When Hitler’s Experts Shot the USA to the Moon

The Brain of American Space Travel was exclusively Nazi-German

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

It is extremely remarkable that former SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Wernher von Braun (1912-1977), the “Father of the American Space Travel”, received his professor title from Adolf Hitler personally. The corresponding document bore the Fuehrer’s signature – write unanimously American historians in their books.

No less than 1600 Nazi scientists had been transferred right after World War II to the U.S. by early 1946 as part of operation “Overcast”, later renamed “Paperclip.” Many had skeletons in the closet, some had even participated in experiments on humans in concentration camps, like Hubertus Strughold, who is considered the “Father of America’s Space Medicine.” The more than dubious background of the Germans didn’t bother the Americans much, because expedience superseded principle. The German scientists had been classified as “indispensable.”

Most of the staunch Nazis had been recruited by the U.S. Army. There was (and, frankly: is) hardly a more suitable institution than the U.S. Military for falsifying documents, in this case the biographies of former hardcore Nazis, with which they could effortlessly qualify for American citizenship from 1950 on.


NASA briefing room, 11 September 1962: Former SS-Officer Kurt Debus sitting conveniently between US-President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (second from left). Photo by NASA/photographer unknown.

Another German expert was Kurt Debus*, an ardent SS-Officer who wore his uniform to work at the rocket center in Peenemuende and denigrated others that did not return his Hitler salute. There is a documented case in which a Peenemuende employee was arrested by the Gestapo and interned for two years at the instigation of Debus’.

The very same Kurt Debus in 1962 became the first director of NASA’s launch operations center at Cape Canaveral, later renamed to John F. Kennedy Space Center.

To this day, the Debus Award is still in use – created by the National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFL) to recognize significant achievements and contributions made in Florida to American aerospace efforts.

Another one, Arthur Rudolph, served in the Third Reich as operations director at the V2-facility Dora-Mittelbau in Nordhausen in Thuringia, responsible for the replenishment of slave labor from concentration camps. Thousands of them died cruelly in the underground tunnels during the assembly of the V2 rockets. Horrifying photographic documents exist, taken by American soldiers immediately after the liberation of the survivors. – Rudolph would later become known as the “Father of the American Saturn V Rocket” – the very same rocket that carried the first men to the moon as part of the Apollo-program.

My dear Americans, history is interesting – isn’t it?

Notes:

*Kurt Debus (1908-1983) joined the SA (the Nazi Party’s paramilitary wing) in 1933, the SS in 1940. Adolf Hitler appointed him as the V-Weapons Flight Test Director. In 1958, Debus was in charge of the launch of the first US-Satellite, Explorer 1, in response to the Soviet Union’s Sputnik in 1957. He died in Rockledge, Florida.

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