- LONDON (Reuters) - Britain
had plans to threaten Germany with a nuclear bomb during World War II to
prevent Hitler launching V2 rockets at London, newly released files showed
- The threat was mooted in the summer of 1944, two years
after the development of nuclear bombs had begun but a year before any
had been tested.
- The intention to bluff the Nazis out of using the supersonic
V2 rocket failed. In the last seven months of the war, over 3,000 V2s were
launched, killing some 2,700 people in Britain.
- The nuclear idea was put forward by Guy Liddell, head
of MI5's counter-espionage branch during the war, whose diaries have been
released by the Public Records Office and carried by newspapers Sunday.
- It came in an entry in which Liddell recorded a conversation
with Sir Stewart Menzies, then head of MI6.
- "I saw (Menzies) today about the uranium bomb and
put to him the suggestion that it should be used as a threat of retaliation
to the Germans if they used the V2," Liddell wrote in August 1944.
- "He felt...that there was nothing to be lost and
said he would put the suggestion to the Prime Minister..."
- Prime Minister Winston Churchill was due to visit U.S.
President Franklin Roosevelt the following month, although there was no
evidence that the idea was discussed.
- Less than two weeks after Liddell's diary entry, Hitler
began launching the V2 against Britain.
- In the event, atomic weapons were not used in World War
II until August 1945, at Hiroshima when 200,000 Japanese were killed.
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