Posted on Oct 28, 2005

Prof. Mark Walker

Mark Walker, professor of history, will be a featured expert on a PBS NOVA show on Nazi development of the atomic bomb on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m.

The program – “Hitler's Sunken Secret” – airs locally on WMHT, Channel 17.

“The truth is that [the Nazis] could not possibly have built a weapon like the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki,” Walker wrote in an essay on the web site for the show. “This was not because the country lacked the scientists, resources, or will, but rather because its leaders did not really try.”

The Nazis were trying to win the war and devoted tremendous resources to weapons development. “So why not the atomic bomb?” Walker asks. “Nazi Germany, it turns out, made other choices and simply ran out of time.”

Prof. Mark Walker in interview for upcoming NOVA episode on Nazi nuclear development program

Walker, a specialist in the development of nuclear technology, is author of Nazi Science, editor of Science and Ideology: A Comparative History and co-editor (with Carola Sachse) of Politics and Science in Wartime. He was featured in a Sept. 30 article in the Guardian, a leading British newspaper, titled “Author Fuels Row Over Hitler's Bomb.” This fall, he organized a conference at Union on “Nukes in East Asia,” in which he was joined by six other experts from the U.S., China and Japan to discuss nuclear weapons, nuclear power and nuclear research in the Korean Peninsula, China and Japan. The workshop was sponsored by Union's East Asian Studies Program with support from the Freeman Foundation.

NOVA producer-director David Sington was on campus with a crew last March to film Walker in several locations – his office, the Nott Memorial, and walking through the snow in Library Field. Sington had earlier filmed in Norway at the site of a nuclear reactor, where the Germans had begun a program to refine weapons grade uranium.

The NOVA show follows an expedition to the bottom of Norway's Lake Tinn, where the Norwegian resistance sank a ferry that was to bring heavy water – required for the production of nuclear weapons – to Germany.

For more about the show, visit the NOVA website at