"Japan's Atomic Bomb research project began quite independently of Nazi Germany's Atomic weapons project. Germany was quite unaware of Japan's efforts until an exchange of diplomatic signals from July to November 1943. Undoubtedly from this time however there was a rush of technical exchanges between the Axis partners."
JAPAN'S WWII A-BOMB PROJECT
SPIES IN THE DESERT, DEATH BY RATTLESNAKE, AND NUCLEAR BOMBS
My father, when he reached age 65 or so, was caught in a fire on the job and not expected to live. Although he pulled through to some extent --- dying from complications attributed to the fire two years later --- my uncle, having been told his brother was on his death bed, travelled from his home in Santa Fe to California to be with him during what all expected to be his last days. After a few visits in the hospital, out of nowhere my father had a sudden almost miracle-like turn around. Following hours of talking about the old days then suddenly seeing my dad was going to be OK considering the circumstances, my uncle decided to head back home. In that he and I had not been on a road trip together since I was a young boy and he would be travelling across much of the same territory we used to explore in those days I asked if it would be alright if I joined him. Without hesitation and his full blessing, I did just that.
On our several day road trip to Santa Fe, just like when I was a kid, we discussed and did almost anything and everything that came up. On the way, since he was on the west coast for the first time in years, we stopped to see two people he hadn't seen in decades. First was the cowboy-western author Louis L'Amour who had more than 100 books to his credit and lived in Los Angeles at the time, and secondly, a man of great spiritual attainment named Franklin Merrell-Wolff that lived along the lower eastern slopes of the High Sierras. From there we cut through Death Valley, crossed the Colorado River and on to Kingman, Arizona, then to Santa Fe. We talked about lost Viking ships in the desert near the Salton Sea, the 1953 Kingman UFO incident, and my survival of a train crash I was in near Williams, Arizona when I was a little boy, all stuff I have written about since elsewhere.
One of the things that came up between the two of us during our conversation and of which I haven't written about or discussed elsewhere, had to do with one of the war years, 1943 to be exact. World War II was not even a year old when my uncle personally came across the low key if not secret fact that German U-boats --- contrary to nearly all later critics and hard historical evidence --- were plying the seas off the west coast of Mexico during World War II, more specifically in the Sea of Cortez. Because of becoming privy to that knowledge AND the why of the U-boats being there, he was shot in the back at close range by Japanese agents and left to die.
During the early pre-dawn hours of July 16, 1945 and almost two years after my uncle was shot, at a place called Trinity Site, White Sands New Mexico, the first atomic device ever set off on the face of the earth occurred, or so they say.(see) Long recovered from the bullet, my uncle, like so many others who lived in New Mexico at the time, saw the flash that morning and after discovering what he had seen was related to a nuclear blast became concerned, leading to the following results from the source so cited:
"(B)ecause of the strong ties he had forged over the years with a wide spectrum of the area's Native American population and a deeply dedicated interest in their use of specific or sacred plants for medicinal and ritual purposes, he wanted to investigate how any actual or potential radioactive fallout from the bomb may have adversely impacted indiginous plants. So said, he decided to field test similar and like plants both in and out of the fallout zones as quick as possible then come back over a period of time and compare how they and their offspring withstood or modified in some fashion from normal states of growth."(source)
The idea for investigating potential fallout and nuclear radiation in August of 1945 did not, however, simply pop up in his mind out of whole cloth. It stemmed from an earlier event he had experienced a few years before. Sometime in 1943 he was biosearching alone about halfway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces in what was considered rather remote terrain located in the central portion of New Mexico between the north-south flowing Rio Grande on the east and the New Mexico-Arizona border on the west when he came across tracks in the dirt that appeared to be small grooves about two feet apart. Right away he recognized the tracks as being that of a travois, a simple wheeless device made from two poles formed in a triangle shape to carry stuff over rough terrain by pulling it. Foot tracks indicated it was a person travelling alone and pulling something fairly heavy, and as far as my uncle was able to determine, not seeming to be going in a direction that would be helpful either in the short term or long term.
Following the tracks it wasn't long before he came upon the person who had been pulling the travois. The man was holed up in the shade along the edge of some boulders shielding himself and a companion from the mid-day sun as much as he could. Whoever they were my uncle could tell they were not Native American and, even though they were deep into the desert, they seemed to have been caught off guard enough to have had any survival abilities impacted adversely.
How long they had been there my uncle didn't know, but keeping his distance and not exposing his presence my uncle could see one man had been pulling another man that appeared to be wounded, sick, dying, or dead. The man doing the pulling looked in pretty bad shape himself, mostly my uncle figured from fatigue and possible dehydration because from what my uncle could tell, even though he seemed to have some scientific like equipment with him, it looked like he didn't have any or much support material with him, let alone having pulled a man across the desert for miles.
After observing from a distance for sometime and not seeing any reason to continue to do so my uncle stepped out into the open making himself known. Immediately the man brandished a pistol and pointed it toward my uncle. My uncle stopped and threw his hands into the air, then the man, seeming too tired to do anything simply set the pistol in the dirt and leaned back against the rocks. When my uncle walked up to them he could tell the two men were Asian, possibly Japanese, of which both actually turned out to be. The unconscious man had been bitten by a rattlesnake and with the other man's nod of approval my uncle took a look then went about using traditional medical but mostly indigenous root doctor type skills to improve the man's status as much as he could and make the him more comfortable. By nightfall he was mostly up and around and by morning, well enough to travel on his own by foot.
The man who had been bitten by a rattlesnake had a rudimentary use of English, enough so that my uncle was able to make clear to him that he had a truck a days walk or so back and if they could get to the truck they could get to civilization and some help. After a whisper-like discussion between the two they agreed to go. Because of the terrain, distance and time of day they left, before they reached the truck they had to camp overnight one night and on that night around a fire the man who was able to speak some English filled my uncle in on their story.
Both were Japanese. The one bitten by the rattlesnake was a laboratory assistant in a nuclear exchange program of some type between Japan and Germany as so quoted at the top of the page. The one who apparently couldn't speak English, albeit also a lab assistant, had more of a military bearing, like a commando-type, or as I have since interpreted him as being what now days might be called black opps or special forces --- or at least a higher level soldier trained in wilderness or desert survival skills --- although as it was, as told to me by my uncle, any knowledge or ability for curing rattlesnake bites didn't seem to be very high up in his repertoire of skills.
He and the other lab assistant had traveled by U-boat from Europe through the Indian Ocean and Indonesia to Mexico (the Sea of Cortez) after having been selected out by someone they identified as being a Spaniard. From there, as they apparently did, they crossed in a northward curve first to Theodore Roosevelt Lake for some unknown reason then east across the rest of Arizona and central New Mexico toward the Rio Grande taking soil samples and testing for any signs of excessive or high levels of radioactivity along the way in an effort to prove or disprove that the U.S. had by 1943 already detonated an atomic weapon. When they reached the Rio Grande they were to end their sample taking and follow the river south to Juarez where they were to meet operatives that would return them and their results via the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean to Europe. If they were discovered or captured, depending on their location, they were to say they were escapees from the Santa Fe or Lordsburg Japanese internment camp.
Up to that point in his life, 1943, my uncle had received only small or even miniscule inklings here-and-there as to such things as a nuclear related weapon, radioactive fallout, or anything similar in the desert or anywhere else, but whatever he came across in whatever fashion it was always off the cuff and in confidence. He was dumbfounded that the Japanese, spies notwithstanding, would be thousands of miles away from their homeland out in the middle of the New Mexico desert and seemed to know more about it than he did.
The seriousness of it all came to fruition quite quickly when the three of them reached the truck and why neither of the two operatives claimed to be escapees from Santa Fe or Lordsburg, especially so the commando-type. Having been told how they got there, who they were and why they were there, the commando-type guy simply pulled his pistol out from under his shirt and with no explanation or words, just up and shot my uncle in the back, point blank at close range. They took his keys and truck, with both operatives just driving off leaving my uncle bleeding-out on the desert floor, the truck being found some days later abandoned and out of gas half way between Las Cruces and El Paso. However, as luck would have it, as my uncle was biosearching, the truck, mostly because it was known as belonging to my uncle, had been being staked out from a distance by a group of Native Americans familiar with my uncle's work, basically waiting for his return. When they saw he was travelling with two very strange looking men and he usually travelled alone, without making themselves known they quietly slipped into the flora and fauna disappearing into the surrounding landscape to see was going on. Next thing they knew my uncle was shot and the truck taken.
Two days later my uncle woke up weak and dazed laying in some sort of a darkened makeshift shelter. Rather than being moved the Native Americans had built a shelter around him right where he lay and brought in higher up indigenous help, i.e., spiritual elders, et al, caring for him around the clock. Why he didn't die on the spot is not known. The bullet either passed through him fairly clean without hitting any vital organs or the Indians dug it out, and, except for a substantial loss of blood and extreme fatigue mostly because of it, he was, thanks to the Native Americans interceding immediately both physically and spiritually, OK within reason. So here was my uncle, basically a conscientious objector but still a staunch patriot primarily through his positive experiences as an artist with the WPA, out in the middle of New Mexico thousands of miles away from any World War II hostilities, taking a bullet in the back unleashed by a Japanese spy.
Gracefully, except at the moment it was done and for several days afterwards, my uncle's life was unhindered by the gun shot wound, especially so in the long run, living another 46 years, not passing away until 1989. Of his death I write the following as found in the source so cited:
"A few years before my uncle died he embarked on a personal expedition to explore Machu Picchu high in the Andes of South America. Afterwards he traveled over to the Brazilian side to bio-search along the upper reaches of the Amazon when he broke his leg. Returning to the United States, weak from the complications of that break, with dementia sneaking in and his body defenses down, cancer took over and he died a couple of years later at age eighty-six."(source)
Four years before my uncle died, an author named Robert K. Wilcox published a book he wrote titled The Japanese Secret War. The secret war Wilcox was referring to was Japan's World War II nuclear weapons program, that is, their work and development of an atomic bomb. Although the newspaper the Atlantic Constitution published a series of articles on same in 1946, and most likely one of Wilcox's primary sources, most people pooh-pooh the idea regarding any Japanese involvement whatsoever in nuclear weapons development. However, there is ample and credible evidence as gathered by Wilcox and others that not only did they have a program they actually set off a nuclear weapon at a test facility in Japanese occupied North Korea.
In Wilcox's 1985 book he wrote that in 1943 the Axis Powers put into place a combined Spanish-Japanese espionage ring to conduct reconnaissance in the Arizona desert in an attempt to determine if the U.S. had as of then detonated an atomic bomb. The Spanish part of it involved a high level Spaniard working for the Germans as a spy. Wilcox, who interviewed the Spaniard many years after the war, writes that he told him that early on in the U.S. nuclear program, as a spy, he had become aware of the Manhattan Project and from there had discovered the existence of the eastern branch of the effort, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He was determined that a third branch of the U.S. nuclear program was located somewhere in the American desert southwest and purposely so for the actual testing of a device. Because of that he arranged for two Japanese operatives to board a U-boat somewhere in Europe and from there they journeyed to the Pacific coast of Mexico where the Japanese were put ashore. There they were said to have hiked overland to Arizona into New Mexico taking soil samples to test for radioactivity.
Wilcox's book, that for the first time brought to the public's attention Japanese agents having been in the desert southwest during World War II --- specifically tasked with testing soil samples for radiation --- was published in 1985. It was in 1970, fifteen years before Wilcox's book was published that my uncle told me about his 1943 encounter with Japanese spies soil testing deep into state of New Mexico and the fact that according to their own testimony, they had initially been brought to Mexico via German U-boat from Europe. If my uncle had been privy to the Atlanta Constitution articles is not known. Even if he had there is no mention of anything remotely close to Japanese spies doing radioactive research in the desert southwest in them. So too, if my uncle ever saw or read Wilcox's book between the time it was published in 1985 and his death in 1989 is not known either. Considering the state of his health in those years it is my opinion most likely not. I know I didn't. It was years later before I became aware of the book and how, after coming across Wilcox's comments, it jogged my memory regarding the 1970 conversation between my uncle and myself.
1946 JAPANESE ATOM BOMB NEWSPAPER ARTICLES
(please click image)
Taken together, with the facts and what Wilcox and I have written, the question invariably comes up, since Japanese submarines were all over the Pacific throughout most of the war, why the heck were the two Japanese lab assistants come operatives transported via German U-boat --- especially so, all the way from Europe to Mexico using such a lengthy and circuitous route around Africa through the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific?
I am not privy to a specific answer. Generally however, it is my belief the two operatives were originally in transit to Japan in order to resume duties in the Japanese nuclear program after lengthy hands-on training in Germany. During the period the assistants were in Germany the Nazis had moved beyond the theory stage into actually building and implementing physical aspects for weapons development while the Japanese were not much farther along than a sort of paperwork stage. Contrary to the Spaniard's assertions that two lab assistants were specifically dispatched from Europe to do soil testing in the U.S. desert southwest, it is my opinion they were travelling with several other German trained assistants on their way to Japan to start putting into place the physical aspects of the program. For some reason by the time the group reached the German submarine pens in Penang, Malaysia two of the assistants, because of their expertise, were specifically selected out by the Spaniard or other powers that be via radio communication or otherwise then most likely either transferred to a second U-boat and sent to Mexico while the rest of the lab assistants continued on to Japan or they stayed on the same U-boat with the rest of the assistants transferring to a Japanese sub. In either case, what changed during the voyage between the time the lab assistants left Europe and arrived in Penang is not known. What is known it that one of the two operatives shot my uncle, then the two swiped his truck and headed south toward Mexico, disappearing without a trace somewhere between Las Cruces and Juarez. Where they ended up and what kind of relevant information if any they may have gathered is anybody's guess.
For the record, as might be expected, Wilcox does not go without his critics. Most critical aspects are aimed toward what I would term science discrepancies, falling into a sort of less than viable scientific knowledge needed on the subject. So too, physically and seemingly unsurmountable, the known fact (according to some) that there was a lack of sufficient uranium available to the Japanese in order to actually make a workable bomb in the first place, nor the ability to refine if they did.(see)
As for my uncle coming into contact with foreign operatives in the desert southwest, I have come across no other sources other than what Wilcox has written that specifically discusses Japanese operatives or any other operatives soil testing for radioactivity in Arizona and New Mexico anytime during the war one way or the other. So said, as I see it, none of the aforementioned critical concerns would have an impact on what I have presented one way or the other regarding what my uncle told me and how I have presented it.
The Japanese soil testing for radioactivity in the desert southwest said to have been put into place by the Spaniard and his Axis power spy ring was however, not the first time the Japanese had shown an interest in doing soil sampling relative to a potential nuclear explosion. When San Nicolas Island, the most remote of the California Channel Islands, located at a minimum about 75 miles due west of the Los Angeles/Redondo Beach coastline, ended up on the short list as one of the possible U.S. nuclear test sites, somewhere along the way the Japanese, with their on the ground indigenous network of local west coast informers, caught wind of the possibility. The information filtered through to higher authorities and a midget submarine was dispatched to investigate. Not knowing if a test had already occurred on the island it is thought soil testing was included as part of that investigation.
The end result being, if no signs of radiation was detected, that is zilch, and if San Nicolas Island was actually selected as the designated test site, the Japanese plan was to confiscate the device directly under the noses of the Americans just prior to the test and move it as quickly and as close as possible across the channel inland to the center of downtown Los Angeles they could get and detonate it. In a sense ending up not needing a home grown nuclear device, but using one of the United States' own to blow up one of it's own cities.
It should be noted in 1942, a few months after the war started, the year prior to my uncle being shot in the back by the operatives in New Mexico, he was travelling in Old Mexico on his way to see the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera who he had worked with as an artist in the depth of the depression for the WPA. During that trip to see Rivera my uncle met the American movie star Rochelle Hudson, who at the time, unbeknownst to my uncle and everybody else, was a spy for the U.S. She was in Mexico with her Navy officer husband acting undercover as tourists while all along in the process of ferreting out Axis power fifth column activities suspected of being on the rise or actually in place in Mexico at the time. In 1943, when my uncle was told by the Japanese operatives they were put ashore somewhere along the coast of the Sea of Cortez from a German U-boat, he didn't know how secret or unusual such things were. It was only after the war when he met Rochelle Hudson a second time did he become fully aware of Japanese and German submarine activities in the Sea of Cortez and along the Mexican Pacific west coast.
F6F NAVY HELLCAT, NAZI SUBS, AND
THE BAJA MEXICO CRASH SITE
THE STRANGE ODYSSEY OF THE GERMAN U-BOAT U-196
GERMAN SUBMARINE ATTACK ON HOOVER DAM
SECRET JAPANESE SUBMARINES BASES
ON THE PACIFIC WEST COAST
JAPAN'S WWII A-BOMB PROJECT
JAPANESE INVASION OF INDIA
DURING WORLD WAR II
THE FLYING TIGERS
THE BOY IN THE MAN REMEMBERS THE LEGEND
ROBERT K. WILCOX
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
My uncle was what I call a biosearcher, ending up having more than a half dozen plant species named after him following years of trekking, searching, and discovering previously unknown and unnamed plants all over mostly remote and hidden areas and sections of the desert southwest.
Early on in those explorations he met Louis L'Amour wandering alone across the desert, then only a young teenage boy just starting out on his ventures, ventures that would ultimately find their way into over 100 books on the west --- with my uncle showing up in at least one and consulting on two. A few years later, in 1935, although my uncle didn't discover it, he came across the basically unknown at the time and yet to be named Los Lunas Decalogue Stone.(see) Twenty-five years later, in 1960, he was biosearching the plant Sacred Datura deep in the desert during the full moon phase when he was confronted out of nowhere by Carlos Castaneda who was seeking knowledge of the use and powers of the same plant. Between those two times, for the very same reason, i.e., the strength of Sacred Datura being enhanced during the full moon phase --- only combined this time with the occurrence of a very rare astronomical phenomenon of the moon being full at the exact same time as the summer solstice --- my uncle visited the ancient Native American Sun Dagger site, hidden and unknown in those days to all but a few Native American spiritual elders taking me along with him. I even slept overnight just below the Sun Dagger in one of the Astronomer Rooms some 400 feet above the desert floor along the top edge of Monument Valley's Fajada Butte.
For more of his adventures and he and my trips together see:
- VIKINGS OF THE DESERT SOUTHWEST
- FATE OF THE SANTA FE #3774
- KINGMAN UFO 1953
INCIDENT AT SUPAI
A SHAMANIC JOURNEY OUTSIDE THE TRADITION
THE WANDERLING AND HIS UNCLE
Their Life and Times Together
THE SPIRITUAL ELDER AND THE SANTA FE CHIEF
The timeframe we are talking about here is the year 1943, two years before the U.S. detonated what was considered by most as the first operational atomic weapon ever. The device was set off in the year 1945 under the auspices of the Manhattan Project out of Los Alamos at a test site given the name Trinity Site, located in the far reaches of White Sands, New Mexico --- and done so under the most strict and secret sanctions possible.
Since that time almost everything about the Project has long since fallen into the public domain, and having done so nobody seems to care about it much nowadays one way or the other. However, in those early days of development and pre-test testing, done right in the deepest part of a war that may not have ended favorably for the U.S., there had been imposed a super high-level blanket of secrecy spread thick over even the smallest aspects of what was going on. The tiniest of infractions most likely could and would lead to one's disappearance, imprisonment, or death.
Caught up in that newly imposed blanket of secrecy thrown over even the most innocent was my uncle and any number of other long time regular New Mexico folk. Among those regular folk and my uncle was a long time friend of his by the name of Atilano "Tilano" Montoya, a tribal elder of the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Montoya was a close friend and housemate of a woman by the name of Edith Warner. Warner operated a home-come-establishment like place in a small adobe house next to the Otowi Bridge, an old wooden suspension bridge that crossed the Rio Grand not far from the then super secret Los Alamos labs where unbeknownst to the general public, the Manhattan Project was being brewed up. A sizable number of scientists from the lab would show up at Warner's for dinner and socializing on a regular basis. Although everything that had to do with what they were doing and why they were in New Mexico was top secret and nothing could be discussed outright, through what could be overheard, inference, innuendo, and sleight of hand, enough could be extrapolated to form a fuzzy picture. It was within the framework of that fuzzy picture --- via Montoya and others --- that my uncle, like Montoya and those within a small circle talking among themselves, were able to form some semblance of something that in hindsight proved to be true.
EDITH WARNER AND ATILANO MONTOYA, CIRCA 1940s
CHRISTMAS IN THE SHADOW OF THE FIRST NUCLEAR BOMB
ESPIONAGE AND THE MANHATTAN PROJECT
1944 GERMAN ATOMIC BOMB
Below, for your own edification, is a list of the websites wherein I mention the 1945 U.S. New Mexico nuclear test at Trinity Site in some fashion, most commonly related back to my uncle and thus then, how atomic bombs and atomic bomb tests, German or American, circle back to what I have presented elsewhere in my works: