- German physicists came to Soviet Union after World War II to work on the Soviet nuclear bomb project.
- Over 300 German scientists came to the Soviet Union.
- Many of the German scientists received the Stalin Prize, a Soviet version of the Nobel Prize.
Rosatom released declassified information pertaining to German nationals who were working on nuclear weapons in Nazi Germany and after World War II came to the Soviet Union. Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, is a Russian state corporation headquartered in Moscow that specializes in nuclear energy. It was founded by Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2007. The document release is the start of celebrations continuing to August 2020 commemorating 75 years of the Russian nuclear industry.
Interestingly, German scientists played a huge role in contributing to the Soviet Nuclear program and the arms race during the Cold War Era. At the end of World War II, Germany was capable of making an atomic bomb– powerful weapons that use nuclear reactions as their source for explosive energy. Scientists first developed nuclear weapons technology during World War II. At the end of the war, the Soviets entered Germany with the specific mission to locate German scientists specializing in nuclear weapons research. It was easy, due to the fact that a majority of the German scientists ended up in the area occupied by the Soviet military (Red Army). After reviewing their skill set sheets, the scientists were invited to the Soviet Union to work on the Soviet nuclear program.
Furthermore, declassified documents contain the skill set questionnaire of a famous German scientist: Gustav Ludwig Hertz.
The questionnaire included over 100 questions and successful research results. Hertz is famous by proving the quantum theory of the atom and won the Nobel Prize. However, he experienced difficulties in Nazi Germany due to his Jewish roots which precluded him from getting a teaching position. The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award in the world. In the Soviet Union he was head of Institute G, tasked with research pertaining to gaseous diffusion.
Another German scientist was Manfred von Ardenne. Prior to the World War II, he worked in the electronics field. Von Ardenne was a German researcher and applied physicist and inventor. He took out approximately 600 patents in fields including electron microscopy, medical technology, nuclear technology, plasma physics, and radio and television technology. His lab was the first one to have an electronic TV program broadcast. The first electronic TV was invented in 1927. In the Soviet Union he was in charge of Institute A, which was tasked with uranium enrichment using gas centrifuges.
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Peter Adolf Thiessen was also a German scientist who worked on the Soviet atomic bomb project. He worked closely with the Manfred von Ardenne at Institute A. Thiessen was responsible for the tubular filters as they are a key element for the gas diffusion method in uranium enrichment.
Rudolf Heinz Pose was another German scientist working in Laboratory B, used for testing the nuclear reactors. Soon after joining he was put in charge of the Lab.
Robert Depel was a German physicist who worked on Hitler’s atomic bomb. He worked on the first experimental reactor at the University of Leipzig in 1942. In the Soviet Union he was the head of his experimental and nuclear physics division at the University of Voronezh.
All of the above German scientists received the Stalin Prize, a Soviet version of the Nobel Prize. The State Stalin Prize in science and engineering and in the arts was awarded from 1941 to 1954, later known as the USSR State Prize. The Stalin Peace Prize was awarded from 1949 to 1955.
Overall, over 300 German specialists in nuclear physics came to the Soviet Union in 1945, providing a great contribution to the Soviet nuclear program development.