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

Read WWII Spy Messages

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 11.08.05
  • NOVA

Who was behind the Allied effort to stop the Nazis from possibly building an atomic bomb? One person was a Norwegian Resistance fighter named Einar Skinnarland, who was hiding out near the Nazi-occupied Vemork heavy-water plant in southern Norway. In late January 1944, Skinnarland received a telegram from the London-based Special Operations Executive (SOE), for which he worked: The Germans were preparing to ship a supply of heavy water—which could be used to make an atomic bomb—to Germany. Could it be stopped? Thus began a flurry of wireless transmissions between Skinnarland and his spy chief about his ultimately successful sabotage mission. Here, see the original messages as translated from the Norwegian by the SOE.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

Telegrams reveal a secret mission to sink a Nazi shipment of a substance useful in the making of atomic bombs.

Editor's note: Several of the telegrams have been slightly altered to remove the original Norwegian and to tighten elements on the page.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Hitler's Sunken Secret.

Related Links

  • Nazis and the Bomb

    How close was Hitler to developing a nuclear weapon?

  • 3D Spies of WWII

    With 3D graphics, NOVA reveals how the Allies used special aerial photos to deal a dire blow to the Nazi rocket program.

  • Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor

    The stealth attack of Pearl Harbor by Japanese midget submarines is a little known story of WWII.

  • Bombing Hitler's Dams

    Experts recreate the bold feat of “dambuster” pilots who used bouncing bombs to destroy two key German dams in WWII.

Close

You need the Flash Player plug-in to view this content.