The Secret Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

Friday, February 14, 2014

Annie Jacobsen tells us about a disturbing, covert government program in the decades following World War II, called Operation Paperclip, which brought Hitler's scientists and their families to the United States. Many were accused of war crimes, others had stood trial at Nuremberg; one was convicted of mass murder and slavery, but these men were also directly responsible for major advances in rocketry, medical treatments, and the U.S. space program. In Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America, Jacobsen looks into whether the operation was a moral outrage or if it helped America win the Cold War.


Annie Jacobsen

Comments [12]

Mark from Newark

Sad to say, but the truth is undeniable: German/Nazi scientific brilliance did indeed put us light years ahead in the arms race post WW2, and there are a multitude of examples to examine. Saturn 5 rocket, V-2 variants at White Sands, Horton bomber variants, which led to our present day stealth fighters, Dr. Lipisch's flying wing technology, assault weapon technology, submarine warfare, cold/intense heat experiments done on camp inmates to test the limits of human beings, etc., etc., etc. The fear of Stalin trumped any morality issues we may have had about employing Nazi criminals.

Feb. 14 2014 03:58 PM


Plus, as the program showed, it was the Nazis and not the Jews who had built the American space program. Aren't you happier?

Feb. 14 2014 03:47 PM


I am afraid you will have to live with.

First of all, I did not write that only Jews worked on the Manhattan project. There were many non-Jews, like Enrico Ferma. However, the percentage of Jewish scientists on this project was very high. For two reason. There are a lot of Jewish scientists - just check the number of Nobel laureates who are Jewish. The second reason - they left or were expelled fro Europe.

So, I am afraid facts work against you and you will have to comtinue to live with an indigestion and a froun face...

Feb. 14 2014 03:38 PM
oscar from ny

@ sanych
I find it insulting and annoying that the Jews claim that they built everything ...I know for a fact that most Jews copy steal or buy everything from regular folks like you and I..

Feb. 14 2014 02:55 PM

Why did the author mention Heidelberg Germany? Camp King is north of Frankfurt and not near Heidelberg.

Feb. 14 2014 01:28 PM


The scientists who had built the bomb were not Nazis, but the ones who ran away from them. Most of them were Jews or had Jewish wives.

Feb. 14 2014 01:22 PM
oscar from ny

I always wondered how in the hell did all those scientists in the 40s put a bomb together with only the limited technology and now in a whole new era with all this knowledge a freaking country cannot put it together. .something is missing here..according to my calculations they should have nuclear bombs in briefcases..what's so hard splitting atoms??

Feb. 14 2014 01:04 PM
Amy from Manhattan

So Tom Lehrer (in his song "Werner von Braun") had it right, as he so often did...only he didn't take it far enough. (I'm not being facetious, either.)

Feb. 14 2014 12:59 PM

This is exactly what I talking about!


Initially, the guest said that there was a race to get scientists before Soviets implying or even directly saying that worked for Soviets. And then later saying that none of them did.

Feb. 14 2014 12:58 PM

Which Nazi scientist worked for the Soviets????????

Feb. 14 2014 12:53 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

I'm ambivalent at best toward the idea of recruiting nazis to exploit their knowledge, but I'm not at all surprised that the US gov't did.

Feb. 14 2014 12:51 PM

So, Nazis had put Americans on the Moon. What else is new?

The amazing side of this story is a growing hipocracy of the West were Nazi war criminals lived without being prosecuted and even occupied government posts.

Just the other day I had to stop watching a movie where Israelis had to go to East Germany to catch a former Nazi because it the premise was so unrealistic - the Soviets took care of them on their own.

Feb. 14 2014 12:44 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.