Nazi Scientists in the Space Race
I grew up during the Kennedy Presidency. It was a time when the best and the brightest sat center stage in the nation's psyche. I've always remembered the story, that at an arts gala at the White House, Kennedy looked around the room and proclaimed it "the greatest gathering of talent since Thomas Jefferson dined alone." Without the benefit of such trappings, I've had the opportunity, for the past twelve years, to have a seat at an international banquet of ideas and history. My KVON radio program has provided me a unique opportunity to "travel" around the world and speak to thousands of the most imaginative thinkers and leaders in the arenas of politics, religion, journalism, business, popular culture, academics, science, economics, history, and medicine. During these years, I have taken many people with me on this journey. It has been a momentous time. The trauma of politics, the onslaught of technology, the insights of science, and the changes in the human condition make this a period almost unequaled in history. I'm excited that technology has now made it possible for me to take more of you along with me on this journey.
In the closing days of World War II, America recruited scores of German scientists that became the bulwark of our space effort. These scientists of course had shady pasts and were far more connected to the Third Reich than we were ever told.
If we knew, might the nation have objected, and if so, might the Soviets have beaten us in the Space Race and to the moon? And what broader implications might that have had for the Cold War?
Annie Jacobsen is a journalist, author, and uncoverer of secrets. She’s the author the New York Times bestseller Area 51 and now she turns her attention to the story of "Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America."
Image credit: Howzey/Flickr
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