Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Search NOVA Teachers

Back to Teachers Home

Hitler's Sunken Secret

Program Overview

PDF

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
BUY THE VIDEO PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY RELATED NOVA RESOURCES
   

Support provided by