June 15, 2018
For this creative writing assignment, I would like to research the nuclear capabilities that the Axis Powers possessed before their defeat in WWII. The reasons why I would like to investigate this are many. For one, this can serve as a starting point for a narrative that I am interested in creating. Another reason I am interested in this is for the historical and scientific implications and intrigue that I am infatuated with. And still, another reason for investigation into this topic is to shed light on how very close the heroes of history have collaborated with the most fearsome enemies. A universal theme, of whatever form this creative project may take, would show scientific innovation in a parasitic relationship with weapons research and testing. This theme speaks on a pessimistic attribute of the human condition: that being that the knowledge which separates us from other species and lets us live in luxury was discovered through warfare and the pursuit for more efficient murder. To accomplish this, I have already started reading historical and scientifically significant literature relating to WWII. Where the United States had the Manhattan Project, Europe had the Maud Committee, and Germany had the Uranverein. The covert nature of these physics programs have since been declassified (to some extent) and can be viewed by the public. This is one possible source which I can use for my project. The value in these documents is not to see what these researchers may have discovered, but the process of trial and error to create nuclear fission.
One source that I have found very helpful in explaining the intricacies of the process through history is the book “The First War Of Physics”.This book explains the charade of espionage and nuclear research in the beginning of WWII in such a great narration that it resembles a T.V drama. For instance, the physicist solicited (but for the most part kidnapped) by the Wehrmacht army had thought that heavy water and unstable uranium 235 would create a nuclear reactor on it’s own. The scientist who had proposed this, Heisenberg and Weisaker, were wrong in hypothesizing that an Uranium body is unstable on its own. It was after the United States had commission the asylum of an Austrian born physicist that the ‘gun type’ nuclear reaction was able to be properly conceptualized and created. It is in this scientist’ most ubiquitous finding decades earlier that we see the beginning of scientific a scientific era which we are still in today. He first proved that Special Relativity was the mind shattering concept that depth and space is a carbon copy of the trail of time. Einstein then went on to prove that in this time, that all matter is energy and all energy is matter in his published work General Relativity and other Essays. Time is the only thing that seperates a flame from a stone or water from a flash of lightning. The universe always and forever will be challenging our consciousness, and John Greene explores the limits of perception in our 3 dimensions in the book The Fabric of the Cosmos. To begin to understand the struggle that Lise Meitner, Ernest Lawrence, and Niels Bohr had overcome to bring nuclear energy to the world, multiple sources must be observed I will confront the fact that history is not always what contains the truth. Furthermore, the truth is variable based on who is telling the story and who has that authority. This is another discussion that I hope my project is successful in. To teach history through an alternative history narrative will be challenging, but I want to pursue this to further my writing skills. Since this project is proposed to take on the length of a novel, then I will have time to meticulously write and recreate each characters personality, mannerisms, and voice. I feel that this will be an 3
interesting and enjoyable task to do when molding the character’s reaction to historical and alternative historical events.
The way in which I plan to go about creating this work is in an amalgamation of telegrams, propaganda, experiment observation/notes and letters between scientist. Where narration is needed it will be made in a first person perspective of key figures or fictional colleagues of these figures. The narrative will start in June 1939 when Joseph Rotblat defects from the Soviet nuclear research program and seeks asylum in Western Europe. The second perspective will be through the eyes of a fictional character who is present during the invasion of France. The final perspective will follow the relationship of Neil Bohr and Werner Heisenberg after they both had been separated by their allegiance of research in the war. The first few entries will be cononnical to our historical timeline, but will later turn to an alternative history where the German army is able to defeat the Allied powers and reposes most nuclear facilities and raw materials in Europe.
I feel that this book will attract an audience who are interested in history. The historical significance to the field of physics is not necessarily needed, as most are familiar with some aspects of WWII. I want to attract this audience and then show how very close the world did come to an even greater loss of life in WWII. The infant nuclear research programs of multiple superpowers where rushing to gather precious metals and rare forms of hydrogen and lithium. The few companies that could supply this, such as Norsk Hydro, were under threat of punishment from each side. If these companies let the raw materials for a nuclear bomb slip into the wrong hands, the Germans may have dealt the final blow, which we saw the U.S and the world would be a far worse place in the following years and today while Aryanism spread throughout the world.
The discussion or theme in which I want to spotlight is one of appreciation for how major events of history have played out. The audience is those who are politically active and today, as our world is seeing a resurgence of nuclear threat from disenfranchised monarchs once again. Furthermore, I want to present a theme of appreciation of history. Not so much of the record keeping discipline, but of the way our world has turned out as opposed to what could have happened. People criticise and mock the superpowers of the world today, and they very much do have the right. When looking at the alternative and what path we could have gone down, I feel, we lucked out on the cosmic game of chance and larger number of people are living in a safer world. That is not to say the governments in power are flawless, and that people who protest these authorities should be chastised. In fact the people who do protest their authority figure are more patriotic to me than the pro-government subordinates. The protesters want the country to be as best as it possibly could be, as opposed to being content and conservative in the way things are.
If all else fails, I will simply want my story to entertain. I feel that is one overlooked aspect in storytelling. We must capture the audience attention first, then begin to add dimensions to our story. This story may come off as dry and very boring with particle physics being the main driver of the narration. There is a literal war, near superhuman government agents, and tragic romances in the crossfire of the most destructive event in human history. Through it all, just as humans devised a way to climb, swim and stand on two legs to survive and conquer the terrors of east Africa, we continue to innovate under pressure. Now we are apex predators which hunt ourselves. That, to me, is the most profound statement that of science which I wish to illustrate.