Hitler's Black Book - information for John D Professor Bernal
John D Professor
Original List ID
Date of Birth / Age
Cabinet Minister/Inner Circle of Government Advisers
John Desmond Bernal FRS 10 May 1901 – 15 September 1971) was one of the United Kingdom's best-known and most controversial scientists. Known as "Sage" to friends, Bernal is considered a pioneer in X-ray crystallography in molecular biology.In the early thirties Bernal had been arguing for peace, but the Spanish civil war changed that. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Bernal joined the Ministry of Home Security, where he brought in Solly Zuckerman to carry out the first proper analyses of the effects of enemy bombing and of explosions on animals and people. Their subsequent analysis of the effects of bombs on Birmingham and Hull showed that city bombing produced little disruption and production was only affected by direct hits on factories. A supper of scientists in Soho generated a multi-author book Science in War produced in a month by Allen Lane, one of the guests, arguing that science should be applied in every part of the war effort.
From 1942 he and Zuckerman served as scientific advisers to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Chief of Combined Operations. Bernal was able to argue on both sides of Project Habbakuk, Pyke's proposal to build huge aircraft landing platforms in the North Atlantic made of ice. He rescued Max Perutz from internment, getting him to perform experiments in a meat store freezer below Smithfield Meat Market. This project indirectly marked his divergence from Zuckerman, when he was recalled from a joint tour of the Middle East investigating the cooperation of army and air force, although the tour established Zuckerman's reputation as a military scientist.
The RSHA (Reich Main Security Office) came into existence on 27/9/39 after being separate offices of the SD (security service) and SS (nazi paramilitaries) since the mid 1930's. AMT I & AMT II were formed officially on 1/10/39 but reorganised completely after March 1941, heads of department were regularly transferred to different departments and the Einsatz Squads of paramilitary murderers when new countries were invaded as all had perceived 'undesirables' to be eliminated.