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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, August 07, 1945, Image 2

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775,000 Workers 'Kidnaped'
To Build Secret Bomb Plants
- Because they knew practically
nothing about the work and could
tell even less, Government officials
had to resort to virtual kidnap
methods to recruit many of the 115,
000 construction workers who built
the giant atomic bomb projects and
the two "hidden” cities near them.
The task of lining up the unprece
dented number of building trades
men to construct the plants and
housing projects near Clinton,
Tenn., and Pasco, Wash., was given
to Joseph Keenan, labor vice chair
man of the War Production Board.
He said manpower difficulties
which at time seemed insuperable
were encountered, but there finally
were overcome with 'TOO per cent
co-operation” of the unions in
volved. Unusual* difficulty was im
posed by requirements for highly
skilled mechanics for the “hush
hush” jobs of the secret works.
"Just Took Men Out.”
‘‘We just sort of went into other
war plants and took the men out,”
Mr. Keenan related. "It was usual
ly done on an eight-month furlough
basis. We really had to hand-pick
thousands. We had every interna
tional union take a personal inter
est in it, and they turned over their
entire resources to the job.
"What did we tell them? Oh, we
told them they were going to work
on something to beat the Dutchmen
quickest, and that they would have
to trust us that it was really im
portant. Boy, it surely took a long
time to make us look all right.”
Mr. Keenan said the 9,000 steam
fitters the Army wanted "right
away” was an “unheard of number
of ’fitters,” to say nothing of the
8,000 electricians. We were al
ready thoroughly in the war and
the orders came at a time when
manpower was scarcest.
The WPB official gave full credit
In solution of his problem to Rich
ard Gray and Herbert .Rivers, acting
president and secretary of the AFL
Building Trades Department, to
William Hutcheson, the Carpenters’
president, and others.
Buses Transported 35,000.
Mr. Keenan described as “a sight
I’ll never forget” the transportation
Jn trucks and buses of 35,000 work
ers to the Washington project from
putside the 25-mile "safety” area all
within an hour. The site is in a
Virtual desert and Mr. Keenan said
there were “windstorms as bad as
ithe Sahara.” '
f It took nearly 70,000 building
•workers to construct the projects in
^Tennessee and about 45,000 at Pasco.
jBecause of the urgent need, the race
’.with the Nazis for the secret of the
atomic bomb, it was necessary to
«tart construction some time before
basic research on processes had been
jEully developed. This made the job
much tougher.
i The plants at Clinton (Tenn.)
Engineer Works, where raw material
is separated by three different meth
ods, include more than 425 buildings,
many of them huge. The whole
Government reservation there in
cludes 59,000 acres.
City of 75,000 Built.
Nearby, occupying 8 square miles
of the reservation is Oak Ridge, the
city of 75,000, fifth largest in Ten
nessee, built hurriedly to house
Glinton workers.
j In Oak Ridge, there have been
erected in two years nearly 10,000
: Bomb Project
Won Deferment
l For 5,500 Men
Draft boards throughout the
country know at last why they were
asked to defer “a substantial num
ber” of men on faith. The atomic
bomb is their answer.
Selective service said today 5,500
persons in varying occupations were
deferred between January, 1943, and
June. 1945, for their work with the
‘‘Manhattan Engineer District.” By
August 1 of this year the defer
ments had been reduced voluntar
ily to 4.500, but the War Depart
ment still rated the project as No. 1
for deferments.
Selectric sendee said boards were
told only that a certain man was
engaged on a very important project
and “full consideration" should be
given to his deferment
In all other cases, the boards had
reams of information about what
a man was doing, what he was
working on, what the final product
would be and why his particular
skills were needed.
In the cases of men working on
the Manhattan Project, all the
boards knew was their registrants
were working on something import
ant and that they were machinists,
engineers, chemists or physicists.
They knew the men were qualified
to do something but what the some
thing was they didn’t know.
Sometimes the boards asked ques
tions and had to be reassurred. The
reasurance was done by National
Selective Service which was acting
on faith pretty much itself. Gen
Brally, the men were deferred.
i family housing units, 13,000 dormi
tory spaces, more than 5,000 trailers
and 16,000 hutment and barracks
Oak Ridge, 18 miles west of Knox
ville, is a complete city. .Its 10
schools have 11,000 pupils, 317 teach
ers. There is a 300-bed hospital,
many churches, 13 supermarkets, 9
drugstores, 7 theaters and countless
The Army says Oak Ridges
population is probably the young
est on the average in the country,
the birth rate very high, the health
standard high and the crime record
More than 14,000 pieces of con
struction equipment were used at
the projects. Despite all of this
activity, the Army says the secret
was well kept, the head of one plant
never knowing what his neighbor
was doing.
Because of its isolation in a rough,
sparsely settled region, the Wash
ington bomb plant and its new city
of 60,000 posed even tougher prob
lems in construction. The new
town, Richland Village, is 15 miles
northwest of Pasco, and 30 miles
away from the manufacturing plants
at Hanford Engineer Works. The
area comprising the project includes
600 square miles.
The finished plants at Hanford
are huge, rectangular structures,
800 feet long. The Army illustrates
the magnitude of the construction
job by citing the following items:
More than 25,000,000 cubic yards
of earth was excavated; a total of
40,000 carloads of material, equal to
a train 333 miles long, were received
on the site; enough concrete was
poured to build a 390-mile high
way; excluding railroad and special
types, about 40,000 tons of steel were
I used in construction, enough for the
biggest battleship; enough concrete
blocks and bricks were put in place
to build a 6-foot wall, 30 miles long.
Then, more than 11,000 poles were
required for electric power systems,
or about the number necessary to
build a power line from St. Louis
to Chicago; the job tools were more
than 8,500 pieces of construction
equipment and 345 miles of perma
nent roads were built on the site.
Austrians Say Reds
Attacked Women
Ey the Associat'd Press.
VIENNA, Aug. 7.—An official Of
the provisional Austrian govern
ment said today he had protested
rape by Russian troops in their vic
torious sweep across Austria and
was told:
“Our troops are different from
the SS. They raped our women and
killed them. We won’t kill your
The official commented: “That’s
true—they don’t kill our women.”
His own daughter, he said, es
caped violence by being covered
with a blanket so that the Russian
soldiers thought that she was very
old or very ill but a woman in the
same room was violated 40 times.
The official said the Russians, en
tering a country which spoke the
same language as the Germans,
naturally felt a desire for revenge
against the people and this was
strengthened by the fact several
divisions of Austrian troops fought
alongside the Germans on the east
ern front. <
Most Viennese profess to under
stand the “revenge attitude” and
all say that the Russians now are as
well behaved as the soldiers of any
other conquering army.
Viennes say pillaging and looting
of homes of furniture and removal
of wrist watches and jewelry still
goes on, but on a much smaller
One Developer Lost
$10 Bet When Test
Of Bomb Succeeded
By tilt Associated Press.
LOS ALAMOS, N. Mex., Aug.
7.—Doubts as to the complete
success of the atomic bomb on
its first test cost one of the
bomb’s developers a $10 bill.
Dr. J. R. Oppenheimer, the
University of California physi
cist credited by the War De
partment with harnessing
atomic energy for military pur
poses, told the story on himself.
Obviously happy, he referred
to an official release which said
an associate embraced him after
the test bomb was detonated
with awesome results last
July 16.
“That’s not true,’’ Dr. Op
penheimer said. “He didn’t
embrace me. He slapped me on
the back and asked me for the
ten bucks he had bet me it
would work.”
The scientist explained he
had wagered a certain portion
of the experiment would fail.
He added:
“It was worth losing the $10.
'^Voro.hil.v fJ HOKKAIDO f I
Na,aol^. . , ,v .. .Korlylm,
* WHERE ATOMIC BOMB HIT—Bomb-burst symbol locates Hl
l roshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped. B-29s also
.^rained incendiary and explosive bombs on six (underlined)
^•Japanese war centers, while fighter planes used rockets and
anachine guns on targets in the Tokyo area (A). Air Force head
quarters said photos revealed Toyama (B), raided Thursday,
}was "totally destroyed." Mine symbols indicate areas mined
•fiver the week end by B-29s. —AP Wirephoto.
2,000 OF THESE EQUAL ONE ATOMIC BOMB—The new atomic bomb is said to equal in explo
sive force 2,000 of these British 11-ton "Grand Slam” bombs. —AP Wirephoto.
Text of Description on Atomic Bomb Blast
Tension Reached Tremendous Pitch as Time Neared
For Test of One of Man's Greatest Achievements
The War Deartment made
public the following text of a
description of the first test of
the atomic bomb, made July 16
in the desert of New Mexico, 120
miles southeast of Albuquerque:
Mankind’s successful transition to
a new age. the Atomic Age was
ushered in July 18, 1945, before the
eyes of a tense group of renowed
sciintists and military men gathered
in the desertlands of New Mexico to
witness the first end results of their
$2,100,000,000 effort. Here in a re
mote section of the Alamogordo Air
Base, 120 miles southeast of Albu
querque, the first man-made atomic
explosion, the outstanding achieve
ment of nuclear science, was
achieved at 5:30 a.m. of that day.
Darkening heavens pouring forth
rain and lightning immediately up
to the zero hour heightened the
Mounted on a steel tower, a revo
lutionary weapon destined to change
war as we know it, or which may
even be the instrumentality to end
all major wars, was set off with an
unpact which signalized man’s en
trance into a new physical world.
Success was greater than the most
ambitious estimates.
A small amount of matter, the
product of a chain of huge specially
constructed industrial plants, was
made to release the energy of the
universe locked up within the atom
from the beginning of time. A fabu
lous achievement had been reached.
Speculative theory, barely estab
lished in prewar laboratories, had
been projected into pratlcallty.
Credit Goes to Physicist.
This phase of the Atomic Bomb
Project, which is headed by Maj.
Gen. Leslie R. Groves, was under
the direction of Dr. J. R. Oppen
heimer, theoretical physicist of the
University of California. He is to
be credited with achieving the im
plementation of atomic energy for
military purposes.
Tension before the actual detona
tion was at a tremendous pitch.
Failure was an ever-present possi
bility. Too great a success, en
visioned by some of those present,
might have meant an uncontrol
able, unusuable weapon.
Final assembly of the atomic bomb
began on the night of July 12 in an
old ranch house. As various com
ponent assemblies arrived from dis
tant points, tension among the
scientists mounted apace. Coolest
of all was the man charged with the
actual assembly of the vital core,
Dr. R. F. Bacher, in normal times
a professor at Cornell University.
The entire cost of the project,
representing the erection of whole
cities and radically new plants
spread over many miles of country
side, plus unprecedented experi
mentation, was represented in the
pilot bomb and its parts. Here was
the focal point of the venture. No
other country in the world had been
capable of such an outlay in brains
and technical effort.
Aware of Danger.
The full significance of these clos
ing moments before the final factual
test was not lost on these men of
science. They fully knew their posi
tion as pioneers into another age.
They also knew that one false move
would blast them and their entire
effort into eternity.
Before the assembly started a re
ceipt for the vital matter was signed
by Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Farrell,
Gen. Groves’ deputy. This signal
ized the formal transfer of the ir
replaceable material from the scien
tists back to the Army, which had
originally produced it at one of Its
great separation plants.
During final preliminary assem
bly, a bad few minutes developed
when the assembly of an important
section of the bomb was delayed.
The entire unit was machine
tooled to the finest measurement.
The insertion was partially com
pleted when it apparently wedged
tightly and would go no farther.
Dr. Bacher, however, was undis
mayed and reassured the group that
time would solve the problem. In
three minutes time Dr. Bacher's
statement was verified and basic as
sembly was completed without
further incident.
Specialty teams, comprised of the
top men on specific phases of
science, all of which were bound up
in the whole, took over their spe
cialized parts of the assembly.
On Saturday, July 14, the unit
which was to determine the suc
cess or failure of the entire project
was elevated to the top of the steel
tower. All that day and the next
the job of preparation went on. In
addition to the apparatus necessary
to cause the detonation, complete
Instrumentation to determine all
the reactions of the bomb was rigged
on the tower.
Weather Delayed Work.
The ominous weather which had
dogged the assembly of the bomb
had a very sobering effect on the
assembled experts, whose work was
accomplished amid lightning flashes
and peals of thunder. The weather,
unusual and upsetting, blocked
aerial observation of the test. It
even , held up the actual explosion,
scheduled at 4 a.m. for an hour and
a half. For many months the ap
proximate date and time had been
set and had been one of the high
level secrets of the best-kept secret
of the entire war. -
Nearest observation point was set
up 10,000 yards south of the tower,
where in a timber and earth shelter
the controls for the test were lo
cated. At a point 17,000 yards from
the tower, which would give the
beat observation, tbs key figures la
the atomic bomb project took their
posts. These included Gen. Groves,
Dr. Vannevar Bush, head of the
Office of Scientific Research and
Development, and Dr. James B.
Conant, president of Harvard Uni
Actual detonation was in charge
of Dr. K. T. Bainbridge of Massa
chusetts Institute of Technology. He
and Lt. Bush, in charge of the Mili
tary Police detachment, were the
last men to inspect the tower with
its cosmic bomb.
At 3 o’clock In the morning the
party moved forward to the control
station. Gen. Groves and Dr. Op
penheimer consulted with the
weatherman. The decision was made
to go ahead with the test despite
the lack of assurance of favorable
weather. The time was set for
5:30 a.m.
Made to Lie Down.
Gen. Groves rejoined Dr. Conant
and Dr. Bush and Just before the
test time, they joined the many
scientists gathered at the Baso
Camp. Here all present were or
dered to lie on the ground, face
downward, heads away from the
blast direction.
Tension reached a tremendous
j pitch in the control room as the
I deadline approached. The several
, observation points in the area were
itied in to the control room by radio
and with 20 minutes to go, Dr. S. K.
Allison of Chicago University took
over the radio net and made peri
odic time announcements.
The time signals, “minus 20
minutes, minus 15 minutes,’ and
on and on increased the tension to
the breaking point-as the group in
the control room, which included
Dr. Oppenheimer and Gen. Farrell,
held their breaths, all praying with
the intensity of the moment which
will live forever with each man who
was there.
At “minus 45 seconds,” robot
mechanism took over and from that
point on the whole great compli
cated mass of intricate mechanism
was in operation without human
control. Stationed at a reserve
switch, however, was a soldier sci
entist ready to attempt to stop the
explosion should the order be> is
sued. The order never came.
At the appointed time, there was
a blinding flash lighting up the
whole area brighter than the bright
est daylight. A mountain range
three miles from the observation
point stood out in bold relief. Then
came a tremendous sustained roar
and a heavy pressure wave which
knocked down two men outside the
control center. Immediately there
after, a huge multi-colored surging
cloud boiled to an altitude of over
40,000 feet. Clouds in its path dis
appeared. Soon the shifting sub
stratosphere winds dispersed the
now gray mass.
The test was over, the project a
The steel tower had been entirely
vaporized. Where the tower had
stood, there was a huge sloping
Dazed but relieved at the success
of their tests, the scientists promptly
marshalled their forces to estimate
the strength of America’s new weap
on. To examine the nature of the
crater, specially equipped tanka
were wheeled into the area, one of
which carried Dr. Enrico Fermi,
noted nuclear scientist. Answer to
their findings rest in the destruction
effected in Japan today in the first
military use of the atomic bomb.
Had it not been for the desolated
area where the test was held and
for the co-operation of the press
in the area, it is certain that the
test itself would have attracted far
reaching attention. As it was, many
people in that area are still dis
cussing the effect of the smash.
A significant aspect, recorded by
the press, was the experience of
a blind girl near Albuquerque, many
miles from the scene, who, when the
flash of the test lighted the sky
before the explosion could be heard,
exclaimed, "What was that?”
Interviews of Gen. Groves and
Gen. Farrell give the following on
the-scene versions of the test. Gen.
Groves said: "My Impressions of the
night’s high points follow: After
about an hour's sleep I got up at
01:00 and from that time on until
Dr. Vannevar Bush, head of
the Office of Scientific Re
search and Development, was
in charge of first work on the
new atomic bomb, according
to Secretary of War Sttmson.
-AP Wirephoto.
about 05:00 I was with Dr. Oppen
heimer constantly. Naturally he
was tense, although his mind was
working at its usual extraordinary
“I attempted to shield him from
the evident concern of many of his
assistants, who were disturbed by
the uncertain weather conditions.
By 04:00 we decided that we could
probably fire at 05:30. By 04:00 the
rain had stopped but the sky was
heavily overcast. Our decision be
came firmer as time went on.
“During most of these hours the
two of us journeyed from the con
trol house out into the darkness to
look at the stars and to assure each
other that the one or two visible
stars were becoming brighter. At
05:10 I left Dr. Oppenheimer and
returned to the main observation
point which was 17,000 yards from
the point of explosion. In accord
ance with our orders I found all
personnel not otherwise occupied
massed on a bit of high ground.
"Two minutes before the sched
uled firing time, all persons lay
face down with their feet pointing
towards the explosion. As the re
maining time was called over the
loud speaker from the 10,000-yard
'control station there was complete
■awesome silence. Dr. Conant said
he had never imagined seconds could
be so long. Most of the individuals
in accordance with orders shielded
their eyes in one way or another.
“First came the burst of light of
a brilliance beyond any comparison.
We all rolled over and looked
through dark glasses at the ball of
fire. About 40 seconds later came
i the shock wave followed by the
sound, neither of which seemed
startling after our complete aston
ishment at the extraordinary light
ing intensity.
“A massive cloud was formed
which surged and billowed upward
with tremendous power, reaching
the substratosphere in about 5
Other Explosions. ■
"Two supplementary explosions of
minor effects other than the light
ing occurred in the clouds shortly
after the main explosion.
“The cloud traveled to a great
height first in the form of a ball,
then mushroomed, then changed
into a long trailing chimney-shaped
column and finally was sent in sev
eral directions by the variable winds
at the different elevations.
"Dr. Conant reached over and we
shook hands in mutual congratula
tions. Dr. Bush, who was on the
other side of me, did likewise. The
feeling of the entire assembly, even
the uninitiated, was one of profound
awe. Drs. Conant and Bush and
myself were struck by an even
stronger feeling that the faith of
those who had been responsible for
the initiation and the carrying on
of this Herculean project had been
Gen. Farrell’s impressions are:
"The scene inside the shelter was
dramatic beyond words. In and
around the shelter were some 20
odd people concerned with last
minute arrangements. Included were
Dr. Oppenheimer, the director, who
had borne the great scientific burden
of developing the weapon from the
raw materials processed in Ten
nessee and the State of Washington,
and a dosen of his key assistants,
Dr. Kistiakowsky, Dr. Bainbridge,
who supervised all the detailed ar
rangements for the test; the weather
expert, and several others.
“Besides these, there were a hand
ful of soldiers, two or three Army
officers and one Naval officer. The
shelter was filled with a great vari
ety of instruments and radios.
Hectic Two Hours.
"For some hectic two hours pre
ceding the blast Gen. Groves stayed
with the director. Twenty minutes
before zero hour Gen. Groves left
for his station at the base camp
because it provided a better observa
tion point.
"Just after Gen. Groves left an
nouncements began to be broadcast
of the interval remaining before the
blast to the other groups participat
ing in and observing the test. As
the time interval grew smaller and
changed from minutes to seconds
the tension Increased by leaps and
bounds. Every one in that room
knew the awful potentialities of the
thing that they thought was about
to happen. The scientists felt that
their figuring must be right and
that the bomb had to go off, but
there was in every one’s mind a
strong measure of doubt.
“We were'reaching into the un
known and we did not know what
might come of it. If the shot were
successful it was a justification of
the several years of intensive effort
of tens of thousands of people—
statesmen, scientists, engineers,
manufacturers, soldiers and many
others in every walk of life.
“In that brief instant in the re
mote New Mexico desert the tre
mendous effort of the brains and
brawn of all these people came sud
denly and startlingly to the fullest
fruition. Dr. Oppenheimer, on
whom had rested a very heavy bur
den, grew tenser as the last seconds
ticked off. He scarcely breathed.
He held on to a post to steady him
“For the last few seconds he
stared directly ahead, and then
when the announcer shouted,
"Now!” and there came this tre
mendous burst of lights, followed
shortly thereafter by the deep
growling roar of the explosion, his
face relaxed into an expression Of
tremendous relief. Several of the
obetrvtti steading back of the shel
Woman Who Aided
In Developing Bomb
Is German Refugee
By thr Arsoclatsa Prese.
NEW YORK, Aug. 7.—Dr. Lize
Meitner, woman physicist whose
calculations played an important
part in developing the atomic bomb,
was driven from
Germany be
cause she is Jew
ish and now is
in 81 o c kholm,
her sister. Dr.
Fride Meitner,
said last night.
She has been
in Stock holm
since 1938, con
nected with the
Swedish Acad
emy of Sciences,
the sister said.
A b r i 1 li a n t
scientist, Dr.
Meitner was con- nr. Meitner,
nected with the Kaiser Wilhelm,
Academy of Science in Berlin before'
she became a victim of Hitler’s ra
cial laws.
Then she fled to Denmark, where
she conferred with Dr. Niels Bohr,
Danish scientist, who assisted in
developing the bomb.
It was Dr. Meitner who broke a
10-year deadlock In experimenta
tion with atom bomb principles by
suggesting that if the experiments
were splitting an atom of uranium
in two approximately equal parts,
all the puzzles could be explained.
She made mathematical calcula
tions to prove her point, and Dr.
Bohr broadcast them. Inside two
weeks physicists had made the test
and proved her right.
Dr. Fride Meitner said her sister
was more than 60 years old, and one
of a family of seven, two of whom
are in the United States. A sister,
Mrs. Rudolph Allers, is wife of a
professor of psychology at Catholic
University, Washington.
A brother. Dr. Walter Meitner, is
profesor of chemistry at Manchester
University, Manchester, England.
Allied Control of Uranium
Supply Urged by Scientist
It the Associated Press.
HOUSTON, Tex., Aug. 7.—Seizure
and control of the world’s supply of
uranium by an International au
thority, such as the United Nations,
was advocated yesterday by one of
the scientists who helped create
America atomic bomb.
The scientist is Dr. H. A. Wilson,
professor of physics at Rice Insti
tute, who directed a series of suc
cessful experiments on a phase of
the bomb’s development having to
do with the use of uranium.
He described the atomic bomb as
destructive almost beyond imagina
tion and said: “I think some inter
national authority should take con
trol of the world’s uranium supply
to see that mastery of the destruc
tive principle of atomic disintegra
tions does not fall into the wrong
ter to watch the lighting effects
were knocked flat by the blast.
"The tension in the room let up
and all started congratulating each
other. Every one sensed, ‘‘This is
it!” No matter what might happen
now, all knew that the impossible
scientific job had been done. Atomic
fission would no longer be hidden
in the cloisters of the theoretical
physicists’ dreams. It was almost
full grown at birth.
"It was a great new force to be
used for good or for evil. There was
a feeling in that shelter that those
concerned with its nativity should
dedicate their lives to the mission
that it would always be used for
good and never for eviL
"Dr. Kistiakowsky threw his arms
around Dr. Oppenheimer and em
braced him with shouts of glee.
Others were equally enthusiastic.
All the pent-up emotions were re
leased in those few minutes and all
seemed to sense immediately that
the explosion had far exceeded the
most optimistic expectations and
wildest hopes of the scientists.
"All seemed to feel that they had
been present at the birth of a new
age—the age of atomic energy—
and felt their profound responsi
bility to help in guiding into right
channels the tremendous forces
which had been unlocked for the
first time in history.
“As to the present war, there was
a feeling that no matter what else
might happen, we now had the
means to insure its speedy conclu
sion and save thousands of Ameri
can lives. As to the future, there
had been brought into being some
thing big and something new that
would prove to be immeasurably
more important than the discovery
of electricity or any of the other
discoveries which have so affected
our existence.
“The effects could well be called
unprecedented, magnificent, beau
tiful, stupendous and terrifying. No
man-made phenomenon of such
tremendous power had ever oc
curred before.
“The lighting effects beggared de
scription. The whole country was
lighted by a searing light with the
intensity many times that of the
midday sun. It was golden, purple,
violet, gray and blue. It lighted
every peak, crevasse and ridge of
the nearby mountain range with a
clarity and beauty that cannot be
described but must be seen to be
imagined. It was that beauty the
great poets dream about, but de
scribe most poorly and inadequately.
"Thirty seconds after the ex
plosion came first, the air blast
pressing hard against the people
and things, to be followed almost
immediately by the strong, sus
tained, awesome roar. Words are
inadequate tools for the job of ac
quainting those not present with
the physical, mental and psycholog
ical effects. It had to be witnessed
to be realised.”
Soviet People Given
Truman Statement
On Atomic Bomb
By lh» Associated Press.
MOSCOW, Aug. 7.—The So
viet press and radio today car
ried to the Russian people the
news of the new atomic bomb
attach on the Japanese city of
Shortly after midnight the
Moscow radio gave the first ac
count of the bombing and the
Tass News Agency subsequently
issued the text of the an
nouncement by President Tru
The government newspaper
Isvestia printed the story on its
foreign news page without com
Nine Youths in Arctic Norway
Blew Up Nazi Bomb Research
(Two months ago Barbara
Wace of the London staff of the
Associated Press went to Norway
to pry into war secrets reported
hidden there by the Nazis. She
learned of an underground raid
that wrecked a factory used in
the Nazis’ atom bomb research,
farmer Prime Minister Churchill
referred to the attack in his
statement yesterday on the atom
bomb. Her story was held up in
censorship until the revelation
of the atom bomb by President
Associated Press Staff Writer.
RHUKAN, Norway, May 6 (De
layed by censor).—Nearly three
years ago in the stillness of an
Arctic midnight, nine youths of the
Norweigan underground stole out of
the snowy mountains into this beau
tiful valley of the Moon River and
blew up a factory.
Their daring sabotage may have
changed the course of the war.
For it snagged Germany’s frantic
efforts to produce an atom bomb.
Kjell Nielsen and Clfius Heiberg,
two of the raiders, toid the story
of the exploit today. 1
They disclosed that ias long ago
as the summer of 1942 the under
ground knew that thd Nazis were
using a Rhukan factory to produce
‘“heavy water”—and suspected the!
heavy water was being used in re
search on the atom.
They said their sabotage—sup
ported by thg British—was accom
plished after four of their party
had survived unaided for four
months in the mountain fastness of
this Arctic region, 'where for five
months of the year the sun never
shines, and where the wind is so
terrific that it has blown trains
from their rails.
Nielsen was among the first to
suspect the Nazis' plan. He is a
chemical engineer who formerly
worked in the sabotaged factory.
Two German scientists who
worked with him, he said, told him
that if they were certain the Nazis
were using the heavy water in atom
experiments they would refuse to
co-operate, because of the threat to
"When we got suspicious here in
Rhukan,’’ said Claus, “the home
front leaders sent nine of us Rhu
kan boys to Britain to tell them
about what was going on and what
we feared.
“There we trained, In Scotland
and England, and learned about ex
plosives and parachute landings.
“Then in October of 1942 three
companions and I parachuted into
the mountains.
"It was bad weather—the worst
Winter in 50 years. Five others
were supposed to come along with
us. but they couldn’t parachute be
cause of the weather.
“So we camped in the mountains,
in a little ski-hut. We lived there
for four months, on one month’s
provisions, plus reindeer we killed
Ate Animal’s Stomach.
"We even learned to eat the stom
ach of the animal. That’s a trick I
heard from the Canadians to get
vitamin C.
“It was a long time to wait up
there with the weather so bad. For
days we couldn’t leave the hut. It
was hard to keep warm. But I
gained 20 pounds in those four
months and lost them when I got
back in civilization.’’
The five others trained for the
sabotage finally parachuted into
Norway and joined them in Feb
ruary and the raid was carried out.
Before the sabotage, Nielsen said,
the Nazis here were producing 4.5
kilograms per day of heavy water.
It was being exported, but Nielsen
did not know where.
One ferry carrying some of the
product across Lake Tinnsjo was
Much Heavy Water Lost.
"They lost much heavy water
which took them six months to pro
duce,” Nielsen said.
•The dispatch did not say
Atomic Bomb Plants Increased
To 10 Billion Times Test Output
Illustrating the hurried develop
ment of the atomic bomb, the Army
revealed that to procure Ingredients
in quantity it was necessary to de
sign and begin construction of chem
ical plants capable of producing the
material at a rate of 10,000,000.000
times greater than scientists had
dealt with experimentally. .
The manufacturing area near
Pasco, Wash., is subdivided into
three huge areas, and each of these
three is again subdivided into sec
tions covering miles of ground. One
of the three main areas contains
three enormous plants where mate
rial is produced. A second has three
big chemical plants, where material
is purified and concentrated, while
the third prepares raw materials.
No more than microgram amounts
(one-millionth of & gram) of the
material could be made by methods
I available when the giant program
! first was planned in 1941, so it was
necessary to work on an extremely
small scale of operation, the so
| called “ultramicro scale.”
■ "On the basis of these ‘bits of
whether the ferry was sunk by
His blue eyes twinkling, the young
chemist added, "the lake is deeper
than Oslo Fjord.”
Nielsen remarked that he had
heard the Allies also were experi
menting in hopes of developing an
atom bomb.
Nine months after the raid, the
Germans had succeeded in replacing
the machinery. But a force of 80
American heavy bombers swept in
between the towering mountains and
did the job again.
The air attack drove the Germans
into shelters. Neilsen said not one
.shot was fired at the bombers, al
though heavy ack-ack equipment
stood ready.
“They got seven iron crosses
handed to them for hiding in shel
ter,” said one smiling home-front
leader. *
Heiberg, a tall, fair-haired Nor
wegian who now wears British battle
dress, a British medal and the Nor
wegian Cross of Saint Olav, re
marked wryly:
"The bombs did the job and
stopped the production, but we could
have done it again ourselves.”
Arne Skouen, director of the Royal
Norwegian Information Service, said
today in New York that the Allies
had known for three years of Nazi
experiments with an atomic bomb
of such destructive power that a 2
pound missile had the effect equal
to that of a modem 4-ton high ex
The knowledge, he said, led to the
sabotaging of delicate machinery at
the scene of the experiments in a
Norwegian hydro company plant by
Skouen said Prof. Tronstad, one
of Norway's leading experimenters,
and his assistant, Gunnaar Syver
stad, were killed last spring when
they led a second party of raiders
against the plant.
Small demolition charges were
used by the first at tickers. Ger
man guards thought wandering cat
tle had set off mines in the nearby
Their task accomplished, the
patriots walked 180 miles over
mountainous terrain to Sweden and
were flown back to London.
Senator Calls Atom Bomb
Blow to Universal Draft
Ey the Associated Press.
DENVER. Aug. 7.—Senator John
son, Democrat, of Colorado declared
last night that "the atomic bomb
ought to blow up peacetime con
scription as well as bring the war
with Japan to a speedy conclusion.’’
Senator Johnson, a member of
the Senate Military Affairs Com
mittee, said he had known about
work on the atomic bomb for the
last three years.
“It ought to mean the end of big
armies, and militarism is bred from
big armies,” he commented.
"Some of the things the scien
tists have found out about atomic
power are almost fantastic. The
big trouble has been that the scien
tists have progressed faster than
the statesmen. Unless the states
men catch up, the destruction of
mankind itself may be in sight”
Perseid Mefeor Display
Is Due Sunday Morning
By the Associated Press.
The annual display of Perseid
meteors is expected to reach a max
imum Sunday morning, from about
1 am. until dawn.
The Naval Observatory said last
night a display of 30 or more Per
se ids an hour may be seen on a
clear dark night from a location
where artificial lights do not inter
The meteors are called Perseids
because their radiant, or point where
their visible paths appear to meet
when traced backward, is in or near
the constellation Perseus.
nothing,’" the Army says, “the
huge chemical plants were designed
some 10,000,000,000 times ^greater in
To do this, scientists, In the mix
ing process, had to push around
fractions of micrograms within a
limit of accuracy of 3 per cent of
1 microgram. A human breath, it
was explained weighs about 750,000
micrograms, while a dime weighs
Special laboratory equipment with
extremely high sensitivity had to ba
designed and built to achieve this
unheard of accuracy in weighing.
Work continued on this minute
scale until early 1944, when milli
gram amounts of material became
available. Since then investigations
j have continued with increasingly
larger amounts. Experiments on a
gram and then a 10-gram scale were
: begun later in 1944. After that the
scale became substantially larger.
The huge chemical plants wera
thus designed, constructed and put
into successful operation on the
| basis of this early work with only
> micrograms.
"M-mmmm | All this and
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