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Doubletake: hidden history

The Hydrogen Bomb Homepage

Featuring: Cuba, where the H-bomb was so nearly first used in anger; an exclusive chat with a pilot scrambled during the missile crisis; info on Nazi Uranium finding its way into the Nagasaki bomb; facts from Bikini Attol, the main US test site and my article on Bristol's nuclear trains.

H-Bomb introduction

04Oct01 - Dr Sharma on neutron bombs

UK/US radioactive weapon
Nuke gallery
Corporate consumerism fallout detector

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuba - blow by blow account

12Oct02 - Reuters - Cuban Missile Crisis Closer to Nuclear War Than Believed

The H-Bomb tests

Our insane Plutonium train

19Aug98 - Rethinking the Manhattan Project - Was Nazi uranium used in the Nagasaki bomb? - not H-bomb but very interesting anyway!

Explosive Links

Related Books

Tsar Bomba - almost certainly the biggest hydrogen bomb ever exploded [as of April 2004]

"The group of Bonesmen who oversaw the construction and deployment of the first atomic bomb included Henry Stimson, George L. Harrison, Robert A. Lovett, Averell Harriman and Harvey H. Bundy. An assistant to the secretary of war, John J. McCloy, later became chairman of Chase Bank and president of the World Bank, protested by indigenous people worldwide for exploitation of natural resources and violations of indigenous land rights."
See my page on the Skull and Bones Club at Yale University [TG]

Must I be stronger; or can we work it out?

Of course any reasonable person would want to be friends, wouldn't they? Especially with so much at stake... but we're not talking about reasonable people here. Atom bomb advocates are sick people whose life is rooted in insecurity, paranoia, mistrust and above all power-lust.

The bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki need never have been dropped. They were not necessary to end the war in the Pacific but dropped by the US military to impress the Russians engaged in joint discussions over the future control of Europe. Also as a 'live' test of killing power. This is the horrifying conclusion of Gar Alperovitz's astonishignly well referenced book 'The decision to use the atomic bomb', an absolute must for any serious atom bomb scholar.

The arms race was (and is) driven by the U.S.military-industrial complex, without the consent of the U.S. people.

Arms are consumer durables and the second hand market in arms is terrorising ordinary people right across the so called 'developing world'. Again, in the South, its the corrupt politicians that buy those arms not the people.

04Oct01 - Dr Sharma on neutron bombs

There are three types of nuclear weapons.

The first one is assembled by putting together a few kilograms of fissionable or fissile material within as short a period as possible -- (within some microseconds if possible). This can be achieved by using chemical devices, i.e., imploding several small amounts (subcritical amounts) into a small volume inside the bomb. Several subcritical amounts when fired into a small volume, exceed critcal mass and thus fissile material (U-235 or Plutonium-239) fissions with neutrons. Each fission of either U-235 or Pu-235 nucleus induced by a neutron, produces two radioactive fission products and on the average 2.5 neutrons with the evolution of a large amount of energy. It is an uncontrolled chain reaction and thus a fraction of fissile material is fissioned. Fission products that are produed along with enormous amount of energy, disperse in the environment. This type of bomb was dropped n Hiroshima and on Nagasaki.

The second one (commonly known as hydrogen bomb) consists of an atom bomb with deuterium and tritium compounds like lithium deuteride etc. Fission bomb is first triggered so that temperature in the assembly is raised to several million degrees (between 10 -100 million degrees). At these high temperatures deuterium and tritium start reacting with each other to form a helium atom and 14.6- MeV neutron. As you can see that it produces a stable atom of helium and a fast-moving neutron. This neutron can react with other atoms in the environment. For example, it can react with nitrogen-14 to give carbon-14.(a radioactive isotope of carbon). One can produce additional number of radioisotopes as well. In short, in addition to fission products we also have neutron-induced radioisotopes. These are also dispersed along with enormous amount of energy in the environment.

This types of bomb has been tested by many nations in South Pacific and in Siberia from 1952 to 1963. Generally, a hydrogen bomb is 100 to 1000 times more distructive than a fission bomb.

The third kind (neutron bomb) is similar to the hydrogen bomb. The difference is that it is detonated at high altitudes so that neutrons can travel to ground level and destroy life. Of course, some neutrons do react with other material and produce radioisotopes. The fission bomb is kept as small as one can assemble and the amount of tritium and deuterium is kept large. Once the fission bomb raises the temperature so as to initiate tritium-deuterium (D-T) reaction, the fusion energy evolved in the D-T reaction keeps the temperature high for a longer duration and thus keeps the reaction going for relatively a longer time. 14.6-MeV neutrons shoot out in all direction. They can be deflected to some extent toward the earth. Human life is destroyed by neutrons over a certain area under the bomb. As the distance becomes longer between the spot where the bomb is detonated and the ground, the neutron flux also reduces. 14.6-Mev neutrons fly to all directions. The ones that are directed toward the sky and are not deflected, do not harm humans or cause property damage. It is not as distructive as the hydrogen bomb but it is false notion that there is very little radioactivity associated with it. It is descrbed as 'not a dirty bomb'. However, it is also a dirty bomb.

There are good reasons why neutron bomb should not be used.

(1) Fission products are produced when the fusion reaction (reaction between deutron and tritium) is induced). These fission products will evantually come down to the earth along with rain etc. over a period of three years and thus get into the food-chain. That will result in higher incidence of cancer in the population on the globe.

(2) There is a treaty banning detonation of bombs in our atmosphere. If the Super power (USA) uses the bomb for killing "terrorists", other countries will follow her example. USA will not have any moral authority to ask other countries to ban the production or the use of neutron bombs.

(3) Multitudes of nuclear reactions can be initiated by a flux of 14.6 MeV neutrons and thus some radioactivity will be induced in the materials. It cannot be stated that there will be no induced radioactivity produced in the surface area below the place the neutron bomb is detonated.

I find it very difficult to believe that President Bush is entertaining the use of neutron bombs. It was a relief to know that for the last thirty eight years we could take for granted that super powers would not deploy nuclear weapons. Now we hear that President Bush is considering such suggestions. Use of any nuclear weapons poses a grave risk to (bio-life) human beings here on the earth. It must be understood that exposure to radiation leaves insult to biolife.

I am still trying to get some more information on this type of devices. Let us hope cool heads will prevail and neutron bombs will never be deployed in any kind of conflict.

Hari Sharma.

The Cuban missile crisis

When I was six months old, so mum tells me, all the tinned food, including petfood, disappeared from the grocery shops. I wanted to find out why.
It was nearly LeMay and Power's finest hour.

Let's play nuke chicken!

The C.I.A. stage-managed a 'counter-revolution' at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 which was an embarrassing failure. Kennedy refused permission for U.S. planes to provide air cover, a decision extremely unpopular with the military 'hawks'. By 1962 Cuba was by far the biggest thorn in the Agency's side. Castro and Cuba proved that there was another way that worked, and it wasn't the American way.

The Pentagon had deployed fifteen Jupiter Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles in Turkey on the Southern border of the U.S.S.R.. NATO nuclear missiles now had access to Russia. A counter force was ready to be sent from Russia to Cuba to maintain the balance.

General Thomas Power headed Strategic Air Command and Curtis LeMay was U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff. Both were worried that the Soviet nuclear arsenal was catching up with the U.S. and might soon overtake it. They both favoured war rather than to risk the 'balance of power' equalising or swinging against them in the future. Cuba was the excuse they had been waiting for.

Curtis LeMay was clear about what to do.

'The Russian bear has always been eager to stick his paw in Latin American waters. Now we've got him in a trap, let's take his leg off right up to his testicles. On second thoughts, let's take off his testicles too."

See web-page all about Le May.

He was angry about not being allowed to invade Cuba, saying just after the crisis that,

" any point the Soviet Union could have been obliterated without more than expectable losses on our side."

General Power was at least as eager to get World War III started as LeMay. As a military colleague put it,

"General Power was demanding: he was mean; he was cruel, unforgiving, and he didn't have the time of day to pass with anyone. A hard, cruel individual... I would like to say this. I used to worry about General Power. I used to worry that General Power was not stable. I used to worry about the fact that he had control over so many weapons and weapon systems and could, under certain circumstances, launch the force."

So while the Pentagon brings us to the brink... the world holds its breath

Sunday 14th October 1962. Pentagon satellites send back the first pictures of ground preparations in Cuba for what seem to be nuclear missile sites.

Monday night, October 22nd 1962. Kennedy speaks on American TV to the Russians and to the world of the threat posed by the Cuban missiles. He explains why they must never arrive... or else. While he speaks the Pentagon slides up from Defence Condition (or Defcon) 5 to Defcon 3, two steps down from all-out war.
54 Strategic Air Command bombers take off, each carrying 4 H-bombs, to boost the 12 plane peacetime 24 hour patrol.
136 Atlas and Titan Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles are prepared for firing.

36 test missiles at various bases are taken over by S.A.C.. A.F.S.C. and civilian personnel are replaced by S.A.C. command and control crews.

Wednesday October 24th 1962. Defcon 2 is declared, now only one stage from all-out war.

Thursday night, October 25th 1962. Air Defence Command F-106's armed with Falcon (GAR 11) nuclear air to air missiles get the order to scramble at Volk Field, Wisconsin. Practice alert drills were cancelled at Defcon 3 so the interceptor crews assume they are going to war. Since they have not been briefed that SAC bombers are aloft dispersing and do not know the SAC airborne alert routes nuclear friendly fire is a real possibility. But the launch klaxon at Volk field is an error. An airforce guard at Duluth Section Direction Centre had detected an intruder inside the base perimeter and sounded a sabotage alarm which had somehow keyed the scramble klaxon at Volks Field. As soon as Duluth realise it's a mistake Volk Field is told. Volk's commanding officer leaps into his car, drives out onto the Tarmac and flashes his headlights at the squadron of F-106's about to take off. The intruder turns out to be a bear.

Friday morning 4am, 26th October 1962. An Atlas ICBM is launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base across the Pacific in the direction of the Soviet Union towards the Kwajalein test range. A politically unsanctioned and potentially catastrophic action. S.A.C. have taken over the test missiles at Vandenburg at the time of Defcon 3, programmed them with Soviet targets, and are well into the process of attaching nuclear warheads. The Atlas was singled out and was the only missile at Vandenburg not to have a nuclear warhead being prepared or already installed. It is launched on its pre-crisis schedule with S.A.C. concurrence, a deliberate provocation.

Friday afternoon, 26th October 1962. Titan II test launch from Moorestown. All missile test launches immediately cancelled at the highest political level. Col. William Watts flies down to Patrick AFB to explain how this firing had been allowed.

Sunday morning 8.58am, 28th October 1962. U.S. radar NORAD picks up a missile launch from Cuba with a near Tampa, Florida trajectory. NORAD commander is rung at home and S.A.C. command in Omaha warned. Only after predicted impact at 9.02 didn't happen the missile is determined to be a simulation caused by a misplaced computer test tape.

S.A.C. airborne alert bombers deliberately flew past their turnaround points. The bombers only turned around when the Soviet freighters carrying the missiles to Cuba stopped dead in the Atlantic.

A U-2 high altitude spy-plane strayed over Siberia. LeMay had neglected Presidential orders to cancel all overflights. Kruschev said, " intruding American plane could be easily taken for a nuclear bomber which might push us to a fateful step." Russian air defence interceptors flew fully armed with nuclear rockets with all safety devices removed.

The U.S. Navy tracked soviet nuclear subs. aggressively throughout the world - forcing them to surface and reveal their positions. A serious provocation when it had orders to do so only if the subs. entered U.S. quarantine areas.

S.A.C. Minuteman crews not trained in Titan and Atlas safety procedures took command of test missiles at Malmstrom AFB. One of the S.A.C. crew assigned to a control centre which wasn't quite finished confesses, "We didn't literally hot-wire the launch command system - that would be the wrong analogy - but we did have a second key... I could have launched it on my own if I'd wanted to."

One of the pilots writes...

F106 test firing AIR2a nuclear air to air missile

Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002
Subject: Scramble At Duluth
From: "Joseph A. Hart" <>

Dear Sir,

I read with great interest your dissertation on the Cuban Crisis and how easily it could have resulted in a nuclear exchange involving the US, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. I doubt if many people knew then or now how close we were to the tragedy. As a direct principal I think I can give you some insights concerning the "scramble" of the F106 jets from Duluth Air Base.

I was a Captain and a F106 combat qualified pilot in the 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Duluth . The Squadron under the command of Lt Col Kupersmith had 18 airplanes and about twenty - four rated pilots.

The Base commander was Col. Hurley, a charismatic officer who was very popular with the pilots in the 11th Squadron. When the news of the Cuban Crisis broke Col. Hurley was on a fishing trip in Canada with his son. In his haste to return to the base Col. Hurley and his son were both killed in an automobile accident. As a result the morale all over the base, and particularly in the Fighter Squadron was very low.

When the crisis started Col. Kupersmith ordered that all flyable aircraft be mated with a pilot and four armed airplanes were kept on 5 minute alert status at all times. I was one of the 5 minute alert pilots the night of 25 October.

The 11th was a very close knit origination and the pilots wives were an integral part of the Squadron. To improve moral they prepared a buffet diner and served it in our squadron Mess Hall to all the members of the squadron who didn't have to be someplace else. It was during this dinner that the Scramble Klaxon went off.

Because I was closest to my airplane when the klaxon sounded I was first to leave the my hanger and taxi toward the west end of the runway. Under the rules of engagement no further confirmation of the scramble was required and I and the three pilots in the planes behind me had every intention of taking off with armable nuclear weapons on board. About halfway down the taxiway the order came by radio to abort the scramble. This of course had to be authenticated. The authentication required the use of code book and a key that was valid for only a specific amount of time. This procedure was not easy to do particularly at night, while taxiing, and wearing gloves. When the order to abort was authenticated the four airplanes returned to the ramp and were re-fueled and re-setup on alert.

Back inside the squadron mess hall there were some extremely white faces among the wives. My own wife said she was sure we were at war the minute that Klaxon sounded.

I don't remember the names of the three pilots behind me on the taxiway but I can give you a few names of pilots it could have been.

Steve Booras
Jimmy Hopper
Charlie Wilson
Charlie Travina
Jim Artman
Lou Kressin
Willie Hammett
Tom Pope
Gene Roberts
Ed Woelfel
Frank Loesche

During the Cuban crisis we did get one airplane airborne with an armable nuclear weapon on board. This happened about two days into the crisis under circumstances I do not know. The flight was a single ship and the pilot was Captain, (later) General Winston Deporter. I believe this was the first and only time in the history of Air Defense Command that a live MB1 was taken aloft.

At the time of this event the Russian cargo ships with missiles on board as deck cargo were steaming towards Cuba. President Kennedy said they would not be allowed to reach Cuba, Russia of course said they would. To anybody who thought about it at all, this was the flash point that would determine the fate of both countries for centuries to come. During the run to the airplanes this was predominate in our minds. Further, from the first day of training in Air Defense Command, we were drilled and drilled some more to believe that when that klaxon went off we were at war. Once in the airplane we had the task of getting an expensive weapons system airborne and this occupied our minds completely. The applicable axiom was the Fighter Pilots Prayer "O Lord , I don't care if I die, just don't let me F_ _ K up."

The F106 carried five missiles. Two were radar guided all the way to the target, and two were self guided heat seeking missiles. All four carried a small but adequate high explosive head.

The MB1 nuclear weapon was probably the dumbest weapons system ever purchased. The weapon was unguided once it left the airplane. Prior to launch the airplane radar computed a lead collision course and the best range to fire the missile. A lead collision course is the course of the missile that would put it under the target at a point in space slightly ahead of the position the target occupied at launch. The missile was not designed to hit the target. Rather it was supposed to explode just under the bomber or group of bombers and bring them down by over-pressuring then with the atomic blast. The effect of that blast on the F106 that delivered the missile was never adequately ascertained. Thank God we never had to fire one!

In the 1960s the percieved threat was from Russian Bear bombers coming over the pole at high altitude and then dropping to tree top level to deliver their weapons. We trained for this but because it was so dangerous, particularly at night, we were restriced to an altitude no lower than 5000 feet above the terrain even though the Russians were believed to have terrain mapping radar which hooked to their autopilots and allowed them to go much lower. Can you imagine the effect on our own cities and countryside if we had to launch the atomic missile at altitudes this low? You can probably tell I was not a big fan of this weapon.


The blockade of Cuba worked, the crisis passed and LeMay bitterly criticised Kennedy for not allowing an invasion of Cuba. As Macnamara put it, '...after Krushcev had agreed to remove the missiles President Kennedy invited the chiefs to the White House so that he could thank them for their support during the crisis and there was one hell of a scene. LeMay came out saying, "We lost! We aught to just go in there today and knock 'em off!"

At a conference in 1989 in Moscow to discuss the crisis it was revealed C.I.A. 'intelligence' of only conventional capability in Cuba could not have been more wrong. The Cubans had 20 nuclear warheads for their R-12 ballistic missiles which could have reached Washington quite easily. There were also 9 tactical nuclear missiles that Soviet commanders in Cuba were delegated power to use. Neither class of weapon needed orders from Moscow to be fired. Any attempt to invade Cuba as was being pressed for by LeMay and Power would have been disastrous.

Kruschev said in retirement that he had wanted to protect Cuba from invasion and equalise, '...what the west calls the balance of power. We had no desire to start a war. On the contrary our principle aim was to deter America from starting a war. We were well aware that a war which started over Cuba would quickly expand into a world war.'

The Soviet Union never went to full nuclear alert all the years of the Cold War. After Cuba the U.S. never did again, so far. Neither did the two nations ever directly confront each other again.

According to the World Health Organisation a nuclear exchange at the time would have meant roughly 300 million people killed plus 300 million seriously injured.

Cuban Missile Crisis Closer to Nuclear War Than Believed

Sat Oct 12, 2002 - 6:16 AM ET

By Anthony Boadle

HAVANA (Reuters) - The world was much closer to a nuclear holocaust during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis than governments new, former U.S. and Russian officials and military officers said on Friday.

A conference marking the 40th anniversary of the most dangerous moment of the Cold War heard the account of a U.S. naval officer whose destroyer dropped depth charges on a Soviet submarine carrying a nuclear weapon on Oct. 27, 1962.

That day the crisis appeared to be spinning out of control, according to declassified documents discussed by protagonists, including Cuban leader Fidel Castro (news - web sites) and former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

The next day, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered the withdrawal of missiles secretly deployed in Cuba, pressed by U.S. photographic evidence and a naval blockade imposed on the island by President John F. Kennedy.

"This was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in human history," said Kennedy aide and historian Arthur Schlesinger.

"Never before had two contending powers possessed between them the technical capacity to blow up the world," he told Reuters.

"Fortunately, Kennedy and Khrushchev were leaders of restraint and sobriety, otherwise we probably wouldn't be here today," he said.

According to documents released at the conference by the National Security Archive of Washington, U.S. intelligence only photographed 33 of the 42 SS-4 medium-range ballistic missiles placed in Cuba, and never located the nuclear warheads.


On Oct 27, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over Cuba and the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended to Kennedy that the United States proceed with an air strike and invasion plan.

Later that day, when low-level reconnaissance pilots reported anti-aircraft fire from the ground in Cuba and photography showed that some missiles had been placed on launchers, Kennedy told his advisers "time is running out."

His brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, later met with the Soviet ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, and offered a deal that included a pledge not to invade Cuba and the withdrawal of U.S missiles from Turkey.

In the middle of the escalating tensions, the destroyer USS Beale, whose Second Captain John Peterson spoke at Friday's sessions, was dropping depth charges on Soviet submarine B-59, one of four at the quarantine line, each carrying nuclear-tipped torpedoes.

The U.S. Navy (news - web sites) "did not have a clue that the submarine had a nuclear weapon on board," National Security Archives director Thomas Blanton said at a news conference.

"They exploded right next to the hull. It felt like you were sitting in a metal barrel, which somebody is constantly blasting with a sledgehammer," the sub's signals intelligence officer Vadim Orlov said in an account issued by Blanton.

The Soviet submarine's crew thought the war may have started and considered using their nuclear weapon, but decide instead to surface, Orlov said.

Further declassified documents issued at the conference showed that by Oct. 27 Castro had ordered Cuban anti-aircraft gunners to fire on U.S reconnaissance planes and expected an all-out U.S. air strike and invasion of Cuba within 24 to 72 hours.

"We were shot at," said U.S. Navy F-8 fighter pilot William Ecker, who flew dangerous low-level missions over the missile bases to take photographs that were presented by the United States at the United Nations (news - web sites) as evidence that the Soviets were lying to the world.

"Out of 82 missions, me and my 15 pilots never took one hole," Ecker, 78, told reporters at the conference, speaking of hits from anti-aircraft guns. "It was different to what you saw in the movie (Thirteen Days)."

"I got the evidence. I had a mission to perform and did. I have no political feelings. I'm a fighter pilot and a goddamn good one."

Ecker will join other participants on Sunday on a visit to the only remaining missile silo in Cuba and the shell of a Soviet SS-4 rocket kept in a museum to remember the crisis.

H-bomb tests

hydrogen bomb exploded on 26th March 1964

On the 26th of March 1964 this H-bomb test, Castle Romeo, was one of the biggest ever.

The first H-bomb ever 'Mike' was exploded at 7.15 am local time on November 1st 1952. The mushroom cloud was 8 miles across and 27 miles high. The canopy was 100 miles wide. Radioactive mud fell out of the sky followed by heavy rain. 80 million tons of earth was vaporised. Mike was the first ever megaton yeild explosion.

Castle Bravo was the biggest bomb ever detonated by Western Powers. This lithium-deuteride fuelled H-bomb test exploded 1st March 1954 at Bikini Atoll. It yielded 15 megatons and had a fireball 4 miles in diameter. It was much bigger than the test crews had been expecting. It engulfed its 7,500 foot diagnostic pipe array all the way out to the earth-banked instrument bunker, which barely survived. Test crews were trapped in experiment bunkers well outside the expected limits of its effects. It menaced task force ships, one of which held Marshall Rosenbluth, a U.S. theoretical physicist, "I was on a ship that was thirty miles away, and we had this horrible white stuff raining down on us. I got 10 rads [100 chest x-rays] of radiation from it. It was pretty frightening. There was a huge fireball with these turbulent rolls going in and out. The thing was glowing. It looked to me like a diseased brain up in the sky. It spread until the edge of it looked as if it was almost directly overhead. It was a much more awesome sight than a puny little atomic bomb. It was a pretty sobering and shattering experience." Bravo vaporised a crater 250' deep and 6,500' in diameter out of the atoll rock. The 'horrible white stuff' was calcium precipitated from vaporised coral.

The Soviets are known to have invented H-bombs with a yield of 100 megatons - but the design was never tested at full strength. A 'Tzar Bomba' version, also known as Ivan, was exploded on 30th October 1961. It yeilded 50 megatons. Let's hope it is the most powerful nuclear weapon ever exploded.  

Our insane Plutonium train

Tony Gosling - 1st July 1999

Bristol's Nuke trains are Railtrack's best kept secret. Even their staff have very little idea what's on them.

High level Uranium waste is hauled back and forth from Gloucester through Stapleton Road, Lawrence Hill and Temple Meads and out West to Hinkley point near Bridgewater. This route is part of a national network that feeds freshly reacted Uranium into Sellafield. Here Plutonium, created in the reactor, is extracted and the fuel rods are sent back to the power station to continue the cycle. We never hear Sellafield described as what it really is: a Plutonium extraction plant.

Just how regularly? Well Railtrack would rather not tell you... for safety reasons... You might blow up their train! Yes, of course, and shower you and your neighbours in radiation. They know we can’t check up on ‘safety’ procedures if they don’t tell us what or when waste’s being transported. ‘Trust me, I’m smuggling Plutonium past your children’s playground!’

The waste problem is not new. Key member of America’s A-bomb project, Robert Oppenheimer, saw it was impossible to deal safely with waste and called for all nuclear piles to be closed down at the end of World War II. He was clearly right but branded a “communist” and publicly disgraced with the removal of his security clearance. Thrown out of the club.

Nagasaki’s Nazi bomb

Research in the last couple of years has shown that Uranium for the totally unnecessary second nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 came from the Nazis. Martin Boorman, head of Hitler’s hated Gestapo secret police, turned it over to the Americans at the end of the war in exchange for a new identity which the US government presumably obliged him with.

[ref:] (see article on this page)

Fifty years on, the Uranium fission bombs dropped on Japan look relatively puny. The Hiroshima bomb was rated at fifteen kilotons or fifteen thousand tons of TNT. It didn’t take long to discover that, with Plutonium, you could set off a thermonuclear reaction - just like the Sun. There is no limit to the size of these Hydrogen (fusion) bombs but fifteen Megaton bombs (a thousand times more destructive than Hiroshima) were tested in the Pacific in the sixties. The Russians had a design for a 100 megaton Hydrogen bomb but apparently never tested it.

The rush for Plutonium had begun. This element does not occur in nature and has to be manufactured in Uranium reactors - hence Britain’s nuclear power programme. An ignorant public, misled by credulous journalists, swallowed the lie.

The Sterilising Bomb

Plutonium is also essential for the ultimate Capitalist weapon, the Neutron bomb. Stockpiled without our knowledge or consent these send out an slaughtering pulse of neutrons annihilating all living material in the target area but leaving buildings and other property intact, ready for its new occupiers.

Nuclear power is a dead-duck industry. Not only do we now have more Plutonium than we know what to do with but it is the most expensive and the most terminally polluting way of producing electricity there is. By allowing the waste to come through our City - any city, town village or field in fact - we are building up more problems for the future. Britain is stockpiling carcinogenic waste which lasts for ever and is impossible to make safe. That is unless you happen to have a rocket ship handy to send it into the Sun.

Bristol’s Nuclear War on Iraq and Kosovo

When Saddam Hussein was discovered to have a nuclear reactor the Iraqi people were bombed with our nuclear waste. The Depleted Uranium which has caused horrific birth defects right across Iraq will have to have been hauled by train through Bristol. Because Saddam might be able to make a bomb our government nukes his people. And our government save billions of pounds it would have had to spend storing the waste in the UK. Along with the USA we have been menacing the world with our civil & military nuclear programme for nearly fifty years.

There is no excuse any more. ‘Benefits’ of nuclear power are only trotted out by the pathologically ignorant. When the idea of ‘free energy’ from the atom was sold to the public in the fifties it was delivered in a cradle of lies which has now been irredeemably smashed. Now it’s time to stop the trains that keep the lie alive!


'Dark Sun, The Making Of The H-Bomb', Richard Rhodes, Simon and Shuster, 1995.

Hydrick u234 - rethinking the Manhattan project

Wednesday, August 19, 1998

Atomic Bombs Dropped On Japan By U.S. Used Components Bartered From Nazi Germany, Researcher Says Components Were Originally Shipping For Germany’s Ally Japan

Houston, A researcher has announced findings that the American atomic bomb program credited with developing the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan to end World War Two, and which resulted in the United States emerging from the war as the most powerful nation on earth, used components developed by Nazi Germany, including enriched uranium, to fabricate the bombs. The revelation counters important aspects of the traditional history of the American bomb project, known as the Manhattan Project. The commonly accepted version of atomic bomb history states the bombs were created entirely by the United States, at a cost of $2 billion and five years of work by a battalion of top scientists, with assistance from Great Britain. While the new evidence does not refute American success initially enriching uranium — the key component of one of the bombs — strong documentary evidence indicates time pressures, technological delays, and a surprise opportunity to obtain from Germany the needed components that were in short supply in America, allowed the Manhattan Project to complete its bombs in time for the mid-August 1945 delivery deadline.

“What I suspect will shock people the most is it appears the possession of the enriched uranium and other components fell into our hands not by capture, but as part of what may have been clandestine negotiations between top Nazis and key United States military and governmental leaders,” said Carter Hydrick, the researcher who has spent eight years investigating the events. “The agreement appears to have been made in exchange for allowing these fugitives to escape from Europe and receive United States protection while they lived in semi-seclusion for decades after the war,” he stated. Hydrick displayed several documents from the United States National Archives and elsewhere to support his historical revision, as well as drawing from previously enigmatic events in the traditional history he contends have long been misunderstood, to show that Nazi Germany was an important source of nuclear bomb components used in the attacks on Japan.

Among the documents are captured Navy cargo manifests from German submarine U-234 that lists 580 kilograms, or 1120 pounds, of uranium oxide, as well as most of the Nazis’ latest, and most secret, war-making technologies; including, two fully disassembled Messerschmidt 262 jet fighters, the first jet aircraft used in combat and the only such planes employed in World War Two; the newest silent electric torpedoes; and plans and material to build Germany’s feared V-2 rockets. The existence of U-234 and its cargo have long been known, and have been the subject of discussions over whether the uranium or any other components found on the vessel were used in the war against Japan, but, until now, no connection has ever been proved.

“The first big break was finding a secret dispatch from the Commander of Naval Operations in Washington indicating the uranium was stored for the journey in cylinders lined with gold,” explained Mr. Hydrick. “Further research showed that gold, which is a very stable substance, was only used to handle uranium that had already been enriched in order to protect it from contamination by corrosion.” Only enriched uranium is fissile enough to make a uranium bomb. Hydrick explained that, at $100,000 per ounce in 1945 dollars, the enriched uranium was well worth the investment in gold to protect it. According to Hydrick’s sources, gold would not have been used to ship uranium that had not yet been enriched, since the value of raw uranium did not justify such expense. He cites instances in the United States program when uranium that had not been enriched was shipped in cloth bags and steel drums with no protection from corrosion whatsoever.

A second, stronger, validation that the uranium on board U-234 was enriched uranium came from eye-witness accounts of a crew member of the submarine, who was present at both the loading and unloading of the boat. The crew member reported in two memoirs that the uranium containers had the label “U235” painted on them just before they were lowered into the submarine. U235 is the scientific designation for enriched uranium. The same crew member reported that United States Navy personnel later tested the supply tubes of the submarine with geiger counters after it was turned over to the United States and the instruments registered a very high level of radioactivity. Without understanding the import of the U235 designation, the crew member assumed the uranium was left over from Germany’s failed, but later highly publicized, plutonium breeding reactor experiments.

“The evidence seems very strong that the uranium on board U-234 was bomb-grade, enriched uranium,” said Hydrick.

Even if the uranium was enriched, that does not prove it was used in the Manhattan Project, concedes Hydrick. To prove the two events were related, he presented copies of documents held in the United States National Archives that show relationships between the Manhattan Project and the U-boat. One of the documents is a secret cable, again from the Commander of Naval Operations, directing that a three-man party had been dispatched to take possession of the cargo from U-234. According to the document, accompanying two Naval officers in an otherwise all-Navy operation was Major John E. Vance of the Army Corps of Engineers, the department of the Army under which the Manhattan Project operated. Additional documents show that a few days following Vance’s arrival, when another accounting of the cargo was made, the uranium had disappeared from the materials in Navy possession. Transcripts of telephone conversations that occurred approximately one week later between two Manhattan Project intelligence officers identify a captured shipment of uranium powder as being in control of, and being tested by, a person identified only as “Vance.” “It would be an improbable coincidence if they were not talking about the same “Vance” as the officer who visited U-234, and the same uranium powder captured from that vessel,” suggested Hydrick.

A second connection is also documented between the Manhattan Project and U-234 — which carried eight high-profile military and scientific passengers who were not crew members, along with its deadly cargo, says Mr. Hydrick. “Two of the captured passengers on U-234 had contact with an alleged United States Naval Intelligence officer identified in separate documents by the prisoners, as ‘Mr. Alvarez’ and as ‘Commander Alvarez’,” Hydrick said. The alleged “Commander Alvarez” appears to have been the personal handler of Dr. Heinz Schlicke, one of the scientific passengers on board U-234, who had now become a prisoner of war. Dr. Schlicke was an expert on high frequency technology such as radar and infra-red technology.

Upon researching the Navy officers and alumni rosters of 1943 and 1945, Hydrick found no entry in the name of Alvarez was recorded in either document. “General Groves, who headed the Manhattan Project, is well documented as having frequently provided military identification to scientists within the Manhattan Project in order for them to operate unimpeded, when necessary, within the military establishment,” said Hydrick. The researcher then points to one of the heroes of the Manhattan Project, Luis W. Alvarez, as the probable identity of “Commander Alvarez,” who he suggests was dressed incognito in Navy uniform to surreptitiously cull information and technological expertise from Dr. Schlicke.

“Luis Alvarez was the scientist on the Manhattan Project who is credited with coming up with, at the last minute, the successful solution for simultaneously detonating the 32 fuses that exploded the second, or plutonium bomb, which was the bomb dropped on Nagasaki,” the researcher said. Before a solution was found for this problem, according to Hydrick, the Manhattan Project had struggled for a year and a half with the dilemma. Hydrick points to documentation from the National Archives showing that Alvarez was the head of a three-man committee tasked with solving the fusing problem.

“Dr. Schlicke had in his personal care while on the U-boat, a supply of Germany’s newly developed infra-red fuses,” Hydrick continued. “In the national archives there is a secret cable recounting how Schlicke was flown back to the U-234 site by two United States Navy personnel expressly to retrieve those infra-red fuses. These fuses work on the basis of light, and at the speed of light. The evidence strongly suggests, in my view, that Luis Alvarez and “Commander Alvarez” were one and the same person and that Luis Alvarez used Dr. Schlicke’s infra-red fuses to ignite all 32 detonation points on the American plutonium bomb simultaneously at the speed of light, solving the plutonium bomb detonation problem.”

As substantiating evidence of the link, Hydrick cites the fact that prior to his assignment in the Manhattan Project, Alvarez worked on high-frequency technology, including radar, the same field in which Schlicke was an expert. “Based on their backgrounds, of all the people in the Manhattan Project who would be expected to interface with Schlicke, if there was an interface, it would be Luis Alvarez,” Hydrick claims. “It is interesting that Alvarez is the one name that shows up as the United States’ counterpart to Dr. Schlicke.”

Following the war, Schlicke joined the United States military as a contract worker in the top-secret project, “Operation Paperclip.” Luis Alvarez went on to win the Nobel Prize for Physics relating to his high-frequency work, and was one of the original proponents for the now widely accepted theory — though greatly maligned at the time of its introduction — that a large meteorite struck the earth eons ago, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs and other profound events in the history of pre-homo sapien Earth.

While Hydrick’s revelations regarding the uses of U-234’s cargo and passengers will probably cause widespread controversy among historians and World War Two enthusiasts, his proposition that U-234 was intentionally surrendered to United States forces according to a prearranged agreement with top Nazi leaders is certain to bring a storm of debate. “The evidence is not of the compelling, ‘smoking gun’ nature of the documentation proving the link between U-234 and the Manhattan Project. But there is a significant body of circumstantial evidence suggesting some of Hitler’s top men made a deal with our leading intelligence and military people to hand over the U-boat in return for their freedom and protection. This evidence needs to be further explored,” Hydrick says.

That body of circumstantial evidence, according to Hydrick, suggests that Martin Bormann, chief of the Nazi Party, Hitler’s personal manager and secretary, and arguably the most powerful man in the German Reich outside of Hitler, at the end of the war negotiated the control of the U-boat and its passengers and cargo over to the United States prior to the fall of Berlin in late April 1945. Historians have long argued the claim that Bormann died trying to escape from Berlin on May 1, 1945. The main evidence given for his death was based on eye-witness accounts by Hitler’s chauffeur and Artur Axmann, head of the Hitler Youth organization, both of whom maintained strong Nazi convictions and connections until their deaths and, therefore, their motives have been considered suspect. Although neither witness categorically stated they were certain they saw Bormann dead, their account has become the traditional version of Bormann’s end. Despite this finding, Bormann was convicted of war crimes in absentia at the Nuremberg trials and a warrant was placed for his arrest that remained in effect for many years, as did a later warrant issued in West Germany in 1967* based on new evidence of his continued survival. Many sightings of Bormann, alive and well, were reported over the three decades following the war. The supposed grave of Bormann’s escape partner, Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller, was also disinterred in 1963 and found to contain the skeletal remains of three men, none of them Mueller.

The traditional history has many holes in it, according to Hydrick. “The presently accepted account says Bormann and Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller attempted their escape together, travelling partially through the subway tunnels around the Reichs Chancellery before they met their deaths in the street fighting. It’s fairly certain they escaped together, but the problem with the rest of the story is that the subway had been flooded by the SS — which, by the way, killed thousands of German women and children who were forced there for shelter when their homes were bombed out. The SS flooded the subway to keep Russian troops from secretly approaching and attacking Hitler’s bunker through the underground,” explained Hydrick. “The subway escape legend appears to be a cover story devised beforehand for later dissemination. It did not take into account the unforeseen flooding by the SS.”

A more logical, objective and credible version of the Bormann escape, according to Hydrick, was reported by Joseph Stalin’s intelligence agents. Stalin stated to Harry Hopkins, political consultant and confidant of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, and later secretary of state, that Soviet agents reported Bormann’s escape from Berlin late the night of April 29 in a small plane and in the company of three men — one heavily bandaged — and a woman. From there, Stalin insisted, his agents traced Bormann to Hamburg, where he boarded a large U-boat and departed Germany.

Several details of these events ring true to Hydrick. For example, it is a well-known fact that while Berlin was being bombed and the Nazi leadership fell into panic or fled, Martin Bormann maintained secret radio negotiations with Admiral Karl Doenitz, the commander of all of Germany’s U-boats, and had made plans to escape to Doenitz’s submarine headquarters. Doenitz at first resisted this effort but ultimately was ordered by Hitler (presumably at Bormann’s bidding) to accept Bormann at his headquarters. From this point on, Hydrick concedes, details become sketchy and many disparate accounts are given of Bormann’s escape or possible end. But parallels from various, otherwise unconnected, Fuehrer bunker escape stories seem to indicate a probable scenario, according to the researcher.

First, Hitler’s good friend Hanna Reitsch, the famous German aviatrix and counterpart to Amelia Earhart, tells in her autobiography how she flew seriously injured German Air Force General Ritter von Greim, whom Hitler had just made Commander of the Luftwaffe, out of Berlin late one night in the last days of the war. Other accounts confirm the flight was made April 29, 1945, the same night Stalin’s agents reported Bormann’s escape by small aircraft. Reitsch recounts how they flew to Doenitz’s headquarters “to make our last visit and farewell to Grand Admiral Doenitz” before flying south to the Austrian/Swiss border — an odd and seemingly careless detour of several hundred dangerous miles with the badly injured and very important General von Greim. “There was something more to that trip than fond good-byes,” insists Hydrick.

Second, a separate, independent account purportedly of Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller’s escape follows a somewhat similar path, though in it he was flown out of Berlin alone. In this account, Mueller was flown out of the German capital late the same night as in Reitsch’s tale, in a Fieseler Storch airplane, the same aircraft used in Reitsch’s story, under exactly the same conditions Reitsch describes. Mueller makes no account of flying to meet Doenitz, but tells a story about flying to the Austrian/Swiss border that is decidedly similar to Reitsch’s version.

There are obviously discrepencies in these stories, as there are in virtually all accounts of these events; and it is hard to know what is true and what is disinformation, according to Hydrick. But the similarities of the independent accounts set against the observations of Stalin’s informants that three men, one injured, and a woman, flying out of Berlin in a small airplane, seem to paint a compelling scenario. “The description of that little group of night flyers is explicit and unique in its observations,” argued Hydrick, “and yet it adheres in its details, even the unusual ones, with the Stalin account. It identifies Bormann and Mueller by name; also a heavily bandaged man, which fits the description of von Greim at the time; and a woman, which would be Hanna Reitsch, probably the only woman in the world one could have expected to see in that circumstance, at that place, at that time. The three accounts just seem to interlock too well not to be connected,” insists Hydrick.

Hydrick adds other proof to his escape proposition, as well. The chief radio operator of U-234 describes how, in mid-April, he received at least one message on a high-priority frequency (and probably at least one other coded communique) directly from Hitler’s bunker in Berlin while the U-boat was stationed in Kristiansand, Norway. The order read: “U-234. Only sail on the orders of the highest level. Fuehrer HQ.” “There are many implications here, the main ones being there was some kind of connection and an arrangement made between U-234 and someone at Hitler’s headquarters,” Hydrick asserted. An order sent to the U-boat a short time later by Admiral Doenitz seems to be an effort to keep the U-boat under his command. It reads: “U-234. Sail only on my order. Sail at once on your own initiative.” U-234, the largest U-boat in the German navy, set sail within hours, leaving Kristiansand bearing due south, exactly toward Hamburg, where Stalin’s observer’s reported Bormann boarded the “large” U-boat in the early hours of May 1.

“There appear to be discrepencies between these accounts, too,” said Hydrick, “like the fact it would normally take a U-boat only a day to sail from Kristiansand to Hamburg and according to our accounts U-234 left Kristiansand in mid-April and would not have picked up Bormann until May 1.” But U-234 was not heard from again after leaving Kristiansand until May 12, almost a full month. By then, the U-boat was only 500 miles northeast of Newfoundland. If the boat was following the course its captain and traditional history said it took headed for Japan, then it was travelling at only 1 1/2 miles per hour. “That is slower than a man walks and far slower than a fleeing U-boat is likely to have travelled,” Hydrick argued.

Hydrick contends that U-234 silently patrolled the North Sea according to prearranged plans with Bormann at Hitler’s headquarters, until Bormann was able to negotiate an agreement with Doenitz. As the end of the war drew near, the boat slid into Hamburg harbor under cover of night and picked up Martin Bormann and Heinrich Mueller, then continued its voyage, by way of a rendevouz off the coast of Spain to off-load Bormann, and then on to its surrender to United States forces at sea, again under mysterious conditions.

Hydrick asserts that a successful negotiation between Bormann and Doenitz would explain not only the radio transmissions, but it would explain why Doenitz, with no political experience and virtually no political following, and quite to the surpise and puzzlement of leaders worldwide, became Hitler’s successor. He also believes that a series of enigmatic events leading up to U-234’s surrender point to an intentional secret capitulation of the boat outside of the parameters of the general surrender orders given on VE Day.

Lastly, he contends a photo taken by a local newpaper photographer at the time U-234 docked on United States shores, shows a mysterious, unidentified civilian prisoner with a remarkable physical resemblance to Heinrich Mueller disembarking the Navy ship that carried U-234 passengers from the U-boat to shore. Hydrick believes the subject of the photo is, in fact, the former head of the Gestapo stepping onto American soil. According to Hydrick, Mueller’s mission was to oversee the transferral of the atomic bomb components and other war materials from Germany to the United States and that, in return, Mueller, Bormann and many other Nazis received American protection for decades, and continue to receive such protection even up to the present day.

To make his research available to interested parties, Hydrick has opened a website at He is also completing a manuscript for a book he hopes to publish later this year.

Carter Hydrick

Ex-Tahoe man has atomic theory

Wednesday, August 19, 1998

By Andy Bourelle

Former South Lake Tahoe resident Carter Hydrick recently returned to the lake for a vacation - the first vacation and first extended trip to Tahoe he's made in years.

Why so long?

Answer: the invention of the atomic bomb.

Hydrick has spent his vacation time the last three years, as well as significant amounts of his free time for eight years and about $20,000 of his own money, doing research for a book which Hydrick said questions the foundations of the traditional history of the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project.

Now, with 10 of the book's 15 chapters complete, Hydrick said he feels confident enough in his evidence to come forward with the information.

The commonly accepted version of atomic bomb history states the bombs were created during the Manhattan Project. However, Hydrick said a "surprise opportunity" to obtain essential components and data from Germany allowed the United States to complete the uranium and plutonium bombs in time to drop them in August 1945.

In May, 1945, a huge Nazi U-boat was headed for Japan but surrendered to the U.S. Navy. The submarine, called U-234, was three times the size of a normal U-boat.

Hydrick said he believes, and has evidence to verify, that the contents of the submarine were transferred to the Manhattan Project to complete the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Additionally, Hydrick said the surrender of U-234 appears to have been prearranged between the U.S. military and Adolf Hitler's top lieutenant Martin Bormann in exchange for Bormann's post-war freedom.

The existence of U-234 and its cargo is not new information. However, Hydrick said he is the first to prove that uranium on board the submarine was enriched uranium, which is usable in the creation of the uranium atomic bomb. Additionally, Hydrick said he has evidence that indicates the captured enriched uranium was used in the uranium bomb which was used on Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945.

The U-234 also held infrared fuses such as the type needed for detonation of the plutonium bomb used against Japan, according to Hydrick. Eight high-profile military and scientific passengers occupied the boat, including Germany's expert, Dr. Heinz Schlicke, in high-frequency and infrared technology.

Luis Alvarez was the Manhattan Project's scientist who was credited with coming up with, at the last minute, the solution to simultaneously detonating 32 fuses needed to explode the plutonium bomb. Before the solution was found, the Manhattan Project had struggled for 1 1/2 years to find a way to detonate the fuses.

Hydrick said he has evidence suggesting that the U-boat's technology as well as information from Schlicke were used by the Manhattan Project to complete the plutonium bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki Aug. 9, 1945.

"We couldn't have made either bomb, at least within the time we did," Hydrick said, "without U-234."

Hydrick said he has extensive evidence supporting his claims, enough that he needs a 15-chapter book to explain it all.

Hydrick now resides in Houston and works in marketing communications for the Compaq Computer Corporation.

Although not a historian, Hydrick said he loves history. Hydrick said he has spent time researching at the National Archives and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as the regional archives in Atlanta.

When he was 11 years old, Hydrick moved to Lake Tahoe. He graduated from high school and met and married his wife in Tahoe. He and his family moved in 1978.

In July, he was able to spend 10 days visiting family members still living in the Lake Tahoe area.

"This (was) the first real vacation I've had in three years," Hydrick said. "(Research for the book) has definitely taken a strong place in the activities of my life."

However, Hydrick said he has not let his research get in the way of the rest of his life.

"I'm a father and a husband, and I have to make a living," he said. "I don't think it's consumed me to the point where I've shut out the rest of my life, but it's always on my mind. It's always in the back of my head working."

Hydrick said he will be happy that his efforts have paid off if the new information finds its way into the accepted history of the atomic bomb.

"The traditional history (of the bomb) is so entrenched, I'm afraid that people might just gloss over (my information)," he said. "I want a chance to prove that I'm right. I'm confident I can prove it."

Carter Hydrick's research is extensively outlined on his web site at: (this Yahoo website down as of 25th November 1999)

'Diseased brain'H-bomb Fireball 'It looked to me like a diseased brain up in the sky'


The U-Bomb - political manouverings behind the H bomb

Pictures of hydrogen bombs

Research in the last couple of years has shown that Uranium for the totally unnecessary second nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 came from the Nazis. Martin Boorman, head of Hitler’s hated Gestapo secret police, turned it over to the Americans at the end of the war in exchange for a new identity which the US government presumably obliged him with.

Hydrick u234 story - Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Inventor of the Neutron Bomb

Neutron Bombs nearly used in the Middle East

The threat of the mini Neutron bomb

Killing our own - Chronicling the Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation, 1945-1982

Nukes description pages

Loads of Nuke pics

General availability of heavy metals to make bombs with


'Dark Sun, The Making Of The H-Bomb', Richard Rhodes, Simon and Shuster, 1995.

'Cuba On The Brink', James G Blight, Pantheon Books, New York, 1993.

'The Limits Of Safety, Organisations, Accidents And Nuclear Weapons', Scott D Sagan, Princetown University Press, 1993.

'Politics and Ideology', Oded Balaban, Avebury, England, 1995

Tsar Bomba

Moscow’s Biggest Bomb: The 50-Megaton Test of October 1961

From the Atomic Central site

By Viktor Adamsky and Yuri Smirnov

	On 30 October 1961, Soviet Minister of Medium Machine 
Building Efim Slavsky and Marshal of the Soviet Union Kirill 
Moskalenko sent a telegram to the Kremlin:

To: N.S. Khrushchev, The Kremlin, Moscow: The test at Novaya 
Zemlya was a success.  The security of the test personnel and of 
nearby inhabitants has been assured.  Those participating in the 
tests have fulfilled the task of our Motherland.  We are returning 
for the Congress.1

	In Moscow, the 22nd Congress of the CPSU had already been in 
session for two weeks.  It began its work in the newly-built Kremlin 
Palace of Congresses, which had just opened its doors for the first 
time.  On October 30, the Congress delegates unanimously reached 
the sensational decision that “Maintaining the sarcophagus with J.V. 
Stalin’s coffin is no longer desirable.”2  On the same day, Slavsky 
and Moskalenko reported on the test of a Soviet thermonuclear 
bomb of unprecedented power.

	That morning, at 11:32 AM (Moscow time), there was a 50-
megaton (MT) explosion over Novaya Zemlya island in northern 
Russia above the Arctic Circle at an altitude of 4,000 meters.  The 
atmospheric disturbance generated by the explosion orbited the earth 
three times. The flash of light was so bright that it was visible at a 
distance of 1,000 kilometers, despite cloudy skies.  A gigantic, 
swirling mushroom cloud rose as high as 64 kilometers.

	The bomb exploded after having fallen slowly from a height of 
10,500 meters, suspended by a large parachute.  By that time the 
crew of the TU-95 “Bear” bomber, commanded by Major Andrei 
Durnovtsev, were already in the safe zone some 45 km from the 
target.  The commander was returning to earth as a lieutenant 
colonel and Hero of the Soviet Union.

	Efim Slavsky and Kirill Moskalenko, as deputies to the 
Congress, had arrived by plane on the day of the test to observe the 
explosion.  They were aboard an Il-14 “crate” at a distance of 
several hundred kilometers from ground zero, when a fantastic 
scene appeared before them; one participant in the test saw a bright 
flash through dark goggles and felt the effects of a thermal pulse 
even at a distance of 270 km.  In districts hundreds of kilometers 
from ground zero, wooden houses were destroyed, and stone ones 
lost their roofs, windows and doors; and radio communications were 
interrupted for almost one hour.  At the time of the blast, the bomb’s 
designers and test supervisors, headed by Major General Nikolai 
Pavlov, the Chairman of the State Commission, were at the airfield 
near Olenya station on the Kola Peninsula.  For 40 minutes they had 
no firm information on the test, or the fate of the bomber and the 
Tu-16 “Badger” airborne laboratory accompanying it.  Only when 
radio contact with Novaya Zemlya was reestablished were they able 
to request information on the altitude of the cloud.  It was clear that 
the bomb design had worked.

	Meanwhile, both aircraft and documentary crews observing the 
test were subjected to a most graphic experience.  As one 
cameraman recalled: “The clouds beneath the aircraft and in the 
distance were lit up by the powerful flash.  The sea of light spread 
under the hatch and even clouds began to glow and became 
transparent.  At that moment, our aircraft emerged from between 
two cloud layers and down below in the gap a huge bright orange 
ball was emerging.  The ball was powerful and arrogant like Jupiter.  
Slowly and silently it crept upwards.... Having broken through the 
thick layer of clouds it kept growing.  It seemed to suck the whole 
earth into it.  The spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural.”3  
Another cameraman saw “a powerful white flash over the horizon 
and after a long period of time he heard a remote, indistinct and 
heavy blow, as if the earth has been killed!”4

	Some time after the explosion, photographs were taken of ground 
zero.  “The ground surface of the island has been levelled, swept 
and licked so that it looks like a skating rink,” a witness reported.  
“The same goes for rocks.  The snow has melted and their sides and 
edges are shiny.  There is not a trace of unevenness in the ground....  
Everything in this area has been swept clean, scoured, melted and 
blown away.”5

	A twenty-minute film about the development and test of the 50-
MT bomb was later shown to the Soviet leadership.  The film 
concluded with the following remark: “Based on preliminary data 
alone, it is evident that the explosion has set a record in terms of 
power.”  In fact, its power was 10 times the total power of all 
explosives used during World War II, including the atomic bombs 
dropped on Japanese cities by the United States.  It’s hard to believe 
that a more powerful explosion will ever take place.  

	The test stunned the world community, and became the subject 
of numerous discussions, legends, and myths which continue to this 
day.  The Russian newspaper Izvestia reported in 1990, for example, 
that this super-powerful hydrogen bomb represented “a qualitative 
leap which wiped out the American advantage in total number of 
tests,” and that Khrushchev agreed to sign the Moscow Limited Test 
Ban Treaty two years later “with a 60 megatonner in the arsenal.”6  
The 1992 television documentary, “The Story of an Invisible 
Town,” also promoted the incorrect theory that “only after this 
explosion did the parties make concessions and sign the treaty.”

	As a result of excessive secrecy and limited access to 
information, even some of the directors of the test formed incorrect 
impressions.  For example, the director of the test site on Novaya 
Zemlya, Gavriil Kudryavtsev, mentioned that in our country “60-
megaton and even 100-megaton (fortunately never tested) 
superbombs have appeared.”  His explanation of their “appearance” 
is bizarre: “I think that the ‘secret’ is rather simple.  In those days, 
the strike accuracy of our missiles was insufficient.  The only way 
to compensate for this was to increase the power of the warhead.”7

	A completely fantastic idea about the 50-MT bomb appeared in 
1992 in Pravda: “[this bomb] represents the yesterday of atomic 
weaponry.  Even more powerful warheads have been developed by 

	In fact, the 50-MT bomb tested on 30 October 1961 was never a 
weapon.  This was a one-of-a-kind device, whose design allowed it 
to achieve a yield of up to 100 megatons when fully loaded with 
nuclear fuel.  Thus, the test of the 50-MT bomb was in effect the 
test of the design for a 100-MT weapon.  If a blast of such horrific 
magnitude had been conducted, it would have generated a gigantic, 
fiery tornado, engulfing an area larger than Vladimirskaya Oblast in 
Russia or the state of Maryland in the USA.

	The explosion of the 50-MT bomb did not lead, as some 
suppose, to the immediate conclusion of the Limited Test Ban 
Treaty.  Negotiations to conclude the treaty continued for another 
two years.  However, one may speculate that the explosion indirectly 
contributed to the talks’ success.

	The 50-MT bomb never had any military significance.  It was a 
one-time demonstration of force, part of the superpower game of 
mutual intimidation.  This was the main goal of the unprecedented 
test.  Superweapons are rejected by contemporary military doctrine, 
and the proposition that “now we have even more powerful 
warheads” is simply ridiculous.

	What was the political situation?  The relations between Moscow 
and Washington at the time of Khrushchev’s visit to the United 
States in September 1959 had been ameliorating, but the following 
May the espionage flight of Frances Gary Powers over the Soviet 
Union aggravated them seriously.  The U-2 reconnaissance aircraft 
was shot down by Soviet anti-aircraft batteries near Sverdlovsk on 1 
May 1960.  In the aftermath, the summit conference of Soviet, U.S., 
British, and French state leaders in Paris was aborted, and the return 
visit to the USSR of U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower was 
cancelled.  Cuba, where Castro came to power, became the object of 
passions, and the failure of the U.S.-sponsored invasion by anti-
Castro Cuban emigres at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961 was a great 
shock for the Kennedy Administration.

	But the main arena of opposition between the USA and Soviet 
Union was Europe.  The serious, seemingly insoluble question of a 
peaceful German settlement once again rose to the fore, with the 
status of West Berlin the focus of attention.  The exhausting talks on 
arms reduction, accompanied by strict demands from the Western 
Powers to inspect the territories of participating parties, were 
unsuccessful.  The Geneva negotiations on a nuclear test ban looked 
more and more gloomy although the nuclear powers (except France) 
were adhering to a voluntary test moratorium in the context of those 
talks.  Meanwhile, hostile propaganda and recriminations between 
the USSR and the USA became the norm.  Finally, the main event 
of that period which aroused a storm of protests in the West was the 
erection of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961.

	In the meantime the Soviet Union sought self-reliance.  It was 
the first to test an intercontinental ballistic missile and launch 
satellites into orbit, and the first to send a man into outer space.  
Having acquired immense prestige, among the Third World 
countries in particular, the USSR did not yield to the Western 
pressure and started active operations on its own.

	Therefore, when by the end of the summer of 1961 international 
tensions grew unusually high, the course of events took on the 
peculiar logic of superpower politics.  For a month and a half prior 
to the announcement by the Soviet government, we, the developers 
of nuclear weapons, began preparing to test new prototypes.  We 
knew that the culmination of the series of tests planned in the USSR 
would be the explosion of the 50-MT device, which was designed to 
produce explosions of up to 100 megatons.  In the middle of July 
1961, we began the development of this device.  Some time 
thereafter, its actual construction and assembly began.  Andrei 
Sakharov called the planned test “the crux of the program.”

	The Soviet government made no secret of the planned superblast.  
On the contrary, it gave the world ample warning about the 
upcoming event and, in an unprecedented step, made public the 
power of the bomb under development.  This leak corresponded to 
the goals of the political power game.

	By October 24, the final report, including the proposed design of 
the bomb and the theoretical and design calculations, was complete.  
The specifications in the report were sent to design engineers and 
bomb assemblers.  The report was co-authored by Andrei Sakharov, 
Victor Adamsky, Yuri Babaev, Yuri Smirnov, and Yuri Trutnev.  
While the contents of the report are not publicly available, I can say 
that the report’s conclusion contained the following statement:  “A 
successful result from the test of this device opens the possibility of 
creating a device of practically unlimited power.”

	At the same time, a bomber was prepared for the test, and a 
special parachute system for the bomb developed.  The parachute 
system to permit the slow descent of the bomb, which weighed more 
than 20 tons, was unique.  However, even if this parachute system 
had failed during the test, the bomber’s crew would not have been 
endangered, as the bomb contained a special mechanism which 
triggered its detonation only after the plane had reached a safe 

	The Tu-95 strategic bomber which was to carry the bomb to its 
target underwent unusual modification.  The bomb, around eight 
meters long and two meters wide, was too large to fit in the plane’s 
bomb bay; therefore, a non-essential part of the fuselage was cut 
away, and a special lifting mechanism attached, as was a device for 
fastening the bomb.  The bomb was so huge that over half of it 
protruded from the plane during the flight.  The plane’s whole 
fuselage, and even its propeller blades, were covered with special 
white paint for protection from the explosion’s intense flash.  A 
separate airborne laboratory plane was also covered with the same 

	In Arzamas-16, the secret nuclear weapons laboratory in the 
Urals, the bomb was assembled in a factory-shop on a special 
railroad flatcar, which after completion was camouflaged as a 
regular freight-train car.  It was necessary to build a railroad line 
right into the assembly-shop.

	From time to time, we would naturally have doubts: would the 
device deceive us, would it fail at the moment of testing?  Alluding 
to this, Sakharov said: “If we don’t make this thing, we’ll be sent to 
railroad construction.”  At another moment, in the last phase of the 
job, when foreign protests erupted over Khrushchev’s 
announcement of the forthcoming superpowerful blast, Sakharov 
calmly observed that while the explosion might lead to the smashing 
of some windows in our embassies in two or three Western 
countries, nothing more would come of it.

	Khrushchev defined his position in this way:

	  I want to say that our tests of new nuclear weapons are also 
coming along very well.  We shall shortly complete these tests—
presumably at the end of October.  We shall probably wind them 
up by detonating a hydrogen bomb with a yield of 50,000,000 
tons of TNT.  We have said that we have a 100-megaton bomb.  
This is true.  But we are not going to explode it, because even if 
we did so at the most remote site, we might knock out all our 
windows.  We are therefore going to hold off for the time being 
and not set the bomb off.  However, in exploding the 50-
megaton bomb we are testing the device for triggering a 100-
megaton bomb.  But may God grant, as they used to say, that we 
are never called upon to explode these bombs over anybody’s 
territory.  This is the greatest wish of our lives!9  
. . .
	In strengthening the defense of the Soviet Union we are acting 
not only in our own interests but in the interests of all 
peaceloving peoples, of all mankind.  When the enemies of 
peace threaten us with force they must be and will be countered 
with force, and more impressive force, too.  Anyone who is still 
unable to understand this today will certainly understand it 

	Once, during a discussion with Sakharov, a pointed question was 
heard: “Why do we need to make ‘cannibalistic’ weapons like 
this?!”  Sakharov smiled and said: “Nikita Khrushchev said: ‘Let 
this device hang over the heads of the capitalists, like a sword of 

	The test of the 50-MT bomb was a watershed in the development 
of nuclear weapons.  This test demonstrated the global nature of the 
effects of a powerful nuclear explosion on the Earth’s atmosphere.  
The test of the bomb’s design confirmed the possibility of making a 
device of any power, however large.

	For Sakharov, his involvement in the development of the 1961 
superbomb marked a turning point in his years of work in 
thermonuclear weapons.  This was the last device on which he 
worked intensely, seriously, and without hesitation.12  He accepted 
the proposal to make and test this awesomely powerful bomb, 
motivated by a desire to demonstrate the absolute destructiveness 
and inhumanity of this weapon of mass annihilation, to impress on 
mankind and politicians the fact that, in the event of a tragic 
showdown, there would be no winners.  No matter how 
sophisticated an opponent, the other side would find a simple, but 
crippling, response.

	The device at the same time demonstrated the technological 
potentials available to humanity.  Not without reason did Sakharov 
search for a worthy application for it.  He suggested using 
superpowerful explosions to prevent catastrophic earthquakes and to 
create particle accelerators of unprecedented energy to probe the 
secrets of matter.  He also advanced a plan to use similar explosions 
to deflect the course of heavenly bodies near earth, such as comets 
or asteroids, in the interests of mankind.  But also, at that time, he 
was still preoccupied with the search for possible military 
applications of nuclear energy.

	Ninety-seven percent of the power of the 50-MT bomb derived 
from thermonuclear fusion; that is to say, the bomb was remarkably 
“clean” and released a minimum of fission by-products which 
would elevate background radiation in the atmosphere.  Thanks to 
this, our U.S. colleagues understood13 that our scientists also 
desired to reduce to a minimum the radioactive after-effects of 
nuclear testing, as well as to lessen the effect of radiation on present 
and future generations.

	The fact that the 30 October 1961 explosion and its expected 
yield were announced in advance by political leaders placed a 
special burden on the bomb’s designers, for a failure or serious 
shortfall in yield would have undermined the authority of our 
researchers.  The enormous yield of the test (the most powerful of 
all tests conducted either by us or the USA) should have provoked 
and in fact did provoke fear throughout the world, in the sense that 
nuclear weapons were seen to threaten humanity’s future.  It also led 
to the realization that such weapons should be placed under 
international control, the framework for which has yet to be found 
but must be sought out and implemented.  A series of agreements 
limiting the testing and spread of nuclear weapons was gradually 
concluded.  The world community and the superpowers’ 
governments came to see the necessity for such agreements as a 
result of evaluating the results of many nuclear tests, among them 
the test of 30 October 1961.

1.  Trud, 23 May 1991.
2.  XXII siezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza:  
Stenographicheskii otchet [22nd Congress of the Communist Party 
of the Soviet Union], tom [Vol.] 3 (Moscow: Gospolitizat, 1962), 
3.  V.A. Suvorov, Strana limoniia [Land of Lemons] (Moscow: 
Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1989), 117-27.
4.  Ibid.
5.  Ibid.
6.  Izvestiya, 13 October 1990.
7.  Trud, 23 May 1991.
8.  Pravda, 20 October 1992.
9.  XXII seized Kommunisticheskoi..., tom. 1 (Moscow, 
Gospolitizdat, 1992), 55.
10.  XXII seized Kommunisticheskoi..., tom. 2 (Moscow, 
Gospolitizdat, 1992), 571-73.
11.  Quoted in P.N. Lebedev Institute, Andrei Sakharov: Facets of a 
Life (Gif-Sur-Yvette: Editions Frontieres, 1991), 603.
12.  [Ed. note: But also see the account given by Sakharov in his 
memoirs, in which the scientist stated that he sent a note to 
Khrushchev on 10 July 1961 opposing his decision to resume 
nuclear tests, suggesting that they would “seriously jeopardize the 
test ban negotiations, the cause of disarmament, and world peace,” 
and that he worked on the test of the “Big Bomb” only after 
Khrushchev firmly rejected his appeal and chided him for meddling 
in politics and “poking his nose where it doesn’t belong.”  Once the 
decision was made, however, Sakharov also says he was “going all 
out” to achieve the maximum from the fall 1961 test series.  See 
Andrei Sakharov, Memoirs (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), 
13.  Ralph Lapp, Kill and Overkill (London: Weidenfeld and 
Nicolson, 1992), 36-37.

Physicist Viktor Adamsky worked on the Soviet nuclear weapons 
program in Sakharov’s group at Arzamas-16, the long-secret 
nuclear laboratory.  Physicist Yuri Smirnov is a Leading 
Researcher at the Russian Scientific Center “Kurchatov Institute” 
in Moscow.  Both worked on the 50-megaton test.

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