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Democratic parties
Right wing parties
Left wing parties
In January 1933
Hitler was appointed by
President Hindenburg as
new German Chancellor
-Reichstagsbrand27 February 1933
This Decree of the Reich President for the
Protection of the People and State
abrogates the following constitutional
• Free expression of opinion
• Freedom of the press
• Right of assembly and association
• Right to privacy of postal communications
• Protection against unlawful searches & seizures
• Individual property rights
• States' right of self-government
A supplemental decree creates the SA
(Storm Troops) and SS (Special Security)
Federal police agencies.
The Reichstag building, seat of the German parliament, burns after being set on
fire. This enabled Adolf Hitler to seize power under the pretext of protecting
the nation from threats to its security. (Photo credit: U.S. National Archives)
Consequences for
Science and Academia
Removal from all Jewish faculty members from their posts
(Law of restoration of Career Civil Service 1933).
Many of the leading figures emigrated. Bernhard Rust became
Minister of Education took
more flexible stand. Jewish
scientists were allowed to hold
temporary assistant posts,
but were facing increasing
administrative difficulties.
KWI under Planck tried first
to remain independent but
got more involved in war related KWI for Physics in Berlin with van
research during WW-II.
de Graaff Accelerator tower in front
Nuclear Reactions and Energy Release
Frederic Joliot and Irene Curie at Paris
had observed the first nuclear
reaction. Enrico Fermi showed the
existence of neutron induced reactions
which produce artificial radioactivity.
Nobel Prize 1938
Nuclear reactions can produce energy
Q > 0 exothermic
or need energy
Q < 0 endothermic
Q = (mA+ ma- mB- mb)·c2
Q = BB+ Bb- BA-BB
difference of masses in entrance
and exit channel determines Q
The discovery of fission 1938
Search for transuranium elements Z>92
238U (n, ) 239U (β-) 239E (β-) 239E
238U (n, ) 235Ra ?
Nobel Prize 1944
Hahn and Strassmann identified broad
variety of elements, they thought those
to be near Uranium, e.g. Z=88 Radium
The interpretation of fission I
Hahn and Strassmann repeated the experiment numerous times
and were never able to isolate the ‘radium’ from barium. They
reported their results as follows: "As chemists, we must actually
say the new particles do not behave like radium but, in fact, like
barium; as nuclear physicists, we cannot make this conclusion,
which is in conflict with all experience in nuclear physics."
Hahn, the chemist, was reluctant to go against the ideas of
nuclear physicists, despite clear chemical evidence of barium.
Close correspondence with collaborator Lise Meitner who
had emigrated to Stockholm in 1938 to Manne Siegbahn.
The Interpretation of Fission II
Now whenever mass disappears energy is created, according to Einstein's
formula E = mc2, and... the mass was just equivalent to 200 MeV; it all fitted!
Meitner was convinced that the product actually was Barium rather than a
homologue. The nightmare of contradictory evidence all fit the explanation
that Uranium had fissioned (broke into pieces) rather than form a heavier
element. Frisch calculated the energy needed, and Meitner calculated the
energy available. The other fragment must be Krypton to conserve atomic
1 n + 238 U -> 137? Ba + 84? Kr + 18? 1 n
Niels Bohr
Brought news of fission to the US at the
fifth Washington Conference on
Theoretical Physics.
Several researchers went back to their labs
and confirmed the work and reported back
before the conference was over.
Within a few month Bohr and Wheeler predicted the possibility of
chain reaction by fission of 235U with similar energy out put as 238U.
Problem was to generate 235U, which is a very rare Uranium isotope.
Germany stopped all Uranium exports
Chain Reaction (?)
The following is an example of a
predicted fission reaction which
generates neutrons besides energy.
The two fission products are very
radioactive as they have far too
many neutrons in their nuclei. The
neutrons are ejected and will then
trigger subsequent fission processes
 Chain reaction
0n +
235 U
56Ba +
1 n
Fission fragments
When 235U undergoes fission, the
average of the fragment mass is about
118, but very few fragments near that
average are found. It is much more
probable to break up into unequal
fragments, and the most probable
fragment masses are around mass 95
and 137. Most of the fission fragments
are radioactive, intense short lived and
long-lived radioactive elements are
released into the environment.
Energy release in fission
Total energy = energy release/fission · number of fission events
Suppose you have 5 kg of 235U and 10% of it undergoes fission,
calculate the total energy release?
NA≡ Avogadro’s Number = 6.023·1023
A gram of isotope with mass number A contains NA isotopes
235 g ( 235U )  6.023 1023 235U isotopes
500 g ( 235U ) 
 6.023 1023  1.28 1024
U143  37
Rb58 137
55 Cs82  Q
Q  B( 37
Rb58 )  B(137
55 Cs82 )  B ( 92 U 143 )
U isotopes Q  803.7MeV  1,149.3MeV  1,783.8MeV  169MeV
Q  200 MeV  200 1.6 10 13 J  3.2 10 11 J
Total energy release ≈ 4.1·1013 J = 9.8·103 tons TNT ≈ 10 k-tons TNT
(Definition: 1 ton of TNT = 4.184 x 109 joule (J). )
1939 Begin of World War II
• Japan Invades
Hitler Invades
World War II Weapons of
Mass Destruction
Concept of Strategic Air Bombing
introduced by Sir Hugh Trenchard
1940-41: Battle for Britain
Civilian population targeted
1941-1944: Allied Bombing Campaign:
Incendiary bombs
Carpet bombing
Artificial firestorms
~1000 planes/ several
tons of bombs each
Sir Arthur Harris
(Bomber Harris)
Bombing Technique Developments
German air raids against Britain killed approximately
60,000 civilians and seriously injured about 80,000 more.
British and US air raids against Germany killed approximately
300,000 civilians and seriously injured about 780,000 more.
Large 500-1000 plane bombing armadas (limited defense)
As well as area bombing techniques and firestorm techniques
Firestorm Technique
This was achieved by dropping
incendiary bombs, filled with
highly combustible chemicals
such as magnesium, phosphorus
or petroleum jelly (napalm), in
clusters over a specific target.
After the area caught fire, the air
above the bombed area, become
extremely hot and rose rapidly.
Cold air then rushed in at ground
level from the outside and people
were sucked into the fire.
The fire storms developed winds up to 300 mph
and air temperatures estimated at 1,000 degrees.
July 28, 1943:
February 13, 1945:
March 9-10,1945:
~ 50,000- 80,000
~ 35,000-100,000
Stack (chimney) effect in
 Ti  To 
v  0.65  2 g  H  
 Ti 
v=wind velocity in m/s
g=9.8 m/s2 earth acceleration
H=height of heat column in [m]
To=outside temperature, K
Ti=inside temperature in K
For typical firestorm:
H ≈ 1000-2000 m
Ti ≈ 1300 K
To ≈ 300 K
➱ v ≈ 98m/s = 220 miles/h
Hurricane speeds ~100 miles/h
In the ABC radio documentary, Tokyo’s Burning, B-29 pilot
Chester Marshall recalled the experience of bombing Tokyo
that night:
You know, you didn’t know whether you were killing a lot
of women and children or what. But I do know one thing,
you could at 5,000 feet you could smell the flesh burning. I
couldn’t eat anything for two or three days. You know it
was nauseating, really. We just said “What is that I smell?”
And it’s a kind of a sweet smell, and somebody said, “Well
that’s flesh burning, had to be.”
Technological Escalation in WW II
Technological escalation during World War II was more profound
than in any other period in human history. More new inventions,
certainly as measured by such means as patent applications for dualuse technology and weapon contracts issued to private contractors,
were deployed to the task of killing humans more effectively, and to
a much lesser degree, avoiding being killed. Unlike technological
escalation during World War I, it was generally believed that speed
and firepower, not defenses or entrenchments, would bring the war
to a quicker end. Second goal was to weaken enemy moral by direct
attacks of civil population designed for maximizing devastation.