Hitler came close to making a nuke before the US captured his enriched uranium and used it to make the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, a new book has claimed.
American forces forced the surrender of Nazi U-Boat 234 as it was heading for Japan on May 15, 1945 and found it was carrying high profile Nazis, including German general Ulrich Kessler as well as scientists and engineers.
It was also carrying the uranium Hitler failed to turn into a nuclear weapon in time to save his crumbling Reich, according to Daily Mail.
A new book, 'Critical Mass' by scientist and author Carter Hydrick, claims the captured material was used in the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
Hydrick's book has created a storm in the America scientific community.
He was invited to speak about his findings at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory - where the U.S. uranium enrichment effort was made during the Second World War - and at Los Alamos National Laboratory where the world's first Atomic bombs were made.
Dr. Delmar Bergen, retired director of the Nuclear Weapons Programme at Los Alamos, wrote the foreword to the book.
Hydrick accessed hitherto secret US defence department files about the capture at sea of Nazi U-Boat 234.
U-234 surrendered on May 15, 1945. She was headed for Japan with her secret cargo along with prominent passengers including German general Ulrich Kessler, four German naval officers, civilian engineers and scientists and two Japanese naval officers.
She was ordered to surface and surrender by Hitler successor Admiral Karl Doenitz following the capitulation of Nazi Germany on May 8.
The fact that the ship carried half a tone of uranium oxide remained classified for the duration of the Cold War.
Hydrick discovered a slew of memos from US naval chiefs ordering that the crew of the submarine were to be kept away from the press at all costs and marines were instructed to open fire on anyone who tried to get close to them.
A secret communique of May 27, 1945 stated: "Lt. Pfaff, second watch officer of U.234, discloses he was in charge of cargo....Uranium Oxide loaded in gold-lined cylinders and as long as not opened can be handled like crude TNT. These containers should not be opened as substance will become sensitive and dangerous."
Other memos discovered by Hydrick show that US Army Major John Vance, an intelligence officer assigned to the ultra-secret Manhattan Project - the making of the atomic bombs - oversaw the taking of the uranium from U-234 for the Los Alamos facility because scientists were running low on the essential compound for the weapon which would change history.
The author said: "The research reveals the Nazis both enriched uranium successfully (counter to the present traditional history) and gave it to the United States, also counter to the believed history, and that this uranium was used in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
"It also shows that triggering technology for the plutonium bomb dropped on Japan was surrendered to the U.S. by the Nazis at the same time."
Hitler struggled desperately to make a working nuclear weapon in a bid to stave off defeat.
Six years ago German nuclear said they found nuclear waste from Hitler's secret atom bomb programme in a crumbling mine near Hanover.
More than 126,000 barrels of nuclear material lie rotting over 2,000 feet below ground in an old salt mine.
Rumour has it that the remains of nuclear scientists who worked on the Nazi programme are also there, their irradiated bodies burned in secret by S.S. men sworn to secrecy.
A statement by a boss of the Asse II nuclear fuel dump, discovered in an archive at the time, said how in 1967 "our association sank radioactive wastes from the last war, uranium waste, from the preparation of the German atom bomb."
This sent shock waves through historians who thought that the German atomic programme was nowhere near advanced enough in WW2 to have produced nuclear waste in any quantities.
The German "uranium project" began in earnest shortly after Germany's invasion of Poland in September.
Army physicist Kurt Diebner led a team tasked to investigate the military applications of fission. By the end of the year the physicist Werner Heisenberg had calculated that nuclear fission chain reactions might be possible.
Although the war hampered their work, by the fall of the Third Reich in 1945 Nazi scientists had achieved a significant enrichment in samples of uranium.
Mark Walker, a US expert on the Nazi programme said: "Because we still don't know about these projects, which remain cloaked in WW2 secrecy, it isn't safe to say the Nazis fell short of enriching enough uranium for a bomb. Some documents remain top secret to this day."