[FOUNTAIN]A concise history of the bomb

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[FOUNTAIN]A concise history of the bomb

The first country that tried to fulfill the dream of nuclear weapons was Nazi Germany. The leader of the nuclear weapons project was Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976), one of the most excellent physicists of the times. Mr. Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932 for his theory of quantum mechanics. He was also famous for his uncertainty principle.

In his teens, Mr. Heisenberg was devoted to finding the origins of the German fatherland. He would hike through waste lands for weeks in his search. During such hiking, he would discuss the future of Germany with his companions.

In September 1939, when Nazi Germany launched its nuclear weapons development program, Mr. Heisenberg applied for the research team. The research team progressed smoothly on the bomb's development. But the team soon ran into a problem. They needed heavy water to reduce the speed of neutrons, which were produced through the nuclear fission of Uranium 235. Mr. Heisenberg decided to get supplies from a heavy water plant in Norway, which was under the influence of Nazi Germany.

When British leaders obtained that information, they sent 30 commandos to Norway to destroy the heavy-water plant. But they were wiped out by the German military. Britain sent a second special attack unit to Norway in February, 1943, which sabotaged the plant. Thanks to their success, the United States became the first country to develop atomic bombs.

During the period leading up to the Second World War, Japan's army and navy also began to develop atomic bombs. But the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima crushed Japan's ambitions.

Syngman Rhee, the first president of South Korea, also was interested in the development of atomic bombs in 1951. But he allegedly was duped by a Japanese scientist who said that he had participated in Japan's atomic bomb project. But later it was realized he was a mere battery technician and he was deported from Korea.

In the 1970s, Park Chung Hee, the president of South Korea and Kim Il Sung, the leader of North Korea, competed in developing nuclear weapons. The dream of nuclear weapons in South Korea ended the moment Mr. Park was assassinated. But the dream is still in progress in North Korea. Some South Korean politicians are neglecting the seriousness of the situation.

The writer is a deputy international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun

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