Spies in the Congo: America's Atomic Mission in World War II

Spies in the Congo: America's Atomic Mission in World War II

by Susan Williams


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In the 1940s, the brightest minds of the United States and Nazi Germany raced to West Africa with a single mission: to secure the essential ingredient of the atomic bomb—and to make sure nobody saw them doing it

Albert Einstein told President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 that the world's only supply of uniquely high-quality uranium ore—the key ingredient for bomb— could be found in the Katanga province of the Belgian Congo at the Shinkolobwe Mine. Once the US Manhattan Project was committed to developing atomic weapons for the war against Germany and Japan, the rush to procure this uranium became a top priority—one deemed “vital to the welfare of the United States.”
But covertly exporting it from Africa posed a major risk: the ore had to travel via a spy-infested Angolan port or 1,500 miles by rail through the Congo, and then be shipped by boats or Pan Am Clippers to safety in the United States. It could be poached or smuggled at any point on the orders of Nazi Germany. To combat that threat, the US Office of Strategic Services sent in a team of intrepid spies, led by Wilbur Owings “Dock” Hogue, to be America's eyes and ears and to protect its most precious and destructive cargo.

Packed with newly discovered details from American and British archives, this is the gripping, true story of the unsung heroism of a handful of good men—and one woman—in colonial Africa who risked their lives in the fight against fascism and helped deny Hitler his atomic bomb.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610396547
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 08/09/2016
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 1,241,842
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Susan Williams is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. She has published many books on history and literature, including The People's King, Who Killed Hammarskj ld?, Ladies of Influence, and the widely acclaimed Colour Bar.

Justine Eyre has turned her passion for reading and remarkable facility with accents into her dream career. This classically trained, multilingual actress has narrated well over 400 audiobooks and has been honored to receive a coveted Audie Award and multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Codewords ix

Cast of Characters xiii

Maps xx

Letter from Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt, 2 August 1939 xxiii

1 Introduction: The Manhattan Project and Shinkolobwe 1

2 Teton 13

3 Crisp 29

4 Crumb 41

5 Chief of Station, Congo 55

6 'Attention! Bloc Radioactif!' 69

7 Angella 83

8 'Born Secret' 93

9 The Mission 105

10 The British Opposites 115

11 Flare 125

12 The Cutout 135

13 Locust 147

14 'Hotbed of Spies' 159

15 Framed 169

16 Collaborating with the Nazis 181

17 A Dead Shot 191

18 Stehli the Detective 201

19 'One Minute to Midnight' 213

20 Hiroshima 225

21 Atomic Spies 237

22 Conclusion: The Missing Link 253

Appendix 269

List of Illustrations 271

Notes and Sources 277

Archive Repositories 311

Bibliography 313

Filmography 329

Acknowledge merits 331

Index 341

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