How Soviets got the hydrogen bomb before America

In short, America tested the world's first hydrogen bomb in November 1952 but it was way too heavy to be usable as a weapon. In August 1953, USSR tested by air drop half a hydrogen bomb, with 400 kilotons of TNT, over 10 times that of the atomic bomb. The design was developed by Sakharov and Ginzburg around 1948-1949, before the Teller-Ulam design in 1951, though unlike the latter it was not scalable to the megaton range. In November 1955, USSR tested by air drop a full hydrogen bomb well over a megaton. America only achieved an air drop hydrogen bomb in May 1956, half a year later than the USSR, or even almost 3 years, if you count the 1953 Soviet nuclear test as a hydrogen bomb.

It took almost four years to go from the first cumbersome unusable as a weapon hydrogen bomb to a weaponized one for the United States! From the first nuclear test Trinity in July 1945 it took almost 11 years! Whereas for the USSR, it took only a little over 6 years or even only 4 years to go from atomic bomb to weaponized hydrogen bomb. America loves to point out Klaus Fuchs and Soviet atomic espionage. Well if Soviets "stole" American nuclear weapons technology, then how come USSR objectively and unambiguously beat America at miniaturizing the hydrogen bomb, not to mention that the sloika design tested in 1953 came before Teller-Ulam. And I recall that Soviets took 18 tests vs America's 72 to get to a usable as a weapon hydrogen bomb, and even fewer if one uses the 1953 one as the benchmark.

I had thought that it was 1954 Castle Bravo when America got an air dropped hydrogen bomb, but was extremely surprised to learn that it was 1956, after or well after did the USSR.

Relatedly, I counted 15 Soviet science Nobel laureates, alongside 5 dissident Nobel laureates, including Sakharov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Gorbachev. For ethnic Chinese/PRC the numbers are 10 and 3.

The problem is largely America and English's media power which grossly misleads people. Capitalists use their money to control the government and important organizations, put them names on streets, schools, buildings, etc, and silence criticism against them. Even fucking dynamite inventor Nobel ended up with an organization actively aggressively using his name in lowly attempts to subvert USSR/Russia and PRC.

As a contrast, I recently learned more about a distinguished Chinese chemist and chemical engineer Hou Debang. He was born in 1890 and earned a PhD from Columbia University in 1921. Working at Yongli Alkaline Plant started by a Chinese who studied in Japan, he and his team succeeded in 1926 in reverse engineering the secreted Solvay process, developed and patented in 19th century by a Belgian, who made a family fortune off it. The soda ash produced by the company was sold to Japan and Southeast Asian and received recognition from America too. In 1933, he published all the details of the Solvay process that the company reversed engineered in a big thick book that was later translated into Russian and other languages. Then in the late 30s and early 40s, after refusing to collaborate with the Japanese and then being rejected in an attempted deal with Germans, in difficult wartime conditions in Sichuan in the interior of China, his team developed a process for soda ash much more efficient and cost-effective than the Solvay process. Instead of patenting it, he publicized it. For it he was internationally recognized, and his work was later referred to by many as Hou's process. After working as a chemical engineering consultant in India in the late 40s post war, he returned to China in 49 and was warmly welcomed and supported by the PRC authorities. After the PRC authorities, learning of difficulties in the plant post-war, gave it a preferential loan, he and the leadership team of the chemical plant applied for its nationalization in 1950, which was quickly accepted. In the late 50s, he joined the CPC and became deputy minister of Ministry of Chemical Industry.


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