chapter III
chapter II
On 1 September 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland. World War II began.
On 17 September, the USSR, which had concluded a pact with Germany, invaded the eastern regions of Poland. Yet on 22 June 1941, the Soviet Union itself became a victim of Nazi aggression.
The military clash between the Soviet Union and Germany was the largest part of this war, both in terms of brutality, as well as demographic and economic losses.
© Mark Markov-Grinberg, 1942
The war led to enormous casualties, destruction, and suffering and turned into mental torture for all those who were caught up in it.
“The war was a terrible trial for the nation”, wrote Sakharov. [...] Surely the desire for peace is overriding in the minds of people everywhere. ‘Anything but not another war!’”
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs.
When war broke out, Sakharov was a 3rd-year student at the Moscow State University Department of Physics.
Andrei Sakharov turns out to be unfit for military service due to the state of his health. He continues his study; during bombings at night, he is on duty on the roofs, extinguishing incendiary bombs. In October 1941, together with his department, he evacuates from Moscow far into the rear, to Ashgabat (Turkmenistan).
Andrei Sakharov. 1940
In the summer of 1942, Sakharov graduates from university with honors. Instead of graduate school, he chooses work at the Volodarsky Ammunition Plant in Ulyanovsk.
From the history of the Ulyanovsk Ammunition Plant in 1941–1942.
During these years, Sakharov discovered his talent as an inventor. He developed a device to monitor the quality of the armor-piercing cores of bullets used in anti-tank weapons.
The core is inserted by hand at point A, slides through magnetizing coil K1 and  demagnetized coil K2 and stops at point B opposite the magnet M, which is secured to the indicator needle.

A thoroughly tempered core will be demagnetized by the second coil, and no forces will act on the magnet. But if the core has a defect, a magnetic moment emerges which repels the indicator needle.
Diagram of the operation of the device to monitor armor-piercing cores of 14.5 mm caliber for the presence of lateral cracks.
Sakharov's invention was incorporated into the production, and this enabled improvement in the quality of the ammunition produced by the factory. This was the contribution of the young engineer Andrei Sakharov to the battle against the enemy.
“While working at the factory, I wrote several articles on theoretical physics and sent them to Moscow for review. These first works were never published, but they gave me a sense of confidence in my powers, which is so necessary for every scientific worker”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs
In November 1942 in Ulyanovsk, the 22-year-old Sakharov meets his future wife, Klavdiya (Klava) Vikhireva.
10 July 1943

Marriage to Klavdiya Vikhireva
Klavdiya was a laboratory assistant at the chemistry department of the Central Plant Laboratory, in the metallurgy section where Sakharov worked. They spent nearly a quarter of a century together until Klavdiya Alexeyevna's death in 1969.
Sakharov with his family on a train. Amateur film. 1960.
In 1945, their daughter Tatyana was born.
In 1949, their daughter Lyubov was born.
In 1957, their son Dmitry was born.
Андрей Сахаров и Клавдия Вихирева, 1960-е
“There were periods of happiness in our life, sometimes for entire years, and I am very grateful to Klava for them”.
Andrei Sakharov. Memoirs