Susan Williams on the former Belgian Congo's part in the nuclear arms race

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Institute of Commonwealth Studies Senior Research Fellow, Susan Williams, discusses her new book, Spies in the Congo: the Race for the Ore that Built the Atomic Bomb (Hurst Publishers, June 2016) on the BBC World Service's Newsday programme (28 June 2016). 

"Spies in the Congo is the untold story of one of the most tightly-guarded secrets of the Second World War: America’s desperate struggle to secure enough uranium to build its atomic bomb.

"The Shinkolobwe mine in the Belgian Congo was the most important deposit of uranium yet discovered anywhere on earth, vital to the success of the Manhattan Project. Given that Germany was also working on an atomic bomb, it was an urgent priority for the US to prevent uranium from the Congo being diverted to the enemy — a task entrusted to Washington’s elite secret intelligence agents. Sent undercover to colonial Africa to track the ore and to hunt Nazi collaborators, their assignment was made even tougher by the complex political reality and by tensions with Belgian and British officials.

"A gripping spy-thriller, Spies in the Congo is the true story of unsung heroism, of the handful of good men — and one woman — in Africa who were determined to deny Hitler his bomb." (Hurst Publishers)