The Nazis in the service of NASA: the secret operation "Clip"

The Nazis in the service of NASA: the secret operation

Yes, the very scientists who created rockets for Germany during World War II and worked for Hitler, later worked with the same zeal and interest for the American government as NASA scientists.

The USSR and the USA dreamed of getting German scientists

The Nazis in the service of NASA: the secret operation

V-2 rocket before launch

The first atomic bombs dropped on Japanese cities seemed like daunting weapons. However, they were not unique. Nazi scientists concentrated all their forces on developing a rich arsenal of various weapons, among which were rockets V-1 and V-2.

Of course, any country dreams of such technology. But it is even more important to make sure that knowledge and skills do not get to the enemy country. In the United States, they were worried that Nazi scientists would start cooperating with the USSR or Britain, so they created the secret Operation Clip.

Its target is to recruit German specialists working on the creation of missiles and weapons in Germany. Recruitment started immediately after the end of the war in Europe. Initially, President Harry Truman issued a secret decree that forbade the employment of all scientists who were registered with the Nazi party group.

However, intelligence bypassed the order and simply forged all the documents, otherwise they risked losing valuable personnel and practices. It is believed that only about 1600 Nazi scientists (different areas of work and at different times) found themselves in America and began to work in her favor. Among them was Werner von Braun.

Valuable shot with mysterious past

The Nazis in the service of NASA: the secret operation

Werner von Braun at work at NASA

Before you is the father of the space program in the USA. Agree, it sounds impressive, especially if we recall that Von Braun’s career began on German territory, and he served a completely different side.

Skip the first part of the biography and move on to the development of rockets. He managed to introduce the world's first ballistic missile V-2, which the Wehrmacht actively used in the last months of World War II. It was with her help attacked England. It is believed that the development is based on the work by physicist Robert Goddard from America.

The German scholar was a member of the National Socialist Party, and since 1940 has been listed as an officer of the SS. He later made excuses that he was forced to join the party, otherwise he would be banned from working. However, many biographers say that he had too high a status for coercion. In addition, at all official events he appeared in SS uniforms with the rank of Sturmbannführer.

Going to the service to the Americans

Interestingly, von Braun voluntarily surrendered to an American captivity. Together with a team of scientists, he conferred for a long time on which country to surrender. The Nazis were worried that the Red Army was waiting for them repressions, so they decided to provide services to the United States.

The story tells that he organized everything in May 1945 year brother Werner. He noticed an American soldier, ran up to him and said that his brother invented V-2, and all scientists want to surrender.

As part of the American rocket science

The Nazis in the service of NASA: the secret operation

The US government pulled out a lucky ticket, because this name was on the blacklist, in which scientists should have been interviewed as soon as possible. As a result, von Braun ended up in Operation Clip, where his team cleaned up a biography, erasing the Nazi past. They all began to work for the benefit of the new country.

And von Braun succeeded greatly in this. He headed the development of intercontinental ICBM Redstone, launched satellite, became director of the NASA Space Flight Center and led the development of the program Saturn and Apollo.


Of course, it wasn’t possible to cover everyone up to the end, and many former Nazi scientists were called to court. Some were acquitted, and others were deported (were involved in the use of slave labor). Yes, many of these people have become key figures in space exploration and have benefited all of humanity. However, one should not forget that specific figures were involved in serious crimes. Can we say that they have redeemed the guilt? What do you think about it?

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