GHDI logo

Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall (August 6-7, 1945)

page 10 of 10    print version    return to list previous document     

III. 7 August.

1. On the morning of 7 August the guests read the newspapers with great avidity. Most of the morning was taken up reading these.

[ . . . ]

4. GERLACH and VON LAUE discussed the position of Niels BOHR and the part he had played. GERLACH said he was very upset about this as he had personally vouched for BOHR to the German Government. VON LAUE said that one could not believe everything that appeared in the newspapers.

5. In a conversation with VON LAUE, VON WEIZSÄCKER said it will not be long before the names of the German scientists appear in the newspapers and that it would be a long time before they would be able to clear themselves in the eyes of their own countrymen. He went on to quote from the newspaper that we were unable to control the energy, from which he assumed that we were not yet in possession of a uranium engine, so that their work would still be of considerable value. He ended by saying:

WEIZSÄCKER: History will record that the Americans and the English made a bomb, and that at the same time the Germans, under the HITLER regime, produced a workable engine. In other words, the peaceful development of the uranium engine was made in GERMANY under the HITLER regime, whereas the Americans and the English developed this ghastly weapon of war.

[ . . . ]

7. In a conversation between WIRTZ, VON WEIZSÄCKER and HEISENBERG, HEISENBERG repeated that in July 1944 a senior SS official had come to him and asked him whether he seriously believed that the Americans could produce an atomic bomb. He said he had told him that in his opinion it was absolutely possible as the Americans could work much better and quicker than they could. VON WEIZSÄCKER again expressed horror at the use of the weapon and HEISENBERG replied that had they produced and dropped such a bomb they would certainly have been executed as War Criminals having made the "most devilish thing imaginable".

[ . . . ]

Source: Operation “Epsilon” (6th-7th August 1945) National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD, RG 77, Entry 22, Box 164 (Farm Hall Transcripts).

Source of German transcript: Dieter Hoffman, Operation Epsilon: Die Farm Hall Protokolle oder die Angst der Alliierten vor der deutschen Atombombe. Berlin: Rohwohlt, 1993, pp. 145-77.

first page < previous   |   next > last page