During the Cold War, on February 3, 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British scientist who helped developed the atomic bomb, is arrested in Great Britain for passing top-secret information about the bomb to the Soviet Union. The arrest of Fuchs led authorities to several other individuals involved in a spy ring, culminating with the arrest of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and their subsequent execution.

Klaus Fuchs

Klaus Fuchs

Fuchs and his family fled Germany in 1933 to avoid Nazi persecution and came to Great Britain, where Fuchs earned his doctorate in physics. During World War II, British authorities were aware of the leftist leanings of both Fuchs and his father. However, Fuchs was eventually invited to participate in the British program to develop an atomic bomb (the project named “Tube Alloys”) because of his expertise.

The Tube Alloys created this atom bomb which was tested in 1952, codename Operation Hurricane."Op hurricane" by Original uploader was ChrisO at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Pediaguy16 at en.wikipedia. - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Berichard using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Op_hurricane.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Op_hurricane.jpg

The Tube Alloys created this atom bomb which was tested in 1952, codename Operation Hurricane.”Op hurricane” by Original uploader was ChrisO at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Pediaguy16 at en.wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Berichard using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Op_hurricane.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Op_hurricane.jpg

At some point after the project began, Soviet agents contacted Fuchs and he began to pass information about British progress to them. Late in 1943, Fuchs was among a group of British scientists brought to America to work on the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop an atomic bomb. Fuchs continued his clandestine meetings with Soviet agents. When the war ended, Fuchs returned to Great Britain and continued his work on the British atomic bomb project.

Fuchs in 1912 with his wife and three oldest children; Klaus is on his mother's lap.

Fuchs in 1912 with his wife and three oldest children; Klaus is on his mother’s lap.

Fuchs’ arrest in 1950 came after a routine security check of Fuchs’ father, who had moved to communist East Germany in 1949. While the check was underway, British authorities received information from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation that decoded Soviet messages in their possession indicated Fuchs was a Russian spy. On February 3, officers from Scotland Yard arrested Fuchs and charged him with violating the Official Secrets Act. Fuchs eventually admitted his role and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced, and he was released in 1959 and spent his remaining years living with his father in East Germany.

Original Caption: Fuchs Off to West Germany. London: Klaus Fuchs, 48, the nuclear scientist who was convicted of giving the West's atom bomb secrets to the Russians, waits to board his plane following his release from prison June 23rd. Fuchs, who served more than nine years of a fourteen year sentence for his crime, left by plane for East Germany and permanent residence behind the Iron Curtain. He was believed headed for Leipzig, where his 85-year-old father is a professor at the University of Leipzig.

Original Caption: Fuchs Off to West Germany. London: Klaus Fuchs, 48, the nuclear scientist who was convicted of giving the West’s atom bomb secrets to the Russians, waits to board his plane following his release from prison June 23rd. Fuchs, who served more than nine years of a fourteen year sentence for his crime, left by plane for East Germany and permanent residence behind the Iron Curtain. He was believed headed for Leipzig, where his 85-year-old father is a professor at the University of Leipzig.

Fuchs’ capture set off a chain of arrests. Harry Gold, whom Fuchs implicated as the middleman between himself and Soviet agents, was arrested in the United States. Gold thereupon informed on David Greenglass, one of Fuchs’ co-workers on the Manhattan Project. After his apprehension, Greenglass implicated his sister-in-law and her husband, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. They were arrested in New York in July 1950, found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage, and executed at Sing Sing Prison in June 1953

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One response

  1. Birgit says:

    I have heard of the Rosenbergs but not of Fuchs. It is such a shame that this intrigue goes on and all for power

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