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Hitler's Sunken Secret

Program Overview


Hydro NOVA follows a team of underwater archeologists to the bottom Lake Tinn in Norway to locate and determine the historically significant contents of a ferry sabotaged in World War II.

The program:

  • reviews the project's mission to bring up a barrel from the lake bottom and test its contents.

  • notes that at the time of the ferry's sinking, Allied forces believed that the barrel's supposed contents—heavy water—were key to German attempts to build a nuclear bomb.

  • relates that since World War II, secret documents have come to light casting doubt on whether the sabotage was necessary.

  • shows scientists using a remotely operated vehicle to locate the ferry.

  • summarizes the history of the Norsk factory that created heavy water as a by-product of its ammonia fertilizer production.

  • conveys how physicists began to understand the importance of heavy water in the creation of a nuclear bomb.

  • relates how the Allies teamed up with members of the Norwegian Resistance to destroy the Norsk factory.

  • presents the three attempts to sabotage the factory.

  • reports how Allied forces decided to sink the Hydro ferry that they believed contained a half-ton shipment of heavy water.

  • recounts how the ferry was sabotaged on February 20, 1944, a sinking that resulted in the deaths of 14 Norwegian civilians and four German guards.

  • reviews documents found after World War II that called into question whether the downed ferry was actually carrying heavy water.

  • details the raising of a barrel from the lake depths and the subsequent testing of its contents.

  • revisits the mission with one of the men involved in the sabotage and some survivors of the sinking.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Hitler's Sunken Secret

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