Examines the impact of the Czechoslovak and East German uranium industries on local politics and on societies, particularly in the decade or so after the end of the Second World War. The Erzgebirge - the Ore Mountains - on the border of Czechoslovakia and East Germany of the time, was the oldest uranium mine in the world, whose important resources were badly needed for Stalin's atomic bomb. This book contains an introduction that discusses the silver-mining industries in the Erzgebirge region, the history of experiments in physics on the instability of matter, and on the increasing demand for uranium beginning in the middle of the 19th century. The book outlines the fate of this mining region in the Cold War period, including the various political pressures and medical problems its inhabitants came under. The two industries are compared at the peak of their production and at the top of their strategic importance for Stalin. The highly secret "state within a state" is examined in the two countries. In addition, the analysis of the uranium issue helps the reader to see the origins of the Cold War in a different perspective.
Zbynek Zeman is Professor Emeritus in European History, Oxford University and Lector at the Anglo-American College in Prague. Rainer Karlsch teaches Economic History at Humboldt University as well as at the Free University, Berlin.
Preface Part 1 Unparalleled power Part 2 The Erzgebirge Region Part 3 The Politics of Czechoslovak Uranium Part 4 Wismut AG: a State Within a State Endnote Bibliography Index