Gerlach was the chief coordinator of nuclear research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Chemistry. However, working with Werner Heisenberg, Carl von Weizsacker and Karl Wirtz Gerlach and his team were unable to develop an atom bomb.
In April, 1945, Allied forces arrested German scientists such as Gerlach, Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, Carl von Weizsacker, Max von Laue and Karl Wirtz. These men were now taken to England where they were questioned to see if they had discovered how to make atomic weapons.
Walter Gerlach died in 1979.