Dividends and The Bastard Brigade

Most people reading this will remember or know about the invasion of Iraq looking for WMDs or Weapons of Mass Destruction. Before the invasion, a case was made Iraq had WMDs and were prepared to use them on either Israel, Europe or the US. Based on evidence which was presented at the United Nations, the people of Iraq must be stopped. It turned out it was a made up fact because no WMDs were found.

In WW II, the allies had a similar concern, nuclear weapons. The story of the search is in the book The Bastard Brigade by Sam Kean published by Little, Brown and Company, NY, 2019. The title refers to the Brigade or Army Unit that was not attached to anyone other but had the highest authority to do what was necessary to track down both the components needed to make nuclear weapons and the scientists. The book is written in the fashion of a novel and is very interesting to read.

Prior to WW II, the goal of everyone working in the nuclear environment was the pursuit of knowledge to help understand and try to harness the power of the nuclear energy. During WW II, then and only then the nationality and religion of the scientists became important. Prior to WW II, sharing of information was both fundamental and critical. The sharing of information allowed other scientists to learn and then try for the next step. Most next steps took years to advance. A career might be moving the bar very slowly forward.

In the book, both the Allies and Nazis were terrified the other side would use nuclear weapons, the Nazis threatened but it turned out they were behind the Allies and the Allies used nuclear in Japan to end WW II. The book is from the Allies perspective and targeted the raw materials needed to make nuclear weapons.

Some of the most daring raids came to stop the production of heavy water in the Vermork power plant in Norway and the bombing of Peenemunde. The Allies were always amazed at the ability of the Nazis to build and in large manufacturing facilities.

In the end the book is about people, people are similar to other people, people with egos; people who make over sized contributions to the war effort and people who believed the Nazis had to be stopped before they had the nuclear option.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, whatever the industry you invest in the community tends to be relatively small which means it is relatively easy for you to continually learn and understand the industry. In the nuclear industry, it is a handful of people; in other industries concentrating on both newspapers and industry magazines will give you profiles of those who are the leaders in the industry. You will like some, admire some and invest in some for as long as the company is run reasonably well, you are investing in people to do the things they say they will.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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