Study Guide

Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the Worlds Most Dangerous Weapon Chapter 28

By Steve Sheinkin

Chapter 28

Falling Stars

  • Now it's April of 1945, and Truman has gone from a nobody Missouri senator to the Vice Presidency—but it's clear that FDR doesn't really need his help running things…
  • Until Truman gets summoned to the White House, where Eleanor tells him that the president has died.
  • He quickly gets sworn in, and then he summons FDR's cabinet members to tell them he's in charge, now, dudes.
  • Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War, finally tells Truman about the atomic bomb they've been developing.
  • Meanwhile in Europe, Hitler's armies are rapidly disintegrating.
  • The Alsos mission guys storm into Haigerloch trying to find Heisenberg's secret lab.
  • When they finally find it, they discover that the Germans have been trying (and failing) to build a uranium pile, just like the one Fermi did in his experiment over two years ago. Ha.
  • According to Kurt Diebner, the leader of Hitler's bomb project, the reason they're so far behind the Americans is because of the elimination of heavy-water production in Norway. Boom, baby.
  • American soldiers find Germany's entire supply of uranium buried at a nearby farm and ship it off to the United States.
  • Now that Leslie Groves is positive the Germans aren't anywhere close to getting a nuclear bomb, his attention turns toward preventing the Soviets from getting one. (He's like a kid with a new toy—sharing is hard, yo.)
  • Alsos teams are going around rounding up top German scientists, and they all seem a little relieved.
  • When Boris Pash, a member of the Alsos mission, finally finds Heisenberg he's sitting on the porch, waiting for them.
  • The Soviets are trying to do the same thing—round up German scientists and papers—but they are two steps behind the Americans.