Operation Paperclip

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Operation Paperclip was the code name for the 1945 Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency[1] O.S.S.[citation needed] recruitment of scientists from Nazi Germany to the U.S. after Victory in Europe Day.[2]

Group of 104 Operation Paperclip rocket scientists in 1946 at Fort Bliss (35 were at White Sands Proving Grounds)[3] (An imagemap is available at this image's wikipage)


[edit] Osenberg List

Following the failure of the German invasion of the Soviet Union (codenamed Operation Barbarossa), the strategic position of Germany was at a disadvantage since German military industries were unprepared for a long war. As a result, Germany began efforts in Spring 1943 to recall scientists and technical personnel from combat units for use in research and development,[4] including 4000 to Peenemünde:[5]

‘Overnight, Ph.D.s were liberated from KP duty, masters of science were recalled from orderly service, mathematicians were hauled out of bakeries, and precision mechanics ceased to be truck drivers.’

Dieter K. Huzel

The recalling first required identifying the men, then tracking them and ascertaining their political correctness and reliability, before being recorded to the Osenberg List, by Werner Osenberg, a University of Hannover engineer-scientist, head of the Wehrforschungsgemeinschaft (English: Military Research Association).[6][verification needed] In March 1945, a Polish laboratory technician found the pieces of the Osenberg List in an improperly flushed toilet. [7] Major Robert B. Staver, U.S.A., Chief of the Jet Propulsion Section of the Research and Intelligence Branch of the U.S. Army Ordnance, London, used the Osenberg List to compile his Black List of scientists to be interrogated, headed by rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. [8]

[edit] Operation Overcast

The original, unnamed plan to only interview the rocket scientists changed after Major Staver sent Col. Joel Holmes's cable to the Pentagon, on 22 May 1945, about the urgency of evacuating the German technicians and their families as “important for [the] Pacific war”. [7] Most of the scientists were at Army Research Center Peenemünde which developed the V-2 rocket and were initially housed with their families in Landshut, Bavaria.

On 19 July 1945, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff designated the handling of the Nazi scientists and their families as Operation Overcast, [8] but when their housing's nickname, “Camp Overcast”, became common, conversational usage, Operation Overcast was renamed Operation Paperclip[7][8] in March 1946.[9]

An equally strong reason for these scientific rescues was denying German expertise to the Soviets. For example, in Operation Alsos, nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg — principal scientist in the German nuclear energy project — was appreciated by Allied intelligence as: " . . . he was worth more to us than ten divisions of Germans". [10] Besides rocketeers and nuclear physicists, Allied teams also searched for chemists, medical doctors, and naval weaponeers.

[edit] Groups of scientists

In May 1945, the U.S. Navy acquired Dr. Herbert A. Wagner, a highly regarded expert in aerodynamics, controls and guidance. The inventor of the Hs 293 missile, Wagner worked for the first two years at the Special Devices Center located at the Castle Gould and Hempstead House in Long Island. In 1947, Wagner moved his operation to the Naval Air Station Point Mugu.[11]

In early August 1945, Colonel Holger Toftoy, chief of the Rocket Branch in the Research and Development Division of Army Ordnance, offered initial one-year contracts to the rocket scientists. After Toftoy agreed to take care of their families, 127 scientists accepted the offer. In September 1945, the first group of seven rocket scientists arrived from Germany at Fort Strong in the US: Wernher von Braun, Erich W. Neubert, Theodor A. Poppel, August Schulze, Eberhard Rees, Wilhelm Jungert and Walter Schwidetzky.[7] In November, December, and February, three subsequent groups of rocket scientists arrived in the US for duty at Fort Bliss and White Sands Proving Grounds as "War Department Special Employees."[4]:27

In early 1950, U.S. legal residence for some "Paperclip Specialists" was effected [8] through the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez; from which the scientists legally entered the U.S. [4]:226 In later decades, the World War II activities of some scientists were investigated — Arthur Rudolph was exiled in 1984[12] and then exonerated by Germany, Georg Rickhey was acquitted of war crimes, and Hubertus Strughold was implicated[13] in Nazi human experimentation.

Eighty-six aeronautical engineers were transferred to Wright Field, which had acquired Luftwaffe aircraft and equipment under Operation Lusty (Luftwaffe Secret Technology).[14]

The United States Army Signal Corps employed 24 specialists — including physicists Drs. Georg Goubau, Gunter Guttwein, Georg Hass, Horst Kedesdy, and Kurt Levovec; physical chemists Professor Rudolf Brill and Drs. Ernst Baars and Eberhard Both; geophysicist Dr. Helmut Weickmann; technical optician Dr. Gerhard Schwesinger; and electronics engineers Drs. Eduard Gerber, Richard Guenther and Hans Ziegler.[1]

The United States Bureau of Mines employed seven German synthetic fuel scientists in a Fischer-Tropsch chemical plant in Louisiana, Missouri in 1946.[2]

In 1959, ninety-four Operation Paperclip men went to the U.S., including Friedwardt Winterberg, Hans Dolezalek, and Friedrich Wigand. [11] Through 1990, the operation immigrated 1,600 personnel,[11] with the "intellectual reparations" taken by the U.S. and the U.K. (patents and industrial processes) valued at some $10 billion dollars.[15]

[edit] Related operations

  • APPLEPIE - Project to locate and interrogate key German personnel of RSHA AMT VI and members of the German Army Staff who were knowledgeable about Soviet industrial and economic matters.[16]
  • DUSTBIN (counterpart of ASHCAN) - British-American operation[17] established first in Paris and later in Kransberg Castle outside Frankfurt.[18]:314
  • ECLIPSE - unimplemented 1944 plan for post-war operations in Europe[18] that would destroy V-1 and V-2 missiles found by the Air Disarmament Wing.[19]:44
    • Safehaven - US project under ECLIPSE to prevent German researchers from escaping to other countries (e.g., Latin America).[8]
  • Field Information Agency; Technical (FIAT) - US Army agency for securing the "major, and perhaps only, material reward of victory, namely, the advancement of science and the improvement of production and standards of living in the United Nations by proper exploitation of German methods in these fields." .[18]:316 FIAT was dissolved in 1947 when operation PAPERCLIP began large scale operations.
  • National Interest/Project 63 - "Project to help former Nazis obtain jobs with Lockheed, Martin Marietta, North American Aviation or other defense contractors during a time when many American engineers in the aircraft industry were being laid off."[11]
  • Operation Lusty - US efforts to capture German aeronautical secrets, equipment and personnel
  • Special Mission V-2 - US operation commanded by Major William Bromley to recover V-2 rocket parts and equipment. Major James P. Hamill, with the aid of the 144th Motor Vehicle Assembly Company, coordinated the shipment of the first trainload of V-2 equipment from Nordhausen to Erfurt.[8][3] (see also Operation Blossom, Broomstick Scientists, Hermes project, Operations Sandy and Pushover)

[edit] Cultural references

  • The 2006 film The Good Shepherd depicts the USA/Soviet Union competition for German scientists.
  • The novel Space contains a fictionalized account of Operation Paperclip.
  • In the film The Good German, an American war correspondent discovers aspects of Operation Overcast.

[edit] Key figures

[edit] See also

[edit] References and footnotes

  1. ^ "Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency" (html). U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://www.archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-330-defense-secretary/. Retrieved on 2008-10-09. 
  2. ^ Many specifics of Operation Paperclip remain highly classified.[citation needed]
  3. ^ McCleskey, C.; D. Christensen. "Dr. Kurt H. Debus: Launching a Vision" (pdf). p35. http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/docs/pdf/debus.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-10-07. 
  4. ^ a b c Huzel, Dieter K (1960). Peenemünde to Canaveral. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 27,226. 
  5. ^ Braun, Wernher von (Estate of); Ordway III, Frederick I (1985). Space Travel: A History. & David Dooling, Jr.. New York: Harper & Row. pp. 218. ISBN 0-06-181898-4. 
  6. ^ Forman, Paul; Sánchez-Ron, José Manuel (1996). National Military Establishments and the Advancement of Science and Technology. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 308. http://books.google.com/books?id=6pN_j7PctKYC&pg=PA308&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_1. 
  7. ^ a b c d e McGovern, James (1964). Crossbow and Overcast. New York: W. Morrow. pp. 100,104,173,207,210,242. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Ordway, Frederick I, III; Sharpe, Mitchell R (1979). The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series 36. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. pp. 310,313,314,316,325,330,406. ISBN 1894959000. 
  9. ^ Boyne, Walter J. (June 2007). "Project Paperclip" (html). Air Force (Air Force Association). http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2007/June%202007/0607paperclip.aspx. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. 
    NOTE: Despite an initial effort for secrecy, the rocket scientists were interviewed by the newsmedia in 1946.
  10. ^ Naimark, Norman M (1979). The Russians in Germany; A History of the Soviet Zone of occupation, 1945-1949. Harvard University Press. pp. 207. ISBN 0-674-78406-5. 
  11. ^ a b c d Hunt, Linda (1991). Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990. New York: St.Martin's Press. pp. 6,21,31,176,204,259. ISBN 0312055102. 
  12. ^ Hunt, Linda (May 23, 1987). "NASA's Nazis" (html). Literature of the Holocaust. http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/nasa-nazis.html. 
  13. ^ Walker, Andres. "Project Paperclip: Dark side of the Moon" (html). BBC news. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4443934.stm. Retrieved on 2008-10-18. 
  14. ^ a b "The End of World War II". (television show, Original Air Date: 2-17-05). A&E. http://www.historyinternational.com/global/listings/listings.jsp?fromYear=2007&fromMonth=5&fromDate=3&NetwCode=HCI&timezone=1&View=Prime&. Retrieved on 2007-06-04. 
  15. ^ Naimark. 206 (Naimark cites Gimbel, John Science Technology and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany) NOTE:The $10 billion compares to the U.S. annual GDP of $258 billion in 1948 and to the total Marshall plan expenditure (1948-1952) of $13 billion, of which Germany received $1.4 billion (partly as loans).
  16. ^ "List Of Terms, Code Names, Operations, and Other Search Terminology To Assist Review and Identification Activities Required by the Act" (html). U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://www.archives.gov/iwg/finding-aids/list-of-terms-code.html. Retrieved on 2008-12-19. 
  17. ^ Buchholz, Dr. Annemarie (2003). "The New Form of Government: Bombocracy". written at Switzerland (html). Current Concerns. http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/2003/02/20030203.php. Retrieved on 2008-10-18. 
  18. ^ a b c Ziemke, Earl F (1990). The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany 1944-1946. Washington DC: US Army. pp. 163. http://www.army.mil/cmh/books/wwii/Occ-GY/ch11.htm. 
  19. ^ Cooksley, Peter G (1979). Flying Bomb. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. pp. 44. 
  20. ^ Beyerchen, Alan. "German Scientists and Research Institutions in Allied Occupation Policy". History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 3, Special Issue: Educational Policy and Reform in Modern Germany. (Autumn, 1982), pp. 289-299. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0018-2680%28198223%2922%3A3%3C289%3AGSARII%3E2.0.CO%3B2-D.  NOTE: So much of the FIAT information was used for commercial purposes that the office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas let it be known that they wanted the future peace treaty with Germany be phrased so that U.S. industry that made use of the information would be protected from lawsuits.
  21. ^ "UK 'fears' over German scientists" BBC NewsUK 31 March 2006

[edit] Further reading

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