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Nazi scientists were hired by the United States sixty years ago to take the lead on projects considered to be pioneering, including the first to reach space. The men gave the US technology that was said to be cutting edge and it is still leading the way today, but it has come at a cost.
Fight For Technological Secrets Of The Germans
When the end of World War II came around there was a huge scramble that was intense, to get hold of the technological secrets of the Germans. Allies plundered as much of the equipment along with expertise as they possibly could from under the rubble of the Thousand Year Reich and they put a stop to others who wanted to do the same.
The range of the technical achievement of Germany had astounded the intelligence experts of the allies who had been at the side of the forces when they invaded in 1945. Among the technologies developed in the workshops, factories and laboratories of the Nazis were guided missiles, nerve gas, supersonic rockets, stealth technology and hardened armor. These had been developed even though the Germans were losing the war.
US And Soviet Union Raced Against Time To Uncover Secrets Of Hitler
The Soviet Union and the US, during the first days of the Cold War, were in a race with time to try to uncover the scientific secrets of Hitler. In May 1945 the legions of Stalin managed to secure the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes atomic research labs in Berlin and this gave them what would eventually go on to be a nuclear arsenal that was vast for the Soviets.
The forces from the US managed to take away V-2 missiles from the complex in Nordhausen, which was underneath the Harz Mountains in the middle of Germany, but only just before the Soviets had been able to take over the factory and take occupation of the area. Also in the hands of the US was the team who had been behind the building of the V-2, which had been led by Wernher Von Braun.
Not long after the deputy commander of the US Air Force over in Europe, Major-General Hugh Knerr, said that the occupation of the German industrial and the scientific establishments revealed the fact that they had been very backward when it came to numerous different fields of research.
Project Paperclip Was Born
He went on to say that if they did not take the chance to get the apparatus, along with those men who had been behind the development of it, and work promptly, they would be behind for many years while they were trying to cover a field already exploited. This saw the operation of the US with the name of Project Paperclip. The operation saw Von Braun along with 700 others taken from Germany right from under the noses of the allies of the US. The aim of it was very simple and this was to exploit the German scientists for research by the Americans along with denying intellectual resources to the Soviet Union.
There had been one big issue with Project Paperclip and this was that Truman had made it quite clear that if they found anyone who was a member of the Nazi party and who was more than just a nominal participant in activities, or supporter, they were to be excluded. With events moving fast President Truman then gave Project Paperclip authorization in August 1945 and by 18 November the first of the Germans had then reached the US.
Von Braun Considered A Security Risk
However, this meant that if the criteria were taken into account then Von Braun would not have been eligible to serve the US, despite him being the one who was the mastermind behind the moon shots. This was due to the fact that he had been a member of many Nazi organizations and also had a rank in the SS. The first intelligence file on him has said that he was a security risk.
Many men got clearance to work for the US and had their backgrounds wiped clean along with any alleged crimes covered up as the military saw winning the Cold War instead of upholding justice as being their first priority. These men included Hubertus Strughold, Kurt Debus, and Arthur Rudolph. The paperclip secured their new details in personnel files and this is how the operation got its name. The legacy of Paperclip has remained just as vital as it ever has.
Today the cruise missiles remain based on the design of the V-1 missile and the scramjets that are the power behind the state-of-the-art X-43 hypersonic aircraft owe a great deal to the jet pioneers from Germany. The military from the US had made one of them available to Northrop Aviation and the company went on to produce their B-2 Stealth Bomber for $2 billion, which was regarded as a modern clone of the Horten, one generation later.
The US Developed Nazi Technology Far More Advanced
There are many Paperclip documents that have remained a secret and they have led people, which include the Aerospace Consultant, Nick Cook, to speculate about the fact that the US might have developed far more advanced Nazi technology. This includes such as anti-gravity devices, which are a potential source of huge amounts of free energy.
It was said that the technology may be so destructive that it might endanger world peace and this is why the United States chose to keep it under wraps for a long time. Project Paperclip may have been called a success but there are many people who will remember the many thousands who died so that man could be sent into space.