In December 1938, physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch made the startling discovery of nuclear fusion in a Berlin laboratory that would immediately revolutionise nuclear physics. Fears among scientists in Germany soon peaked over the possibility of the Nazi leader getting his hands on the technology and so Hungarian-born physicists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner drafted a letter to the US President that would change history. The document, signed by Albert Einstein, warned that “extremely powerful bombs of a new type” could be created and kickstarted what would come to be known as the Manhattan Project between the US, UK and Canada that led to the atomic bombs that were later dropped on Japan.
Professor Bruce Cameron Reed has published five textbooks and over 50 journal papers on the top secret mission – but he explained to Express.co.uk how the Allies were not the only ones interested.
He said: “It’s an interesting historical contrast how these things were organised and carried out – the Germans did not lack competent scientists.
“But by the end of the war, they had not even got their first nuclear reactor running.
“They had done experiments with enriching uranium, but only on minute quantities.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Adolf Hitler had his own plans for nuclear weapons (Image: GETTY)
Albert Einstein signed a letter warning of atomic weapons (Image: GETTY)
“It started with considerable vigour, then it got de-prioritised and with the invasion of Russia, the war began to turn against Germany.
“After about 1941 there was no contest.
“They had some technical problems that inhibited their reaccept development and the British played a huge role.”
The German nuclear weapons programme, informally known as the Uranverein, went through several phases of work, but was ultimately "frozen at the laboratory level”.
And Britain was key to that.
READ MORE: Einstein’s doomsday letter 'misconception' rewrites moment that could've ended humanity
The bombs were later dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Image: GETTY)
While simultaneously playing a “critical role” in the Manhattan Project, the UK was also preventing Hitler’s horrifying fantasy from becoming a reality by halting heavy water production in occupied Norway.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
This form of water uses heavier hydrogen isotopes to give it different nuclear properties – the increase of mass gives it