Postponed reparation comes with bonus

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Klaus Fuchs, badge from Los Alamos national laboratory, 1944

The German physicist Klaus Fuchs (1911–1988) followed a very different track from the Operation Paperclip engineers who went to the US after the war.

Fuchs' knowledge was greatly enhanced by experience gained in British and American laboratories. Fuchs had fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and settled in Great Britain. During the Second World War he worked on both the British and American atomic bomb projects, carrying out key theoretical calculations. In 1950, he was convicted of passing UK and US atom bomb secrets to the Soviet Union.

Following his conviction, he was sentenced to fourteen years in prison and stripped of his UK citizenship. He was released in 1959, and then settled in Dresden, East Germany, where he resumed his work in nuclear research on the far side of the "Iron Curtain."

How to cite this page


Slawomir Lotysz, 'Postponed reparation comes with bonus', Inventing Europe,


  1. Williams, Robert Chadwell. Klaus Fuchs, Atom Spy. Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press, 1987.
  2. Richelson, Jeffrey. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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Expatriate experts: the Second World War and the movement of knowledge

The Second World War and the Cold War brought experts in science and technology together, and divided them. They were brought together on major military projects like the German V-2 rocket program, or the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. They were also divided and scattered over borders. Some fled the Nazi regime and worked from exile, often for Allied projects. Others were divided up as "intellectual reparations" - both voluntarily and involuntarily - after the war.

What's like this?

The fear for a nuclear war

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