[KS] Korean geology: What did we know and when did we know it?

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Fri Mar 21 16:06:19 EDT 2014

Hi Bill, and others:

As you know, this topic is not exactly my cup of tea. Accidentally, 
though, I recently looked into the German-Japanese technical liaison 
and the relationship of Daimler-Benz ad the Japanese. So, this as a 
footnote to your question:

Daimler's DB 601 to 605 engine development (for the Messerschmitt 
fighters, e.g. the ME-262) handed on *all* blueprints of these and 
other fighter plane motors to the Japanese (instructed by the Goebbels 
ministry, of course). There were around 30 to 50 Japanese engineers 
from Kawasaki and also directly from the air force being stationed in 
Berlin until the bitter end in 1945. Their only task was to learn the 
production process and everything related to that, and then implement 
that in Japan, which they did. German technicians were at the same time 
send to Japan--and that went on (in spite of the blockade) until at 
least summer 1944. As a side note: the Japanese did, also using 
Koreans, at the same time spy on the Germans. Anyway, in this 
connection, I like to add (but you may already have that info?) that 
German technical instructions of how to work with uranium oxide and 
tungsten for various projects related to rocket propelled aircraft, 
jets, and rocket propulsion units were handed on to the Japanese on a 
regular basis. Japanese (and also three Koreans) had also been involved 
in the actual development and production of the latest fighter motors 
at Daimler and the German Experimental Institute for Aviation (DVL), so 
that was a close cooperation. The information flow, of course, was 
rather one-directional. There were German U-boots and vessels that 
surrendered in 1944 and that had such blueprints and instructions on 
board. What I find more interesting is the role of Manchukuo though. It 
seems that the U.S., Britain, and even Russia did have serious lapses 
in how they tried to control communication AND exchange of personal and 
material between Manchukuo embassies in Europe and Manchuria. That is 
hard to understand. There seems not a single document, not at the 
Daimler archives nor at the various U.S. archives, at least not among 
the now declassified ones, that would indicate that uranium oxide and 
tungsten were used in connection with the development of an A-bomb by 
the Japanese. They were just used as alloying materials to produce 
high-strength steel or relate to other technologies relating to rocket 
propelled aircraft.

As a starter related to my above notes I suggest having a look at:
War Department, Military Intelligence Division, "German Technical Aid 
to Japan - MIS", Washington: 31 August 1945. (393 pages)
That is an immediate post-war summary report that already makes full 
use of the intelligence gathered from the Japanese (and of course 
German scientists) left in Germany after the surrender. Other related 
documents from Germany and Japan have been covered by works on the 
issue by Hans-Joachim Braun and others.  


On Wed, 19 Mar 2014 17:11:36 -0700 (PDT), Bill Streifer wrote:
> Northern Korea is rich in monazite, about 5.5% of which is thorium 
> oxide and less than 1% uranium oxide. From what I understand, the 
> majority of monazite is located in the mountainous regions of North 
> Korea, although the monazite itself is most often mined in stream and 
> river "placers" that flow from those mountains. Since much of my 
> information was obtained from pre-war Japanese geologists, I'm 
> wondering how much of this geological information was available to 
> the British and to the Americans during WWII. 
> -- Bill Streifer

Frank Hoffmann

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