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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

John Earl Haynes’s Interview

John Earl Haynes is an American historian. He specializes in twentieth-century political and intelligence history. For most of his career, he worked in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. In this interview, he provides an in-depth summary of Soviet espionage in the Manhattan Project. He addresses the history surrounding well-known spies, including Julius Rosenberg, David Greenglass, and Klaus Fuchs, as well as lesser-known agents like Jacob Goros, Elizabeth Bentley, and Clarence Hiskey. Haynes also explains how the Soviet agencies the GRU and the KGB operated in the US in the 1930s-40s. He analyzes the successful and failed Soviet attempts to uncover American industrial and military secrets about the atomic bomb during World War II and the Cold War.

Richard Yalman’s Interview

Richard Yalman was a member of the Special Engineer Detachment and worked on polonium separation at the top-secret laboratories in Dayton, Ohio during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Yalman discusses his undergraduate work at Harvard University and how he came to be involved on the Manhattan Project. He elaborates on the degree of secrecy within the project location, stressing the separation of the four units at Dayton and how no one talked about their work. Yalman also describes his personal life, the scientists he worked with, how he met his wife, and his work after the war.

James A. Schoke’s Interview (2014)

James A. Schoke was a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at the University of Chicago during the Manhattan Project. He worked for the instrument group, inventing instruments to detect uranium and alpha emitters and travelled around the country to train scientists to use and maintain his instruments. In this interview, Schoke discusses his encounter with George Koval, a health physicist and Soviet Spy who infiltrated the Manhattan Project’s top secret facility in Dayton, Ohio. Schoke recalls meeting with Koval several times at Dayton to help train him on instruments that were used to detect radiation at laboratory facilities.