Why Hitler Lost The Race For The Atom Bomb

Popperfoto/Getty Images

Sumner Park Contributor
Font Size:

Note: Sumner Park will be contributing to this blog this summer. This is her first post.


A collaborative environment helped America beat Hitler in the race to develop the atom bomb. That’s according to James Kunetka, author of “The General and The Genius: Groves and Oppenheimer.”

The top-secret project involved recruiting thousands of Americans from diverse backgrounds to work on a weapon that could potentially end the war. And according to Kunetka, a flatter organizational culture contributed to their success. “Everybody was pretty much equal, [the] Nobel Prize winner and 21-year graduate of CalTech” were all able to communicate, Kunetka said. “That’s very different from the German experience [which] was strictly hierarchical.”

Also aiding America was the fact that the Nazi’s racist ideology pushed many of its modern physicists to flee to America, where they became essential components of the Manhattan Project.

If you’re interested in learning more, listen to streaming audio of James Kunetka’s full conversation here. And download the Matt Lewis & The News podcast on iTunes.