Declassified documents have come to light that show that Adolf Hitler and the scientists working on a German atomic bomb may have come closer to developing a workable nuclear weapon than had been previously thought. In fact, credible eyewitnesses say they saw a mushroom cloud rise over northern Germany in 1944 that very well could have been the Nazis testing a nuclear weapon.
The German newspaper Bild obtained a recently declassified file, designated APO 696, from the National Archives in Washington, according to the Daily Mail, and found a “detailed survey” of just how far Hitler’s scientists got in their attempts to construct an atomic bomb. American and British intelligence officers prepared the report that covered a four-year period (1944-47) where the scientists had been charged with the “investigations, research, developments and practical use of the German atomic bomb.”
The conclusion of the report is that, although it appears that there was a test of a device in 1944, the Germans failed to make the breakthrough necessary to develop and construct an actual nuclear weapon.
One piece of evidence pointing to just how close the Nazis got to developing an actual nuclear weapon was a statement made by a German test pilot named Hans Zinsser. A missile expert, Zinsser said in 1944 that he observed a mushroom cloud in the sky during a test flight near a nuclear test site at Ludwigslust, which is south of the port city of Lubeck.
“A cloud shaped like a mushroom with turbulent, billowing sections (at about 7,000 metres) stood, without any seeming connections over the spot where the explosion took place. Strong electrical disturbances and the impossibility to continue radio communication as by lighting turned up.”
Zinsser estimated the cloud rose up some 6.5 miles. He said there was also “strange colorings” that were then followed by a blast wave that could be felt in the “pull” on his plane’s controls.
Zinsser was not alone. An hour after his observation, another pilot in a different aircraft took off from Ludwigslust and observed the same cloud phenomenon.
The archival file also contained the information that an Italian correspondent sent by Benito Mussolini, a man named Luigi Romersa, watched the test from the ground. He was there to observe a “new weapon” the Germans had developed and report his findings to the Italian dictator.
Other documents include the testimony of four scientists who attended what they called a “nuclear summit” in Berlin in 1943. There, in a top secret meeting, they, along with men like the German armaments minister, Albert Speer, discussed weapons development.
It is believed that German scientists never constructed a working atomic bomb, but the report could not explain exactly what had created the mushroom cloud at Ludwigslust.
If the bomb used was made with plutonium, like the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki by the U.S., and the bomb was detonated on the ground, radiation there would still be detectable. In fact, in an article on the radiation problems being suffered by the Fukushima nuclear power plant that experienced a meltdown in March, 2011, by the Huffington Post, plutonium has a dangerous half-life period of 100,000 years. For those who note that people live in Nagasaki today (meaning that radiation levels can’t be that dangerous, if people are living there), it should be pointed out that the atomic bomb dropped there (and in Hiroshima) was detonated in the air, not at ground level, and apparently contributed to a greater dispersal and eventual dissipation of radiation. So tests done at Ludwigslust today could possibly reveal whether or not a nuclear weapon had been detonated.
It is known that Adolf Hitler coveted the idea of super weapons and would have, had his scientists developed a nuclear weapon, used them as payload for the V-2 rockets he launched at Great Britain.
[Featured Image by Bill Allen/AP Images]