Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Nazi Nuke?

Fascinating story on the BBC website about the discovery of a document that might show the Nazis were closer to a nuclear bomb than anyone suspected.

It's been one of the great "what ifs?" of history: What if the Nazis developed a nuclear weapon? They would certainly have used it, but where? Russia? Moscow, riding a V-2? London? Maybe even New York? The Nazis were developing an intercontinental ballistic missile from the V-2, called the V-10, that would have gotten high enough to skip across the high atmosphere like a stone skipping across water. The missile would then arrow into the atmosphere and detonate over its target.

Although most of the best physics professors made it out of Germany before the war, and then to America where they worked on our Manhattan Project that eventually built the bombs we dropped on Japan, some very good ones stayed behind. They were hampered by some bad research and a lack of materiel (the war was going badly by this point), but they were pointed in roughly the right direction.

Remember, too, that the Nazis had the first jet aircraft and bombers. They scared the bejeezus out of the first Allied pilots to encounter them. Picture Me-262s screaming across the Channel with nuclear bombs.

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