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Klaus Fuchs arrested for passing atomic bomb information to Soviets

Klaus Fuchs arrested for passing atomic bomb information to Soviets

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Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British scientist who helped developed the atomic bomb, is arrested in Great Britain for passing top-secret information about the bomb to the Soviet Union. The arrest of Fuchs led authorities to several other individuals involved in a spy ring, culminating with the arrest of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and their subsequent execution.

Fuchs and his family fled Germany in 1933 to avoid Nazi persecution and came to Great Britain, where Fuchs earned his doctorate in physics. During World War II, British authorities were aware of the leftist leanings of both Fuchs and his father. However, Fuchs was eventually invited to participate in the British program to develop an atomic bomb (the project named “Tube Alloys”) because of his expertise. At some point after the project began, Soviet agents contacted Fuchs and he began to pass information about British progress to them. Late in 1943, Fuchs was among a group of British scientists brought to America to work on the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop an atomic bomb. Fuchs continued his clandestine meetings with Soviet agents. When the war ended, Fuchs returned to Great Britain and continued his work on the British atomic bomb project.

Fuchs’ arrest in 1950 came after a routine security check of Fuchs’ father, who had moved to communist East Germany in 1949. While the check was underway, British authorities received information from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation that decoded Soviet messages in their possession indicated Fuchs was a Russian spy. On February 3, officers from Scotland Yard arrested Fuchs and charged him with violating the Official Secrets Act. Fuchs eventually admitted his role and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced, and he was released in 1959 and spent his remaining years living with his father in East Germany.

Fuchs’ capture set off a chain of arrests. Harry Gold, whom Fuchs implicated as the middleman between himself and Soviet agents, was arrested in the United States. Gold thereupon informed on David Greenglass, one of Fuchs’ co-workers on the Manhattan Project. After his apprehension, Greenglass implicated his sister-in-law and her husband, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. They were arrested in New York in July 1950, found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, and executed at Sing Sing Prison in June 1953.

READ MORE: The Spy Who Kept the Cold War From Boiling Over

The spy who changed everything: How Klaus Fuchs shaped the Cold War

By Mike Rossiter
Published December 3, 2017 5:30PM (EST)

Dr. Klaus Fuchs (AP)


Excerpted with permission from "The Spy Who Changed the World: Klaus Fuchs, Physicist and Soviet Double Agent" by Mike Rossiter. Copyright 2017, Skyhorse Publishing. Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.

Just how big a spy was Klaus Fuchs? Fuchs was arrested and jailed in Britain in 1950 for passing secrets about atomic research to the Soviet Union. At the time, Fleet Street claimed that he was a traitor who had sold the secrets of the atom bomb to the Russians. But as the initial storm of hysteria passed on to other crises and other spies, hard facts about the Fuchs case seemed elusive, despite investigation by writers more serious and authoritative than journalists in the popular press. The well-known author Rebecca West wrote a lengthy exposé of Fuchs’s treachery in "The Meaning of Treason." Two years after the trial a book about the “atom spies,” "The Traitors" by Alan Moorehead, was published and it turned out that the author had been selected and provided with enormous help by the British Security Service, MI5. Then a few years later the eminent historian Margaret Gowing turned her attention to Fuchs as a small part of her exhaustive volumes on the history of Britain’s nuclear program.

Despite all this work, facts seemed thin on the ground. True, Fuchs was a German scientist who had been a refugee from Nazi Germany, he had worked on atomic research, and his sentence of fourteen years’ imprisonment had been based on his own confession. The rest seemed contradictory. Was he, as the official history of Britain’s nuclear programme implies, a second-rate scientist merely handing over the work of others? Did he have any secrets to sell? Some academics suggested that the Russians would have built their bomb anyway, whether Fuchs had given them a few pointers or not. What sort of a person was he? Was he an evil conspirator or a slightly repressed man, naïve, divorced from reality, who gradually came to see the error of his ways? Was it true, as the MI5-sponsored book claimed, that their chief interrogator, William “Jim” Skardon, skillfully probed the psychology of Fuchs and persuaded him to confess?

I thought that I would get to the bottom of some of these questions several years ago, when I went to Moscow to inter-view someone who was intimately connected to Fuchs’s work as an atomic scientist. My appointment was with Academician Georgi Flerov, a man who had played a significant role in the first Soviet atomic bomb. It was Flerov who had written a letter to the Soviet chiefs of staff in 1942 suggesting that a nuclear weapon was possible, that it was likely that scientists in the United States, Britain and Germany were already working on this question, and that the Soviet Union should start its own programme urgently.

Flerov had later travelled to Berlin, in May 1945, shortly after the defeat of Nazi Germany, dressed in the uniform of a colonel in the NKGB,1 the Soviet State Security organization. He was hunting for German scientists who had worked 1 Soviet intelligence changed its organization and its name several times over the period covered by this book. To avoid complications and unnec-essary sets of initials, I will call them the OGPU before 1934 and the NKGB after that date. Soviet Military Intelligence, the GRU, was and remained a separate organization on the Nazi atomic programme during the war and arranging for them to go to the Soviet Union. It was not an easy invitation to refuse. Later, he had been the last scientist to leave the test tower when the first Soviet nuclear weapon was detonated.

It wasn’t easy to get to see Flerov. I had first written to the Soviet Academy of Sciences, without any response. But change was in the air of the Soviet Union: Mikhail Gorbachev was in charge and the policy of openness had been announced. Towards the end of 1988, I received a telephone call from a woman at the French Embassy in London, in the scientific attaché’s office. She told me that she had a message from Academician Flerov. He would be staying at a hotel and spa in Granville, on the Normandy coast, recuperating from a hip operation. Apart from the telephone number of the hotel, there was nothing more she would tell me.

In January 1989 I took a ferry from Portsmouth to St.-Malo. Despite the talk about reform in Moscow, the Cold War was not yet over. Leaving Portsmouth, the ferry passed close to a Russian “trawler”, moored just outside the 3-mile limit. Its upper works supported a huge array of aerials and satellite receivers, monitoring the naval base at Portsmouth. It was evening, and the ferry’s navigation lights reflected brightly off the dark sea, which was already showing signs of an expected storm. It became so rough that we could not complete the journey and docked instead at Cherbourg. At five in the morning I was on a coach that took the long coast road to St.-Malo.

Georgi Flerov was a short, bald man in his seventies, with bushy, prominent eyebrows. He had a penetrating glance, accompanied by a slightly humorous expression. We talked for about four hours, about his experiments with plutonium, his letter to the chiefs of staff and, more importantly, about arrangements to film him at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, which had been the first Soviet centre established for research into atomic weapons. It was named after Igor Kurchatov, the young and energetic scientist who had headed the Soviet bomb programme, and who had directed Flerov’s work leading up to the first explosion. He also mentioned that he would like us to film at his Joint Nuclear Research Institute in Dubna, where he was the emeritus professor, but he would have to negotiate separate permission for this.

I asked Flerov about the role of spies like Klaus Fuchs. He said that the information that they had supplied had saved some time, maybe one or two years at most. But everything had to be worked out, and the conventional explosives, the reactors and the plutonium had to be made in the Soviet Union by Russian scientists.

Flerov was still recuperating from his operation, and after four hours of conversation he became tired. He confirmed that he would make the arrangements for my visit to Moscow, and I left.

On the ferry back to Portsmouth I thought more about what Flerov had said. He seemed not to want to talk about the role of espionage, or the contribution of the German scientists towards the work of their Soviet counterparts. But if the information they supplied had really saved two years, then that was a long time. After all, it had taken the US only three years to build a bomb. Two years of money and labour saved was not something to be easily dismissed.

Four months later, I was on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow. The arrangements had been impossibly complicated, and permission to interview Flerov at the Kurchatov Institute had been granted only on the condition that I would use a Soviet film crew, something that I had been reluctant to accept. As it turned out, the compromise was a mistake, but that’s another story.

It was my first visit to Moscow and what I discovered came as a profound shock. A British diplomat I once interviewed told me that the Soviet Union was just Upper Volta with rockets. This was a judgement I found harsh. As a young boy I had been excited by Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, a Russian as well, and thought the diplomat was arrogant and patronizing.

Ironically, I had been given a room in the Hotel Cosmos, on the outskirts of Moscow, past the outer ring road near to the Science Park and Kosmonaut Museum that celebrates the successes of the Russian space programme. The hotel is a massive building in the shape of a huge curved wall, with a broad spread of steps leading down to the road and, incongruously, a statue of Charles de Gaulle looking towards the heroic arch at the entrance to the park. The Cosmos was built to house foreign visitors to the 1980 Moscow Olympics and had 1,700 rooms. It was now being used by Intourist to corral visiting Western businessmen, invited to Moscow by various government departments in the first flush of Gorbachev’s effort at liberalization. The lobby and bars were full of Russian women and their pimps they seemed to have no trouble getting past the security men at the doors, who were there to stop ordinary Russians from entering. Our Russian coordinator, who met me at the airport, explained that this was because the hotel was a hard-currency area, and that ordinary Russians would not be able to buy anything anyway. She seemed oblivious to the transactions going on at the tables around us in the bar, although it was true that the Russians were selling, not buying.

Reports in the British press about the moribund Soviet economy had not prepared me for the truth. Outside the hotel, boys of ten or eleven would rush up to any foreigner, offering Red Army cap badges or a variety of Party lapel pins in return for dollars or cigarettes. I took the metro to Red Square and went to the famous GUM store, which everybody referred to as the Soviet Harrods. There was nothing on the shelves. I found one or two bakers, which were crowded with aggressive shoppers who seemed resentful at my presence. Returning to the hotel, I stopped at a small corner shop. It was grimy, the bare floorboards caked in dirt, and all that was on display was a crate of shriveled potatoes. The hotel restaurant seemed to be as short of food as the Moscow shops. Breakfasts were a chaotic affair, with crowds of suited foreigners chasing trays of bread rolls, or hardboiled eggs, with never enough to go round. At night the only meal available was pickled fish and deep-fried chicken Kiev.

One businessman I met was the director of an English company producing heavy-duty laptop computers. He’d been invited to Moscow by the Ministry of Heavy Industry, a euphemism for the state-owned arms manufacturers, lured by a teaching deal and an offer to purchase five thousand of his expensive laptops. This would have netted his company £1 million, a decent sum in 1989. His first day had been as he expected. His driver picked him up promptly and took him to an office to address a classroom of middle-ranking bureaucrats on networks and the values of mobile computing. After three days, his driver was picking him up at eleven o’clock and half the members of his seminar didn’t turn up. At the start of the second week, he had stopped going altogether because his driver had vanished. One day he was driven instead to a government office where he was asked if he would consider a barter deal: his five thousand laptops for several million pairs of shoes. He had taken this offer seriously, but his company in the UK had told him no one was prepared to buy Russian shoes at any price. He remained in the Cosmos, in limbo.

What, I wondered, would Fuchs have made of this society? Was this what he had spied for?

On my second day, Flerov arranged to pay me a visit. In my naïvety, I did not think that he would be able to negotiate the strict security and the hordes of touts in the lobby. But I saw him walking with a slight limp down the corridor towards me. He was calm and unruffled. He had arrived in a huge black ZiL, a limousine used by high-ranking officials and Party leaders, and he had walked unobstructed into the hotel. He stayed with me for an hour, and said that he was sorry that the visit to Dubna had not been authorized however, he would be able to tell us everything we wanted to know when we came to the Kurchatov Institute the next day.

What he went on to say revealed more about his motives for talking to me. He knew that the US work on the atomic bomb, the Manhattan Project, had been the subject of any number of books and documentaries, and he felt that it was time for his own comrades’ efforts to be recognized. In particular, too much attention was being given to the spies. Here I detected a real passion. Flerov thought that the NKGB were now claiming far too much credit for the success of the bomb project. The scientists were now fighting back to rescue their reputation.

The next day both the Soviet camera crew and the driver of the crew bus seemed reluctant to go to the Kurchatov Institute. They spoke of it as something that was secret, and they didn’t know anything about it. When we finally arrived I couldn’t understand their attitude. The ochre-walled entrance was at the end of a street called Akademik Kurchatov and there was an enormous black marble bust of the scientist, at least 20 feet high, in front of its main gate, which had a large, two-storey building as a gatehouse. At the start of the work on the Soviet atomic bomb, at the height of the war against Nazi Germany, Kurchatov had vowed never to shave his beard until the project had succeeded. The black statue reproduced the long beard that developed, but it didn’t show the sharp brain and quick-witted humour that he was reputed to possess. We drove in and were guided through extensive forested grounds to an old wooden dacha.

Entering, I was greeted warmly by Flerov, and was surprised to see that there were about twenty people assem-bled in a large room. Several tables were laid out with an enormous spread of bread, caviar, cold meat, pickles and salads. As I started to talk to some of the people in the room I realized there were several present who had also worked with Kurchatov, and they too expected to be interviewed. One woman, Zinaida Ershova, had travelled to Paris in 1937 to study under Irène Curie, Marie Curie’s daughter. Ms. Ershova had worked with Kurchatov in Moscow from the very beginning.

The film crew had set up the camera and lights in an alcove separated by some folding doors from the main room where the buffet was laid out. I noticed that the old atomic veterans had arranged their chairs in a circle so that they could observe the interview. I thought that this wouldn’t help if Flerov wanted to say anything indiscreet, but I was running out of time.

As we started filming, Flerov began to describe his impressions of Kurchatov and to tell his by now fairly well-worn story of his own letter to the High Command. His account changed little from what he had said in the spa in Granville several months before. He was not going to give away any secrets.

Then Flerov started to describe how Lavrenty Beria, head of the NKGB, had taken control of the project. This was the reason that he himself had gone to Berlin in 1945 in the uniform of an NKGB colonel. Surprisingly, he was extremely outspoken about Beria, describing him as uneducated and a thug, who understood nothing of the project. He talked about one incident when Beria asked a scientist, menacingly, if he was familiar with the inside of the Lubyanka, the NKGB’s headquarters and prison. As they got closer to the first test explosion, Beria became more and more anxious about the outcome, and all the scientists knew that their lives would be forfeit if it was a failure. I had not expected Flerov to talk about this, and during a pause to begin a new roll of film I turned around to see the reaction of the other members of the institute. We were alone. The folding doors had been quietly closed behind me and the old scientists, who had been keenly observing until then, had been hidden, safely distanced from Flerov’s attack on the head of the NKGB.

Flerov repeated his remarks that perhaps eighteen months or two years might have been saved by espionage, but how, and with what information exactly, he could not say. He personally had never seen any information from the NKGB everything he did and worked on had been the result of discussions with other Soviet scientists. Kurchatov might have seen material from the spies, but it was a deep secret, a deadly secret, as anything to do with Beria was. And Kurchatov never talked about it.

Academician Flerov decided that the interview was over. He indicated politely that he had nothing more to say and rose from his chair. Ms. Ershova took his place. She was short and slim and must have been in her eighties. She started, with remarkable composure and apparent eloquence, an unbroken narrative that I found impossible to interrupt. She described the work that she did on the crucial problem of refining uranium, which she had begun in 1942. She talked about various accidents and explosions in the Moscow facility, and the scientists’ complete lack of understanding about the dangers of radiation. It was astounding that she was still alive. She spoke of the changes in direction and facilities when the NKGB started to fund the research in 1943, and outlined the things that the German scientists helped with, as well as the things that they knew nothing about. She too had almost nothing to say about espionage, or any other material help from the NKGB. These things, she said, had never been talked about, nobody ever knew anything about them. The German scientists, on the other hand, had been in Moscow, and later in Sukhumi on the Black Sea they were known, and anyway their knowledge was limited to specific things.

I left the Kurchatov Institute, and Moscow, knowing nothing more about Klaus Fuchs. A few months later the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Soviet bloc went into its final economic and political meltdown. Former officers in the NKGB—or the KGB as it became after the war—started writing their biographies, or gave highly coloured interviews to Western journalists. Some of the Soviet archives were also suddenly made available to journalists and researchers, but their files were hard to decipher and the secrets of the catalogues remained in the heads of elderly ladies who seemed to be their sole guardians.

Gradually, over the years, more and more information surfaced, in the United States and in Britain. In addition, shortly before he died in 1988, Fuchs had given an interview to an East German film crew—the first time in his life that he had talked about his work as a scientist, and as a spy. This also became available with the reunification of Germany. Some MI5 files were finally released to the National Archives, although they remain heavily censored. All this means that it is now possible to piece together more fragments of the hidden history, to put some meat on the previously skeletal story of hackneyed anecdote and disinformation that passed for so many years as the account of Klaus Fuchs and his espionage. What does this new information now reveal?

For over forty years, the world was in the grip of the Cold War, and at times Armageddon seemed frighteningly close. In 1940 nuclear warfare was science fiction. Five years later it was reality. Five years after that a nuclear arms race was under way, and five years after that, by 1955, giant thermonuclear explosions were poisoning the world’s atmosphere and there seemed no limit to the destructive power that scientists could conjure out of the atom. Klaus Fuchs was connected to all of this. He played a key role in the creation of atomic weapons for each of the three wartime allies who later became the chief enemies in the Cold War, and he assisted them all in their creation of even more powerful H-bombs.

It wasn’t only his own work as a mathematician and physicist that contributed to the nuclear standoff. It was his politics and his belief in the need for political action that became a catalyst for the birth of the nuclear age. An age which, of course, has not ended, merely changed its form. Klaus Fuchs was the most important spy of the twentieth century—a spy who changed the world.

Soviet Atom Spy Klaus Fuchs Dies : Physicist, 76, Provided Moscow With Secrets of A-Bomb

Klaus Fuchs, the physicist who passed Western nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, died Thursday at the age of 76, the East German news agency ADN reported. It gave no details of his death.

In 1950, Fuchs was tried and sentenced to prison in Britain for giving the Soviets secrets on the construction of atomic weapons. According to Western specialists, the information Fuchs provided may have speeded up the construction of a Soviet atomic bomb by years, hastening the country’s rise to superpower status.

Fuchs, a German Communist, fled his native country for Britain in 1934. He was expelled to East Germany in 1959 after being released from a British prison.

Fuchs’ testimony at his trial--conducted mostly in secret--led to the arrest of other spies, including Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were executed in the United States in 1953.

Fuchs was born in a suburb of Frankfurt, where his father was a professor of theology and a Quaker. The father opposed the Nazi regime and was sent to a concentration camp after the Nazis came to power in 1933.

Fuchs joined the German Communist Party in 1930, and in 1934, he was forced to leave Germany for England, where he continued his scientific studies, graduating from Edinburgh University. In 1940, after the outbreak of World War II, he was sent to Canada and interned as a German national.

However, he was soon allowed to return to Britain--for advanced study at Glasgow University--and he became a British subject. In 1942, he was offered a position as a nuclear research assistant, his Communist past apparently unsuspected.

Later, in his confession, he said that when he learned the nature of his secret work, he informed the Soviets in order that they might share in what he learned.

In December, 1943, Fuchs was sent to the United States as a member of Britain’s Atomic Energy Commission. He remained there until 1946, working on the development of the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, N.M.

When he returned to Britain, he was appointed deputy scientific director of the British Atomic Energy Research Institute at Harwell, near Oxford, a position he held until 1950.

By then, British and American security authorities realized that atomic secrets were being leaked to the Soviets. In time, Fuchs was identified as the source. He was questioned and admitted to having passed secrets to the Soviets for several years.

Fuchs’ testimony soured British-U.S. scientific relations. For nine years thereafter, the Americans, charging the British with lax security, shared no atomic information with them. The Fuchs case also bolstered Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s charges that Soviet sympathizers permeated the American government.

A British court sentenced Fuchs to 14 years in prison, but he was released after serving nine. In East Germany, he married a fellow Communist, Greta Keilson, whom he had met in the 1930s, and took over as director of East Germany’s nuclear research center near Dresden. He was admitted to the Central Committee of the Socialist Union, East Germany’s Communist party.

He retired in 1979. East German leader Erich Honecker called him “one of the first scientists to recognize clearly the role and responsibility of the scientist in the atomic age.”

Fuchs’ life became the subject of books, plays and films, and he insisted that he never had any regrets about his espionage. He said his spying was justified because he considered the Soviet system superior to Western capitalism.

In one of his last interviews, the slight, bespectacled, balding scientist declared that communism was the better system for scientists because it allowed them to translate their sense of responsibility into practice.

In its report of his death, the East German news agency made no mention of Fuchs’ espionage activities. It said he had devoted his life to the working-class movement and was “a true friend of the Soviet Union.”

Atom Spy Klaus Fuchs Jailed

The scientist was found guilty of betraying atomic secrets on March 1st, 1950.

The German-born, British atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs was 38 when, under the Official Secrets Act, he was found guilty of betraying atomic secrets to Soviet agents. The judicial process was rapid in dealing with him: Fuchs was arrested on February 2nd committed for trial at Bow Street on February 10th tried and sentenced at the Old Bailey on March 1st. As he had pleaded ‘guilty’ at the outset, the trial was equally swift, lasting less than two hours.

With the Cold War well under way, and in a climate of anti-Communism, little sympathy was afforded to a man guilty of supplying atomic secrets to the ‘enemy’. The maximum sentence ordained by Parliament was fourteen years, and that is what Fuchs received.

Born in Frankfurt on December 29th, 1911, Fuchs, like his Lutheran minister father, was to become deeply committed to socialist ideology, joining the German Communist Party in 1930. With the rise of Hitler, Fuchs’ political affiliation made him a ready target for the Nazis, resulting in him fleeing to Britain in 1934. Later he explained that it was actually the Communist Party that had sent him out of Germany ‘to finish studies’ that would enable him to contribute ‘in the building up of . . .[a] Communist Germany’. He finished his studies in Britain, obtaining doctorates in Philosophy and Physics, and won the Carnegie Research Fellowship in 1939.

A shy, reclusive man, the talents of this exceptional scientist were recognised by a professor at Birmingham University, who was then engaged on the ‘Tube Alloys’ programme – the cover name for the British atomic bomb research project. Accepting the call for assistance, Fuchs signed a security undertaking on June 18th, 1942. Within months he had become naturalised as a British subject, swearing the oath of allegiance to the King. In spite of his known political leanings he had been blithely admitted to Britain’s most secret nuclear work. His allegiance to Communism, however, took precedence over his newly-declared loyalty to the crown, and on learning of the significance of his work, Fuchs decided to make contact with Moscow via the Communist Party. Any doubts in his conscience were resolved through his Marxist philosophy, as his future confession revealed: ‘dialectical necessity of correct Party behaviour permitted espionage in the name of historical determinism’.

So important had his services become, that in December 1943, Fuchs was sent to the US as part of a research mission into atomic energy, assigned to the American atomic bomb programme – the Manhattan Project. After a stint at Colombia University, he was transferred to the weapons laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Throughout his 18-month stay, Fuchs continued to send the Soviets information of the utmost sensitivity (including details of the ‘Fat Man’ bomb dropped on Nagasaki) through a spy ring which included Harry Gold and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He probably knew as much then about the theory and design of the A-bomb as anyone in the world.

In 1946 he returned to Britain and became head of the theoretical physics division at the Harwell nuclear research station in Berkshire. He continued to pass secrets to the Russians, including the first design of the hydrogen bomb.

Suspicion of Fuchs’ spying finally came to light from US intelligence intercepts of Soviet signals traffic, known as Venona – in particular, a Soviet consulate message transmitted in 1944, but not deciphered until 1949. On January 27th, 1950, Fuchs confessed to MI5, apparently profoundly relieved at being discovered.

Fuchs’ espionage had a profound effect: the US hydrogen bomb effort was accelerated and on March 8th, the Soviets announced that they, too, possessed the A-bomb. An American ban on the flow of atomic secrets to Britain was set for nine years. In 1959, after serving nine years in jail, Fuchs was released to Communist East Germany where he became deputy director of the DDR’s nuclear research institute. He died on January 28th, 1988.

Klaus Fuchs

Klaus Fuchs (1911-1988) was a German theoretical physicist and spy who worked at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project and passed atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.


Fuchs was born in Rüsselsheim, German Empire on December 29, 1911. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Leipzig, where his father taught theology. In 1930, he joined the German Communist Party. Later, Fuchs transferred to the University of Kiel when his father became a professor of religion there.

After the Nazis came to power, Fuchs fled to England in September 1933 to avoid persecution. While in England, Fuchs worked as a research assistant at the University of Bristol to Nevill Mott, a professor of physics. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1937. After graduation, Fuchs began working under Max Born at the University of Edinburgh, where he later earned a Ph.D. in Science.

Fuchs applied for British citizenship in 1939, but his application had not been processed by the time World War II broke out in Europe. As a result, in July 1940 Fuchs was interned as a German refugee and sent to Quebec, Canada. However, Professor Born secured his release, and Fuchs returned to Edinburgh resuming his work with Born in January 1941. In May 1941, Rudolf Peierls, co-author of the Frisch-Peierls Report, invited Fuchs to join the British atomic bomb research project, codenamed “Tube Alloys.”

Fuchs became a British citizen in August 1942 and subsequently signed the Official Secrets Act, pledging not to pass state secrets related to national security and defense to foreign governments. Yet still sympathetic to the Communist cause, Fuchs shortly thereafter began providing Soviet GRU operatives with classified information on the progress of Britain’s atomic research and development project.

In late 1943, Fuchs was part of a British delegation of scientists sent to Columbia University in New York to work on the Manhattan Project. In particular, he worked on developing the gaseous diffusion method of uranium enrichment. Seeking to continue receiving intelligence on the Anglo-American atomic bomb project, Harry Gold, a KGB agent codenamed “Raymond”, contacted Fuchs in early 1944.


Fuchs was transferred to Los Alamos in August 1944, where he worked in the Theoretical Division under Hans Bethe and Edward Teller. There, he calculated the approximate energy yield of an atomic explosion, and specialized in researching implosion methods, focusing in particular on the “Fat Man” implosion bomb. Additionally, he was present at the Trinity Test on July 16, 1945.

Fuchs continued to spy on the Anglo-American atomic bomb project for the Soviet Union while at Los Alamos. His primary point of contact was Harry Gold, who served as a courier for a number of other spies at Los Alamos.

In addition to providing Gold with secrets on the American atomic project, Fuchs also passed detailed information about the hydrogen bomb to the Soviet Union. Some experts estimate that Fuchs’ intelligence enabled the Soviets to develop and test their own atomic bomb one to two years earlier than otherwise expected.

Following the end of the war, Fuchs returned to England and continued his work on the British atomic bomb project as the head of the Physics Department at the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment.

It was not until 1949, four years after the end of the war, that decrypted cables from the United States Army Signal Intelligence Service (SIS)'s “Venona” project revealed Fuchs was a Soviet spy.

Fuchs was arrested in January 1950 and charged with violating the Official Secrets Act. He admitted to spying for the USSR and was convicted of espionage in March. Fuchs was sentenced to 14 years in prison, of which he served 9. His testimony led to the arrest of Harry Gold, David Greenglass, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.


Fuchs was released on June 23, 1959 and left for East Germany, where he was granted citizenship and appointed Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Nuclear Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf laboratory. He was additionally a member of the East German Academy of Sciences and 1979 recipient of the Karl Marx Medal of Honor, the highest distinction in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for exceptional merit.

Fuchs retired in 1979 and died on January 28, 1988 at the age of 76 in East Berlin, GDR.

Klaus Fuchs, Physicist Who Gave Atom Secrets to Soviet, Dies at 76

Klaus Fuchs, the German-born physicist who was imprisoned in the 1950's in Britain after being convicted of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, died yesterday, the East German press agency A.D.N. reported. He was 76 years old.

An editor of the agency, reached by telephone at its offices in East Berlin, said she had no further details concerning Dr. Fuchs's death.

An Eastern bloc diplomat in Washington said that since the agency had disclosed the news, it was to be assumed that Dr. Fuchs had died in East Germany. He moved there in 1959 after being released from prison.

Dr. Fuchs was a German Communist who was forced to leave Hitler's Germany in 1933. He emigrated to Britain, where he finished his education as a physicist and went on to carry out nuclear espionage in Britain and the United States from 1941 to 1950. Worked at Los Alamos

Some experts have calculated that his spying enabled the Russians to develop their own atom bomb, in 1949, at least one year and possibly two years earlier than otherwise would have been possible.

His most important spying was widely believed to have been done during World War II, when he worked on the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, N. M. His arrest in 1950 touched off a furor, and after pleading guilty at his trial, he served 9 years of a 14-year sentence. Over the decades, his case was repeatedly the subject of books and stage and screen works.

The apprehension of Dr. Fuchs put investigators on a trail that led eventually to the conviction, at a trial in New York, of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. They were electrocuted in 1953 at Sing Sing prison.

The Rosenbergs were indicted for conspiring to convey classified military information to the Russians. The prosecution charged that they had enlisted Mrs. Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass - who, like Dr. Fuchs, worked at Los Alamos - to give secrets about atomic weapons to them and to another spy, Harry Gold.

In his later years in East Germany, Dr. Fuchs resumed his scientific career, became an executive of the national atomic research institute near Dresden, and retired in 1979. Served On Central Committee

A wiry, bespectacled figure, he commanded great respect in his latter-day homeland. At his death, he had been for 20 years a member of the Central Committee of the East German Communist Party. He was also a member of the East German Academy of Sciences.

The East German press agency made public a eulogy yesterday that did not mention Dr. Fuchs's spying, but cited ''his scientific achievements in the field of theoretical physics'' and ''his consistent action for socialism and for the maintaining of peace'' as having 'ɻrought him high national and international esteem.''

'ɺs a socialist scientist, university teacher, Communist and loyal friend of the Soviet Union,'' it said of his service in East Germany, ''he participated for two decades, successfully and creatively, in the development of the power industry.'' Son of a Pastor

Dr. Fuchs was born Dec. 29, 1911, outside Frankfurt, the son of Emil Fuchs, a Lutheran pastor who became a Quaker and anti-Nazi and was put in a concentration camp, which he survived.

As a young man, Klaus Fuchs for a time found Social Democratic politics appealing, before becoming a Communist in 1930. But as A.D.N. saw it yesterday, ''In his early years he brought his whole strength to bear, in the Communist youth movement and as a member of the Communist Party of Germany, toward the creation of the political preconditions for a new pattern of society.''

He was active in the anti-Hitler underground for more than a year before taking refuge in France and then proceeding to Britain. There he earned a doctor of science degree at Edinburgh University.

He was afterward interned for a time in Canada as a German alien, but was permitted to return to Britain, where he did advanced study in Glasgow and became a British subject.

Early in the war, when he was back in England, he was offered an assistant's post at the atom-bomb development project at Birmingham University and signed a pledge of secrecy.

According to a statement that he later made at the War Office in London in 1950, as reported in the 1987 book ''Klaus Fuchs: the Man Who Stole the Atomb Bomb'' by Norman Moss, Dr. Fuchs said, ''When I learned the purpose of the work, I decided to inform Russia, and I established contact through another member of the Communist Party.''

In the statement, he added: ''Since that time I have had continuous contact with persons who were completely unknown to me, except that I knew that they would hand whatever information I gave them to the Russian authorities. At this time I had complete confidence in Russian policy and I believed that the Western Allies deliberately allowed Russia and Germany to fight each other to the death. I had, therefore, no hesitation in giving all the information I had, even though occasionally I tried to concentrate mainly on giving information about the results of my own work.'' To Los Alamos During War

Along with other British nuclear scientists, he proceeded to the United States during the war and took part, at Los Alamos, in the creation of the first atomic bomb.

He returned to Britain after the war and became an executive of the British nuclear energy research center at Harwell, outside Oxford.

At a preliminary hearing after he was arrested, a British prosecutor observed that Dr. Fuchs ''produced in himself a classic example of that immortal duality of English literature -a Jekyll and Hyde.''

'ɺs Jekyll he was a normal citizen in the use of his magnificent brain in the cause of science,'' the prosecutor said. 'ɺs Hyde, he was betraying his oath of allegiance, his vows of security and the friendship of his friends.''

Mr. Moss, the British author, said yesterday in the village of St.-Omer in France: ''It's curious that a man who was such an important spy was not a professional spy, unlike Kim Philby and so many others. He was a professional scientist and a very good one and he became a spy simply because he was an atomic physicist at a time when, as it turned out, developments in atomic physics were the most important things happening in the world.'' ɺ Man Driven by Conscience'

''He was a man driven by conscience - his father taught his children always to do what their conscience told them to - and he was tormented by a conflict between his political beliefs and his slowly developing ties of friendship with the scientists he worked with,'' Mr. Moss said. Another 1987 book about Mr. Fuchs, by an American historian, Robert Chadwell Williams, is ''Klaus Fuchs, Atom Spy.''

Dr. Fuchs was the recipient of various East German party and Government honors, including the Karl Marx Medal - the country's highest civilian decoration - and the title of distinguished scientist of the people.

After arriving in East Germany in 1959, Dr. Fuchs married Greta Keilson, a German Communist whom he had come to know years before in France.

October 18, 1945: Soviets Receive Atomic Bomb Plans from Klaus Fuchs

On October 18, 1945, the Soviet nuclear program received American atomic bomb (plutonium implosion type) plans from scientist, Klaus Fuchs, a German refugee from the Third Reich. Fuchs had been passing nuclear secrets to the USSR in Britain prior to his involvement in the US-British-Canadian Manhattan Project.

Digging Deeper

Born in Germany the son of a Lutheran minister, the Fuchs family had communist leanings and opposed the rise of the Nazi state. Fuchs went to Britain in 1933 to study physics, and was awarded a PhD and a DSc (doctor of science) degree. In 1939 at the outbreak of war, he was at first detained, until vouched for as an anti-Nazi.

While working on the British nuclear program, Klaus began passing secrets to Soviet agents via courier, and upon being sent to the United States (with a stop along the way to internment in Canada) he continued providing atomic secrets to the Soviets. Oddly enough, he also illegally supplied the British with American nuclear secrets.

Returning to Britain after the war, Fuchs continued to spy for the Soviets until he was caught in 1949 and convicted in a 90 minute trial in 1950. Given a sentence of only 14 years, he ended up serving only 9 years and then moved to East Germany, where he schooled Chinese scientists in nuclear weaponry, greatly accelerating the Chinese nuclear program. He continued to work in the nuclear field for the communist government of East Germany until retiring in 1979, and died in 1988, a communist hero to a communist country that would only exist another 2 years.

Fuchs had apparently cooperated with Western authorities to supply information about his spying, his contacts, and what information he delivered, some of which assisted in the prosecution of atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. It is unknown to researchers exactly how much of an impact his delivery of information had in accelerating or enhancing Soviet nuclear weapon development, due to much information about him remaining classified, especially by the British. In fact, when the US found out Fuchs had also illegally supplied American secrets to Britain, a program designed to supply the UK with US built nuclear bombs was cancelled.

Fuchs had also passed along information from the US development of the hydrogen (fusion) type of nuclear bomb, but again, it is unknown how much this information actually helped the Soviets.

Question for students (and subscribers): How did a researcher with lifelong communist ties manage to pass background checks and avoid detection as a spy for several years? Is it a good thing or a bad thing that spies such as Fuchs, the Rosenbergs, and others ensured the Soviets would also be nuclear armed, creating a nuclear stalemate? Let us know youropinion in the comments section below this article.

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Revealed: Another Jew Traitor Gave Atom Bomb Secrets to Soviets

The New York Times, the sister publication of the Daily Stormer, has done great work revealing the foul misdeeds of another Jewish traitor: Oscar Seborer.

The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the New Mexican desert — a result of a highly secretive effort code-named the Manhattan Project, whose nerve center lay nearby in Los Alamos. Just 49 months later, the Soviets detonated a nearly identical device in Central Asia, and Washington’s monopoly on nuclear arms abruptly ended.

How Moscow managed to make such quick progress has long fascinated scientists, federal agents and historians. The work of three spies eventually came to light. Now atomic sleuths have found a fourth. Oscar Seborer, like the other spies, worked at wartime Los Alamos, a remote site ringed by tall fences and armed guards. Mr. Seborer nonetheless managed to pass sensitive information about the design of the American weapon to Soviet agents.

The spy fled to the Soviet Union some years later the F.B.I. eventually learned of his defection and the espionage but kept the information secret.

It’s certainly curious that official sources have chosen to keep this a secret for 70+ years and only now have private researchers been able to reveal it.

Seborer was, of course, a Jew.

Mr. Seborer was born in New York City in 1921, the youngest child of Jewish immigrants from Poland…

His entire family seems to have consisted of Communist Jews. Most of them escaped to the Soviet Union after the damage had been done. They were never brought to justice.

Almost all the traitors involved in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets were Jews. If the Cold War had ever gone hot, their betrayal could have cost millions of lives.

Four traitors are known to have stolen secrets from Los Alamos specifically.

The identities of the other three Los Alamos spies have long been known. Klaus Fuchs, a physicist, was arrested in early 1950, shortly after the first Soviet detonation. His testimony led to a second spy, David Greenglass, a machinist, who was also taken into custody. Not until 1995 was the third spy, Theodore Hall, the youngest physicist at Los Alamos, identified publicly. By then he had moved to England and was never convicted of espionage.

Of these, all but Fuchs were Jews. (Some online sources do say Fuchs was a Jew but I have read he was born into a Lutheran family who don’t seem to have been conversos. Not having researched the subject intensively, I’ll reserve judgement, but I incline to the view that Fuchs was not Jewish. The woman who acted as his courier was, however, a Jewess.)

It really is astonishing how often reality seems to correspond to the trope of the traitorous Jew. You would think at some point the goyim would wake up and realize that, at a minimum, you need to keep an especially close watch on these people and maybe ban them from sensitive positions. Or just kick them out of the country altogether and save yourself the bother. But no. We let them fool us over and over again.

Of Quaker Background

Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs was born on December 29, 1911, in Rüsselsheim, Germany, near Darmstadt in the German state of Hesse. He was influenced heavily by his father, Emil, a Quaker minister with a strong socialist and idealist orientation that he impressed upon all his children. When the family later moved to the city of Kiel they became known as the Red Foxes of Kiel, both for their red hair and their leftwing philosophies (the name Fuchs means “Fox” in German). Fuchs became interested in politics as a student at the University of Leipzig in 1930. He joined the socialist Social Democratic Party but was disillusioned after that party made accommodations with conservatives in the maneuvering that accompanied Adolf Hitler's rise, and his politics moved leftward. At the University of Kiel he joined the Communist Party of Germany, which he and many other leftist Germans felt represented the last bastion of resistance to Hitler.

Conditions for Fuchs and his family deteriorated rapidly as the Nazis' grip on Germany tightened, and harassment caused Fuchs's mother to commit suicide. Fuchs and his siblings scattered, and Fuchs decided to leave Germany. In September of 1933 he arrived in England. By that time he was a committed Communist who took orders from the Communist Party in Moscow, and he left Germany only to escape persecution. “I was sent out by the Party,” he was quoted as saying by biographer Robert Chadwell Williams in Klaus Fuchs: Atom Spy. “They said that I must finish my studies because after the revolution in Germany people would be required with technical knowledge to take part in the building up of the Communist Germany.”

Fuchs took his instructions seriously. He enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Bristol, receiving his degree in 1936 after writing a thesis titled “The Cohesive Forces of Copper and the Elastic Constants of Monovalent Metals.” His Communist leanings were noted by British officials, but in 1930s Britain, with many Britons viewing the Soviet Union as a bulwark against German fascism, his political positions were not thought to represent a significant threat. Fuchs moved on to the University of Edinburgh and continued to do physics research. Supporting himself on a fellowship stipend, he published a series of articles in 1939 and 1940 dealing with electromagnetic radiation and wave functions.

After war broke out, Fuchs fell under more suspicion because he was German than because he was a Communist. In 1940 he was questioned in Edinburgh, arrested, and sent to an internment camp run by the Canadian army near Quebec City, Quebec. Later he was transferred to another Quebec camp near Sherbrooke. Conditions were difficult in these camps in the Sherbrooke facility, only five faucets and six latrines were provided for the 720 prisoners. However, Fuchs and other prisoners organized a camp university at which he gave physics lectures. Fuchs was released from the internment camp and taken back to Britain at the behest of two British scientists: Max Born, his former advisor in Edinburgh, and Rudolf Peierls, a scientist working on Britain's atomic research program centered at Birmingham University. Their intercession was successful because Fuchs was on a list of scientists wanted for work on Britain's atomic bomb enterprise, which was code-named the Tube Alloys project.

Atomic Espionage

Soviet knowledge of the Manhattan Project was extensive. German-born Klaus Fuchs, a theoretical physicist, fled to England. He was a member of "the British Mission", where he made major contributions in the theory of gaseous diffusion cascades, and in implosion theory. He, along with David Greenglass, passed secrets to the Soviets through the spy Harry Gold, which helped the Soviet Union get a head start on its research and stay aware of what was going on at Los Alamos. Fuchs passed detailed designs about the implosion bomb, as well as some early information on the hydrogen bomb.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Fuchs was finally arrested in England in 1950. His arrest led to the arrests of Gold, and Greenglass, his sister Ethel Rosenberg and her husband Julius. The Rosenbergs were convicted of passing atomic secrets and were sentenced to death, which drew worldwide protest. They were executed in 1953. Fuchs served nine years of a 14-year sentence. He then immigrated to East Germany, where he became deputy director of their nuclear research institute. He died on January 28, 1988.

Watch the video: The Atomic Bomb, Russia and Spies (June 2022).


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