These various findings by Alsos teams appeared further to confirm that the German wartime atomic energy program was of relatively modest character and had made little progress toward producing atomic weapons. But the American atomic leaders could not be fully satisfied that this was the case until Alsos teams had investigated the reported atomic facilities relocated by the Germans from the Berlin area to the Black Forest region in Württemberg and had captured the principal German atomic scientists believed to be residing in that area. They also agreed that, for reasons of security, American troops must be the first to occupy and inspect these facilities.
Their first hope was that zone boundaries in southwest Germany could be adjusted to exclude the atomic facilities from the French zone. But by early April, the State Department’s insistence upon having full knowledge of the reasons for making readjustments – a request incompatible with Manhattan’s security requirements – convinced Groves that other means must be found to assure American penetration ahead of the French in the crucial Württemberg region. On the fifth, Groves, Marshall, and Stimson agreed that the Manhattan commander should implement his own proposal that Alsos teams, accompanied by American troops, move into the Württemberg region, question German atomic scientists found there, remove appropriate records, and destroy the atomic installations.18
Marshall directed Groves to coordinate with the Operations Division of the War Department and SHAEF in developing a plan for what came to be known as Operation HARBORAGE.19 Groves sent his special assistant for security affairs, Lt. Col. John Lansdale, Jr., to Europe to assist the SHAEF planners. They first considered carrying out a combined parachute and ground operation, but by 20 April the rapidly shifting tactical situation had eliminated the need for the air phase of the operation. Instead, SHAEF ordered Colonel Pash to undertake a conventional intelligence operation, with the objective of seizing appropriate persons, documents, buildings, and materials. For
this purpose, the Supreme Headquarters created a new special task force, designated T-Force. Comprised of fourteen American and seven British officers, five scientists, eight counterintelligence agents, and fifteen enlisted men, T-Force was attached to the 6th Army Group and reinforced by the 1269th Engineer Combat Battalion (less Company B), all under the command of Pash. When French forces appeared to be on the verge of moving in to the Württemberg area in late April, SHAEF gave Path permission to launch Operation HARBORAGE. On the twenty-second, Pash, accompanied by Brig. Gen. Eugene L. Harrison, G-2 of the 6th Army Group, led T-Force across a bridgehead at Horb, on the Neckar River, about 56 miles east of Strasbourg. They moved south and east 20, miles to Haigerloch, which they seized on the twenty-third. In the next two days, T-Force elements also occupied Hechingen, 9 miles east of Haigerloch, and Bissingen, a few miles southwest, and Tailfingen, a few miles southeast of Hechingen, thus completing a sweep of the Black Forest villages suspected of having atomic installations or personnel.
What the Alsos scientists found in these communities finally and definitely confirmed the limitations of the wartime German atomic program. “It was so obvious,” Samuel Goudsmit later recalled,
that the whole German uranium set up was on a ludicrously small scale. Here [at Hechingen] was the central group of laboratories, and all it amounted to was a little underground cave, a wing of a small textile factory, a few rooms in an old brewery. To be sure, the laboratories were well-equipped, but compared to what we were doing in the United States it was still small-time stuff. Sometimes we wondered if our government had not spent more money on our intelligence mission than the Germans had spent on their whole project.20
Besides laboratories and equipment, Alsos teams found concealed supplies of heavy water, 1.5 tons of metallic uranium cubes, 10 tons of carbon, and miscellaneous other nuclear materials. They also located important scientific and technical records, but most significant were the German scientists they took into custody. These included Otto Hahn, who, with Fritz Strassmann, had conducted in 1938 the experiments that resulted in the fissioning of uranium by neutrons, subsequently confirmed by Lise Meitner and Otto R. Frisch.
Not all of the known remaining leaders of German atomic science were found in the Black Forest region, but information uncovered there led to capture in May 1945 of those still at large by other Alsos teams operating in Bavaria. These included the world-famous Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel Prize winner, and Walther Gerlach and Kurt Diebner, two of the chief administrative officials in the German atomic program. After preliminary interviews by Alsos field teams, Allied authorities removed the captured scientists by easy stages to rear areas – first to Versailles, then Belgium, and finally in July to England – where they were subjected to further intensive interrogation. Although the enemy scientists were under British administrative control during their extended internment in England, representatives of
the Manhattan Project exercised a consultative role in determining their intelligence exploitation and ultimate disposal. Unwilling to see the German scientists come under Russian control, both British and American atomic authorities insisted on detaining them in England until there was a reasonable assurance that when they returned to Germany they would reside and work in either the British or American occupation zone, a condition that was not finally met until the end of 1945.21
Alsos continued operating in the wake of the Allied armies in the summer and fall of 1945, seeking additional evidence of German atomic developments. Penetrations to Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, and elsewhere resulted in the capture of a few more scientists but provided little additional new information or facilities. When the Alsos mission finally disbanded in November, it had, as General Groves later assessed its results, “only confirmed what we already knew and it was quite clear that there was nothing in Europe of further interest to us.”22
When the interned German scientists learned that the United States had dropped atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, they endeavored to explain why Germany failed to develop an atomic weapon. Their explanation coincided generally with the picture that Alsos teams had pieced together from the evidence they had gathered in Germany. Although German scientists had begun research on the practical application of atomic energy in 1939, they soon had come to the conclusion that, because of limited resources and facilities available to them, production of atomic explosives was not feasible and had concentrated on developing an atomic engine as an alternate source of power. They had persisted along these limited lines even after Albert Speer, the Nazi Minister of Armaments, had offered in 1942 to increase financial support for the atomic program. Speer later recalled that Heisenberg and other German atomic scientists had given him the distinct “impression that the atom bomb could no longer have any bearing on the course of the war.”23 Administrative problems, too, had plagued the program; a partial consolidation in 1942 had not ended the fragmentation and duplication that had developed when atomic research had been divided among three different and competing governmental agencies. In the estimate of the historian of the German program, the combined effect of these negative factors was that “after the middle of 1942, Germany virtually marked time until the end of the war, gaining in those three years knowledge that could have been won in as many months had the will been there. ... Germany’s nuclear scientists failed to win the confidence of their government, and were left stranded on the shores of the atomic age.”24