How Stalin learned about nuclear bomb
The USSR, USA, and England still remained allies as of July 1945: the countries were in for a bloody war against Japan in the Far East, and US President Harry Truman wanted the head of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin to be as good as his words and to join the war.
A conference of the heads of the Soviet, American ,and British governments dedicated to a post-war system in Germany took place in Potsdam on July 17.
A day before the conference, on July 16, the first nuclear weapon test was held in the Alamogordo Desert, New Mexico (USA). President Truman was astounded when he was informed of the test’s success and suddenly felt like master of the world. Even being US vice president, Harry Truman did not even guess that billions of dollars were spent on the creation of a powerful nuclear weapon.
Indeed, the secrecy of the project was really very high. America’s Manhattan Project was implemented in a desert; people had to send letters to their relatives working in Los Alamos to the address of US Army, Post Box 1663.
On July 24, 1945, US President Harry Truman told Soviet leader Joseph Stalin that the USA had a powerful destructive weapon. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill lingered for a moment at the exit to see Stalin’s reaction. The latter, on the contrary, did not turn a hair and only thanked him for the information. The American and British leaders decided that the Soviet leader simply did not understand what he was told. However, witnesses say that Joseph Stalin understood the information perfectly well. After the meeting with the foreign leaders, he called Soviet physician Igor Kurchatov in Moscow and ordered him to speed up the creation of the Soviet atomic bomb.
In fact, Stalin knew perfectly well that America and Britain had been working on the creation of a nuclear weapon; foreign intelligence informed him of it. Already in 1941, Soviet foreign intelligence received information from London that a special session of the Uranium Committee had been held and a committee of the headquarters’ commanders had been ordered to start work on the creation of a nuclear weapon creation immediately.
Intelligence also informed Moscow about the Manhattan Project in the USA; in November 1941, a telegram was received about attempts of American scientists to create a powerful explosive. The creation of an uranium bomb, as the nuclear weapon was originally called, was mentioned in the telegram. The unique information obtained by Soviet intelligence predetermined terms of a Soviet nuclear weapon creation.
When the USSR tested a nuclear bomb of its own in August 1949 (when the USA and Britain expected it might happen not earlier than in 1955 – 1957), it meant the end of America’s nuclear weapon monopoly.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/24/44630.html