Study Guide

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

By Steve Sheinkin


The title says it all: Bomb: The Race to Build—And Steal—The World's Most Dangerous Weapon. This wasn't some massive, international science project; the attempt to build an atomic bomb was a heated competition between allied and enemy nations alike. There were sneaky cheaters, and star players, and even a few moments where it seemed like the underdog might win. But, as with any competition, in the end there were some clear winners and losers. What sets this race apart was the fact that because the "medal" was an atomic bomb, even the winners had to question in the end whether it was all worth it.

Questions About Competition

  1. What made the quest to build an atomic bomb into a race? Why the hurry?
  2. Why did the Soviets decide that stealing the bomb was going to be better than trying to invent it themselves?
  3. What was Germany's biggest obstacle in building their bomb?

Chew on This

Without the competitive aspect of the race to build the bomb, maybe it wouldn't have gotten built at all.

Atomic warfare was a scientific inevitability—it would have happened eventually.

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