Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Good television

The Heavy Water War, on Netflix.

Did I say this was excellent?

It is.

If the script is accurate, Werner Heisenberg did everything but break a leg to ensure Hitler got the bomb before the allies.

He was offered a position at Columbia when he could have gotten out of Germany, his wife was Jewish, he was arrested and was going to be sent to a camp for being non-Nazi and gay (was he?), and still he chose to stay in Germany and work like mad to give Hitler the bomb.

Partly this was in his mind a race between competing teams for the prestige of a colossal scientific breakthrough, actually making fission happen.

And partly he feared the allies, if they got the bomb first, would use it against Germany.

He worked on a team dedicated to just that one thing, the Uranium Club, and when the German army authorities more than once tried to replace him as team leader he fought to make them understand, as might well have been true, that with anyone else in charge the team would fail.

He, and only he, could and would give Hitler the Bomb, understanding full well the Germany military would certainly use it.

After the war, his prestigious career continued in Germany, apparently paying no penalty whatsoever for his sincere and tireless efforts to give Hitler the Bomb and victory in The Second World War.

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