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Serving the Reich : the struggle for the soul of physics under Hitler

Author: Philip Ball
Publisher: Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2014.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Named Person: Max Planck; Peter J W Debye; Werner Heisenberg; Peter J W Debye; Werner Heisenberg; Max Planck; Max Planck; P Debye; Werner Heisenberg
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Philip Ball
ISBN: 9780226204574 022620457X
OCLC Number: 871670664
Description: ix, 303 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: 'Nobel Prize-winner with dirty hands' --
'As conservatively as possible' --
'Physics must be rebuilt' --
'The beginning of something new' --
'Intellectual freedom is a thing of the past' --
'Service to science must be service to the nation' --
'There is very likely a Nordic science' --
'You obviously cannot swim against the tide' --
'I have seen my death!' --
'As a scientist or as a man' --
'Hitherto unknown destructive power' --
'Heisenberg was mostly silent' --
'We are what we pretend to be' --
Epilogue: 'We did not speak the same language'.
Responsibility: Philip Ball.

Abstract:

"After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during the Third Reich: Max Planck, the elder statesman of physics after whom Germany's premier scientific society is now named, and Werner Heisenberg, who succeeded Debye as director of the institute when it became focused on the development of nuclear power and weapons. Mixing history, science, and biography, Ball's gripping exploration of the lives of scientists under Nazism offers a powerful portrait of moral choice and personal responsibility, as scientists navigated 'the grey zone between complicity and resistance.' Ball's account of the different choices these three men and their colleagues made shows how there can be no clear-cut answers or judgement of their conduct. Yet, despite these ambiguities, Ball makes it undeniable that the German scientific establishment as a whole mounted no serious resistance to the Nazis, and in many ways acted as a willing instrument of the state"--Publisher's Web site.

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"A fair-minded and meticulous assessment of the generally weak-kneed response, and especially of the actions of three non-Jewish physicists in Germany, all Nobel laureates."--Jewish Daily Forward Read more...

 
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