Study Guide

Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the Worlds Most Dangerous Weapon Chapter 20

By Steve Sheinkin

Chapter 20

Dirty Work

  • Knut Lier-Hansen goes to work Monday morning like nothing's happened.
  • Sörlie skis back into the mountains.
  • Haukelid goes up to Oslo to wait—if the ferry job fails he's supposed to find another way to complete the mission.
  • Haukelid reads a newspaper story about the Hydro sinking. The boat and its cargo, along with twenty-six people (a lot of them Norwegian civilians) are gone.
  • With their mission a success, Haukelid sneaks into Sweden for some momentary pampering and then heads back to Norway to fight alongside other resistance fighters.
  • Gen. Groves is happy the heavy water is gone, but he's still freaking out about the German atomic program. German scientists and engineers aren't schlubs, after all.
  • Groves needs to know more about how far along the Germans are in making an atomic bomb. In order to find out what he needs, he wants to kidnap Werner Heisenberg, the eminent German physicist. (Not this guy.)
  • Groves asks the Army Chief of Staff, General George Marshall, if he can kidnap Heisenberg.
  • Marshall tells Groves to do his own dirty work which, reading between the lines, Groves takes as a yes.
  • They have just developed a new top-secret government agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and this assignment is right up their alley. Specifically, it's right up Colonel Carl Eifler's alley. He's the kind of guy who thinks it's fun to shoot cigarettes out of his buddy's mouths. Good times.
  • Eifler is bummed out to be summoned to D.C. from the jungles of Southeast Asia where he's been plaguing the Japanese with hit-and-run raids, but when he finds out it's so he can kidnap Heisenberg, he asks when he can start.
  • Eifler comes up with a plan to enter Germany from Switzerland, nab Heisenberg, and then drag him back to Switzerland where they will fly out with the aid of the OSS. Then the plane will drop Eifler and Heisenberg to a submarine in the Atlantic, which will then take the men to the U.S.
  • Eifler asks what happens if things go wrong. Basically, his job is to deny Germany the use of Heisenberg's brain—so, in other words, kill Heisenberg. And if Eifler gets caught? Well, the OSS has never heard of him.