Copenhagen Essay

Copenhagen Essay - Steve Shaffer Porter/de Chadarevian...

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Steve Shaffer Porter/de Chadarevian History 3C (1D) 14 November 2007 A Hero or A Fool Throughout all the interpretations and hypothetical scenarios of the German atomic research project, the one thing historians are sure of is that the Germans did not build an atomic bomb. What everyone is uncertain about are the reasons why the atomic bomb was never whole- heartedly pursued under a regime for which the bomb seems such a fitting instrument. As the principle scientist in charge of the German atomic research project, Heisenberg is at the center of the question. The reasons that Germany never pursued the atomic bomb with full force are the same reasons why Heisenberg never pursued the atomic bomb with full vigor. History has provided two different views of Heisenberg’s situation. In the first view, Heisenberg knew fully well the capabilities that an atomic bomb would have and the plausibility of building one, but he kept these facts to himself and purposefully sabotaged any effort in this direction because of moral reasons. The second view is that Heisenberg, for any one of a number of reasons, didn’t realized either the capability or the plausibility of building an atomic bomb. In the end, the question boils down to whether Heisenberg was a hero or a fool. In Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen , these two conflicting views of Heisenberg are reflected in the two conflicting acts
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This essay was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course HIST 3C taught by Professor Porter during the Spring '07 term at UCLA.

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Copenhagen Essay - Steve Shaffer Porter/de Chadarevian...

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