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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 [1].