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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • 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.

  • February, 1941

    Letter from V.A. Maslov to People’s Commissar of Defence of USSR, 'About Necessity to Organize Activities in Using of Atomic Energy in the Military Goals'

    In this letter from Victor Maslov to People's Commisar of Defence, Marshal Timoshenko, Maslov makes one final attempt to persuade Soviet leadership to start a military nuclear program, despite the strong criticism from leading Moscow scientists toward the idea.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • October 02, 1944

    Letter from Boris Merkulov (USSR People’s Commissar for State Security) to Lavrenty Beria (USSR People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs)

    Letter from Merkulov to Beria regarding the KGB’s efforts to obtain information about the creation of the atomic bomb and specifically about the related problems with uranium

  • August 20, 1945

    Soviet State Defense Committee Edict No. GKO-9887ss/op

    Instructions for the creation of a Special Committee which would supervise nuclear research and development of an atomic bomb.

  • 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.

  • January 25, 1946

    Notes on the discussion between I.V. Kurchatov, lead scientist for the Soviet nuclear effort, and Stalin

    Kurchatov's notes on his meeting with Stalin, Molotov and Beria. Stalin promises the all necessary help to the soviet effort to build an atomic bomb. He suggests that the project should be build on "a Russian scale," without concerns for cost saving.

  • April 02, 1946

    Protocol No. 18 of a Meeting of the Special Committee under the Council of Ministers of the USSR (Excerpt)

    Special dossier containing a resolution to send a Soviet geological prospecting party to survey North Korea for beryllium.

  • April 09, 1946

    Soviet Council of Ministers Resolution, Establishing Design Bureau No. 11

    Resolution establishing Design Bureau No.11 (KB-11), which was the Soviet analog of the secret wartime American nuclear weapons laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

  • June 21, 1946

    Soviet Council of Ministers Resolution, No. 1286-525, On Development of Soviet Atomic Weapons

    Resolution outlining the work of the newly established Design Bureau No.11 (KB-11). Atomic bombs are referred to in the resolution as “jet engines S,” in two versions, S-1 and S-2 (abbreviated as RDS-1 and RDS-2). RDS-1 meant the analog of the first U.S. plutonium-239 implosion type atomic bomb tested on 16 July 1945 in New Mexico RDS-2 signified the analog of the uranium-235 gun type bomb exploded over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

  • September 29, 1946

    Letter from Igor V. Kurchatov to Lavrenti Beria requesting additional support for the project on buiding an atomic bomb.

    Igor Kurchatov, the scientific director of the Soviet nuclear project writes secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, whom Stalin had given principal responsibility for the atomic effort, asking for additional resources to solve uranium shortages faced by the project. (excerpts)

  • October 26, 1946

    Answers to the Questions of Mr. H. Bailey, President of the American Agency 'United Press'

    In an interview, Stalin discusses the political developments in Europe and the Soviet Union and the threat of conflict with the West. Particular emphasis is paid to Germany and Eastern Europe.

  • April 25, 1947

    Protocol No. 36 of a Meeting of the Special Committee under the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (Excerpt)

    Special dossier refining aspects of the geological prospecting party to North Korea, to extract "rare elements".

  • 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 14, 1950

    National Security Council Report, NSC 68, 'United States Objectives and Programs for National Security'

    On US national security policy at the beginning of the Cold War. Includes an assessment of the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as US and Soviet nuclear weapons capabilities.

  • April 18, 1951

    Review of Andrei Sakharov about Oleg Lavrentiev’s Paper

    In this document, Andrei Sakharov, "father" of the Soviet thermonuclear bomb program, positively assesses Oleg Lavrientiev's ideas about the Soviet thermonuclear program, which were expressed in Lavrientiev's previously-written letters to Soviet leaders.

  • March 01, 1955

    Pravda Newspaper Article on the Decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Concerning the USSR CM [Council of Ministers]

    Pravda announces the decisions made by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.