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At the end of WWII, were nazis working on anything else besides V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it potentially turn the events around for them?

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The Nazi were working on an atomic bomb. That would have changed the course of the war if they could have made enough of them. –  Sardathrion Apr 23 '12 at 9:40
Yeah, that's the kind of info I would like to know, just with details :) Thanks! –  Eugene Apr 23 '12 at 10:04
The last experiments for the German atomic bomb where in Haigerloch. There as a little museum about it. –  knut Apr 23 '12 at 10:14
Unfortunately, I don't speak German. So if you could translate it, provide some background info, it could make a great answer! –  Eugene Apr 23 '12 at 10:18
I made an answer and linked an English article. –  knut Apr 23 '12 at 10:21
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4 Answers

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Wunderwaffe (literally, wonder weapons) - absolutely, they had many, many designs under way.


They were working on the A9/A10 (think of a V3 rocket), that would be a multi-stage ICBM that would be able to hit the US, although it wasn't likely to be very accurate. This was planned to be available from 1946.


The Nazi's had already tested firing V2s from submarines, the plan here was to allow them to launch at the mainland US from U-boats just off the coast of the US. They had actually manufactured three of the required launchers to do this and had conducted extensive tests by the end of the war.


No doubt you have already heard about the Amerika Bomber, there were several candidates under various stages of development. Hitler had a fascination with bombers and so this was one area of development that got a lot of funding, at the expense of other, arguably more important schemes:


There were several "super heavy tank" designs being planned, with the Maus being most advanced, they actually had built two prototypes of this by the end of the war.


However, the Maus is nothing compared to these behemoths!



The above were only at the fairly early stages of planning.

There were plans for a super-heavy battleship, the H Class that would be around 140,000 tons with 20 inch guns that would dwarf the Yamamoto, two keels were laid down but soon scrapped.

There were many other plans, guided missiles, super-guns, helicopters to name a few, it's a very interesting subject with plenty of information on the internet.

There are other more conspiracy theory types of weapons that I won't go into here, but if you search for Hitlers Bell (Die Glocke) you'll find one example.

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Most of these designs were utter lunacy. –  quant_dev Apr 24 '12 at 12:59
and some were brilliant, had they only had the materials to produce them... –  jwenting Mar 11 '13 at 13:29
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German physicist tried to build an atomic bomb, at least there were experiments.

At end of WW2 there was a laboratory in Haigerloch. It is told, that American scientist checked everything and took the Uranium (and the German scientists) to the US. If the German scientists really tried to build an atomic bomb is not really clear.

More can be found in Physics Today - Volume 53, Issue 7, Page 34. "The German Uranium Project"

Another (more popular) article. I added a rough translation.

Stern magazine: Der Atomkeller von Haigerloch (Sorry German)

In britischer Gefangenschaft können es die Wissenschaftler später kaum fassen, als sie am Abend des 6. August von der US-Zündung einer Atombombe über der japanischen Stadt Hiroshima hören.

The German scientiste were astonished, when the heard about the exposion of the US-bomb in Hiroshima

Die Forscher um Heisenberg behaupteten nur eine "Uran-Kraftmaschine" entwickeln zu wollen. "Die Atombombe stand nicht auf dem Programm", betonte der beteiligte Wirtz nach dem Krieg. Neuere Forschungen ergaben jedoch Hinweise auf eine vorhandene gezielte deutsche Atombombenforschung.

The sientist say, they only wanted to build a "power machine". But newer researches give an indication of plans to build atomic bomb.

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Great, thanks for the info! Extra plus is a non-Wikipedia source, but I can only +1 once :) –  Eugene Apr 23 '12 at 10:24
I'd read elsewhere that the captured records at the end of the war stated that the Germans had worked on it for a while, decided it was impossible, and had quit. Wish I could find that reference. –  T.E.D. Apr 23 '12 at 14:37
The German's were well ahead of the US in the development of an atomic weapon in the late 1930's but due to cutbacks in research they fell behind. Germany cut back on a lot of research projects around 1940 as the war was going so well only to begin re-investing when things started to go badly around the 1942/1943. Lucky for us they did scale back research for at least a couple of years! yourdiscovery.com/web/world-war-2/ww2-focus/flashpoints/… –  davidjwest Apr 23 '12 at 21:00
@davidjwest: The Nazis lost the atomic race when they chased away Einstein, who started the U.S. atomic effort instead. They would have gotten the atomic bomb if he had been working on a GERMAN bomb. See my answer below. –  Tom Au Mar 9 '13 at 17:19
@TomAu - My understanding was that Einstein's main contribution to the building of the A-bombs was convincing the US Government to create them. He didn't actually work on them. However, a lot of physicists did, and there were certianly German and Eastern European refugees among them. So the point is a good one, if you expand it to scientists in general. –  T.E.D. Mar 11 '13 at 16:10
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The Germans were working on an atomic bomb. But the effort was stymied for a couple reaons.

1) The effort was led by Werner Heisenberg (of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle), who had a less-than-perfect understanding of atomic physics. (And the Nazis had chased away the better, "Jewish" atomic scientists like Einstein and Fermi.) Some say that Heisenberg was a "bungler." But his defenders would say that he sabotaged the German atomic effort. For instance, he went to his former professor (Niels Bohr, a Danish Jew living in Copenhagen) for answers to his questions about atomic physics, and failed to get them. The Gestapo offered to torture the answers out of Bohr, but Heisenberg declined.

2) The Germans had a shortage of "heavy water," (with the chemical formula H2O2, instead of the usual H20), most of which was produced in Norway. On one occasion, Allied agents planted a time bomb to blow up a ship transported a load of "heavy water" from Norway to Germany. Finally, Allied saboteurs blew up the producing Norwegian hydroelectric plant itself.

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Actually, Fermi wasn't Jewish. But his WIFE was. And that was (bad) "enough" for the Nazis to have him ostracized in the European atomic world. –  Tom Au Mar 9 '13 at 17:21
Wow. Can you dig up links for any of this? I'd love to read more. –  T.E.D. Mar 11 '13 at 16:23
@T.E.D., Richard Rhodes wrote 2 books on the history of atomic weapons (The History of the Atomic Bomb, and Dark Sun) which go into more detail than you probably want. Heisenburg miscalculated the "mean free path" (the average distance a neutron can travel before colliding with a nucleus), and according to his calculations about all the U-235 in the world was needed to make a single atom bomb. Because of his status, no one would question his calculations. –  Tangurena Mar 11 '13 at 17:05
@T.E.D. Here's a link to wikipedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Heisenberg. I remember seeing the "Niels Bohr" play about 20 years ago, and got it from there, not a book. Now you see why I believe that Heisenberg (a Nobel Prize winnter), "knew what he was doing." What he did't know, he didn't want to know. –  Tom Au Mar 11 '13 at 17:32
Well, even geniuses can make honest mistakes. However, I like the idea of him doing it on purpose much better, so I'm happy to leave it at that until told otherwise. :-) –  T.E.D. Mar 11 '13 at 17:49
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The nearest and biggest threat to the allies, had it made it into combat, was the Horten Ho-229 flying wing fighter, and the 6 engine heavy bomber that was being designed for bombing campaigns against the American east coast.
Had it made it into production in numbers, it could have changed the balance of power in the air. Of course on its own it would likely not have changed the outcome of the war, it was far too late for that.

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