Synopses & Reviews
"[The author] has done a great service to historians of modern physics by editing this first anthology of primary sources, excellently translated into English... The texts are well selected and range widely, from private correspondence and official memoranda to articles dealing with physics in a propagandistic or popular manner... Many of the sources are extremely interesting and appear here for the first time. Their value is further enhanced by the editor's cross-referencing and detailed notes... [The book] is also a fine introduction to the entire subject. [The] 101-page 'introduction' gives an admirable survey of German physics during the Nazi period as well as a thorough discussion of the historiography of the subject... [The book] is of such quality and usefulness that were I to choose a single book on the history of physics in the Third Reich this might well be the one." H. Kragh, Centaurus
1 Aim and General Description of the Anthology The purpose of this anthology is to introduce the English speaking public to the wide spectrum of texts authored predominently by physicists portraying the ac tual and perceived role of physics in the Nazi state. Up to now no broad and well balanced documentation of German physics during this time has been available in English, despite the significant role physics has played both politically (e. g., in weaponry planning) and ideologically (e. g., in the controversy over the value of theoretical ('Jewish') vs. experimental ('Aryan') physics), and even though prominent figures like the scientist-philosopher and emigre Albert Einstein and the controversial nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg have become household names. This anthology will attempt to bridge this gap by presenting contempo rary documents and eye-witness accounts by the physicists themselves. Authors were chosen to represent the various political opinions and specialties within the physics community, omitting some of the more readily accessible texts by leading physicists (e. g., Einstein, Heisenberg, Lenard) in favor of those by less well-known but nonetheless important figures (e. g., Finkelnburg, Max Wien, Ramsauer). In this way we hope not only to circumvent the constricted 'Great Men' approach to history but also to offer a broader picture of the activities and conflicts within the field and the effects of the political forces exerted upon them."