Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Russia Honors the Spy Who Stole the A-Bomb

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the deep-cover dept.

Government 506

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports on the life of George Koval, codenamed Delmar, one of the most important spies to have infiltrated the Manhattan Project, the secret program that created the world's first nuclear weapon. President Putin recently granted Koval a posthumous Hero of the Russian Federation award, the highest honorary title that can be given to a Russian citizen. Koval was born in Iowa, spoke fluent American English, and played baseball. But he was also recruited and trained by the GRU, Russia's largest intelligence agency."

cancel ×

506 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334883)

Ever, really

Article text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335167)

Wow, what a sucky article. After logging in (cheers bugmenot), the article is on multiple pages. Well, here's all of TFA. Please mod this post up if you can.... it might make some slashdotters RTFA ;)

The New York Times
Printer Friendly Format Sponsored By

November 12, 2007
A Spy's Path: Iowa to A-Bomb to Kremlin Honor
By WILLIAM J. BROAD

He had all-American cover: born in Iowa, college in Manhattan, Army buddies with whom he played baseball.

George Koval also had a secret. During World War II, he was a top Soviet spy, code named Delmar and trained by Stalin's ruthless bureau of military intelligence.

Atomic spies are old stuff. But historians say Dr. Koval, who died in his 90s last year in Moscow and whose name is just coming to light publicly, was probably one of the most important spies of the 20th century.

On Nov. 2, the Kremlin startled Western scholars by announcing that President Vladimir V. Putin had posthumously given the highest Russian award to a Soviet agent who penetrated the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb.

The announcement hailed Dr. Koval as "the only Soviet intelligence officer" to infiltrate the project's secret plants, saying his work "helped speed up considerably the time it took for the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb of its own."

Since then, historians, scientists, federal officials and old friends have raced to tell Dr. Koval's story -- the athlete, the guy everyone liked, the genius at technical studies. American intelligence agencies have known of his betrayal at least since the early 1950s, when investigators interviewed his fellow scientists and swore them to secrecy.

The spy's success hinged on an unusual family history of migration from Russia to Iowa and back. That gave him a strong commitment to Communism, a relaxed familiarity with American mores and no foreign accent.

"He was very friendly, compassionate and very smart," said Arnold Kramish, a retired physicist who studied with Dr. Koval at City College and later worked with him on the bomb project. "He never did homework."

Stewart D. Bloom, a senior physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, who also studied with Dr. Koval, called him a regular guy.

"He played baseball and played it well," usually as shortstop, Dr. Bloom recalled. "He didn't have a Russian accent. He spoke fluent English, American English. His credentials were perfect."

Once, Dr. Bloom added, "I saw him staring off in the distance and thinking about something else. Now I think I know what it was."

Over the years, scholars and federal agents have identified a half-dozen individuals who spied on the bomb project for the Soviets, especially at Los Alamos in New Mexico. All were "walk ins," spies by impulse and sympathetic leaning rather than rigorous training.

By contrast, Dr. Koval was a mole groomed in the Soviet Union by the feared G.R.U., the military intelligence agency. Moreover, he gained wide access to America's atomic plants, a feat unknown for any other Soviet spy. Nuclear experts say the secrets of bomb manufacturing can be more important than those of design.

Los Alamos devised the bomb, while its parts and fuel were made at secret plants in such places as Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Dayton, Ohio -- sites Dr. Koval not only penetrated, but also assessed as an Army sergeant with wide responsibilities and authority.

"He had access to everything," said Dr. Kramish, who worked with Dr. Koval at Oak Ridge and now lives in Reston, Va. "He had his own Jeep. Very few of us had our own Jeeps. He was clever. He was a trained G.R.U. spy." That status, he added, made Dr. Koval unique in the history of atomic espionage, a judgment historians echo.

Washington has known about Dr. Koval's spying since he fled the United States shortly after the war but kept it secret.

"It would have been highly embarrassing for the U.S. government to have had this divulged," said Robert S. Norris, author of "Racing for the Bomb," a biography of the project's military leader.

Historians say Mr. Putin may have cited Dr. Koval's accomplishments as a way to rekindle Russian pride. As shown by a New York Public Library database search, the announcement has prompted detailed reports in the Russian press about Dr. Koval and his clandestine feats.

"It's very exciting to get this kind of break," said John Earl Haynes, a Library of Congress historian and an authority on atomic spying. "We know very little about G.R.U. operations in the United States."

George Koval was born in 1913 to Abraham and Ethel Koval in Sioux City, Iowa, which had a large Jewish community and a half-dozen synagogues. In 1932, during the Great Depression, his family emigrated to Birobidzhan, a Siberian city that Stalin promoted as a secular Jewish homeland.

Henry Srebrnik, a Canadian historian at the University of Prince Edward Island who is studying the Kovals for a project on American Jewish Communists, said the family belonged to a popular front organization, as did most American Jews who emigrated to Birobidzhan.

The organization, he said, was ICOR, a Yiddish acronym for the Association for Jewish Colonization in the Soviet Union. He added that Dr. Koval's father served its Sioux City branch as secretary.

By 1934, Dr. Koval was in Moscow, excelling in difficult studies at the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology. Upon graduating with honors, he was recruited and trained by the G.R.U. and was sent back to the United States for nearly a decade of scientific espionage, from roughly 1940 to 1948.

How he communicated with his controllers is unknown, as is what specifically he gave the Soviets in terms of atomic secrets. However, it is clear that Moscow mastered the atom very quickly compared with all subsequent nuclear powers.

In the United States under a false name, Dr. Koval initially gathered information about new toxins that might find use in chemical arms. Then his G.R.U. controllers took a gamble and had him work under his own name. Dr. Koval was drafted into the Army, and by chance found himself moving toward the bomb project, then in its infancy.

The Army judged him smart and by 1943 sent him for special wartime training at City College in Manhattan. Considered a Harvard for the poor, it was famous for brilliant students, Communists and, after the war, Julius Rosenberg, who was executed for conspiring to steal atomic secrets for the Soviets.

But Dr. Koval steered clear of all debate on socialism and Russia, Dr. Bloom said. "He discussed no politics that I can recall. Never. He never talked about the Soviet Union, never ever, not a word."

At City College, Dr. Koval and a dozen or so of his Army peers studied electrical engineering.

Dr. Kramish said the Army unit lived in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, across from City College, adding that Dr. Koval called himself an orphan. Something else about him stood out, Dr. Kramish said -- he was a decade older than his peers, making everybody wonder "why he was in this program."

Meanwhile, the Manhattan Project was suffering severe manpower shortages and asked the Army for technically adept recruits. In 1944, Dr. Koval and Dr. Kramish headed to Oak Ridge, where the main job was to make bomb fuel, considered the hardest part of the atomic endeavor.

Dr. Koval gained wide access to the sprawling complex, Dr. Kramish said, because "he was assigned to health safety" and drove from building to building making sure no stray radiation harmed workers.

In June 1945, Dr. Koval's duties expanded to include top-secret plants near Dayton, said John C. Shewairy, an Oak Ridge spokesman. The factories refined polonium 210, a highly radioactive material used in initiators to help start the bomb's chain reaction.

In July 1945, the United States tested its first atomic device, and a month later it dropped two bombs on Japan.

After the war, Dr. Koval fled the United States when American counterintelligence agents found Soviet literature hailing the Koval family as happy immigrants from the United States, said a Nov. 3 article in Rossiiskaia Gazeta, a Russian publication.

In 1949, Moscow detonated its first bomb, surprising Washington at the quick loss of what had been an atomic monopoly.

In the early 1950s, Dr. Kramish said, the F.B.I. interviewed him and anyone else who had known Dr. Koval, asking that the matter be kept confidential.

Dr. Bloom was working at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island at the time. "I was pretty amazed," he recalled. "I didn't figure George to be like that."

In Russia, Dr. Koval returned to the Mendeleev Institute, earning his doctorate and teaching there for many years, Rossiiskaia Gazeta said. It added that he was a soccer fanatic even in old age and that people at the stadium who knew of his secret past would quietly point him out.

Dr. Koval's spy role began to emerge publicly in Russia in 2002 with the publication of "The G.R.U. and the Atomic Bomb," a book that referred to Dr. Koval only by his code name. The book offered few biographical details but said he was one of the very few spies who managed to elude "the net of the counterintelligence agencies."

Dr. Koval died on Jan. 31, 2006, according to Russian accounts. The cause was not made public. By American reckoning, he would have been 92, though the Kremlin's statement put his age at 94 and some Russian news reports put it at 93.

Posthumously, Dr. Koval was made a Hero of the Russian Federation, the highest honorary title that can be bestowed on a Russian citizen. The Kremlin statement cited "his courage and heroism while carrying out special missions."

Dr. Kramish surmised that he was "the biggest" of the atomic spies. "You don't get a medal from the president of Russia for nothing," he said.

News for Nerds How?!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334889)

I see nothing in this story that could be considered geeky or would have any relevance to slashdot. This man was a thief, a traitor, and he gets honored by the Russian government, which is completely controlled by Putin. What's the news for nerds angle here?

Then I saw it this was posted by kdawson, lead political troll on slashdot. Why does he treat this site like his own political blog?

You are forgetting something. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334923)

One man's hero is another man's terrorist.

Re:You are forgetting something. (2, Interesting)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335561)

And, most ironic of that, that it fits ohh so perfectly to Cold War, it could be even a tagline for it.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334943)

This man was a thief, a traitor

No, that's the nuance between a traitor and a spy. From the Russian point of vue, this guy helped shape history in their favour, by tremendously helping them get the tool required to afford to make the USA crap their pants for about 40 years.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335109)

As I dislike arm race of Cold war, we must admit that US started it, because they hated Commies so much. If Russia won't have nuclear arsenal, I think it would be matter of time before US would try to sweep them out. And then lot of people would be dead for sure.

So this man somehow bring balance (yes, rather unpleasant, but still) in the world again. USSR having nukes stopped any other nuclear attacks just because US didn't want to risk with it.

I don't admire or celebrate what he did, but definitely it wasn't easy time for anyone, because both countries were at constant readiness to blow each other in pieces.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335243)

we must admit that US started it, because they hated Commies so much

Not really. Americans started to hate communists as a result of the Cold War, not the other way around. Conflicts of this importance don't start off an ideological different. And as you seem to think that USSR was just being bullied around, it's necessary for me to recall you that the leader of USSR was Joseph Stalin, the most proficient genocidaire ever.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335183)

No you are WRONG. A spy works works for their government, their country, and works to benefit their country by being engaging in authorized missions. A traitor betrays their country, by selling their own people out for financial gain, ideological drive or whatever.

Don't forget it wasn't just the Americans that were "crapping their pants" during the Cold War. People in Eastern Europe, and those living behind the Iron Curtain didn't have to so good either. But I'm glad that you liked to see that Americans were scared first and foremost.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335307)

A spy works works for their government, their country, and works to benefit their country by being engaging in authorized missions. A traitor betrays their country, by selling their own people out for financial gain, ideological drive or whatever.

Well in this case, it all depends on which country we consider was that man's.

Don't forget it wasn't just the Americans that were "crapping their pants" during the Cold War.

Thanks I know but it's irrelevant. My point was that thanks to his work, USSR could enter the pissing contest against the USA and thus scare them, despite their might. I wasn't trying to establish an exhaustive list of countries who were scared of USSR.

No you are WRONG.

Thanks for rubbing that undoubtful fact in my face.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (5, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335061)

That's alright, as long as all spies are thieves and traitors regardless of the government they are working for. Or let me guess, the American spies are heroes and anti-American spies are traitors and thieves? Of course, because we are "God's" country and we are special. Our killings are always "fights for freedom" and "wars on terror".

What's the news for nerds angle here?

That Russia Honors the Spy Who Stole the A-Bomb . Duh...

Yeah, some nerds like to take a break from playing D&D and are actually interested in what's happening in the real world.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (5, Insightful)

opencity (582224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335117)

> I see nothing in this story that could be considered geeky

Trinity was the biggest physics experiment ever until George. Your definition of 'geeky' must be very sectarian.

Re:News for Nerds How?!!!! (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335259)

Let's balance things a bit, shall we?

If he did not steal it USSR would have had no bomb for 3-4 more years until the early 50-es. USA may have probably stated WW3 by that time. Just around the time the bomb was ready. I would rather not guess the location for "testing" the prototype under those circumstances.

It is the same as with Beria. Regardless of what do I think about him and regardless of the fact that he sentenced to death many millions he has to be given the credit for "Stalin passing away in his sleep from a stroke". If that did not happen Koba would have started WW3 around 54.

So morals aside as a result of such happy or less happy circumstances we are not all glowing in the dark. Let's drink to that.

First Post? (-1, Flamebait)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334891)

First post?

Also, it's funny how the article is spun to consider this man a "thief", but honours those who originally created the A-bomb (who, although their efforts ended a horrific war, were indirectly responsible for the death of millions of Japanese civilians).

youre a dirty damn hippy (1, Troll)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334913)

1) yes, war sucks 2) the japs started it, and did FAR worse 3) dont be such a hippy pussy

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (2, Informative)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334971)

The GERMANS started it (believe it or not the US wasn't the only country fighting), the only thing the Japanese did was force the US's involvement (which is ironic, when your ilk attack France for not getting involved in a war that didn't involve them, when you wouldn't have "saved their asses in dubya dubya two" if the Japs hadn't attacked). Also, I wasn't expressing an opinion on whether dropping The Bomb was the right move, I was merely pointing out the irrational bias in overly-patriotic morons; thank you for so eloquently proving my point.

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335041)

OUCH.

Wow, get a history lesson.

The Germans started the European stage. The Japanese started the Pacific stage. About the only thing they had going on between the two was

1) Agreements not to attack eachother (both planned to drop this as soon as convinient)
2) Slight sharing of tech and resources.

World War II was really two separate wars. The Japanese war against the US and mainland Asia, and the German/Italian war against Europe/Africa/Russia.

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335139)

World War II was really two separate wars.

Yes and no. He's right in that the USA had to wait for Japan to attack them to enter the war in Europe. Basically, Roosevelt wanted to enter the war, as back then they were providing stuff to both sides, the problem was the public opinion was against way. FDR knew that the attack on Pearl Harbor would occur (only they didn't expect how big it would be) and let it happen to change people's mind about the way and enter a full-blown war against the Axis both in Europe and in the Pacific. In a way that's another connection between the "two wars".

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335123)

I think the aspect of irrationality is that you are unable to understand the aspect of "betrayal". Because of that, you scare people.

But I'd wager you'd betray this nation in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. Sure this nation has a long list of wrongs. But compared to most countries that wielded as much power as America has (or even a lot less) their atrocities far outweigh America's.

Remember, before America started winning wars, the victors made the losing nation(s) pay for the war costs. Instead, America said...it's peace, now let's rebuild and helped it's enemies rebuild. (That's part of the problem in Iraq, we balked on rebuilding them and investing as much as we did in the past. And it's cost us dearly.)

But let's look at other powers of the world:

- Russia/Soviet Union (estimates of at least 20 million killed by the regime)

- Great Britain (very harsh reputation during the time of her empire, was brutal against her colonists)

- Germans/Nazi (no point even going there)

- Japan (was exceedingly brutal throughout Asia in it's conquest)

You can trace the brutality of empires back through time. You'll be hard pressed to find an empire that was as merciful as the United States has been. Even if you list Vietnam & Iraq. The total loss of life is very low in comparison.

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (1)

presarioD (771260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335573)

The total loss of life is very low in comparison.

Yes, I totally see your point. Ask the Vietnamese, they can vouch for the humanism and compassion in napalm form they received by your country! What you are comparing is apples and oranges because it suits you, and your nationalistic "morality" (brings back Emma Goldman's statement about patriotism but I'll leave it out).

What happened over the years is not US becoming a benevolent hegemon (only american citizens believe that, I wonder why?) but the public opinion becoming less and less tolerant over aggression and war as an idea and as a solution. So when some Blackwater thugs murder in cold blood some innocent passersby in Iraq, that makes big news all over the world and generates horrible publicity for US that forces your country to either control the attrocity information tighter or cut down on attrocities. In the time of WWI or II an incident like that wouldn't even make it to the back pages of newspapers.

In other words, don't attempt to take credit for what you are not entitled to. It is not your country that is a more moral empire, it is the rest of the world that has developed higher standards of morality to keep it sane...

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335173)

which is ironic, when your ilk attack France for not getting involved in a war that didn't involve them
Um, what? Yes, Iraq directly involved France. France was making tons of money pumping oil out of Iraq and selling it to their people and to their allies. A good chunk of the oil lines that were taken over by U.S. forces weren't Iraqi oil lines, they were French oil lines. That's why the French didn't get involved.

No, you can't blame them, but you're defending France for entirely the wrong reasons.

Now that's out of the way, my point:

The GERMANS started it
Yes, the Germans started WWII, but they weren't the ones that got the Japanese involved. The Japanese got involved in war before the Germans did because they saw an opportunity to attack other countries like China and also to take over islands that didn't belong to them. It was mostly due to a lack of resources. We didn't like what they were doing, so while attacking China, they bombed Pearl Harbor.

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335417)

"Japs hadn't attacked"
This is a racial slur. You should not use it.

"France for not getting involved in a war that didn't involve them"
France was in violation of the UN's food for oil program. You should look into that and see just how involved they actually were.

Re:youre a dirty damn hippy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335097)

You do realize that US nuked civilians while there were tons of actual military targets. That's called state terrorism. Don't be too proud of yourself.

that's awesome (4, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334925)

how you can find only one side responsible in a two sided fight

you do realize the japanese were slaughtering millions themselves in the name of imperialism? you do realize that if no A bomb was dropped, that more japanese and americans would have died in a land invasion of japan?

Re:that's awesome (2, Funny)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334945)

I really apologize, but I have to mod you down. Do you even realize that you just tried to use logic on /.?

Re:that's awesome (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335153)

Too bad you can't mod if you post in a thread.

Re:that's awesome (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334981)

you do realize the japanese were slaughtering millions themselves in the name of imperialism? you do realize that if no A bomb was dropped, that more japanese and americans would have died in a land invasion of japan?

you do realize that the japanese by the time the bombs were dropped were essentially defeated in the pacific and you do realize that they were ready to capitulate? The bombs fell for the soviets to see, but the fairy tale to "normalize the unthinkable" involved "millions" of americans about to die...so let's kill a quarter of a million of innocent civilians...makes sense, no?)

Typical american, no?

Re:that's awesome (3, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335045)

Actually, they weren't ready to capitulate. What you had were two factions. One who were in control wanting to dig-in and die to the last man. (Like they were doing on numerous islands in the Pacific.)

The other faction realized they had lost, and that they could not hope to win. And that if they continued to fight then millions would die on both sides.

The atomic bombs gave them the leverage to displace the controlling faction.

****

Mind you, anyone who thinks that Japan was ready to surrender is easily disproved by history. If that was the case, we would not have to have used "two" bombs.

It's an absolute proof they were not ready to surrender.

Re:that's awesome (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335211)

Are you sure you checked your sources? I don't want to get too close to home here, but family lore has it that there were only a few sticking points that kept the war going long enough for the bombs to be dropped.

Yes there were factions... but none of them were stupid enough to think that they could continue the fight under existing conditions.

Two bombs were used to prove a point. Point *fucking* proved. There was very little reason to drop the first bomb, there was no reason to drop the second bomb. Read Truman's personal history if you doubt me. He refers to 'Jap pleas' for surrender on several occasions... entries dated several days before the first bomb hit a city 90% composed of civilians.

Re:that's awesome (1, Troll)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335047)

The Japanese were only ready to give up their arms, not surrender. IIRC they were asking for terms that would have allowed them to retain some level of dignity prior to the first bomb dropping.

Then again, there are some new reading materials that challenge my understanding of the situation... http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/HASRAC.html [harvard.edu]

Who knows what to believe.

i find that hard to believe (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335473)

the japanese were pretty hardcore on defense

the japanese, in their actions throughout southeast asia and the island hopping campaign, made it abundantly clear time and again that they were not going to give up one inch of land without fierce resistance to the death, even when that meant suicide by the thousands of personnel, down to the individual decisions of individual japanese soldiers

consider japanese actions on iwo jima, saipan, etc, by the truckload of examples. now ask yourself at the time what any level headed allied personnel would have prudently gauged the japanese attitude to be like in reaction to a land invasion of their mainland

and now you're going to tell me that there was some mysterious watershed change in their attitude?

Re:that's awesome (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335075)

They were ready to capitulate after the A-Bomb at Nagasaki I believe. Hiroshima might have been unnecessary, but dissolved any second thoughts.

As the GP said, the A-Bombs probably saved more Japanese lives than they killed (considering the alternative was a land invasion). Of course, the US intent was only the US lives, which it also saved in much greater number.

Re:that's awesome (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335107)

Uh, Hiroshima was bombed on August 6th, and Nagasaki was hit on the 9th.

Re:that's awesome (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335145)

Oh, for some reason I thought it was the other way around. Sorry about that. Nonetheless, I remember reading capitulation was pretty much certain after the first bombing, but a bit shaky. The second more or less sealed the deal and made them think twice before a deciding to seek vengeance.

you're not a historian, you're an anti-american (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335587)

which is fine, go ahead, hate america. but hate america for genuine bad american intentions, not propagandistic misreadings of intentions

the japanese, in their actions throughout southeast asia and the island hopping campaign, made it abundantly clear time and again that they were not going to give up one inch of land without fierce resistance to the death, even when that meant suicide by the thousands of personnel, down to the individual decisions of individual japanese soldiers

consider japanese actions on iwo jima, saipan, etc, by the truckload of examples. now ask yourself at the time what any level headed allied personnel would have prudently gauged the japanese attitude to be like in reaction to a land invasion of their mainland

now ask yourself, when faced with the decision to drop this bomb, compared with the number of certain deaths, of americans AND japanese, in a mainland invasion, what YOU would have decided (as opposed to what a "typical american" would have decided)

and now you want to say that some future cold war, that no one knew was coming, that geopolitical posturing, was going to be more prevalent in the minds of allied personnel in making that decision than simply considering the number of lives lost in a mainland invasion?

that's called a hindsight bias [wikipedia.org]

what nationality are you? because i want to call you a "typical {}ian" for your idiotic propagandized thinking

which would of course be a grave insult to your fellow countrymen, who are most probably a lot less propagandized and jingoistic than you are. but it would be fitting to hurl that insult at you anyways, to make you aware of how stupid and unfair your propaganda is

Re:that's awesome (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335053)

You do realize that if no A bomb was dropped, that more japanese and americans would have died in a land invasion of japan?

True, too many people ignore that, but Japan had never known defeat before, and they were ready to fight it to the death. And actually, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki apparently almost failed at convinced Japanese generals and such to surrender, some believing that they didn't have more than two of such bombs. Besides, the use of incendiary bombs on Tokyo killed a lot more people than both A-bombs, it was just less impressive.

Sure, Truman wanted to drop the bomb no matter what because he was pissed to have failed the opportunity to drop it on Germany, but it doesn't change how helpful the A-bombs have proven to be to quickly end the conflict. I hate to say it but it's just a case of us not understanding the mentality of the Japanese during that period which made them as dreadful as terrorists in that they didn't fear dying (hence kamikazes).

The US did it so they won the war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335163)

not russia.

USSR had agreed to come in to help the US in Japan on such a date and as the date grew nearer, it looked more likely that the US would need their help. Or, if they could manage it themselves, the russians would be there helping anyway.

To stop the russians getting credit, they dropped the A bomb.

And so the US got Japan.

Re:The US did it so they won the war (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335403)

Nice revisionist history there, but Russia was doing everything it could to stay OUT of the pacific war feeling it was a American conflict (and if the Americans lost, they could swoop in and take them as well)

The seeds of the Cold War had been planted long before the end of WWII. The Russians where letting everyone else beat each other up, hence the non-aggression pack with Germany. Its just Hitler got very very greedy and assaulted Russia as well. Had Hitler not done that, we likely would be under Soviet rule.

But in short, Russia had every intention NOT to get involved. England though, they DID have intentions to send off ships and troops to Japan, but that gets right back to the point of had a land battle been forced (which even after the bombs, it was still very likely as a attempted coup almost stopped the cease fire broadcast and placed their Emperor under house arrest) it would have cost million of lives.

Re:that's awesome (3, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335065)

The excuse for dropping the bomb was to force Japan's capitulation, in order to avoid a costly land invasion. This, while partially true, is mostly a matter of the victors writing the history books. Many modern historians do not believe in this interpretation, as Japan was already defeated by then. The oil fields of China were retaken, the islands of southeast Asia had been reconquered. Japan was back to its pre-war territorial borders, which contain precious few resources (they couldn't even produce enough high-quality steel to fuel their own war effort, which was the original reason for their invasion of China, to secure the necessary resources ), and certainly at that point wasn't a real danger to anyone.

No, the bombs were dropped for the Russians. The Soviets showed a large interest in taking over the recently-vacated Manchuria, which as an industrial heartland of China the US simply could not allow, not to mention access to an all-year east-Asia port. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were warning shots that began the Cold War, it's just that the Japanese had the unfortunate luck of being the most convenient and justifiable party to nuke, at that moment in time.

so you yourself admit (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335365)

to a range of reasons, but the most cynical reason is the one you will consider to be the deciding factor

which only means you are a cynic, not a historian

Re:that's awesome (5, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335429)

I am sick and tired of revisionists coming up with this tripe every time the nuclear bombings of Japan are discussed. It might be true that the Japanese were unable to continue their existence. After the war, debriefed Japanese leaders said that the mining of Japanese harbors as part of Operation Starvation was singlehandedly winning the war for the Allies. He said that if the Allies had continued the operation for another few months, the Japanese would had to have surrendered. But how many Japanese civilians would have died before the leadership would quit? The Japanese military leadership wanted to force an invasion that they were going to lose, so they could at least dictate some conditions of peace.

In spite of all this, the Allies were ready to invade Japan. After the nukes were dropped, they revised the plan to include "softening up" the beachheads with nukes three days before GIs would hit the shores. (They didn't know too much about fallout back then.) The plans were for deaths in the hundreds of thousands. The order for Purple Hearts, the military honor for being wounded in combat, in preparation for this invasion was so large that the supplies did not run out until recently in the new Iraq War. Despite what we now may know, Allied leaders were planning on invading Japan, and the nuclear bomb stopped this from happening, and saved many lives on both sides of the table. In the documentary "The War," an American infantryman that was going to be sent to Japan, when asked about the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, said that he was relieved and glad, and that he knew this was horrible, but that the news meant that he wouldn't have to die. The troops tasked to invade Japan had no illusions of getting out alive; they assumed there were going to die because the Japanese were ruthless soldiers who fought to the death and mistreated the few prisoners they took.

The Japanese were not innocent victims in World War II. They committed all sorts of atrocities such as vivisection, raping and pillaging, and testing biological weapons on civilian populations. Japanese soldiers in the Phillippines were actually cannabalizing American GIs. (Read "Flyboys.") The Japanese still had a dominion over a large civilian population in occupied territories at the time the nuclear bombs were dropped. The civilians there were dying at a very high rate due to Japanese mistreatment. And the Japanese had said they were going to execute all the POWs they held (about a hundred thousand or so) if there was an invasion.

The bombings saved lives. Even if it didn't, the Allied leaders thought that they were saving lives by dropping the bombs. Sixty years later, it's easy for us to sit back and second guess them. But the leaders truly believed Japan had to fall. No one planned for the Japanese to surrender peacefully, even if their situation was screwed. Everything else is revisionist history ignoring who started the war, who committed the true atrocities, and who refused to quit fighting a war they had lost.

Re:that's awesome (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335197)

you do realize that if no A bomb was dropped, that more japanese and americans would have died in a land invasion of japan?
A lot of soldiers would have died, including a lot of US soldiers too. I doubt as many as were killed by the bombs though. In total during WWII, including the whole campaign in Europe the US lost 400,000 and the bombs killed 220,000. In short, they made a choice to nuke civilians rather than sacrifice more soldiers. Soldiers die in war, unpleasant but true. Deliberately targetting civilians? Why, I do know what the US would call that these days. I don't know what kind of moral compass that would possibly make it right to kill a hundred thousand or more women and children. Except "We're americans, they're the enemy so they don't count."

Re:that's awesome (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335481)

Exactly. It was an easy way out, sacrificing hundreds of thousands of civilians to spare US troops (who had volunteered to be used in such a fashion, unlike the civilians who had no such luxury).

I guess the same folks who say it's OK to drop the bomb on Japan (twice) wouldn't mind if the war took a different path and Japan dropped two nukes on the US - after all, it would save lives, wouldn't it?

Re:that's awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335523)

"million or more women and children"

So the deaths of men, since they are not women or children, but evil evil worthless MENS don't count?

You are a women's rights supporter, clearly.

Re:that's awesome (2, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335527)

Up until quite recently in modern terms it was not only acceptible to target civilians, it was part of war doctrine. Civilians are part of the effort in a total war. They man the factories, they pay the taxes and produce the goods that fuel the war effort.

War is ugly on all levels. Killing civilian members of the enemy's society is part of it. Note that I am not excusing it, just pointing it out.

Nice trolling (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335063)

Millions of japanese? 140.000 at Horishima 80.000 at Nagasaki, several thousand afterwards. That is a quarter million from the results of the way. The cities in question would have had to been wiped out from fallout and after effects SEVERAL times to even reach one million.

So where do you get your millions from? The total death toll of WW2 is estimated around 50 million, the americans accounted for a small fraction of that. Major culprits where the germans, the russians and the japanese. It is often forgotten but they had a regime as brutal as the holocaust.

The A-bombs are noteworthy because they killed a lot of people with just one device. Before that you needed large bomber formations or massive organisation to achieve the same amount of killing, but compare it to the slaughter on the eastern front, the japanese death camps, the german concentration camps or even carpet bombing, and they were just a small note on that huge ledger of lost lives that we call WW2.

Millions of japanese lives, geez. Grow up and read a book.

Re:First Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335453)

Also, it's funny how the article is spun to consider this man a "thief", but honours those who originally created the A-bomb (who, although their efforts ended a horrific war, were indirectly responsible for the death of millions of Japanese civilians).

Let's see, how many wars between major world powers have there been since nuclear weapons were developed? And the killing rate of all of the wars that have happened since WWII would account for exactly how many days at the rate of WWII?

Perhaps those scientists knew more than you do. And perhaps creating the most destructive weapon that mankind had ever seen and then immediately protesting its use were not contradictions.

What those scientists did and why they are celebrated is that they made war too expensive to be fought between world powers. That is why only proxy wars and wars between minor powers are fought today. The world is a violent place today. But it is nothing compared to the first half of the 20th century. And it is not because there haven't been plenty of reasons to go to war.

Pride? (0, Flamebait)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334901)

Historians say Mr. Putin may have cited Dr. Koval's accomplishments as a way to rekindle Russian pride.
Honoring someone who's greatest feat in life is stealing another country's technology and betraying the people he lived with, served, played ball with & studied with?

That is one strange concept of 'pride.' I could name countless other Russians that deserve this kind of recognition more than a cold war spy.

Re:Pride? (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334917)

Motive in the grave,
Keep world balance in place?
Can't his name save.
Treachery on his face.
God have mercy on the knave,
And lather this disgrace:
Burma Shave

Re:Pride? (5, Funny)

sinclair44 (728189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335007)

If you're feeling like a jerk
'cuz your A-Bomb just won't work
Go ahead and steal the thing
Then you'll finally have the US's bling.
BURMA SHAVE

For god's sake, lad (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335381)

<off topic>
If you're going to have a Latin sig, capitalize the letters and drop the punctuation.
The only modern comfort afforded, grudgingly at that, is the whitespace between the words.
Or not, as your Troll Tuesday goes. ;)
</off topic>

Re:Pride? (1)

ed.mps (1015669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334969)

Without the A-Bomb, Russia wouldn't have much economic/political power today, even if it's only a part of the power it had in the past. ps: I did notice that parent read and interpreted this story from an "American Victm" perspective.

Re:Pride? (2, Insightful)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335037)

I did notice that parent read and interpreted this story from an "American Victm" perspective.

Are you saying if I take your car you would not be the victim?
Something was stolen from someone. How are they not a victim of the theft? Or is that not a crime in your world?

Re:Pride? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335105)

Taking something like Iraqi oil for example?

Re:Pride? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335341)

Taking something like Iraqi oil for example?

You're talking about the UN obviously [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Pride? (5, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335151)

Something was stolen from someone.
I do believe the US still had the A-bomb after this so-called "theft".

Re:Pride? (1)

ValiSystem (845610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335221)

individuals != countries

Re:Pride? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335281)

It wasn't theft, you know. I don't remember him packing up a bomb and shipping it to Moscow. I don't think the US was without their bombs because of his espionage. I think he was involved in copying the plans and sending them to Russia.

In other words, he copied all of the Ned's Atomic Dustbin albums from their iTunes Music folder and mailed it to the USSR. The US was deprived of nothing except being the only people with nuclear weaponry.

Re:Pride? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334989)

I could name countless other Russians that deserve this kind of recognition more than a cold war spy.

Are you refering to the one who stole that specially tuned pipeline control program (http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=829)?

And of course, I suppose you take great pride in the apolo missions but conviniently forget that fromer nazi war criminals took an important part in post WWII US space superiority.

As a western european, I don't like the idea that Russia has a lot of nukes, but I can't see why we should deny Putin to acknoledge the work that this guy has done FOR RUSSIA.

Re:Pride? (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334995)

Spoils of war, by any other name...

Remember, some days you eat the Bear and some days the Bear eats you. No precedent in this case...by far.

Re:Pride? (1, Flamebait)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335175)

Imagine that he would have been a Russian scientist who knew that Russia was building a doomsday device and started spying for U.S. Eventually U.S. would have been able to build that device as well and a strategic equilibrium would be reached quickly.

Let me guess, that guy would have been a hero, right? Why? Because he was working for "God's" country and not for the "evil" Soviets.

Wake up! US is not the only country in the world and it doesn't have any sort of moral high ground. It might have had it before 2003, but it doesn't have it now after Iraq and Guantanamo and sending innocent people people to Egypt to be tortured ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition [wikipedia.org] ).

Yeah, all the spies are thieves and the best ones are traitors. Someone's hero is another one's villain...

Re:Pride? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335271)

Lol, hilarious how you worked this around to bring in Guantanamo and Rendition. Yes, those things suck.

But what recognition does an American spy get? A star on the wall at Langley.

Spies are generally not the most honorable people, no matter whose side they're on. Christ, what an assuming post.

Re:Pride? (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335425)

That is only from your point of view. The Russians see him as a hero. Not much you can do about that.

Re:Pride? (1, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335505)

The US prides its space program, which was created by Nazi war criminals using stolen Nazi technology (stolen from its allies).

Re:Pride? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335589)

| Honoring someone who's greatest feat in life is stealing another country's technology and betraying the people he lived with, served, played ball with & studied with?

Many slashdotters doesn't have any respect to the so-called intellectual property.

Elections is coming... (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334941)

Said already enough. All these actions - playing Antiamerican cards, claiming Russia "best nation in the world", trying to "correct" international thinking about Stalin etc. etc. at absurdum - is to get already tired people from all this bullshit to vote for Putin comrades. Economy is going down (nevermind huge sales of oil and gas), inflation goes trough the roof, common people only see that one type of oligarchs have been replaced by another, more nationalistic/militaristic, but still don't caring much about nation. But Russians dies out as a people, trough heavy drinking/hunger/strong disillusion about the country. They become more dangerous than any radical Islamists, who cause at least could be understood.

Imperialists don't want to admit simply that Russia as "strong arm dictarionship" is dead horse, which will never work in modern time settings. I just hope their last resort won't be trying to play "hard" with the rest of the world. As we easily know how it is to have people who have nothing to loose.

Re:Elections is coming... (2, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334985)

Some of the new bosses in Russia are the EXACT same old bosses - old party members who made good when the Soviet Union fell. Democracy takes time, but Putin is trying to take a twenty-year step back. At first I liked the guy - he's tough, proud of his heritage, hates traitors from both sides of the aisle - but as time went on he kept getting worse and worse on liberties and on trying to maintain his stranglehold on power. It's going to take years - if ever - for the Russians to get out of the mentality that they need a near-dictator in charge.

Re:Elections is coming... (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335233)

As it is not only Russians problem (almost all post-Soviet nations share similar sentiment. I know, as citizen of Latvia), I think problem hides in that people thought democracy is a miracle - it will come and it will work. Wow, corruption. Wow, hunger, lies, rising crime. Ahh, nah, democracy just doesn't work. Let's go back to Soviet times? Damn, USSR is gone? What a shame. Heck, let's have supreme lea...errr, strong president then.

Let's remember how it was in US 100 years _after_ their Constitution was created. KKK, crime by army and police, religious nuts, US Indians issue. Capitalism wasn't rosy game altogether. Even now they still have problems. But heck, they are trying, even if there is some nuts like Bush who trying to undo all achieved.

People simply need to be more patient, and work on democracy to achieve it best. However, people want to have miracle already. Lot of problems, including huge bribery and corruption in post-Soviet countries, are just consequences of so called "fall out generation", which were in their best years when USSR felt. Generation which knew that they won't see fruits of huge work in democracy today, so they want everything NOW.

Just my humble opinion,
Peter.

So he was the one (1)

ACK!! (10229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334947)

who set them up the bomb?

But how does this fit into the Rosenberg trial and other people the US executed for passing on state secrets?

I know that post cold war pretty convincing evidence has come out saying they did perform spying for the Soviet Russian state.

But how does this all fit together?

Re:So he was the one (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335081)

Wasn't Roseenberg the H-bomb secret? The one in story is A-bomb, the first nuclear weapon.

Of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334961)

Ok, so the spies of our countries that did successfull, dangerous and sometime very important missions should also be considered "bad guys"??

No, the main difference here is maybe the different culture that allows the public honoring of this people to which you can have a lot of opinions.

There are probably a lot of horrible spies that did sometimes good stuff and sometimes horrible stuff on both sides, but either way they were doing what they considered their job, loyal to THEIR country.

And in this case I think we can at least appreciate what an undertaking this kind of mission must have been?

CARPET BOMB AMERICA WITH NUKES! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334973)

ALLAH AKBAR

Not very prideful (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335011)

From the article: "Historians say Mr. Putin may have cited Dr. Koval's accomplishments as a way to rekindle Russian pride."

Huh. Well, I'd be the last to say that Russia has nothing to be proud of. There's a long history of great achievements there (as well as some horrific crimes).

But, rekindling Russian pride by honoring the guy who... um... helped them leach from American R&D and achievement?

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be that proud of it!

I guess Putin, given his own unsavoury background, probably has different ideas about counts as a "great achievement".

eh hem.... (4, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335029)

'he was also recruited and trained by the GRU, Russia's largest intelligence agency'

When you're an English-speaking, baseball-playing, corn-on-the cab chewing, native-Iowan, those young Prussian female recruiting babes, I mean 'agents', are pretty hard to resist.

They should be the ones getting the honors, actually...

Prussian? (4, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335073)

I suppose they could have used east germans, but I think for something that impoatant they would have used their own people.

East Germans? (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335219)

It was WWII, and Germany hadn't been split up yet - all the 18 yr. old English-speaking strutters came out of East Prussia - the Russian talent was busy building horse-drawn mortars.

And when they recruited the guy, they had no idea what he would bring in.

Does that even make sense (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335597)

If it was WWII then germany and russia were enemies... surely?

So if a prussian (ie german, possibly polish) did it, then surely the results would have gone to the reich?

Perhaps I'd better actually RTFA!

Re:eh hem.... (0, Offtopic)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335347)

I was once eaten by a GRU.

In Soviet Russia... (3, Funny)

SyscRAsH (127068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335035)

Putin honors YOU!

surely a hero to the whole World (5, Insightful)

BoxRec (532280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335059)

The man is possibly one of the greatest heroes of all time, he equalised the power balance and prevented the Americans from bombing whoever they wished.

Re:surely a hero to the whole World (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335135)

whomever /grammar commie

Re:surely a hero to the whole World (4, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335421)

The man is possibly one of the greatest heroes of all time, he equalised the power balance and prevented the Americans from bombing whoever they wished.
I wish I had mod points for this but I don't so I will have to just repost it with a higher score (until some pro-us looneys mod this down as a troll or whatever).

The one thing that history has taught us is that power corrupts. If we in the west had the ability to make communism go away with one button and no chance of any reprisals we may have done it (or our policians may have done it for us without asking).

Also note that the Russia had a policy of never striking first with Nuclear weapons unless we deployed them first, we (NATO) had no such policy. We held on to Nukes as way to discourage a conventional invasion so we had a policy that allowed us to strike first with WMD's, otherwise this policy would not have been effective.

The rulers of the west had one thing in common with Hitler, they both despised the idea of Socialism in the form adopted by Russia. The fact is that in the cold war we came very close to a nuclear exchange anyway, and this was when we knew the opposing side could match us.

If we knew they had no chance of retaliating except with a conventional attack I could see us in the west having taken things a lot further. I also believe that Russia would probably have not stopped the tanks when they did, if not for us demonstrating our nuclear ability against Japan.

hmmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335091)

Koval was born in Iowa...
And this guy wasn't kidnapped by the CIA and hung for treason back in the 50's why?

Re:hmmmm (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335179)

Noone was ever 'hung' for anything. Lots of people, however, were hanged.

Re:hmmmm (2, Funny)

jdunn14 (455930) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335397)

I wouldn't want to be born there either, but don't you think the death penalty is a bit harsh for being an Iowa native?

Re:hmmmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335409)

hung? wtf!

surely he should have been commended for balancing the international nuclear equation and ensuring that the assorted criminals and degenerates that have headed up america didn't dare use nukes. can we agree this is a good thing?

maybe this wasn't his intention but surely there's no question that what he did was for the best...

look at the fact that the only force to stand in the way of US world domination at the moment is a bunch of equally religious nutcases (islamists) - the mess created by this imbalance is there for all to see (just look at the middle east)

things will change once europe starts to unite properly; US military and economic power will be overshadowed once again, providing a healthy counterweight to the vulgar arrogance and utter ignorance of our distant and deliquent cousins.

An American traitor is just as bad as a (2, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335095)

....Russian traitor, imo. Assuming your home country isn't nazi Germany or the equivalent.

So, you know... (2, Funny)

orionop (1139819) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335137)

watch out for people. Keep an eye on your fellow Americans and do your duty to the Government. Do not trust anyone, not even your loved ones! In fact, the terrorists will probably dress up like someone you love, just to make it worse when they kill you. They are everywhere, they even play baseball. Do your part and report non-baseball activities to your local authorities right away.

Well, not so much (4, Informative)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335155)

Er, um, we don't really know what this guy found out, do we?

Chances are, given the considerable security, he did not learn a whole lot.

Even the top designers of the Oak Ridge gas separation plant did not know exactly what they were doing. What are the chances this guy got the goods?

And half of what they did at Oak Ridge was electromagnetic separation, which turned out to be way too inefficient. If he gave the Soviets that info, he did us a huge favor.

The Polonium separation that went on at a scientist's mother's house in Dayton was straightforward chemistry, nothing particularly novel or secret.

No James Bond here.

Mixed up story, I don't recall him being a traitor (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335249)

Although lots of people seem to think him a traitor, he really wasn't (although it depends heavily on how your read the history). His father at one point emigrated to the US, then moved back to russia, taking his american born son with him. So while the guy was american born, when he became an agent he was a soviet citizen.

Using people as agents who have lived in the country they are supposed to work in is nothing new. But he worked as an agent for the country of which he was a citizen. He entered the US as a spy and as such did NOT commit treason.

That is an important difference to make.

Odd by the way that a lot of americans seem to condemn hailing this guy as a hero, when their own space program was built upon a nazi war criminal. Russian spy vs nazi, oh yeah the ruskies are the baddies alright. Working people to their death vs taking a dangerous mission to protect your home country.

For those of us with a mind (american, Idol is on) this guy and others helped created the policy of mutually assured destruction. While nukes are scary, they ain't half as scary as they would have been if only one side had them. Would you have trusted the US as the only country with nuclear weapons?

Re:Mixed up story, I don't recall him being a trai (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335531)

And you are naive if you think the Russian space program had no former nazi scientists working on their projects.

Politkovskaya (1)

matsuva (1042924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335265)

What they should be doing is restoring democracy and remembering those who died for it instead of bringing toasts to thieves.
Putin and his clique have caused the death of Anna Politkovskaya and many other journalists, that's what the FSB is up to now, i doubt those killers will be celebrated in 50 years.

A lot of bias (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335293)

Koval was born in Iowa, spoke fluent American English

So why is it importand to mention that he, as a born American, spoke American Enlish? It would be more surprising would he have talked with a russian dialect.

Bright side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335309)

If The Soviet Union hadn't acquired the A-bomb, they wouldn't have had the chance to engage into a ridiculous arms race with the US. Thus, they wouldn't exhaust their economy. Witch so elegantly created a prerequisite for the collapse of the Soviet Union, giving the Baltic States a chance to become independent. So thank you Mr. George Koval! But still what's next? Giving national awards to car thieves?

You Failed! (1)

Ninden (788978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335385)

The enemy has captured our intelligence.

Re:You Failed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335431)

Stalemate! You're all losers.

Who's Next (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335583)

ARTIST: Tom Lehrer
TITLE: Who's Next

First we got the bomb, and that was good
'Cause we love peace and motherhood
Then Russia got the bomb, but that's okay
'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way
Who's next

France got the bomb, but don't you grieve
'Cause they're on our side, I believe
China got the bomb, but have no fears
They can't wipe us out for at least five years
Who's next

Then Indonesia claimed that they
Were gonna get one any day
South Africa wants two, that's right
One for the black and one for the white
Who's next

Egypt's gonna get one too
Just to use on you know who
So Israel's getting tense
Wants one in self defense
"The Lord's our shepherd," says the psalm
But just in case, we better get a bomb
Who's next

Luxembourg is next to go
And, who knows, maybe Monaco
We'll try to stay serene and calm
When Alabama gets the bomb
Who's next, who's next, who's next, who's next
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>