Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

About Paul Manning

See also: Mar­tin Bor­mann — Nazi in Exile

Much of the For The Record series deals with the Bor­mann Orga­ni­za­tion and the research done on that by the late Paul Man­ning. Hold­ing the offi­cial title of Reich­sleit­er, and hav­ing offi­cial­ly suc­ceed­ed Hitler as the head of the NSDAP (Ger­man Nazi Par­ty), Mar­tin Bor­mann remains rel­a­tive­ly unknown. Feared by oth­er, bet­ter-known Nazi lead­ers for his per­se­ver­ance, cun­ning, indus­tri­ous­ness and capac­i­ty for detail, Mar­tin Bor­mann was the real “pow­er behind the throne” in the Third Reich.

Paul Man­ning’s research was under­tak­en, in con­sid­er­able mea­sure, as a result of the encour­age­ment of Edward R. Mur­row. “. . . My wartime CBS col­league, the late Edward R. Mur­row, had talked at length with me about devel­op­ing the Bor­mann saga as a sol­id and his­tor­i­cal­ly enlight­en­ing, valu­able post­war sto­ry. . . .”

Cap­tured doc­u­ments in Man­ning’s pos­ses­sion reveal that on August 10, 1944 a con­fer­ence of top rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ger­man indus­try and finance enact­ed a flight cap­i­tal pro­gram in which Ger­many’s eco­nom­ic wealth was to be legal­ly, but clan­des­tine­ly, moved to “Safe­havens” in neu­tral coun­tries. (FTR#305.)

Autho­rized by Bor­mann and exe­cut­ed by the SS, this con­fer­ence paved the way for the tremen­dous eco­nom­ic pow­er of Nazi Ger­many to pow­er a post­war per­pet­u­a­tion of a Third Reich gone under­ground. As the cap­tured doc­u­ments reveal, an impor­tant pro­vi­sion of this con­fer­ence was that Ger­man finance and indus­try would con­tin­ue to sus­tain the Nazi par­ty after the for­mal sur­ren­der of Ger­many. The Third Reich has been able to survive—underground—in dead­ly, Mafia-like fash­ion.

His death at the end of the war hav­ing been effec­tive­ly faked by Gestapo chief (and lat­er secu­ri­ty direc­tor for the Bor­mann group) SS Gen­er­al Hein­rich Muller, Mar­tin Bor­mann pro­ceed­ed to lead the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal affairs of the Under­ground Reich and (in effect) the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. The Bor­mann group is the aggre­gate of five of the prin­ci­pal tides of cap­i­tal flow in the 20th cen­tu­ry (see FTR#99).

As a result, the deep polit­i­cal and para-polit­i­cal influ­ence of the orga­ni­za­tion is enor­mous. This Under­ground Reich wields con­sum­mate eco­nom­ic pow­er. Its intel­li­gence links with the Cold War milieu of the Gehlen espi­onage out­fit and pow­er­ful polit­i­cal forces in the West dur­ing the Cold War fur­ther extend­ed its reach.

At the helm of the Bor­mann secu­ri­ty out­fit was Gen­er­al Muller. For­mer Gestapo chief Mueller con­trolled the secu­ri­ty orga­ni­za­tion for Bor­mann for many years and insti­tu­tion­al­ly shaped it until his retire­ment. For­mer Gestapo chief Hein­rich Mueller’s out­fit embraced the oper­a­tional arm of the SS/ODESSA net­work. That intel­li­gence out­fit was, in and of itself, a pow­er­ful polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary com­po­nent as well.

The sem­i­nal work on the Bor­mann Orga­ni­za­tion was done by the late Paul Man­ning, who pub­lished a book which sourced cap­tured Third Reich doc­u­ments, the files of the OSS (Amer­i­ca’s World War II civil­ian intel­li­gence agency and pre­de­ces­sor of the CIA), FBI files and British Intel­li­gence sources. Most impor­tant­ly, Man­ning access­es Trea­sury Depart­ment files from “Oper­a­tion Safe­haven” (the code-name for the US intel­li­gence oper­a­tion designed to inter­dict the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal pro­gram). Sup­ple­ment­ing the doc­u­men­ta­tion was the field research that Paul Man­ning con­duct­ed using the jour­nal­is­tic con­tacts devel­oped as a war cor­re­spon­dent. Man­ning has authored a remark­able and essen­tial doc­u­ment.

Part of the CBS radio net­work team that cov­ered the war in Europe under the stew­ard­ship of the late Edward R. Mur­row, Man­ning trained as a gun­ner aboard B‑17s and Lib­er­a­tors (B‑24s) in order to cov­er the air war in Europe. (While on such a mis­sion, he shot down a ME-109. See excerpt below from Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile recount­ing some of these mis­sions.) When Ger­many sur­ren­dered, he broad­cast the cer­e­mo­ny on the CBS radio net­work. Man­ning then trained as a gun­ner aboard a B‑29, and flew mis­sions over Japan to cov­er the clos­ing phase of the air war there. Even­tu­al­ly, he broad­cast the sur­ren­der of Japan from the deck of the USS Mis­souri for CBS. After the war, Man­ning wrote for (among oth­er pub­li­ca­tions) The New York Times, and authored sev­er­al books.

Much of his post­war career was devot­ed to research­ing the Nazi flight-cap­i­tal program–through this research he came to write Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile. Although his research on Bor­mann was par­tial­ly fund­ed by CBS News, the net­work nev­er “went” with the sto­ry. Those who would den­i­grate his work on the Bor­mann Orga­ni­za­tion should care­ful­ly weigh their own jour­nal­is­tic cre­den­tials against Paul Man­ning’s, in addi­tion to tak­ing into account the research resources accessed in the book.

Man­ning paid dear­ly for his efforts. He was active­ly mar­gin­al­ized, his fam­i­ly suf­fered the resul­tant eco­nom­ic hard­ship. (FTR 145 con­tains a read­ing of some of Mr. Man­ning’s cor­re­spon­dence with pro­fes­sion­al col­leagues, dis­cussing the doc­u­men­tary sources uti­lized for his book, as well as some of the pro­fes­sion­al dif­fi­cul­ties he encoun­tered dur­ing his endeav­or. Side 1 of FTR 152 is the sto­ry of the frus­tra­tion of the pub­li­ca­tion of Man­ning’s Bor­mann book. When Man­ning was final­ly able to get Lyle Stu­art, Inc. to pub­lish the book, Lyle Stu­art had both of his legs bro­ken the week the book was pub­lished. FTR 125 is a spon­ta­neous inter­view with Paul’s son Peter, con­duct­ed after Peter called Mr. Emory’s show. FTR 155 con­sists of the last pub­lished work that Paul did on the sub­ject of the Bor­mann group. Both FTR 283, and Side 1 of FTR 152 dis­cuss Mr. Man­ning’s riv­et­ing pro­fes­sion­al dia­logue with the Bor­mann group, through pro­fes­sion­al inter­me­di­aries.) Even­tu­al­ly, Paul’s son Ger­ry was mur­dered in ret­ri­bu­tion for the Bor­mann research, and as a warn­ing against pub­lish­ing a fol­low-up vol­ume In Search of Mar­tin Bor­mann. The “tar­get selec­tion” by the Bor­mann group for its ret­ri­bu­tion may well have been deter­mined by the ded­i­ca­tion of Mar­tin Bor­mann, Nazi in Exile. “To my wife, Peg, and to our four sons, Peter, Paul, Ger­ald and John, whose col­lec­tive encour­age­ment and belief in this book as a work of his­toric impor­tance gave me the nec­es­sary per­sis­tence and deter­mi­na­tion to keep going.”

In Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile, Paul Man­ning presents an account of the com­bat mis­sions he flew (and cov­ered) dur­ing the war.

“Ear­ly in 1943, a small group of Amer­i­can war cor­re­spon­dents vol­un­teered to be trained for fly­ing with the B‑17’s in their mis­sions over Ger­many. This was intend­ed by the U.S. Eighth Air Force to com­mu­ni­cate to Amer­i­cans back in the States the eye­wit­ness sto­ry of these air bat­tles and the brav­ery of their sons. I was one of these trainees, rep­re­sent­ing CBS news. There were also Wal­ter Cronkite, then of Unit­ed Press, Glad­win Hill of Asso­ci­at­ed Press and lat­er of the New York Times, Robert Post of the New York Times, Homer Bigart of the New York Her­ald Tri­bune, William Wade of Inter­na­tion­al News Ser­vice, Sergeant Scott Den­ton of Yank, and Sergeant Andy Rooney of Stars and Stripes. As a joc­u­lar take­off of World War I’s ‘Fight­ing 69th,’ we were referred to as ‘the writ­ing 69th’ by Colonel Jock Whit­ney, a peace­time pub­lish­er and financier, and Colonel Mac Kriendler of 21 Club fame, who were among those of the Eighth Air Force who had sold the con­cept to Gen­er­al Ira Eak­er. We were sent to gun­nery school in Eng­land, where we learned to iden­ti­fy all Ger­man fight­er planes and to strip down and reassem­ble with­in 40 sec­onds the Brown­ing machine guns used in the B‑17’s and Lib­er­a­tors. This was essen­tial knowl­edge, for sec­onds saved in fix­ing the stop­page in a mal­func­tion­ing machine gun could be the dif­fer­ence between life and death. We were not fly­ing as excess bag­gage but as gun­ners first, war reporters sec­ond.

“Over Wil­helmshaven, on our first mis­sion, I shot down a Messer­schmitt fight­er that had come right at us from the front, where I was act­ing nose-gun­ner. On the same mis­sion, Bob Post’s Lib­er­a­tor came apart in midair from the com­bined flak from the ground and can­non fire from attack­ing Ger­man fight­ers. In his plane, none sur­vived.” (pp. 110–111.)

“There was a year of such mis­sions. I did­n’t fly them all, just those that had spe­cial news inter­est. I would remain in Lon­don between mis­sions, inter­view­ing peo­ple and gath­er­ing news for my CBS broad­casts on ‘The World Today’ each morn­ing. But I still recall vivid­ly today the bomb­ing run that I made in the com­pa­ny of a crew on their 25th mis­sion; come hell or high water, they were deter­mined to make it home, back to the States.” (p. 111.)

“We lift­ed up, off the air­fields of East Anglia, in the ear­ly morn­ing, 200 B‑17’s climb­ing and gath­er­ing into close for­ma­tion over the North Sea. At 12,000 feet the crew clipped on oxy­gen masks, fired test bursts from their Brown­ings, and then head­ed for Ger­many and the tar­get, which on that day was the har­bor of Gdy­nia, Poland. Here the Gneise­nau and the Stuttgart, two Ger­man bat­tle­ships, 17 U‑boats, destroy­ers, and sev­er­al small­er ves­sels were at anchor. It was to be a 2,000-mile round-trip flight, right across Ger­many, and as we crossed the coast­line at day­break the Ger­man fight­ers began pick­ing us up. It was a run­ning bat­tle all the way to Gdy­nia, then ‘bombs away,’ and the swing around for a return. Some of the B‑17’s limped on to Switzer­land with engine mal­func­tions; oth­ers crossed the Baltic for safe haven in Swe­den. At 20,000 feet over Poland the sea seemed a toy pond, and Swe­den beck­oned invit­ing­ly. Leningrad was but 400 miles to the east, but the pilot had home on his mind. The for­ma­tion closed for the self-pro­tec­tion of cross­fire and we head­ed for Eng­land. Here is a quote from the sto­ry I wrote on my return, which I broad­cast over CBS.” (Idem.)

“Across west­ern Ger­many, you could feel the big ship wob­bling bad­ly. It had tak­en too much flak, too much can­non fire. The holes in the fuse­lage ripped larg­er. We could­n’t keep up with the oth­er planes and our pilot dropped low­er with each mile until we were hedge-hop­ping 30 feet off the ground, which kept the fight­ers from com­ing up from under­neath. We passed so low over a Ger­man gun emplace­ment in Hol­land I could see the sweat on the backs of the Ger­man gun­ners on this sun­ny day, try­ing to bring us down. Bill laid one burst right down the mid­dle of a path­way lead­ing to a pill­box. His shells tore a gun­ner apart.” (Idem.)

“We prayed that the gas would hold out. Sud­den­ly it became nec­es­sary to light­en the load as we began cross­ing the North Sea. The fight­ers had turned away and then we were skim­ming low over the water. Every­thing move­able went over­board: machine guns, radio, emp­ty shell cas­es, oxy­gen tanks. We made it. The cap­tain pulled the shat­tered craft up over Eng­lish clif­fland and skid­ded the length of an RAF run­way to a halt. All of us were still for maybe four min­utes, exhaust­ed and drained. Bill the bom­bardier sank down to the floor of the plane with his head between his arms. The nav­i­ga­tor fum­bled abstract­ed­ly with his maps, fold­ing and refold­ing them. I just sat, think­ing: ‘I’m alive.’ Five of the crew­men would nev­er again have that or any oth­er feel­ing. They had died on the way back, one with his head shot off. Four­teen hours of hell on the air.” (p. 112.)

Hav­ing passed away in the 1990s, Paul Man­ning is no longer able to speak direct­ly for him­self. Were he able to do so, he might echo the words of the dying Cap­tain Miller (played by Tom Han­ks) address­ing Pri­vate Ryan at the end of ‘Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan,’ “Earn This! Earn It!”