New Mexico True – Atomic City

Spies and Lies

WWII. The Allies were in a race to create a nuclear weapon and whoever got there first would win the war. Where there are secrets, there are spies.

Los Alamos was not your typical town. In a few short years, Los Alamos, New Mexico grew from an ordinary ranch school into a secret city of six thousand people. Most residents were in their mid-twenties. No one was permitted to travel more than one hundred miles away. Long-distance phone calls and outgoing mail were monitored. It was known as the Manhattan Project.

New Mexico True Atomic City Spy Tour Experience:

Make the rich story of twentieth-century espionage come alive for residents and visitors alike. Sponsored by NMTrue!

Los Alamos Spy Tours:
• Self-Guided: Where there are secrets, there are spies. See where Los Alamos’ three spies lived, worked and played. Pick up a Spy Tour brochure at the Los Alamos Visitors Center or download one here.
• Guided Walking Tours: The Historical Society will lead a walking tour at 1pm on Thursday, July 14, Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16. Historical Museum – Teen Center 475 20th St., Suite C, $10 per person.

Bus Tours – by Buffalo Tours:

Los Alamos Tours – Georgia StrickFaden will offer her Atomic City Van Tours
• Tour the community spawned by the secret Manhattan Project during WWII, and peek at today’s Los Alamos National Laboratory with a native Los Alamos guide. The comfortable van tours are rich in history, archaeology, geology, and scenery. On the 1-1/2 hour tour, get to know Los Alamos, where discoveries are made! Hear the story of the volcanic Jemez Mountains and Pajarito Plateau; from the ancient inhabitants to the world-renowned Los Alamos National Laboratory. See where World War II scientists lived, worked, and played during the top secret Manhattan Project. Discover our recreational and cultural treasures. Friday, July 14; Saturday, July 15 at 1:30 pm. Meet at Bradbury Science Museum, in front of building in yellow tour van, $25 per person, kids half price accompanied by adult fare.

Other Spy Related Activities:

3D App: Los Alamos: Secret City of The Manhattan Project. Tour from 109 E. Palace Ave., Santa Fe to Los Alamos. Have fun & learn about the Atomic City spies. Download free from the Apple App Store.

Spy House Historic Bed and Breakfast in downtown Albuquerque. This is the famous historic house where atomic bomb secrets were traded by David Greenglass. Click here for reservations or information about their monthly Murder Mystery Dinner, please contact:
Ph: (505) 842-0223 | Toll Free: (888) 342-0223
207 High St. NE | Albuquerque, NM 87102

Los Alamos Atomic Spies

Code name: CHARLES

PhD physicist Klaus Fuchs arrived at Los Alamos August 14, 1944. He was directly responsible for determining whether plutonium can be used in an implosion-type atomic bomb. He expanded his access to other secrets by regular attendance at the colloquia that Oppenheimer sponsored to insure free exchange of ideas among Los Alamos senior scientist. He volunteered to serve as a project historian. He also volunteered to babysit for many Los Alamos parties. He was said to have babysat for the Parson’s on Bath Tub Row. In 1946 Fuchs returned to England and began work on the British atomic program. He continued to pass secret information to the Soviet Union intermittently until he was finally caught, and in 1950 he confessed everything. He was sentenced to fourteen years’ imprisonment, the maximum for violating the Official Secrets Act. He escaped the charge of espionage because of the lack of independent evidence. He was released on June 23, 1959, after serving nine years and four months of his sentence at Wakefield Prison in England.

Klaus Fuchs

Code name: MLAD

18-year old Harvard physics prodigy Ted Hall arrives in Los Alamos Jan. 27, 1944. He worked as a junior physicist, helping establish the critical mass of uranium-235 required for a simple gun-type bomb. He gave a detailed description of the Fat Man plutonium bomb, and of several processes for purifying plutonium, to Soviet intelligence. His identity as a spy was not revealed until very late in the 20th century. He was never tried for his espionage work, though he admitted to it in later years to reporters and to his family.

Theodore Hall

Code name: BUMBLEBEE

Low-level machinist David Greenglass arrived at Los Alamos August 5, 1944, to participate in work on the implosion design. He was the brother of Ethel Rosenberg who, along with her husband Julius, was executed as a spy in the 1950s. While debate continues about Ethel’s guilt, her husband was the one who approached Greenglass about spying for the Russians. The machinist handed over sketches of Fat Man components. When captured, he turned on his sister and brother-in-law and testified against them in exchange for a plea bargain. In 2001, he confessed to perjuring himself regarding his sister, Ethel’s, role in events to knock some years off his sentence and prevent his wife, Ruth, from going to jail.

David Greenglass