For someone who died over seventy years ago, it’s astonishing to see just how much Adolph Hitler still makes the news, but such is the legacy left behind in the wake of the most widespread war in the history of mankind. Hitler has become one of the most iconic and infamous figures in popular consciousness, regularly popping up whenever anyone wants to make a hyperbolic comparison or warn against the cults of personality certain political leaders around the world are attempting to build for themselves.
Claims that Hitler survived WWII regularly pop up in the news, but more often than not these turn out to be stretches of the imagination. Aside from these claims, an entire mythos of conspiracy theories and urban legends surround the Nazis’ occult interests and secretive technological research, often alleging that the Nazis developed flying saucer technology or world-ending super weapons. While these are mostly just as unfounded as the claims that Hitler lived, new evidence unearthed in Germany could suggest that perhaps the Nazis were closer to destroying the world than we thought.
The Berliner Kurier reports that Hitler and the Nazis might have indeed been on the cusp of developing working nuclear weapons as has long been rumored. A 64-year-old metal detector hobbyist named Bernd Thälmann was poking around Oranienburg, Germany looking for whatever it is metal detectorists look for when he found a nondescript lump of metal in the ground. His metal detector, however, gave off an usual signal when he passed it over the lump. With his curiosity piqued, Thälmann brought the metal home and began doing research, noticing that the metal was not magnetic. That’s when things got weird.
After perusing a bit of the ol’ Google, Thälmann suspected the metal might be radioactive and notified local authorities. Shortly after, hazardous material disposal units arrived in hazmat suits with a lead-lined container for the lump of metal and threatened to charge Thälmann with the crime of possessing unauthorized radioactive substances. It turns out that Oranienburg was the site of a secretive Nazi research facility looking into enriching uranium oxide for the purposes of developing nuclear weapons. The Allies were aware of this, and bombed the living daylights out of the facility before Hitler could get his hands on a nuclear weapon. Proof of the existence of such a weapon has never been found, but this lump of metal could change that.
If the metal is confirmed to be the byproduct of Nazi weapons research, it could potentially confirm decades’ worth of speculation and rumors. Thälmann, however, doesn’t want to tell authorities exactly where he found it because he hopes to discover more evidence himself. What a guy. Stories like this one really make you wonder how different things could be today if the war had gone differently. Somewhere out there in the multiverse, Earth has been an irradiated, crater-pocked wasteland for decades thanks to Hitler and the Nazis. Let’s hope certain current events don’t make that alternate history a reality.