The era of hypocrisy-The post WWII era

Paperclip

One thing that has always baffled me was the blatant double standards applied at the end and the era just after WWII.

On one hand you had scientists like Alan Turing, whose work on the enigma code shortened the war by 2 years, and potentially saved millions of lives, but because of his homosexuality was forced to undergo ‘chemical’ treatment to suppress his homosexuality or face jail. He did choose the former option but eventually committed suicide.

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On the other hand you have operations like ‘Operation Paperclip’  a secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency largely carried out by Special Agents of Army CIC, in which more than 1,600 Nazi scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as  were recruited and saved from legal persecution. To top things off many of them received prestigious awards and were given high positions in several government agencies, like Wernher von Braun who became the top man at NASA.

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Braun who had willingly participated in the use of slave labour from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp , for his work on the V2 rockets. More people had actually died from building the rocket, than were killed by it as a weapon. claim von Braun engaged in brutal treatment or approved of it.

Witnesses claimed  von Braun engaged in brutal treatment of prisoners or approved of it.

Then there is Dr. Hubertus Strughold who had conducted various medical experiments , in conjunction with the Luftwaffe, in which prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were used as human test subjects.Most of them did not survive.

Hubertus

It would make sense that such a evil and barbaric man would be brought to justice, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact he too got a high position with NASA.And they even named an award after him. an award for Space medicine, he himself was given the nickname ‘Father of Space Medcine’ it was only in 2013 when NASA decided to remove his name from the award.

Another scientist, Kurt Blome, who had been  the Deputy Surgeon General in the Third Reich and headed its biological warfare program disguised as cancer research. He had been running  experiments involving spreading disease through insects like mosquitoes and lice. And also carried out d tests which involved dropping nerve gas and insecticides from planes as well and attempted creating  a weaponized Bubonic plague, during WWII.

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Blome had also links to Unit 731 of the Japanese army. Unit 731 were probably the most evil and barbaric unit in WWII.

He was arrested on 17 May 1945 by an agent of the United States Counter Intelligence Corps  in Munich.It is widely believed that American intervention saved Blome from execution in exchange for information about biological warfare, nerve gas, and providing advice on to the American chemical and biological weapons programs.

He was never  charged with war crimes  after his acquittal at the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial in 1947. He also was allowed to continue  practice medicine in West Germany, and was active in politics as a member of a right-wing Germany Party. He died in Dortmund in 1969.

There were several operations by the US,British and Soviet governments which facilitated Nazi scientists and other Nazis safe passage and a new start.

Scientist

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V2: weapon of mass destruction and first space flight.

18lfb2ho649utjpgOn this day 75 years ago the  first V-2 missile was fired successfully from Peenemunde, heralding the start of space travel.

German scientists, led by von Braun, had been working on the development of these long-range missiles since the 1930s.

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Three trial launches had already failed; the fourth in the series, known as A-4, finally saw the V-2, a 12-ton rocket capable of carrying a one-ton warhead, successfully launched.

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Test Stand VII  was the principal V-2 rocket testing facility at Peenemünde Airfield and was capable of static firing of rocket motors up to 200 tons thrust.

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Two test launches were recovered by the Allies: the Bäckebo rocket, the remnants of which landed in Sweden on 13 June 1944 and one recovered by the Polish resistance on 30 May 1944 from Blizna and transported to the UK during Operation Most III. The highest altitude reached during the war was 174.6 kilometres (108.5 miles) (20 June 1944).Test launches of V-2 rockets were made at Peenemünde, Blizna and Tuchola Forest, and after the war, at Cuxhaven by the British, White Sands Proving Grounds and Cape Canaveral by the U.S., and Kapustin Yar by the USSR.

The Soviet Army was about 160 km (99 mi) from Peenemünde in the spring of 1945 when von Braun assembled his planning staff and asked them to decide how and to whom they should surrender. Unwilling to go to the Soviets, von Braun and his staff decided to try to surrender to the Americans.

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The American high command was well aware of how important their catch was: von Braun had been at the top of the Black List, the code name for the list of German scientists and engineers targeted for immediate interrogation by U.S. military experts.

On June 20, 1945, the U.S. Secretary of State approved the transfer of von Braun and his specialists to America; however, this was not announced to the public until October 1, 1945. Von Braun was among those scientists for whom the U.S. Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency created false employment histories and expunged NSDAP memberships and regime affiliations from the public record. Once “bleached” of their Nazism, the U.S. Government granted the scientists security clearance to work in the United States.

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The first seven technicians arrived in the United States at New Castle Army Air Field, just south of Wilmington, Delaware, on September 20, 1945. They were then flown to Boston and taken by boat to the Army Intelligence Service post at Fort Strong in Boston Harbor. Later, with the exception of von Braun, the men were transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to sort out the Peenemünde documents, enabling the scientists to continue their rocketry experiments.

(The first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists on 24 October 1946)

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Finally, von Braun and his remaining Peenemünde staff (see List of German rocket scientists in the United States) were transferred to their new home at Fort Bliss, a large Army installation just north of El Paso.

 

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Operation Paperclips-Evil deeds rewarded.

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Operation Paperclip (also Project Paperclip) was the code name for the O.S.S.–U.S. Military rescue of scientists from Nazi Germany, during the terminus and aftermath of World War II. In 1945, the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established with direct responsibility for effecting Operation Paperclip.

The primary purpose for Operation Paperclip was for the U.S. to gain a military advantage in the burgeoning Cold War, and later Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

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By comparison, the Soviet Union were even more aggressive in recruiting Germans: during Operation Osoaviakhim, Soviet military units forcibly (at gunpoint) recruited 2,000+ German specialists to the Soviet Union during one night.

Lager Friedland, wartende Kriegsheimkehrer

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) established the first secret recruitment program, called Operation Overcast, on July 20, 1945, initially “to assist in shortening the Japanese war and to aid our postwar military research.” The term “Overcast” was the name first given by the German scientists’ family members for the housing camp where they were held in Bavaria.[4] In late summer 1945, the JCS established the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), a subcommmittee of the Joint Intelligence Community, to directly oversee Operation Overcast and later Operation Paperclip.

The JIOA had one representative of each member agency of the Joint Intelligence Committee: the army’s director of intelligence, the chief of naval intelligence, the assistant chief of Air Staff-2 (air force intelligence), and a representative from the State Department.In November 1945, Operation Overcast was renamed Operation Paperclip by Ordnance Corps (United States Army) officers, who would attach a paperclip to the folders of those rocket experts whom they wished to employ in America. President Truman formally approved Operation Paperclip and expanded it to include one thousand German scientists in a secret directive, circulated on September 3, 1946.

One of the most well-known recruits was Werner von Braun, the technical director at the Peenemunde Army Research Center in Germany.(dresses as civilian in the picture below)

Peenemünde, Dornberger, Olbricht, Leeb, v. Braun

who was instrumental in developing the lethal V-2 rocket that devastated England during the war.

Peenemünde, Start einer V2

Von Braun and other rocket scientists were brought to Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, as “War Department Special Employees” to assist the U.S. Army with rocket experimentation. Von Braun later became director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, which eventually propelled two dozen American astronauts to the Moon.

SS General Hans Kammler, who as an engineer had constructed several concentration camps, including Auschwitz, had a reputation for brutality and had originated the idea of using concentration camp prisoners as slave laborers in the rocket program. Arthur Rudolph, chief engineer of the V-2 rocket factory at Peenemünde, endorsed this idea in April 1943 when a labor shortage developed. More people died building the V-2 rockets than were killed by it as a weapon. Von Braun admitted visiting the plant at Mittelwerk on many occasions, and called conditions at the plant “repulsive”, but claimed never to have witnessed any deaths or beatings, although it had become clear to him by 1944 that deaths had occurred.He denied ever having visited the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp itself, where 20,000 died from illness, beatings, hangings, and intolerable working conditions.

Some prisoners claim von Braun engaged in brutal treatment or approved of it. Guy Morand, a French resistance fighter who was a prisoner in Dora, testified in 1995 that after an apparent sabotage attempt, von Braun ordered a prisoner to be flogged, while Robert Cazabonne, another French prisoner, claimed von Braun stood by as prisoners were hanged by chains suspended by cranes.However, these accounts may have been a case of mistaken identity.Former Buchenwald inmate Adam Cabala claims that von Braun went to the concentration camp to pick slave laborers: “[…] also the German scientists led by Prof. Wernher von Braun were aware of everything daily. As they went along the corridors, they saw the exhaustion of the inmates, their arduous work and their pain. Not one single time did Prof. Wernher von Braun protest against this cruelty and bestiality during his frequent stays at Dora. Even the aspect of corpses did not touch him: On a small area near the ambulance shed, inmates tortured to death by slave labor and the terror of the overseers were piling up daily. But, Prof. Wernher von Braun passed them so close that he was almost touching the corpses.

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Von Braun was not the only one who had actively taken a part in the genocide. Many more of the Operation Paperclip scientist had committed awful crimes, but yet they were rewarded with a comfortable job working for

Every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association has given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in aviation medicine.

Hubertus Strughold

In April 1935 the government of Nazi Germany appointed Strughold to serve as the director of the Berlin-based Research Institute for Aviation Medicine, a medical think tank that operated under the auspices of Hermann Göring’s Ministry of Aviation

In October 1942, Strughold attended a medical conference in Nuremberg at which SS physician Sigmund Rascher delivered a presentation outlining various medical experiments he had conducted, in conjunction with the Luftwaffe, in which prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were used as human test subjects.

 

These experiments included physiological tests during which camp inmates were immersed in freezing water, placed in air pressure chambers and made to endure invasive surgical procedures without anesthetic. Many of the inmates forced to participate died as a result. Various Luftwaffe physicians had participated in the experiments and several of them had close ties to Strughold, both through the Institute for Aviation Medicine and the Luftwaffe Medical Service.

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