December 20, 2011 4 Comments
After World War II, Nazi scientists were secretly brought to the United States for employment by US intelligence agencies. Particularly scientists specializing in aerodynamics and rocketry (such as those involved in the V-1 and V-2 projects), chemical weapons, chemical reaction technology and medicine.
Truman’s order excluded anyone found “to have been a member of the Nazi Party, and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism.”
Restrictions would have rendered ineligible most of the scientists intelligence agencies like the JIOA had identified for recruitment. Among those ineligible that were brought back to the U.S: rocket scientists Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph, and the physician Hubertus Strughold, each earlier classified as a “menace to the security of the Allied Forces”.
To circumvent President Truman’s anti-Nazi order, and the Allied Potsdam and Yalta agreements, the JIOA worked independently to create false employment and political biographies for the scientists. The JIOA also destryoed from the public record the scientists’ Nazi Party memberships and regime affiliations. Once “bleached” of their Nazism, the US Government granted the scientists security clearance to work in the United States.
Paperclip, the project’s operational name, derived from the paperclips used to attach the scientists’ new political personae to their “US Government Scientist” JIOA personnel files.
The Scientists Involved:
In May 1945, the US Navy received Dr. Herbert A. Wagner, the inventor of the Hs 293 missile; for two years, he first worked at the Special Devices Center, at Castle Gould and at Hempstead House, Long Island, New York; in 1947, he moved to the Naval Air Station Point Mugu.
In August 1945, Colonel Holger Toftoy, head of the Rocket Branch of the Research and Development Division of the US Army’s Ordnance Corps, offered initial one-year contracts to the rocket scientists; 127 of them accepted. In September 1945, the first group of seven rocket scientists arrived at Fort Strong, New York: Wernher von Braun, Erich W. Neubert, Theodor A. Poppel, August Schulze, Eberhard Rees, Wilhelm Jungert, and Walter Schwidetzky.
Beginning in late 1945, three rocket-scientist groups arrived in the US for duty at Fort Bliss, Texas, and at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, as “War Department Special Employees”.
In 1946, the United States Bureau of Mines employed seven German synthetic fuel scientists at a Fischer-Tropsch chemical plant in Louisiana, Missouri.
In early 1950, legal US residency for some of the Project Paperclip specialists was effected through the US consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico; thus, Nazi scientists legally entered the US from Latin America.
Eighty-six aeronautical engineers were transferred to Wright Field, where the US had Luftwaffe aircraft and equipment captured under Operation Lusty (Luftwaffe Secret Technology).
The United States Army Signal Corps employed 24 specialists — including the physicists Georg Goubau, Gunter Guttwein, Georg Hass, Horst Kedesdy, and Kurt Lehovec; the physical chemists Rudolf Brill, Ernst Baars, and Eberhard Both; the geophysicist Dr. Helmut Weickmann; the optician Gerhard Schwesinger; and the engineers Eduard Gerber, Richard Guenther, and Hans Ziegler.
In 1959, ninety-four Operation Paperclip men went to the US, including Friedwardt Winterberg and Friedrich Wigand.Throughout its operations to 1990, Operation Paperclip imported 1,600 men, as part of the intellectual reparations owed to the US and the UK, some $10 billion in patents and industrial processes.
During the decades after they were included in Operation Paperclip, some scientists were investigated because of their activities during World War II. Arthur Rudolph was deported in 1984, but not prosecuted, and West Germany granted him citizenship.Similarly, Georg Rickhey, who came to the United States under Operation Paperclip in 1946, was returned to Germany to stand trial at the Mittelbau-Dora war crimes trial in 1947, was acquitted, and returned to the United States in 1948, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen.The aeromedical library at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas had been named after Hubertus Strughold in 1977. However, it was later renamed because documents from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal linked Strughold to medical experiments in which inmates from Dachau were tortured and killed