Brighter Than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of Atomic Scientists' was originally published, in German, in 1956. The first English translation followed in 1958. So it covers the period up to the claimed Soviet nuclear H-bomb, and the 'Lucky Dragon' incident of supposed irradiated Japanese fishermen. But doesn't include Cuba, the development of ICBMs, the fuller aspects of the Cold War, proliferation, test ban treaties.
Jungk was apparently a Berlin Jew, born 1913, who studied European classics, and got a PhD in 'modern European history', presumably meaning Europe since the French Revolution, or perhaps the Renaissance.
His book seems to have sold widely; my own edition is a 'Pelican' paperback, i.e. published by the factual arm of Penguin books. This book was - maybe still is - recommended to students to read before they started their degrees, as part of a reading-list of general books. It has an introduction by Bertrand Russell, at least in the British version, on scientists seduced into evil by a mixture of good and bad motives. So far as I know, no serious criticisms were ever made of this book - until now.
I reread this to try to disentangle mythology from truth. Jungk, as might perhaps be guessed, says virtually nothing about the science or technology or possibilities of mistakes or fraud. There is (for example) no account of separation of U235; no account of why 'heavy water' might be important, or how it's isolated; no account even of where uranium was mined; and certainly no hint that the secrecy and censorship would permit deception. Jungk claims - in effect - that radioactive poison can now be made more or less indefinitely - but this seems not true, since the supply of neutrons seemed/seems fixed by the amount of uranium mined. Jungk made little attempt to check anything, though there are a few letters to him from physicists. Of course Jungk's expertise made him rather unfit to check any technical details. He states that hugely detailed calculations were needed, but not what they were, and one has to wonder whether could ever have been true in view of what now appear as absurd limitations of their computers. If elaborate calculations were made, how come the measured blast from explosions was supposedly far different from the calculations?
Jungk's main attitude is rather awestruck reverence, which of course was common: I remember in about 2000 a physicist, whose department was being closed, saying that after 1945 physicists 'were supermen'. A Japanese physicist is quoted as saying only an atomic bomb could do this - proof, for Jungk, of an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer is of course treated as a great genius. There's a whole section on Oppenheimer's fall, with immense detail on trivia of his interrogations - the type of building, his sofa, the characters of the interviewee/interrogators, weather, tone of voice, etc etc are detailed. But it's never made clear what he was charged with, or how serious this was.
Jungk steers clear of the Jewish issue. It's now known the USSR was controlled by Jewish finance from New York. Throughout the whole emphasis is pro-Stalin, though of course this isn't quite spelt out. Alexander Sachs supposedly got FDR to pump money into the Manhattan Project; but what could he possibly have known about it? It seems incredible that his motivations could have been other than money and/or tribal affiliation. It's very noticeable that all the preliminary nuclear work was done by Europeans, mostly Britons and Germans, and I don't think there's any evidence that Becquerel, Thomson, Mendeleyev, Aston, the Curies, Rutherford, Planck were anything other than dedicated researchers. If the general hypothesis of this forum is accepted, the 1930s must mark the starting point for the entire nuclear fraud. The letter from Einstein recommending US research into nuclear weapons is supposed to be a reaction to the results of an experiment on fission. However, FirstClassSkeptic (a member of this forum) has cast doubt on the usual interpretation of that experiment. It's also worth nothing that, according to Chrysler, more money was spent on radar than on the 'Manhattan Project' - this spending I think included electrical components, which after WW2 started to appear in consumer products.
Jungk's book has an appendix, the 'Franck Report', to I think Stimson. This is full of comment on dangers of nuclear weapons, proliferation, treaties, control, and so on. Astonishingly, this was dated a few months before the first supposed test, Trinity. A successful fraud has to have detailed planning including its roll-out - 9/11 illustrates the sort of thing, cover-stories with names, retailed by agents and plants inserted into the media. Trinity incidentally was carried out at night, in a remote country area, ten miles from observers, and with full military secrecy. Only one film of it is ever shown - despite the huge cost! Its tower had a duplicate close by, loaded with high explosive which however seems to have been ignited by lightning. The ship Indianapolis (as in 'Jaws') actually set out to sea BEFORE any bomb had been tested! On its return from the island base of Tinian, it was sunk, but left for a few days while the sailors died - all of which is cause for suspicion, of course - maybe some sailors had worked out the bomb was a fake, and it was decided they'd be killed? And if the sea was so dangerous, why risk shipping a vastly expensive pair of bombs? Surely flights might have been arranged. Could it be some of the sailors had doubts about the bombs - even official films of the bombs look wrong. The bombs look too light and manoevrable, the film doesn't look like a Pacific Island, the dipoles on the bombs wouldn't work, the official mushroom cloud film could not have been at 8.15 a.m....
I encourage readers who have this book to dust it off and reexamine it in a skeptical light.
Last edited by rerevisionist
on 25 Jan 2012 15:10, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Note on USS Annapolis added 12 July 2011