This is a paperback edition of Professor Walker's full-scale examination of the German efforts to harness the economic, military and political power of nuclear fission between 1939 and 1949. It argues that the German decision not to attempt the production of nuclear weapons during World War II came as a result of economic and political developments, not scientific or moral considerations, and was at the time a perfectly reasonable policy. Professor Walker also places nuclear fission research in the contexts of the war effort and German cultural imperialism, including the plunder and exploitation of "Greater Germany," the German slave labor economy, and the ambivalent interaction between the Nazi party and the German physicists.
The book begins at the height of the Empire, and carries the story through to the founding of the two postwar republics in order to emphasize continuity before and after the Third Reich, and to compare the scientists' activity during the war and after the shock of Hiroshima and the Nuremberg trials. Throughout, Professor Walker explains clearly, in terms that the non-specialist can understand, what was involved in the Germans' quest, and in what ways the German scientists succeeded or failed in the development of "the bomb."
'Walker's study, a lucid and dispassionate account of a painful chapter in the history of science, deserves a wide readership.' The Guardian ' ... an excellent book: intensely researched, well written, and balanced in its judgments.' American Historical Review ' ... an outstanding book which fills a gap in our knowledge of the Nazi war effort ... superbly researched, convincingly argued and attacking the questions that matter.' The Financial Times 'This view of Walker's seems more accurate and is vitally important because subsequently, prominent German physicists, particularly Heisenberg, were to claim that, not only were they 'only doing their duty' but that they actually slowed down the Nazi bomb.' Michael Hindley, Morning Star