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

Recommended Reading  

The Paperclip Conspiracy

The Hunt for Nazi Sci­en­tists
by Tom Bow­er
1987, Lit­tle, Brown & Co.
ISBN 0316103993
309 pages.

From Pub­lish­ers Week­ly
Bow­er’s (Pledge Betrayed) book is an impres­sive­ly doc­u­ment­ed expo­sure of the fran­tic rush at the close of World War II by U.S., Britain and Rus­sia to “hunt down” for their own pur­pos­es the Ger­mans who devel­oped the V‑2 rock­et, the Panz­er tank and oth­er remark­able weapons that gave Hitler his ear­ly tri­umphs. There was com­pe­ti­tion between the U.S. and Britain on one hand, and between the two rivals teamed togeth­er against the Sovi­ets: each nation want­ed to seize the sci­en­tists for itselfand, as Bow­er makes clear, expec­ta­tions that the sci­en­tists would sup­ply advanced tech­nol­o­gy out­weighed pos­si­bil­i­ties that they might have been (and in many cas­es were) war crim­i­nals. The mate­r­i­al pre­sent­ed here of what, in effect, was a tac­it con­spir­a­cy by State Depart­ment and mil­i­tary offi­cials to bypass U.S. laws by vir­tu­al­ly smug­gling top Ger­man sci­en­tists into the coun­try­W­ern­er von Braun is only one of scores treat­ed hereis riv­et­ing read­ing. The book’s title derives from a secret fil­ing sys­tem that iden­ti­fied doc­tored dossiers of Nazis the mil­i­tary sought: ordi­nary paper­clips were used instead of cat­e­go­ry names. Bow­er’s rev­e­la­tions are indi­vid­u­al­ly shock­ing and cumu­la­tive­ly dev­as­tat­ing. That hun­dreds of Nazis were white­washed and worked on U.S. bases will appall read­ers. Copy­right 1987 Reed Busi­ness Infor­ma­tion, Inc.

From Library Jour­nal
Drawn from World War II British and U.S. doc­u­ments, this book shows that Ger­many held a wide tech­no­log­i­cal edge in many fields over the Allies. Exploita­tion of Ger­man sci­en­tif­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal experts after World War II was seen as the chief repa­ra­tions the Allies were like­ly to get. The race for these men involved con­flict among the Allies and with U.S. immi­gra­tion laws. The argu­ment bal­ances the ethical/moral dilem­ma on using for­mer Nazis against the nation­al secu­ri­ty advan­tages to be gained by that use. This is a good first look at the issue from the offi­cial files, but there is a loose end or so and some unnec­es­sary digres­sions. For layper­sons and spe­cial­ists. —George H. Siehl, Library of Con­gress (Copy­right 1987 Reed Busi­ness Infor­ma­tion, Inc.)

Avail­able from Powells.com.


2 comments for “The Paperclip Conspiracy”

  1. Noth­ing real­ly new here — and we know it goes much deep­er — but it’s refresh­ing to see essays like this to keep the top­ic in the pub­lic’s eye:


    Oper­a­tion Naz­i­fi­ca­tion
    Post­ed on Feb­ru­ary 21, 2014 by DavidSwan­son

    Annie Jacobsen’s new book is called Oper­a­tion Paper­clip: The Secret Intel­li­gence Pro­gram That Brought Nazi Sci­en­tists to Amer­i­ca. It isn’t ter­ri­bly secret any­more, of course, and it was nev­er very intel­li­gent. Jacob­sen has added some details, and the U.S. gov­ern­ment is still hid­ing many more. But the basic facts have been avail­able; they’re just left out of most U.S. his­to­ry books, movies, and tele­vi­sion pro­grams.

    After World War II, the U.S. mil­i­tary hired six­teen hun­dred for­mer Nazi sci­en­tists and doc­tors, includ­ing some of Adolf Hitler’s clos­est col­lab­o­ra­tors, includ­ing men respon­si­ble for mur­der, slav­ery, and human exper­i­men­ta­tion, includ­ing men con­vict­ed of war crimes, men acquit­ted of war crimes, and men who nev­er stood tri­al. Some of the Nazis tried at Nurem­berg had already been work­ing for the U.S. in either Ger­many or the U.S. pri­or to the tri­als. Some were pro­tect­ed from their past by the U.S. gov­ern­ment for years, as they lived and worked in Boston Har­bor, Long Island, Mary­land, Ohio, Texas, Alaba­ma, and else­where, or were flown by the U.S. gov­ern­ment to Argenti­na to pro­tect them from pros­e­cu­tion. Some tri­al tran­scripts were clas­si­fied in their entire­ty to avoid expos­ing the pasts of impor­tant U.S. sci­en­tists. Some of the Nazis brought over were frauds who had passed them­selves off as sci­en­tists, some of whom sub­se­quent­ly learned their fields while work­ing for the U.S. mil­i­tary.

    The U.S. occu­piers of Ger­many after World War II declared that all mil­i­tary research in Ger­many was to cease, as part of the process of denaz­i­fi­ca­tion. Yet that research went on and expand­ed in secret, under U.S. author­i­ty, both in Ger­many and in the Unit­ed States, as part of a process that it’s pos­si­ble to view as naz­i­fi­ca­tion. Not only sci­en­tists were hired. For­mer Nazi spies, most of them for­mer S.S., were hired by the U.S. in post-war Ger­many to spy on — and tor­ture — Sovi­ets.

    The U.S. mil­i­tary shift­ed in numer­ous ways when for­mer Nazis were put into promi­nent posi­tions. It was Nazi rock­et sci­en­tists who pro­posed plac­ing nuclear bombs on rock­ets and began devel­op­ing the inter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile. It was Nazi engi­neers who had designed Hitler’s bunker beneath Berlin, who now designed under­ground fortress­es for the U.S. gov­ern­ment in the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Moun­tains. Known Nazi liars were employed by the U.S. mil­i­tary to draft clas­si­fied intel­li­gence briefs false­ly hyp­ing the Sovi­et men­ace. Nazi sci­en­tists devel­oped U.S. chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­grams, bring­ing over their knowl­edge of tabun and sarin, not to men­tion thalido­mide — and their eager­ness for human exper­i­men­ta­tion, which the U.S. mil­i­tary and the new­ly cre­at­ed CIA read­i­ly engaged in on a major scale. Every bizarre and grue­some notion of how a per­son might be assas­si­nat­ed or an army immo­bi­lized was of inter­est to their research. New weapons were devel­oped, includ­ing VX and Agent Orange. A new dri­ve to vis­it and weaponize out­er­space was cre­at­ed, and for­mer Nazis were put in charge of a new agency called NASA.

    Per­ma­nent war think­ing, lim­it­less war think­ing, and cre­ative war think­ing in which sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy over­shad­owed death and suf­fer­ing, all went main­stream. When a for­mer Nazi spoke to a women’s lun­cheon at the Rochester Junior Cham­ber of Com­merce in 1953, the event’s head­line was “Buzz Bomb Mas­ter­mind to Address Jaycees Today.” That doesn’t sound ter­ri­bly odd to us, but might have shocked any­one liv­ing in the Unit­ed States any­time pri­or to World War II. Watch this Walt Dis­ney tele­vi­sion pro­gram fea­tur­ing a for­mer Nazi who worked slaves to death in a cave build­ing rock­ets. Before long, Pres­i­dent Dwight Eisen­how­er would be lament­ing that “the total influ­ence — eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, even spir­i­tu­al — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.” Eisen­how­er was not refer­ring to Nazism but to the pow­er of the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex. Yet, when asked whom he had in mind in remark­ing in the same speech that “pub­lic pol­i­cy could itself become the cap­tive of a sci­en­tif­ic-tech­no­log­i­cal elite,” Eisen­how­er named two sci­en­tists, one of them the for­mer Nazi in the Dis­ney video linked above.

    The deci­sion to inject 1,600 of Hitler’s sci­en­tif­ic-tech­no­log­i­cal elite into the U.S. mil­i­tary was dri­ven by fears of the USSR, both rea­son­able and the result of fraud­u­lent fear mon­ger­ing. The deci­sion evolved over time and was the prod­uct of many mis­guid­ed minds. But the buck stopped with Pres­i­dent Har­ry S Tru­man. Hen­ry Wal­lace, Truman’s pre­de­ces­sor as vice-pres­i­dent who we like to imag­ine would have guid­ed the world in a bet­ter direc­tion than Tru­man did as pres­i­dent, actu­al­ly pushed Tru­man to hire the Nazis as a jobs pro­gram. It would be good for Amer­i­can indus­try, said our pro­gres­sive hero. Truman’s sub­or­di­nates debat­ed, but Tru­man decid­ed. As bits of Oper­a­tion Paper­clip became known, the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Sci­en­tists, Albert Ein­stein, and oth­ers urged Tru­man to end it. Nuclear physi­cist Hans Bethe and his col­league Hen­ri Sack asked Tru­man:

    “Did the fact that the Ger­mans might save the nation mil­lions of dol­lars imply that per­ma­nent res­i­dence and cit­i­zen­ship could be bought? Could the Unit­ed States count on [the Ger­man sci­en­tists] to work for peace when their indoc­tri­nat­ed hatred against the Rus­sians might con­tribute to increase the diver­gence between the great pow­ers? Had the war been fought to allow Nazi ide­ol­o­gy to creep into our edu­ca­tion­al and sci­en­tif­ic insti­tu­tions by the back door? Do we want sci­ence at any price?”

    In 1947 Oper­a­tion Paper­clip, still rather small, was in dan­ger of being ter­mi­nat­ed. Instead, Tru­man trans­formed the U.S. mil­i­tary with the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Act, and cre­at­ed the best ally that Oper­a­tion Paper­clip could want: the CIA. Now the pro­gram took off, inten­tion­al­ly and will­ful­ly, with the full knowl­edge and under­stand­ing of the same U.S. Pres­i­dent who had declared as a sen­a­tor that if the Rus­sians were win­ning the U.S. should help the Ger­mans, and vice ver­sa, to ensure that the most peo­ple pos­si­ble died, the same pres­i­dent who vicious­ly and point­less­ly dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan­ese cities, the same pres­i­dent who brought us the war on Korea, the war with­out dec­la­ra­tion, the secret wars, the per­ma­nent expand­ed empire of bases, the mil­i­tary secre­cy in all mat­ters, the impe­r­i­al pres­i­den­cy, and the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex. The U.S. Chem­i­cal War­fare Ser­vice took up the study of Ger­man chem­i­cal weapons at the end of the war as a means to con­tin­ue in exis­tence. George Mer­ck both diag­nosed bio­log­i­cal weapons threats for the mil­i­tary and sold the mil­i­tary vac­cines to han­dle them. War was busi­ness and busi­ness was going to be good for a long time to come.

    But how big a change did the Unit­ed States go through after World War II, and how much of it can be cred­it­ed to Oper­a­tion Paper­clip? Isn’t a gov­ern­ment that would give immu­ni­ty to both Nazi and Japan­ese war crim­i­nals in order to learn their crim­i­nal ways already in a bad place? As one of the defen­dants argued in tri­al at Nurem­berg, the U.S. had already engaged in its own exper­i­ments on humans using almost iden­ti­cal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions to those offered by the Nazis. If that defen­dant had been aware, he could have point­ed out that the U.S. was in that very moment engaged in such exper­i­ments in Guatemala. The Nazis had learned some of their eugen­ics and oth­er nasty incli­na­tions from Amer­i­cans. Some of the Paper­clip sci­en­tists had worked in the U.S. before the war, as many Amer­i­cans had worked in Ger­many. These were not iso­lat­ed worlds.

    Look­ing beyond the sec­ondary, scan­dalous, and sadis­tic crimes of war, what about the crime of war itself? We pic­ture the Unit­ed States as less guilty because it maneu­vered the Japan­ese into the first attack, and because it did pros­e­cute some of the war’s losers. But an impar­tial tri­al would have pros­e­cut­ed Amer­i­cans too. Bombs dropped on civil­ians killed and injured and destroyed more than any con­cen­tra­tion camps — camps that in Ger­many had been mod­eled in part after U.S. camps for native Amer­i­cans. Is it pos­si­ble that Nazi sci­en­tists blend­ed into the U.S. mil­i­tary so well because an insti­tu­tion that had already done what it had done to the Philip­pines was not in all that much need of naz­i­fi­ca­tion?

    Yet, some­how, we think of the fire­bomb­ing of Japan­ese cities and the com­plete lev­el­ing of Ger­man cities as less offen­sive that the hir­ing of Nazi sci­en­tists. But what is it that offends us about Nazi sci­en­tists? I don’t think it should be that they engaged in mass-mur­der for the wrong side, an error bal­anced out in some minds but their lat­er work for mass-mur­der by the right side. And I don’t think it should be entire­ly that they engaged in sick human exper­i­men­ta­tion and forced labor. I do think those actions should offend us. But so should the con­struc­tion of rock­ets that take thou­sands of lives. And it should offend us whomev­er it’s done for.

    It’s curi­ous to imag­ine a civ­i­lized soci­ety some­where on earth some years from now. Would an immi­grant with a past in the U.S. mil­i­tary be able to find a job? Would a review be need­ed? Had they tor­tured pris­on­ers? Had they drone-struck chil­dren? Had they lev­eled hous­es or shot up civil­ians in any num­ber of coun­tries? Had they used clus­ter bombs? Deplet­ed ura­ni­um? White phos­pho­rous? Had they ever worked in the U.S. prison sys­tem? Immi­grant deten­tion sys­tem? Death row? How thor­ough a review would be need­ed? Would there be some lev­el of just-fol­low­ing-orders behav­ior that would be deemed accept­able? Would it mat­ter, not just what the per­son had done, but how they thought about the world?


    The Dis­ney video the author refers to is of Von Braun describ­ing space explo­ration

    Posted by Swamp | February 22, 2014, 9:55 am
  2. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/biggest-secret-nazi-weapons-factory-4886214

    ‘Biggest secret Nazi weapons fac­to­ry of the Third Reich’ dis­cov­ered under­ground near sleepy Aus­tri­an town

    Dec 28, 2014 21:07
    By Hay­ley Coyle

    A NUCLEAR BOMB is among the weapons of mass destruc­tion believed to have been devel­oped in the facil­i­ty

    A gigan­tic secret Nazi weapons fac­to­ry where a NUCLEAR BOMB may have been devel­oped has been dis­cov­ered in Aus­tria.

    The 75-acre facil­i­ty, locat­ed near the town of St Geor­gen an der Gusen, is believed to have been used to cre­ate and test weapons of mass destruc­tion and was deemed so impor­tant to the Nazis that the head of the SS and Hitler’s right hand man Hein­rich Himm­ler, even over­saw its devel­op­ment.

    The com­plex, which experts believe was the “biggest secret weapons pro­duc­tion facil­i­ty of the Third Reich”, was dis­cov­ered by Andreas Sulz­er, an Aus­tri­an doc­u­men­tary mak­er who found ref­er­ence to the bunkers in the diaries of an old Aus­tri­an physi­cist.

    They were so well hid­den though that bull­doz­ing equip­ment was to need­ed to cut away mas­sive gran­ite plates the Nazis had used to hide the entrance shaft in 1945. Ground pen­e­trat­ing radar was also required to con­firm reports of how large the facil­i­ty was.

    The facil­i­ty is believed to be linked to the near­by B8 Bergkristall under­ground fac­to­ry that pro­duced the Messer­schmitt Me 262, the world’s first oper­a­tional jet-pow­ered fight­er, that posed a brief threat to allied air forces in the war’s clos­ing stages.

    Mr Sulz­er told The Times: “This was a gigan­tic indus­tri­al com­plex.”

    And sim­i­lar to the Bergkristall fac­to­ry, it relied on slave labour from the near­by Mau­thausen-Gusen con­cen­tra­tion camp. Up to 320,000 inmates are said to have died because of the bru­tal con­di­tions in the sub­ter­ranean labyrinth.

    In order to ful­ly dis­cov­er the mean­ing behind the secret facil­i­ty Mr Sulz­er assem­bled a crack team of his­to­ri­ans and found fur­ther evi­dence of sci­en­tists work­ing on the secret project, which was man­aged by the feared SS Gen­er­al Hans Kamm­ler.

    Kamm­ler, known to be a ruth­less leader, was in charge of Hitler’s mis­sile pro­grammes, includ­ing the V‑2 rock­et used against Lon­don in the lat­ter stages of the war. He was also the man who signed off blue­prints for the gas cham­bers that killed mil­lions of Jews.

    Rain­er Karlsch, a his­to­ri­an who worked with Mr Sulz­er, said: “The SS lead­er­ship aspired to cre­ate a com­bi­na­tion of mis­siles and weapons of mass destruc­tion.

    SS Gen­er­al Hans Kamm­ler In charge: Hans Kamm­ler was the man­ag­er of the facil­i­ty. He was also the man who signed off blue­prints for the gas cham­bers

    “They want­ed to equip the A4 [a vari­ant of the V‑2] mis­sile, or more advanced rock­ets, with poi­son gas, radioac­tive mate­r­i­al or nuclear war­heads.”

    Lat­er the Russ­ian army plun­dered Bergkristall removed all the tech­nol­o­gy and then destroyed and filled in the bunkers.

    The sec­ond part of the site, which Sulz­er has dis­cov­ered, seems to have remained unno­ticed by both the Amer­i­cans and the Rus­sians.

    Sulz­er’s exca­va­tion was stopped last Wednes­day by local author­i­ties, who demand­ed a per­mit for research on his­toric sites. But he is con­fi­dent that dig­ging can resume next month.

    “Pris­on­ers from con­cen­tra­tion camps across Europe were hand­picked for their spe­cial skills — physi­cists, chemists or oth­er experts — to work on this mon­strous project and we owe it to the vic­tims to final­ly open the site and reveal the truth,” said Sulz­er.

    Posted by Vanfield | December 29, 2014, 11:00 am

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