Klaus Fuchs And The Atomic Bomb

672 words - 3 pages

Did you know that in 1949 we almost gave the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Russians? Emil Julius Klaus Fuchs was the spy that could have seriously changed our future as we know it. Klaus Fuchs was born into a Lutheran family and eventually joined the Communist Party of Germany. He soon fled to England following the rise of the Nazis in 1933. As a brilliant young scientist, he earned his doctorate in Physics from the University of Bristol in 1937, and was invited to study at Edinburgh University. Klaus Fuchs worked on implosion problems with the atom bomb. His treachery, however was when he delivered sketches of the Fat Man (the first model of the atomic bomb) to his Soviet courier, Harry Gold.
In 1943, Fuchs was among the British scientists sent to the U.S. to collaborate on the atom bomb. First, he was assigned to a team at Columbia University in New York. Then he was transferred to the weapons laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, ...view middle of the document...

He was convinced the Communists were the only political organization able to fight the increasing influence of the Nazis. That was why as a student in Germany, he'd joined the Communist Party.
He was recruited to work in Edinburgh with one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics. Despite his communist past, after the war broke out the British granted him security clearance and he was recruited to work on the atom bomb. In his confession, Fuchs remembers being asked to help, "on some war work. I accepted it and started work without knowing at first what the work was... When I learned the purpose of the work I decided to inform Russia and I established contact through another member of the Communist Party." (WGBH Educational Foundation)
After the war ended, Fuchs made sure he understood everything that U.S. scientists knew about making hydrogen bombs. In April 1946, he attended a top-secret, three-day conference at Los Alamos that reviewed the wartime work on the super bomb. Shortly after he filed a patent with mathematician John von Neumann for an initiator for the hydrogen bomb. And then just before returning to Britain he reviewed every document in the Los Alamos archives on thermonuclear weapons design.

In Britain, Fuchs began working at the Harwell Atomic Research facility. But it didn't take him long to reestablish his Soviet contacts. In September 1947, he met with his new intelligence agent, Alexander Feklisov, in a north London pub. Asked ten questions about the super bomb, Fuchs described to Feklisov certain structural characteristics of the weapon. In March of 1948, he met Feklisov again. This time he handed over material that some Russian physicists now say proved to be of great importance to the Soviet hydrogen bomb. It contained a detailed description of the classical Super, as the first design for the hydrogen bomb was known, as well as Fuchs' own concept for an initiator.

Works Cited

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaus_Fuchs
http://www.atomicarchive.com/Bios/Fuchs.shtml
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb/peopleevents/pandeAMEX54.html

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