Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Soviet code name for the joint NKVD and GRU operation conducted against the Manhattan Project, with the intention of acquiring Anglo-American atomic secrets and thereby assisting the development of a Soviet weapon. Supervised personally by Lavrenti Beria, ENORMOZ was initiated in 1940 following information received from the rezidentura in London indicating that the War Cabinet in Great Britain had decided to embark on a major research program to produce a viable device. Technically unqualified Soviet personnel in London encouraged their sources to supply further material, but in 1943 their colleagues in New York and San Francisco were able to exploit agents, usually members of the Communist Party of the United States of America, who submitted reports on highly classified work then under way at Oak Ridge, Berkeley, Chicago, and Los Alamos in the United States. The full extent of ENORMOZ became evident only with the declassification in 1995 of the VENONA texts, which identified the code names of more than 40 participants, among them Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Klaus Fuchs, and Ted Hall.