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Citizen Kurchatov: Stalin's Bomb Maker


Post-War Tension

Kurchatov was told to build a bomb by 1948, less than three years away. Stalin also put the ruthless Beria in charge of the project to insure its success.

A new urgency was felt by Stalin, Beria, Kurchatov, and the scientists. The West had the bomb and they showed the world that they weren't afraid to use it. Although they had defeated Germany as allies, relations between the Soviet Union and the west were already strained.

President TrumanThe Soviets were afraid the United States would use the threat of nuclear weapons to push their interests on the rest of the world. Although the Soviet Union had greatly suffered during the War, Stalin had gained territories and had lifted the Soviet Union to a super power. He did not want the U.S. to take back what he had gained.

After the war, the U.S. did make demands with more confidence and forced the Soviets to withdraw their troops from the north of Iran in 1946. Stalin and Molotov tried to downplay the threat by talking about joint international control of nuclear weapons and energy, but they continued to push Kurchatov to build a Soviet bomb.


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