Sunday, September 26, 2004

National Socialist Mushroom Clouds...

What is it about the History Channel?
The are OBSESSED with Nazi Germany's moribund nuclear weapons program.
Every frickin' time I flip on the damn channel no matter what under discussion, be it the Golden Horde of the Great Khan or the Book of Numbers...they somehow seem to come around to Nazi A-bomb projects!

It has gotten plainly ridiculous.

The slightest whiff of the Danzig Corridor and we are locked into fifteen minutes of speculation over the Third Reich's unsatisfying and half hearted hard water experiments.

The facts behind Germany's nuclear research are plain enough; they lacked an advanced cyclotron, multiple ministries competed for the scientific and organizational talent to no profit, and by 1944 Reichsminister of Armaments Albert Speer had diverted most of Germany's uranium stocks for use in artillery shells.
Morever Germany's smartest physicist Werner Heisenberg was working under appalling conditions just trying to produce a sustained and controlled atomic chain reaction-something that had already been done at the University of Chicago in 1940.
In 1945 allies marched in and poor Werner was no closer to pulling off this basic feat of weapons production.

The reality is, the Nazis had nothing, and weren't anywhere close to getting anything.
Yet the History Channel goes on confusing the record, hyping half built V-weapon prototypes and a few barrels of uranium oxide into a "just-short-of-success" a-bomb project.

I don't know what their hang up is, but I wish they'd get over it.

And another thing!
I just read in raymond Fielding's useful tome "The American Newsreel: 1911 to 1967" that battlefield restrictions were so strong in World War One that newsreel companies routinely faked footage on an epic scale.
Remember that the next time the History Channel runs that grainy footage of brave tommies going over the top at Verdun...the shot probably took all day to get on Long Island New York.

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