Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

Richard Rhodes

Language: English

Pages: 736

ISBN: 0684824140

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Here, for the first time, in a brilliant, panoramic portrait by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, is the definitive, often shocking story of the politics and the science behind the development of the hydrogen bomb and the birth of the Cold War.

Based on secret files in the United States and the former Soviet Union, this monumental work of history discloses how and why the United States decided to create the bomb that would dominate world politics for more than forty years.

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Living conditions worsened in the Soviet Union in 1946. A drought began in Moldavia, east of Romania on the Black Sea, at the end of March and spread north through the Ukraine. By the middle of May, according to a Soviet government report, “the drought . . . embrac[ed] a very considerable part of the whole of the European part of the USSR.”1126 The country had not seen such widespread and prolonged drought since 1891. Famine followed. Children’s bellies bloated with protein deficiency and there

were very much aware of lithium deuteride,” Hans Bethe comments. “We were not totally sure how well it would work.”2248 It was clearly a material that might be tried once the principles of the equilibrium thermonuclear had been proved and the laboratory was proceeding to weaponize the device; Teller and Frederic de Hoffmann had published a technical report, “Effectiveness of Li6 in an ‘equilibrium Super,’ ” the previous June.2249 Deuterated ammonia was a liquid at room temperature, but like LiD,

activated a second fission explosion boosted with high-energy neutrons from fusion reactions in the tritium gas the sparkplug compressed.2321 Sequence of events in two-stage radiation implosion (Mike device). 1. Primary fissions. X rays from primary pass through primary fireball ahead of blast and flow down radiation channel. 2. X rays from primary vaporize polyethylene lining of Mike casing and heat it to a plasma. Plasma reradiates longer-wavelength X rays that ablate surface of secondary

that at some point he was involved, in that the approach was made to him—I don’t mean involved in the sense that he gave anything—I mean he just knew about it personally from the fact that he was in the chain, and that he didn’t report it in its entirety as he should have done.”2489 Groves felt Oppenheimer “was doing what he thought was essential, which was to disclose to me the dangers of this particular attempt to enter the project. . . . ” The general testified that he thought “that Dr.

invaluable daily diary maintained by Curtis LeMay’s various aides was only recently declassified; it corroborates LeMay’s efforts to gain control of US nuclear weapons and his part in the transfer of nine atomic bombs to the Far East during the Korean War. The other major source for that transfer is Gordon Dean’s diary—Anders (1987). Sources for SAC’s Cuban missile crisis excesses are sketchier—necessarily, since those excesses were illegal and nearly fatal—but reliable wherever they can be

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