Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Peabody-Martini, Dec 20, 2016.
Doug must feel like a million marks with that sweet exchange, especially given what they'd just been through in Canada.
Articles of Confederation, 2.0
All this talking about finding Abwehr clues brings me the question, what information on German activities do the American Agencies have? Sure the normal spying and all that, but would they be able to guess that the Germans were able to infiltrate one of the most secure projects in USA historie?
I could very well imagine some monumental ass covering and head in sand syndrome to keep the organisations going. The amount of (radioactive) egg going all round would Imo be so terrifying that some people could do stupid things. Or they could generate false evidance as well. The Soviet and Japanese are also candidates to get in some last revange against the USA for "letting them hang". You know Communists and crazy Japs... the ingredients are all there.
Also PM what is the status of German patents and Firms in the USA either after the Great War or this one. Would the USA be able to plunder the riches of German immagination or will they have to pay for their use?
Chapter Five Hundred Seventeen
7th January 1946
“I got along alright with Malcolm, Douglas’ father” Kat said, “But to say his mother, Margot, dislikes me is an understatement.”
“Sorry to hear about that” Doctor Tangeman said as she wrote something on her note pad, “But it’s hardly a surprise, she sees you as a rival for her child’s affections.”
“There’s more to it than that” Kat said, “She found out about my personal history and it hit a bit close to home for her.”
“That can mean a great deal” Doctor Holz said, “If you could elaborate.”
“According to Malcolm, Margot had difficulty bringing a child to term” Kat said, “There was one before Doug who was stillborn. After Doug she had a series of miscarriages until the birth of her daughter Emma. When Emma was born she was hemorrhaging and the Doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy to save her life.”
“And you enter her life through Douglas” Doctor Holz said, “I can understand why she might have a problem with some of the things that happened to you. However, what about your own issues?”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Kat asked.
“Didn’t your own mother die from a complication during childbirth?” Doctor Tangeman asked, “Under very similar circumstances?”
Kat sat there for a long moment. That was a thought that had not occurred to her until Tangeman pointed that out. “That’s different” She said.
“If there’s one thing you will learn, Katherine” Tangeman said gently, “It’s that everyone thinks their circumstance is unique, but it seldom is.”
Everyone sat there staring at each other for a long excruciating moment.
“Did anything else happen?” Doctor Holz asked.
“I spoke with Jehane’s Uncle Raphael and Aunt Theodora” Kat answered.
“How did that go?” Doctor Holz asked.
“They were glad that she is doing well” Kat said, “However, they were not happy about having been lied to.”
“You can’t really blame them” Doctor Holz replied.
“That’s good” Tangeman said, “Now, while you were in Canada did you have any depressive episodes? Those can be brought on by stress.”
Lang was sitting in his office watching the street, he now had an end date for his tenure as Chancellor. As of the 1st of February, he would be a private citizen. He had just told Rhona who was overjoyed by the prospect of getting on with their lives outside of the public eye. She might have been a political creature in her own right but there were limits, and she had reached hers years earlier. All that remained was overseeing the election and depending on the outcome learn who his successor would be.
After that he had several possibilities. The Emperor was offering him the civil class of the Pour Le Mérite and the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was talking about ennobling him. All of it out respect for his wartime efforts, only it came at the cost of millions of ordinary lives disrupted forever if they were lucky enough to still have them. Perhaps his best option was to become a Lecturer in Jena, for years the press had said that he looked like a political science professor, that seemed to be what he was about to become.
Bert walked out of the computer laboratory. The latest thing they were working on was to see if they could build a computer that could be used for different applications. There some ideas for how to go about doing that with the programing language and as he expected he was the one who was supposed to do the coding while someone else would get the credit. It was the difference between having a Doctorate as opposed to being a Doctoral student.
The only time Bert ever had his work valued was a few years earlier when he’d tried to join the Luftwaffe during the war. His forms had been spiked as soon as he’d turned them in. The research he’d been doing was considered too valuable to the war effort and then the Government had slapped it all top secret, so he couldn’t talk about it with anyone. That included his father who thought that he’d dodged conscription which made Bert an embarrassment to the entire family. His brother had flown bombers over Spain, even his older sister had worked air traffic control. No one expected anything from his two younger sisters or evidently him now. He’d only been a part of the team that had built the guidance computers that had turned the Aggregat series of rockets into the lethal tactical weapons.
Now with his sister’s wedding coming up he might as well have been invisible when he was at home. The only silver lining on this dark cloud was that his father disapproved of his sister’s intended almost as much as he disapproved of Bert.
“Albrecht?” A voice asked. Bert turned in that direction and saw that it was his older sister’s friend, the terrifying one with the long red hair. “I thought that was you.”
She seemed to be happy to see him.
“What do want…?” Bert asked as he wracked his mind trying to remember her name, “Kara?”
“Katherine” The woman corrected, “I just wanted to see how you’re doing.”
“Fine” Bert said, “Working in the salt mines.”
“As a graduate student?” Katherine asked, she clearly had a different idea of what constituted hard, unpleasant work.
“Yes” Bert said pensively, “Is that really so hard to believe and what are you doing in this department?”
Katherine looked a bit embarrassed to be here, “My Advisor told me that I should consider getting a tutor for mathematics.”
“Really?” Bert asked, “I thought that there was nothing you couldn’t do? I certainly used to hear about it all the time from Helene.”
Katherine took a deep breath, “I don’t dislike you Albrecht” She said, “But if you want to get any older than I’d suggest you mind your tongue.”
No he THINKS he is building an 'enhanced fission device' and he thinks it will work. I'm going to call PM's bluff on this one because we KNOW Teller was actually wrong on this one Further and more significantly he did not, and had a compelling and well thought out argument on why a fission explosion could not be used to initiate a fusion explosion and did no believe such a device could be built. He took great pains and initially convinced the man who ACTUALLY suggested the idea to him, (as a tossed off question during their time as colleges with Enrico Fermi, (what's he doing in the US btw? the "talk" was on the subject of atomic warfare which was avoided by most researchers by government request to anyone outside the "US" community and pretty strictly adhered to, if Fermi leaves Italy then things go downhill there pretty near as OTL and for some reason he can't/won't go to Germany which is what he would do without Hitler as he really wanted to stay in Europe, he also had five different offers of employment in the US and choose the only one he'd been to during a guest lecture in 1936 and that invitation had almost not gone out to him) Teller actually convinced Fermi that it wasn't possible and only after much thought and a couple of months did Teller begin to suspect that it might actually work. He may be 'fascinated' by the prospects but as this effort will have some personnel issues, (most of the initially foreign scientists have far less reasons to go to the US and the various European nations have more reason to go out of their way to retain them) so Teller is likely a department head and the narrative puts him under Oppenheimer and directly in bomb design and construction. He has no time, (and no one has the patience) to indulge in definition work on the 'super' nor is there anyway to get math teams or computer time to refine the definition to a workable design. (No he can't get "lucky" either, the 'simple' design of the first h-bomb had a very powerful fission device surrounded by tons of cryogenic deuterium because they needed to guarantee a fusion reaction of ANY level to verify the computer calculations to have an idea on both the radiation and physical compression that produced the fusion. And since Teller's fusion fuel had always been highly optimistic (small), and as the fusion fuel was 'wrapped' around the fission device only a massive amount of fuel could guarantee a fusion reaction of any significance.
So there is no plausible way to have him build an H-bomb. What about a 'gadget' or enhanced gadget?
First of all there was a very good reason that the implosion device had to be tested, (and a number of reasons why sabotaging ONE would be a miracle let alone two!) before they could be sure they had a workable design. I noted that implosion devices are complex, and difficult and this is due both to the need to carefully design and then CRAFT the fissile material into the sub-critical sphere's and pit. The sub-critical spheres and pit were made in the shops at Oak Ridge from plutonium ingots shipped from Hanford, then these segments were shipped to Los Alamos for final finishing and assembly.
Teller here has ingots but no way to make them into the heart of a bomb. He has neither the skills, equipment or practical know how to do so.Further it was at Los Alamos where the mass' and pit had explosives and electrical expert engineers hand craft the implosion matrix of high explosives, (designed individually for each cores dynamics found from tests run before assembly) and the individually built wiring harness' that would detonate all the explosives in the exact patter to compress rather than blow the core apart.
(How hard can this be? Each segment (there were two, and outer and inner) of explosives had to be crafted in a specific shape and a complex and specially built wiring harness had to be built for each set of explosives. Electrical experts had to determine, design and build each harness to allow all the segments to explode at the right time which required segments closer to the initiator to actuallly delay until those on the opposite side o the sphere detonated.
All this took experts and specialists in skills and knowledge that none of the physitsts such as Teller posses. He can't build a working A-bomb either
Secondly he has 'stolen' the components which DUE to the Manhattan Project were at the time controlled and tracked pretty well which is NOT going to go away just because one aspect of the project was shut down. I don't care how much the politicians think this was a waste and what they say about funding and support the MILITARY let alone the entire physics community in the US will not let this go down without a fight. And while some of the higher ups in Germany "protested" working on such a weapon unfortunately for them by the late 40s competent and willing physicists were almost literally a dime a dozen due to the mid-30s uptick in interest in the field. They would be shuffled back into academia to teach and more willing participants recruited as the knowledge needed was no longer esoteric or limited to a small community.
Teller would have to steal most of the Los Alamos machine shop equipment AND assembly lab equipment to construct a working 'gadget' and while he spent most of his and his teams time, (and was allowed to do so as they had more than enough high level workers OTL but not this TL) working on possible "enhancement" concepts for his "supers" it was not until the majority of the organization was put onto the project that things finally began to come together.
Further it took significant time and effort with the most advanced computers of the day to come to a basic conclusion on how to actually ignite a fusion explosion during which, (as noted above) it was found that none of Tellers original concept were viable.
If they had, (as stated) Teller actually working on the 'gadget' design then he would not have had time to refine his basic ideas let alone the stuff that actually worked. It also wasn't "theory" that stated that the "basic" implosion bomb wasn't as efficient as it could be it was a known fact. The gun-type was even less efficient but it was vastly more simple to build and WOULD work barring obvious sabotage once the numbers were worked out. In fact the biggest issue was it could work TOO well which is why procedure for "Little Boy" did not put the explosive charges into the bomb body until just before arriving over the target.
I had this in another post but PM's pace kind or forced my hand.
The ONLY way Teller is going to build and detonate an implosion bomb is if "someone" knows what he's doing and is helping him along which even if you assume some actual 'conspiracy' of disgruntled project scientists is rather silly. The main problem is the implosion device was the 'best' path for a mid-level powerful bomb but the plutonium was a problem as there wasn't a lot AND it was expensive and hard to make. It was "worth" more an ounce than gold and treated as it was worth. Fort Knox would envy the security on the Hanford storage areas EVEN IF THE PROJECT WERE SHUT DOWN. No ifs, no buts, or discussion it was that valuable. Enriched uranium would be only slightly less for the same reason. Shall we guess how the Polonium was treated considering it was even harder to make and store than plutonium?
Now Teller could actually try and make a bomb from the plutonium but that makes some assumptions I'm not comfortable with. In that it takes almost as much planning and effort as needed with the implosion device but the actual materials set up is well within Teller's capability.
No note that this was under Eisenhower's dubious "atoms for peace" program where the bombs would be used to dig canals and other 'heavy' construction projects which both the US and USSR were not only talking about but doing test shots for at the time? Teller was a fan of the 'super' and "H-bomb" its true and whole the most vocal and visible he was far from alone. His ego was such that he refused to share credit for its invention but there's a really good reason why it is officially known as the "Teller-Ulm" process. And the second half of that is currently (TTL) in Germany working on their 'super' program.
Teller specifically noted that his main hope was that the destructiveness of the hydrogen bomb would make nuclear war less likely and he, (again) was far from alone in that thinking as it became clear early on that the bomb was in fact far easier to make than initially thought. This was especially troubling to those working on them in various nations because, (and this is highly relevant in TTL) initial work with the gun-type required far more material than either an implosion device or super would and so the extraction and production systems were set up to handle and produce FAR more materials that would actually be used.
At this point the US (and Germany and England and France as the basic knowledge groups are not concentrated as they were OTL) have hundreds of tons of enriched uranium, tons of highly enriched uranium, hundreds of pounds of plutonium, several pounds of polonium on hand along with several production and research reactors in operation. Along with the necessary production and support infrastructure which are working on many aspects of nuclear research along with the bomb.
This is neither easy nor "safe" to simply shut down and put a few guards on till it's scrapped. There are medical, energy, and research programs going on in parallel with the bomb project. The Navy is primarily interested in energy and propulsion while the Army and Army Air Force, (i can't see a logical reason why they would be separate services in TTL, the A-Bomb was the main reason they 'split' OTL)were primarily interested in the weapons aspect they too had interest in the other areas. They would keep explaining the needs to Congress who could shut down the implosion bomb project, (and arguably throw Teller and Oppenheimer under the bus for public consumption) but if nothing else would easily construct and test a gun-type uranium bomb in the weeks between the last implosion failure and those Congressional hearings. Further they would parade in front of the committee hundreds of researches and scientist working on those other areas and if need be flat out state they would NOT be shutting down those research areas OR "abandoning" the materials because THEY are well aware of the dangers. (By the point where they can construct "test" gadgets they have already had first hand examples of the dangers of radiation exposure and the materials themselves so yes the military CAN in fact get away with letting Congress have a couple of sacrificial lambs to parade in public but not letting them 'shut down' the entire program.
The other downfall here is while Oppenheimer and Teller might be used in such a way they would not be allowed to roam around freely. If Congress insists on 'punishing' them as is suggested they will both be put in Federal Prisons where they will supposedly serve time. I say supposedly because unlike OTL since the US does not in fact know of the status of any other nuclear program TTL and that those programs HAVE to exist since the 'majority' of researchers in the area are from other nations those men will have to be kept under observation and if possible kept working on some aspects of the project no matter what Congress THINKS is going on.
For some odd reason, (actually because the civilian's got most of the 'official' credit) people forget that the military had high level scientists working right alongside Op and Teller who not only understood the theory but helped design and build everything from the uranium refining and enrichment facilities to the explosive ignition system to the bomb components themselves.
The idea that the whole project could fall apart from two failures and Teller possibly being a 'deviant' is borderline ASB material. Even if we assume that the FBI was put in charge of the investigation there are two separate military intelligence and investigation services that will be running parallel investigations which the Abwehr (or Hoover) can't control. And I will vehemently point out that the implosion bomb was KNOWN to be vastly more complex and likely to fail, whereas the uranium gun-type was so well understood and know to be workable it was never tested. And before someone suggests that the project could be told to 'pick-one' and drop the other the military is very much used to such decisions by policy makers who don't understand what's really going on.
So much so we have a rather "standard" (and pretty universal as it goes back to before the Romans) procedure to deal with it. In this case they say fine, the Army chooses the implosion bomb and the Navy will proceed with a uranium depth bomb and both will use the already shared Manhattan Program infrastructure.
What? The implosion device failed in two tests and Congress wants an investigation and heads to roll? Well that's really uncalled for as the implosion devices are a very small cost in the overall program costs and those costs are being shared by a few, (unrolls a 20ft long list of 'ancillary projects') other research and development programs who utilize the output of the project production and development infrastructure. While we're on the subject here are a half dozen experts to explain that while the devices didn't work this time the SHOULD have and there are only a limited number of reasons they might not have, with the majority being simple mechanical or electrical issues not related to the theory or design of the device itself. Oh and here's a short film of the Navy tests of its bomb design which while "wasting" a lot of materials the implosion device would not works quite well and can begin mass production anytime. Here also are some experts on the effects and possible ways to misuse or have accidents with the very expensive materials that have been produced for these devices. And while we're on the subject here are several dozen possible uses of those materials to DELIBERATELY cause death and destruction on a vast scale even if we NEVER get the implosion device to work*.
What? Teller is a "deviant" of some sort with "devices" in his basement and no witness' of the accused behavior and a marked change in his mental state which can be traced to his possibly being poisoned? (Yes if I understand PM correctly he was poisoned to make him more paranoid and that level of chemicals is going to leave a trace. Worse, even if Teller could be an pain such a treatment will affect his work noticeably and be grounds to assume it may be a mental condition. His level of involvement would automatically put him under government care and he's not going to be free to build a home-made H-bomb)
Oppenheimer could be accused of mismanagement, his civilian career could be ruined as suggested but keep in mind this was only done much later OTL when his organizational and expert skills could easily be replaced. Also keep well in mind that he will not be the only one openly defending the program even if he's the only one defending Teller and frankly that won't be the case. Teller wasn't easy to get along with but he had friends and those who disliked him in general but greatly respected his skills and abilities. The project workers socialized as did their families as the project progressed the lived full time at Los Alamos, (in government built housing with no basement btw) and would have had little opportunity or abililty to practice "deviate" activities as they generally were to busy.
Have more but I need to go as my back med has kicked in and I can't see the screen anymore. Post again tomorrow as soon as i can
IOTL after WW II, King George VI handed out to various commanders titles of nobility such Earldoms, Viscounts , and Baronicies and it was significant that Arthur Harris only got to be a baronet.
With that in mind, will Emperor Louis Ferdinand award titles, he did award Kat a baroness title.
I guess with the current generation of computers being mostly based on Zuse's work, programming languages are right now along the lines of Plankalkül which was incredible advanced for its time even in OTL, but still very much removed from the stuff we are used to nowadays. Maybe there is a German Grace Hopper waiting in the wings to help the development along.
An interesting side effect of the changes in the timeline, will be that many of the technical terms we take for granted to day will be quite different with them being in German or having German derived English names like many Chemical technical concepts from the century before had. If it goes in depth that will either somewhat hard to read, unrealistic because they ended up with the same names by coincidence or require a translation convention, to imply that characters in the story are using original German terms for things which are just rendered in OTL english terms for the convenience of the reader.
Chapter Five Hundred Eighteen
9th January 1946
“You can't be an expert in all things” Maria said, “Surely there were times when you didn’t have the strength to do something physical or were in a situation that required knowledge that you simply didn’t have?”
“Yes” Kat said, “But this is different, no matter how much I screwed up socially in school academics were never an issue, until now.”
“You’ve reached one of your limits” Maria said, “It happens, just aim towards getting a passing grade.”
Kat had signed up for her usual course load, but one of those courses was Physics, which was strangely required if she was going to continue studying medicine. She found that she simply could not get her brain to work with the concepts and a week in she was already worried she might fail the course.
“I wish I had your optimism” Kat said.
“Try dealing with a tough Editor who feels you’ve no business working as a Journalist some time” Maria replied, “All you can do is write the next article and keep moving forward.”
As with the Empress and now Maria, Kat was sitting with her during her eighth month of pregnancy. Maria was in a good mood because she had gotten word that Emil was coming home. The final declaration of peace between the Empire of Germany and the Empire of Japan was to be signed on the deck of the SMS Preussen at any second. Emil had publicly announced that as much as he might want to be there for the end, there were some things that were much more important. Word had gotten back to Maria through the BT and she had been happy to hear that. The BT had been happy to run the full story.
Later Maria had privately told Kat that the truth was that Emil had been aboard the SMY Hohenzollern for a few hours to receive a medal from the Emperor and had been horribly seasick. Not that she minded. Having the whole world know that he loved her enough that he’d rather be with her than bask in the limelight was not exactly a hardship. Maria’s real worry had been that he wouldn’t make it back in time. Emil had also mentioned without mentioning specifics that his career would be mostly keeping him in or near Berlin for the foreseeable future. It seemed as if Maria had everything she wanted at the moment. That is, except the ability to walk much further than the front door without assistance.
Zella was old enough to know that something was going on. She’d have to be blind not to, but her thinking didn’t extend much beyond “Poppa’s coming home!” Kat had a hard time believing that when she had been Zella’s age she had already been to most of the capital cities of Europe, but then she couldn’t imagine that Emil could arrange for her to travel the way her father had.
Gianna and Asia had been assisting Maria any way they could and had been doing an admirable job of it. Eventually Doctor Tangeman had stepped in and suggested that unless Maria wanted to find herself at the center of a messy story about goings on in the press pool then she needed to take some time off. Maria was unaccustomed to doing any such thing and had not been happy about it but her own body had betrayed her in the end.
“You said that you looked into tutoring?” Maria asked.
“Yes, but that might not be the best choice in the world” Kat said, “One of my choices of tutor happens to be Helene’s little brother. You ever meet Albrecht?”
“No” Maria answered, “What’s the problem?”
“Ever met someone who’s a little too into certain things?” Kat asked.
“I see” Maria replied, “Just remember to bring your gun and you’ll be fine.”
Oppenheimer was hoping that he was making a call for nothing. “Yes” He said, “I understand but you’re the third person I’ve talked too.”
He’d heard that Teller had disappeared and that there had been a murder in Hanford. He had heard about what had been found in Teller’s house, and it was a miracle that the hadn’t been arrested after the whole project had become a mess. The military had been involved but they were prepared leave them to hang when things had gone sideways. Word was that the US Navy had a project they were trying to angle funding for that they were certain would work but it seemed that the first experiments had poisoned relations with Congress. Oppenheimer had returned to University of California, Berkley. Now, he was trying to reach the FBI before Teller did something incredibly stupid.
“Yes” Oppenheimer said, “I’ve been trying to get a hold of someone in a position of authority for the last hour.”
He listened to what the voice on the other side of the phone said.
“Yes, I can wait” He said. Teller might not have a whole lot of hands on expertise but there was nothing wrong with his theoretical knowledge. It was all too plausible that he might try something.
The SMS Preussen and the IJN Shinano were anchored next to each other in the Bay. It marked the end of the war and it was symbolic for the final weeks of the war as the IJN and the KLM Pacific Fleet had worked to bring the war to an end by bringing the IJA to heel. For Jacob it was the culmination of everything he had been working towards for the prior thirty years. He scanned the faces of the thousands of sailors from many nations as they packed the decks of the various ships that were anchored in Tokyo Bay.
Eugen Faust had set up a film crew to record this event. He had thought that his conscription would derail his career but instead he was returning to the studios in Potsdam as a Director with a multi-film contract to look forward to. He and Nessa were still going strong and were intending to get married after the war. His hope was that his daughter would be happy. The two Emperors each signed the agreement and with that the Second World War came to a close.
How cute. From a Chihuahua poking the Hellcat we come to a Pomeranian barking up her legs.
While many of your points are right, remember. THIS IS NOT THE BLOODY UNITED STATES. OF OTL!!!
Sheesh.... It's so hard remember that here the US have not been even remotely gripped by the fear of War or Spying Paranoia unlike OTL, and that as such, their security measures are but a fraction than Canon.
Furthermore Ed Teller WAS a known figure of the very project, and it's highly likely that the guards would see him in some of the facilities as a "friend", accepting whatever he says, and unknowingly abetting his plans.
Also think that it takes even a practical "Failure"... a Fission reaction below 10 kt, to have the odds of an incomplete Fusion reaction being Kickstarted...... So the Bomb could be a total fiasco.... Yet still achieve close to 20-30 Kt of Destructive power... And with the uncomfortable fact that early Fusion Bombs actually made early Nukes look CLEAN to the hour of sheer lethality in residual Radio Isotopes and Radiation lingering around.
Sorry to be pedantic, but shouldn't that be "Teller-Ulam"?
Hm. How long before Teller drops dead of radiation poisoning?
Also, look into Project Plowshare that P-M referenced for a hilarious read. All the exciting things you can do with nukes, like widening the Panama canal, creating irrigation and water transportation in California, and freeing natural gas
Germany had done research into transistor electronic prior to WWII in OTL but the US was ahead and only slowed due to the direct needs of WWII so assuming America is not totally stupid our electronics capabilty will be slightly ahead of Germany but it will be a race.
Satellites of any type, while in the minds of those actually working on the various aspects of US rocketry are not even on the horizon of those, (such as Truman) making the decisions. What WILL be paramount is that the US is significantly behind another nation in the ability to deliver a warload to a target. While the B-29 is advanced, (and I thought I pointed this out earlier) it is not much of a 'threat' to anyone at present because it can't carry a useful load without forward basing which is not available.
(PM had one flying into the North Sea from the US close enough for German jets to intercept but I thought I pointed out it could only get there by being stripped and carrying no payload which is not going to 'impress' anyone and it's a one way trip as the B-29 can't even make it back to Newfoundland let alone any US base. The only way to make a 'round-trip' with a payload is if the US has invested in air-to-air refueling which they and Britain had done during the 20s and 30s OTL to a limited extent but dropped when WWII broke out. If they had however the B-29 would not be considered a 'failure' as mentioned and everyone else WOULD in fact have been impressed because despite being intercepted it was ONLY one aircraft and the jets were operating near maximum altitude which highly limits their manueverablity)
The US is behind and catching up will take time and resources which the US might not have enough of the former and the latter are currenlty aimed at the Manhatten Project and the B-29. The USSR OTL had a similar issue so it is quite possible for TTL US to come to a similar conclusion: The ICBM.
Re-directing the "bomb" portion of the Manhatten Project and down-sizing the energy and other applications areas could easily result in matching the German rockets in a few years and an 'operational' (in the sense the R7 and early Atlas were "operational") in about 10 years. (Here the fact the US has much better locations and options for research and testing of large missiles is going to put them ahead) The main question will be what to use as a warhead...
I fully understand why PM and most others seem to think that with the "failure" of several test bombs the US might shut down the Manhatten Project if it were running as stated but that would in fact not be how it worked because there are in fact several paths that 'atomic weapons' were being pursued. As noted the Navy was interested in a pure Enriched Uranimum "gun" type bomb as it was found to be both nearer term technology and promised the ability to rapidly reduce weapon size over time despite using more uranium and having a lower yeild.
The other most 'promising' path was the use of radioactive 'dust' to poision an area in a similar manner to a 'gas' attack. Contrary to what many seem to think the entire nuclear research community was HIGHLY aware of how dangerous radiation was but did not fully understand all aspects of the danger. Poisinging by uranium and plutonium 'dust' was known as was the dangers of 'critical', 'subcritical', and 'super-critical' mass' despite some researchers 'cavilier' attitudes.
Despite the 'failure' of the "gadget" to explode properly, (and I don't care how 'hostile' the Congressional committee members were the MAJORITY of the US physics community would have been at a hearing such as this as the Project was also supporting a VAST research program including power and medical uses) they would have hundreds of researchers and military people telling them it SHOULD work and even if it took more work there were alternative types that could be developed instead including the "gun-type" or radiological dust weapons. Further no matter if Congress 'cancels' the implosion bomb part of the project THE MATERIALS ARE EXPENSIVE AND DANGEROUS AND THE PROPERTY OF THE US GOVERNMENT AND WOULD NOT BE "LIGHTLY" GUARDED! This stuff, in cost and processing, is worth more than gold and vastly more dangerous and would be treated accordingly. This was procedures and knowledge OF THE TIME.
This is very much why I question PM's description of the 'security' of the "closed" Manhatten project.
Further Teller was fully aware of all the various practical and theoretical types of weapons that could be made from such materials. He CAN actaully make a type of A-Bomb but it would require a large amount of explosives and a very long, very strong pipe AND specialty milling and machining equipment he does not have access to. (A common mistake is thinking because the "Thin Man" plutonium gun-type bomb was dropped that such a device can't be built. This is not true as the main critiera it failed was any such device would be far longer than could be put into any aircraft but such a device COULD be built and WOULD function and was vastly 'simpler' to construct than an implosion bomb design. Like the uranium gun-type it would also 'waste' a lot of plutonium due to inefficinences but it would work)
The 'target' and 'projectile' parts have to be carefully designed and then machined. Teller could easily do the former but the latter, outside specialty equipment designed for and used only by the Project, the latter would kill him long before he could finish making the needed components. And... That's an issue with using the plutonium to make a 'dirty' bomb as well. He would have to grind the ingots, (which are BTW stored and shipped in barrels not crates ) into find powder which without, (again) specialty machine tools would be both laberious and deadly, to him.
Now there IS a possible way he can "build" in a short time but frankly I'm not sure it is feasible with so little material AND the requirments. See, as I noted Teller was VERY aware of the various types of 'weapons' that could be built from nuclear materials. One "theoretical" device was what we know of today as an 'enhanced radiation' weapon that emits very, very high levels of radiation for a short period and then slowly declines. OTL this 'theoretical' reaction wan't proven till the SL1 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1) in 1961, but it is possible for Teller to set up a similar situation due to the higher spontaneous fission rate of the reactor-bred plutonium, (due to plutonium-240 impurities in it) if he can find just the right set up to allow the "prompt-criticallity/super-criticality" event.
Similar to the gun-type device he'd have to have a heavy container, a moderator that can be removed somehow and two piles of carefully stacked set of sub-critical mass' or ingots that can be brought gradually together to achieve first criticallity and then 'prompt/super' critical in such a way as it does not blow itself apart.
And by himself that's pretty much ASB AND he's likely dying of radiation poisining long before the point of crticallity.
So the 'viable' options go way down as simply packing explosives around or the plutonium in with will spread the ingots around and generate 'some' small amount of dust but keep in mind these are solid metal ingots so they may shatter but they won't vaporize which is required for a 'dirty' bomb. About the scariest scenerio is him standing on a street corner handingout "weird metal paperweights" to passers by, maybe dumping them into a sewer till they hit critical mass and blow apart but no way he's doing that in a crowd.
This is very true and specifically the Navy was far more interested in energy than a weapon. (But they had the more 'near-term' weapon design and TTL the one that will most assuredly work. As the Army was in charge of OTL project and we assume so here they were more interested in an efficent bomb which is why the implosion device was given a higher priority since it was well understood the gun-type device would work without testing. If the implosion bomb effort is shut down as suggested they would have simple switched to the gun-type and if asked, tested it to demonstrate such. The Navy wasn't going to give up on the reactor research even if the weapons research was shut down.
America had its own jet engine design and even so the general operation and principles were well know by researchers around the world. The 'surprise' of German jets in OTL WWII wasn't that they could build them but that they could do so while loosing a war and lacking stratigic supplies. The Germans will have an advantage for a few years but the rest of the world will quickly catch up. (I'm actualy surpised that England doesn't have operational jets as they were neck in neck with German research OTL and only the operational needs of WWII and rebulding the British war machine caused the programs to be delayed)
Jet airliners assume significant long range air travel needs and an extensive network of infrastructure which TTL actually isn't in place as there has been only limited stratigic bombing and most cost-effective transport is still by ship. (Similar to OTL) There is going to be LESS long range air travel TTL and less incentive to develop civilian jets due to their high operations costs and fuel/range issues.
Turboprops require some advanced work and OTL turned out to be more difficult that first assumed. Adaption to civil use will only happen once the bugs are worked out and (again) range and operations issues are worked out.
Assuming the two-ocean Navy act was passed in a similar time frame, (even heavy isolationists supported it for protection of US interests abroad and home defense) the US Navy should be putting ships with similar capabilities into service about now. We know how impressed the Army was with the German Army kit so that should be moving along as well and really the only place where the US will be significantly lagging is aircraft which while annoying is still not 'horrible' as similar research and development paths were there. As the Army Air Force, (I don't see the same pressure to make it a separate service in TTL) was seen as a supporting element to Naval defense of the US mainland it was expanded and aimed at modernzation as part of the overal defense modernization and expansion implied in the two-ocean Navy. Having had their faces rubbed in the fact it wasn't enough it is unlikley that Congress or the administration will stint on keeping par from this point. (Dewey, unlike Truman was more inclusive in keeping the US defense capability in balance)
"Surpassing" Germany isn't a question as Germany isn't a direct threat to the US. It IS both an indirect threat due to expansion of power and infringment on US interests and a possible future threat if it manages to keep its allies "together" which is what the US has to address. The situation is again similar to OTL US/USSR without the heavy Cold War overtones and similar solutions will be sought. The US faces some heavy internal issues that will have to be resolved that may directly effect the required programs but Germany's English and French allies are facing similar issues that will soon come a head as well which will affect Germany.
The US will now have to fight for its 'usual' overseas markets but really it has the capacity and capabilty to do so as long as the domestic situation remains relatilvy stable. Other than very few "stupid pill" moments the US of TTL isn't doing much different than OTL that would have come about had WWII not happened.
The US will do what they US needs to do so that the US survives as it always does.
A bit but far from as bad as you make it out to be
There is a general misunderstanding of what the US meant and did when being "Neutral" or "Isolationist" as being something 'different' TTL from what it did under similar polices OTL. TTL "neutral" was the US selling anything to anyone whch is arguably MORE acceptable than OTL where we were obviously "Allied-neutral" specifically. "Isolationist" policies had little to do with retreating to the continential US and leaving the rest of the world to its own devices and everything to do with not getting militarily involved in world conflicts. This in no way meant the US would not or could not get 'involved' in a military fashion to protect or advance US interests around the world and the Two Ocean Navy Act (which actually covered the whole US military structure) was specifically meant to address and modernize the military to continue to meet these challenges.
As such the US would have continued efforts short of direct military involvment to maintain access and influence in South America to counter German and other efforts. And as in OTL the US would eventually come out even if not ahead due to distance and localized efforts if nothing else. We were actually quite a bit 'better' at the game before WWII OTL.
I will point out that only ONE (1) aspect/technology of the Manhatten Project has been 'descredited' and it was in fact the most expensive and complex aspect/technology that program developed. And this is one of those 'stupid-pills' I mentioned above that PM "needed" the US to have in order to simplify and move the timeline on. And it's a doozy as it would appear the Abwehr efforts were rather focused on that one single technology. In order to work then that ONE aspect/technology has to be the ONLY one the Manhatten Project worked on which while possible is not plausible because it required all the other technologies to be in place prior to moving to testing a bomb. As such there are stockpiles of enriched uranium that the project could use to whip up a gun-type demonstration bomb in a few weeks between the 'failure' of the last 'gadget' and the Congressional hearings. Ta-da! "Proof" that an A-Bomb is possible after all. The argument could be made that Teller and Opennhiemmer 'wasted' time and resources on the implosion concept but really unless the entire US physics community takes a "super-stupid-pill" it is going to be obvious to them and the military that sabatoge was involved.
Chances are "they" may have in fact let Teller and Oppennhiemmer take a 'fall' to help clear out the project but really I have a tough time swallowing the 'total shut-down' scenerio PM proposes. The path to GET to the ability to build an implosion device specifically requires research and development that has obvious and well understood non-weapon capabilities that would be MORE important than a weapon TTL. (I also doubt that the Abwehr "stole" any of the project data since they already have access to the OTHER half of the "Tellar-Ulm" concept)
Not much of a problem as none of the technology or research is exactly esoteric or anything. Both Bell and Sikorsky prototypes worked once the bugs were rung out of them. More advanced models were on the drawing boards and all that's needed is money and support which German use has apply shown is needed. Nothing Germany has done requires more than research, development and production all of which any nation at the current time in this TTL have the capabilty and infrastructure to accomplish. Barring what amounts to a "Second Civil War" (which is what PM seems to be aiming for) the US, let alone England, Canada or anyone else can match Germany in a few years easily.
In context the main reason the US and USSR came out so far 'ahead' of everyone else after WWII is the amount of devistation and rebuilding that had to be done post-war. TTL hasn't seen the same devistation and frankly ALL the main players are pretty much only a few years behind Germany which itself is going to be taking a significant "hit" here in the near future coming off the recent war.
Oh please! Like anyone who didn't build an exact copy of the British Nene had all their engines and airframe spontaniously explode because they couldn't read the open source (since the mid 20s when the first research publications came out) knowledge and research. While the Wright brothers desperately TRIED to halt all world wide research and development of the airplane, ("only" for 10 years mind you to pay them back for all their hard work) with patents and litigation such an effort is doomed to fail before it starts. England and the US alone had prototype jet engines in research and testing at the same time Germany did OTL and only WWII interupted the process. Aeronautics researchers were well aware of how and what a jet engine would need and work like they needed only the materials and producton engineers to come up with the process. Germany has a couple of years lead tops.
They have had a stable economy that has not been on an almost constant war footing for almost a decade nor are they going to be faced with significant dislocations as the miltiary is down-sized and demobilized and those MEN are going to have to fit back into the economy and job market. I think you've been missing the very pointed hints that PM has been making that Germany is the one heading for a hard time in the near future not the US. (Well ok, if the US has a massive internal race war then it will probably be about as bad as Germany but that is going to be VERY hard to accomplish.... Now if Tellar were black...)
At its most basic America has more of an industrial base to start with than Germany AND a more than adequate work force to run it. Part of the problem Lang has been worrying about IS that there are less jobs for the returning males to work AND how to ease the females out of the workforce again. In the post-WWII US it was a matter of culture and shutting down a lot of those factories and industrial plants while EXPANDING worker populations in the ones that were left and Germany will probably be the same. It STILL caused a significant recession that didn't get relieved until the Korean war. Had that not happened and the US not converted to the later Cold War industry the recession would have eventually gone away but been both deeper and longer. Germany, not the US is the one facing this crisis TTL as the US was never on a similar footing.
Note that as quantiy ramps up, quality tends to go down. This was mentioned in the TL as the Germans had very good equipment but as more came out the overall quality suffered. PM specically mentions that Germany is in debt for the war despite being paid to supply the 'new' militaries. The simple fact is most of those nations are buying obsolete and cast off near-new equipment at bargin basement prices that only 'payback' a fraction of the German investment. And the will not be able to afford "newer, more expensvie equipment" for years. Conversion takes time and money both of which, while Lang has made an effort it is only a drop in the barrel currently, are going to become in short supply very soon. Lang was "thinking" over how those who take his place are making promises he's afraid they can't keep.
In some cases but in others America, (and Canada for that matter) are going to make huge profits on food sales for the next decade while Eastern Europe and Asia get back on their feet. They have already been doing so on a 'charity' basis and as the governments get back in working order they will have to prioitize weapons or food and as this conflict was very different than OTL WWII the situation is very different. The US and Canada are currently the breadbasket of the world and I for one shudder to think what would happen if American food exports suddnly dry up in the near future..
Germany is going to be demobilizing and dismantling the bulk of its military while reducing and restructuring its industry base to meet peace time needs. Yes they have a large surplus of materials currently but that will rapidly dry up and they will have to 'compete' with a greatly reduced export trade. Like OTL they will have to increase quality AND price to compensate. Granted America will probably be known TTL for its "cheap knock off of German" products but that's wholely not an issue anymore than it was for Japan or China. Germany will ALSO be competing with England and France since neither of their industrires or economies were greatly effected by the past war and they are JUST as technically capable as Germany.
This is FAR from a bi-polar future and neither Germany nor America can afford to forget that.
I don't necessarily dissagree in general but getting a full blown race war going in America is difficult. Riots, strikes, disruptions and unrest is pretty much a given but I will note that during the Civil War production and export hardly dropped anywhere but in the South and frankly the North can carry the South at this time as it was mostly agricultural rather than industrial.
As I pointed out your assumption of reduced trade flow is not going to happen to the degree you assume and while disruptions and unrest will cause Americans to look internally in general that won't be what industry and business will be doing. Government attention may be divided but generally that's a small factor in business and trade, especially in TTL which hasn't had the more extensive growth of government oversight as OTL did during and after WWII.
Unless PM had another POD here Japan was a trade partner with the Philippines, (trying to get them into the Co-Prosperity Sphere) which has been independent since 1940 as per agreement with the US. Again without radical changes the Philippines prefered to trade with the US rather than Japan because of better quality and quantitiy of the former over the latter. TTL I doubt Japan even bothered as they didn't need the drain and the US was careful to always maintain cordiual realation with the PI till very late in the Cold War as a base to support American influence in the Pacific.
Given Germanies exposure in the area it would not be difficult to, (and would be essential to) keep those relationships going. As is with Japaneses influence dealt a severe blow the PI can be encouraged to exapand its, (and US) influence realtivly easily.
Your trying to hard to be the opposite of OTL without keeping in mind the whys and hows of what happened OTL to make them happen
I guess it also depends on what he uses for the tamper on the secondary. Uranium - Enriched Uranium - Non-fissile - or Cobalt/Zinc.
I would NEVER dare think that the Canadian's would joke about Maple Syrup! (Capitals required )
Leaving for work, so no time for a long post. I do wonder if the Reichstag Bombing might have got some governments, perhaps including the USA, to have put some planning into how to deal with a successful decapitation strike?
I remember reading articles about the lack of domestic security at US airports in comparison to European ones before 9/11. There is a certain complacency when dealing with such things, and the thought that it could never happen here. It's a bit like the "not invented here" syndrome, but dealing with lessons learnt. Having said that with all the bombs that have gone off down south maybe the US has upped its game.
What is Nessa, Einstein and co. working on? Maybe the Internetz?
I remember that too.
The US was forced to spend BILLIONS worth of money buying Identity Analysis and Sensor technology for Airports from European and South American based consortiums, as Between Europe and the South America issues from the 70 and 80's, said technology was advanced to a near ridiculous level compared to the US, as it was a virtual constant the potential issues of Drugs Traffic, Subversive elements entering South America with faked European Passports, or the usual Drug Cartel/Maoist Terrorist/Arab Nutcase deciding on that putting a Bomb on the Airplane was a good idea.
I remember well how it baffled me sometimes how some Americans were whining in a few cases quite loudly to the check ups that for many South American Countries are practically an institution....... Of course that changed in 180° after 9/11...
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