The Soviets did manage to plant spies who provided the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Kremlin and allowed them to detonate the first bomb in August 1949, it was a copy of the bomb built in Los Alamos and dropped by the Americans on Nagasaki. British intelligence acquitted Oppenheimer
Author: Calder Walton, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Applied History and Intelligence Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School
The Oppenheimer perspective
All the people of the Kremlin
By the end of World War II, Stalin's spies provided the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Kremlin. It saved the Moscow bomb project. When the Soviets detonated their first atomic weapon in August 1949, it was a replica of the bomb built at Los Alamos and dropped by the Americans on Nagasaki.
Even now, almost 80 years later, new secrets about Soviet nuclear espionage are still being discovered. One Soviet agent who has only recently been discovered is George Koval (code name DEVAL), an American engineer recruited into the Manhattan Project, where he worked on polonium bomb "lighters" at a facility in Dayton, Ohio.
After Koval's death in 2006, at the age of 93, the Russian Ministry of Defense revealed that the first "ignitor" for the Soviet atomic bomb was prepared according to specifications provided by Koval. Putin awarded Koval after his death the "Hero of Russia" decoration, and raised a glass of champagne in his honor.
If Nolan's film makes audiences interested in reading Kai Byrd and Martin Sherwin's in-depth research biography of Oppenheimer, which served Nolan to make this film, or other accounts of the Manhattan Project or the Cold War, they will find that the underlying tissues of science and espionage remain alive.
Today, the world is on the brink of technological revolutions that will change societies in the 21st century, similar to how nuclear weapons changed the 20th century: artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biological engineering. Watching "Oppenheimer" makes me wonder if hostile foreign governments may have already stolen keys to hack these new technologies, the same way the Soviets did with the atomic bomb.
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