Theodore Hall: The American scientist who gave the Soviet Union nuclear weapons

On August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union became the second country to acquire nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union prepares its first RDS One plutonium atom bomb.

Russia surprised the Western powers by a successful nuclear bombing. According to CIA estimates, it was not possible for the Soviet Union to obtain nuclear weapons before 1953.

The most surprising thing was that part of Theodor Hall, an American scientist who made Russia into a nuclear power, was providing the Soviet Union with intelligence on nuclear weapons.

It is also true that in addition to Theodore Hall, US scientists have handed over the secret to the Soviet Union.

The real question is how did a nuclear scientist born in New York and educated at Harvard University become a spy for the Soviet Union?

The explosion
Image captionSoviet Unionlaunchesfirst nuclear bomb in Kazakhstan

It was no coincidence that the Soviet Union’s first nuclear experiment resembled the atom bomb that the United States used on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

The US atomic bomb was secretly handed over to the Soviet Union from the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was the secret name of the nuclear weapons program created by the United States in partnership with the United Kingdom and Canada.

top secret

The privacy of the nuclear weapons program was very important. No one but a few dozen people across the country knew exactly what was happening at the Manhattan Project. Theodore Hall was among the few dozen people who knew what was happening in the Manhattan Project.

Theodore Hall was born on October 20, 1925 to a New York businessman. His mother was a ghostly woman and this was the time in history known as the Great Depression and at that time the lives of ordinary American citizens were filled with difficulties.

But the worst domestic conditions could not stop Theodore Hall from pursuing higher education in mathematics and physics.

Atomic bomb 'fat man'
Image captionSoviet Union steals information of US bomb named ‘Fatman’ It was the bomb that was used on Nagasaki

At the age of sixteen, Theodore Hall was admitted to Harvard University, where he graduated in 1944.

The impressive performance at Harvard University saw American personnel at Theodore Hall looking for intelligent people for their nuclear program.

Theodore Hall’s first interview with US personnel is in the Los Alamos laboratory.

Communist Room Mate

The American official interviewing Theodore Hall did not know that there was another recruit of Theodore Hall.

Theodore Hall was a member of the Marxist Student Union and his roommate at the hostel was Seoul Sax, the son of a Russian immigrant.

Seoul Sax was born in New York but was a chemist. It was the Seoul Sox who persuaded Theodore Hall to work for the Soviet Union, and all nuclear-related intelligence information reached the Soviet Union through the Seoul.

The first nuclear explosion in the world took place in New Mexico on July 16, 1945
Image captionwas afraid Theodore Hall will be the monopoly of the US nuclear weapons

The first nuclear secret the young nuclear scientist Theodore Hall handed over to the Soviet Union from the laboratory of Los Alamos was the latest information about a plutonium atom bomb he handed over to the Soviet Union through his friend Seoul Sax.

Theodore Hall said in a written statement in the New York Times in 1997, two years before his death, that he feared that nuclear weapons would be monopolized, and that the Soviet Union would also have nuclear weapons to balance the power in the world. Is necessary to maintain.

The youngest nuclear scientist

At that time the Soviet Union was an ally of the United States. Theodore Hall said: “The Soviet Union boldly confronted Nazi Hitler and suffered a lot of casualties and perhaps the Soviet Union saved Western allies from defeating Nazi Germany.

The Manhattan Project
Image captionStrict rules weredeveloped about theManhattan Project’s privacy

In the Soviet Union, people called Theodore Hall ‘The Youngster’ to whom he was providing important information regarding the plutonium bomb.

The atom bomb that the United States dropped on Japan’s Nagasaki was plutonium, while the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was uranium.

Secret messages

In World War II, the enemy of the United States and the Soviet Union was one, but that did not mean that the two countries were not spying on each other.

In fact, in 1943, the United States began the Soviet Union’s counter-intelligence project, Winona.

In December 1946, the United States Code Breaker succeeded in understanding the Soviet Union’s secret communications.

This led the United States to know that Soviet intelligence was also present in his secret Manhattan project.

Image captionThe FBI agent Theodore Hall reached when they were PhD University of Chicago in the year 1950

Theodore Hall was doing his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1950 when he was identified as an assistant to Moscow and reached out to him by an FBI agent.

A year ago, a German scientist working in the Manhattan Project, Claus Fox, was arrested, who admitted that he had handed over the US nuclear weapons to the enemy. However, the FBI failed to convict Theodore Hall and his friend Seoul Sax.

Travel to the UK

No other detectives called Theodore Hall, nor did secret surveillance indicate that Theodore was providing the secret to the Soviet Union. Theodore Hall was largely unmanageable after the Manhattan Project.

US officials had wires going to Moscow that could be presented as evidence, but US officials did not want to tell the court that they had mastered reading the Soviet Union’s secret messages. And that’s why Theodore Hall survived.

But Theodore Hall and his Begum had their own safety concerns. Theodore Hall left a research job at a New York hospital and accepted a job offer at Cambridge University, UK, and moved to the UK with his wife.

Theodor Hall
Image captionTheodore Hall died of cancer in 1999

Theodore Hall retired in 1984, trying to live a quiet retirement life when his past brought him on. Unverified documents revealed his contacts with the Soviet Union in 1996, but by then all witnesses, including the Seoul Sox, had left the world.


Theodore Hall told a New York Times reporter: ‘It is alleged that I turned history. Had history not changed, there would have been a nuclear war in the last fifty years. For example, China would have dropped an atom bomb in 1949 or early 1950. ‘

Theodore Hall said: ‘If I have helped prevent this from happening, I accept this charge.’

Nuclear weapons have not been used since the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima 74 years ago, and Theodore left the world with the belief that he was involved in the non-use of nuclear weapons.

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