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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • March 07, 1939

    Letter from People’s Commissariat of Power Plants and Electrical Industry to the Council of People’s Commissars of USSR, 'On the Organization of the Research Activities on the Nuclear Atom'

    In this letter the Soviet minister proposed to the Soviet government to concentrate the nuclear research in Ukrainian Institute of Physic and Technology (UIPhT) and to locate in Kharkov the nuclear scientists from Leningrad Institute of Physic and Technology because Kharkov institute had very good base for the nuclear studies. If this proposal was realized Kharkov could become more important Soviet nuclear center than Moscow or Sarov. In any case this letter of people’s commissar recognized the prominent role of the Ukrainian Institute of Physic and Technology (UIPhT) in the Soviet nuclear science.

  • February 22, 1940

    Letter from State Plan of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to Academy of Sciences of USSR, 'About the Rationality of the Cyclotron Construction in UIPhT'

    This letter informed the Academy of Sciences that UIPhT asked the government of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic to allocate 75 thousand rubles for designing of the cyclotron, and 1,5 million rubles for its building. The State Plan asked an advice on necessity to build the cyclotron.

  • February 28, 1940

    Letter from Director of the Institute of Physical Problems Petr Kapitsa to State Plan of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, 'About Cyclotron of Ukrainian Institute of Physics and Technology'

    This document is an answer to the letter from State Plan of Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic to Academy of Sciences of USSR “About Rationality to Construct Cyclotron in UIPhT” (22 Feb 1940). The answer of academician Petr Kapitsa to this letter was very critical. Kapitsa wrote that UIPhT “during the last several years built a number of research installation but did not finish them. However it started to build new installations. Such activities of UIPhT can’t be considered as normal”. So Petr Kapitsa discouraged building a cyclotron in UIPhT, and this was one of the reasons why this institute did not become the leading nuclear center in USSR.

  • April 17, 1940

    Conclusion of Radium Institute of Academy of Sciences on Invention of UIPhT Fellows Sent to Agency of Military Chemical Defense

    In this letter two nuclear scientists from UIPhT described the construction of the nuclear bomb and proposed to start activities in producing of the nuclear arsenal and make these activities secret. Two Ukrainian physicists were first Soviet scientists who revealed the way of producing the nuclear weapon (of course they did not know about the similar inventions of the western scientists which were made at the same time because of secrecy regime).

  • October, 1940

    Technical Proposal of F. Lange, V. Maslov, and V. Shpinel, 'Fission of Uranium Isotopes by Using Method of Coriolis Acceleration'

    Kharkov Institute scientists proposed in this document the concrete steps to build a nuclear weapon. The document demonstrates that Ukrainian physicists understood how to receive weapons grade uranium and elaborated concrete technical proposals to achieve this goal through uranium enrichment in centrifuge.

  • October 17, 1940

    Claim for an Invention from V. Maslov and V. Shpinel, 'About Using of Uranium as an Explosive and Toxic Agent'

    In this letter two nuclear scientists from UIPhT described the construction of the nuclear bomb and proposed to start activities in producing of the nuclear arsenal and make these activities secret. Two Ukrainian physicists were first Soviet scientists who revealed the method of producing a nuclear weapon (of course they did not know about the similar inventions of western scientists which were made at the same time under great secrecy).

  • January, 1941

    Claim for an Invention from F. Lange and V. Maslov, 'Thermocirculation centrifuge'

    This document’s proposal about centrifuge received positive assessments from the leading Soviet academicians in Moscow.

  • February, 1941

    Conclusion of National Institute of Chemical Studies of Soviet National Committee of Defence on Invention of UIPhT Fellows Which Was Sent to Agency of Military Chemical Defense

    In this document, leading Soviet scientists criticize the idea of Kharkov physicists to use Uranium in military goals, because they do not believe it is possible to realize nuclear fission in the current practical conditions faced. The Soviet National Committee of Defence received these skeptical assessments in 1941 and decided not to develop the military nuclear program.

  • September 28, 1942

    Decree No. 2352 cc of Ukrainian State Committee of Defence

    This famous, de-classified document officially started the Soviet atomic project aimed at producing the nuclear bomb. The second point of this document orders the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences to establish a plan for the project of Uranium enrichment. F. Lange, a scientist from the Ukraine Institute of Physics and Technology, was appointed as head of this project because he worked previously on theoretical aspects of Uranium enrichment.

  • February, 1943

    Report of Secretariat of Council of People’s Commissars of USSR to V.M. Molotov, 'About the Implementing of Decree No. 2352 cc of State Committee of Defence'

    This report, sent from the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR to V.M. Molotov, informs Molotov that the project for Uranium enrichment was prepared by F. Lange and his colleagues by December, 1942. The installation of this project was planned to be produced outside of Ukraine, in a facility in Kasan.

  • April 01, 1943

    Note of I.Kurchatov for M. Pervukhin, 'About Necessity to Demobilize V.M. Kelman'

    In this document, the "father" of the first Soviet nuclear bomb, Igor Kurchatov, asks the chief of the Soviet ministry of energy, Pervukhin, to help demobilize the Ukranian physicist Veniamin Kelman, who was a fellow of UIPhT before the war. In this note Kurchatov writes about the high quality of the Ukrainian nuclear scientist and about his importance for the development of the Soviet nuclear program. This document once again demonstrates that Ukraine played a significant role in the Soviet military nuclear program.

  • March 12, 1944

    Letter from Homi Bhabha to Sir Dorab of Tata Trust

    Dr. Homi Bhabha’s letter to Dr. Sorab detailing the poor condition of applied research in India due to lack of pure research workers and a hope to remedy the problem by building an advanced physics university in Bombay.

  • September 29, 1944

    Letter, Igor V. Kurchatov, Director of the Soviet Nuclear Program, to Lavrenti Beria

    In this letter, physicist Igor V. Kurchatov, the scientific director of the Soviet nuclear project, writes to secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, whom Stalin had given principal responsibility for the atomic effort. Prodded by his own scientists and by intelligence reports of the secret Anglo-American atomic enterprise, Stalin had initiated a small-scale Soviet nuclear weapons program in late 1942-early 1943. But the level of support political leaders had given the project failed to satisfy Kurchatov, who pleaded with Beria for additional backing.

  • January 25, 1946

    Handwritten notes by Igor V. Kurchatov, Director of the Soviet Nuclear Program, on a Meeting with Stalin, Beria and Molotov

    Excerpts from Igor V. Kurchatov's handwritten notes from a conversation with Stalin on the secret Soviet nuclear project, accompanied by Beria and Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov, at the Kremlin on the evening of 25 January 1946.

  • May 21, 1947

    Letter from Homi Bhabha to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Director Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar

    A letter from Dr. Bhabha to Dr. Bhatnager arguing for the establishment and a small experimental pile of fissile material and its benefits, including operational and training experience

  • June 15, 1947

    New York Herald Tribune, European edition, 'Joliot-Curie Rips America for Atomic Energy Report'

    French High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, Joliot-Curie, criticizes Henry DeWolf Smyth of Princeton University for omitting from his report the “vital contributions of French science to the discoveries leading to the making of atomic bombs.”

  • August 27, 1947

    Minutes of the Tenth Session of the Brazilian National Security Council, Alvaro Alberto’s proposal to establish a Brazilian Atomic Energy Program

    The minutes describe the internal discussion at the National Security Council of a proposal to establish a nuclear program sent from New York by Admiral Alvaro Alberto, who was representing Brazil at the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC). The Council approved the Admiral’s proposal and one of its members, Colonel Bernardino Corrêa de Matos Netto declared that "it is not convenient that Brazil relinquishes [nuclear energy], because it is necessary to prepare the ground for future generations."

  • April 12, 1948

    Protocol No. 61 of a Meeting of the Special Committee under the Council of Ministers of the USSR (Excerpt)

    Memorandum of the Special Committee of the CC CPSU postponing the geological prospecting for uranium in North Korea.

  • April 26, 1948

    Homi J. Bhabha, 'Note on the Organization of Atomic Energy in India'

    A series of notes from Dr. Bhabha detailing important requirements and recommendations for the development of India’s nuclear power capabilities.

  • May 17, 1948

    Memorandum from Edmund A. Gullion to J.K. Gustafson Regarding US Policy towards South Africa

    Memo from Edmund Gullion, Special Assistant to the Undersecretary, to J. K. Gustafson of the Atomic Energy Commission summarizing the most important unresolved policy issues between the U.S. and South Africa.