OPERATION PAPERCLIP

According to the CIA report, there was a secret project code-named Operation Paperclip that was meant to bring the Nazi scientist to the US after World War II.[1] It was during the same period that the Russians were also trying to recruit these specialist. The end of the war saw different allied parties coming together and forming two blocks. The U.K., France, and the United States controlled West Germany while the Soviets controlled East Germany. Apart from dividing the country, the Soviets and the US were in a mad rush to recruit as many former Nazi scientists as possible[2]. The CIA wanted to use the scientists to advance their Agenda of National security as well as keeping the scientist away from the Soviets. A plan was formulated to smuggle the German scientist in the US to work for various government agencies. When the US occupied Germany, they vowed to stop all the military experiments. However, the operation went on secretly under the US watch[3]. The military and the CIA gained a lot of achievements under the supervision of the German scientist. It was Germans who proposed and developed the intercontinental ballistic missile. The projects were extensive, and many types of chemicals and weaponry were developed. The project was named Paperclip, and it had been classified for a long time.

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The collapse of the Nazi regime made it easy for the CIA to recruit the scientists. Hitler had assembled his team of scientists who worked on various projects that would help in the war. The names of the scientist who were loyal to Hitler were written in what is famously known as the Osenberg list. An American soldier found the list which was critical in helping the CIA to recruit German great minds. When the scientists were approached, they had two options either work with the US or face imprisonment or even death. An organization known as the Gehlen foundation was started to help the CIA with recruiting German spies[4]. The oorganization was headed by Reinhard Gehlen a former NAZI general. After his surrender to the intelligence officers, Reinhard Gehlen was sent to Virginia, where a plan was orchestrated to bring him back to Germany and reestablish his intelligence contacts. He was tasked with operating more than 600 former Nazi agents in areas that were considered Russian zone. However, in 1948 he was replaced by Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the CIA director. The organization was instrumental to the CIA because they were their ears and eyes on the ground. It was used by the CIA to recruit hundreds of men to act as spies and scientist for the US government.

The decision to recruit more than 1600 of Nazi scientists for the US security forces was driven by fear of the Russians. Some of the fears were true while others were just war fiction. The US government believed that Russia had advanced military capabilities and they wanted to advance their military as well. The president agreed to have the scientist brought to US because as he believed the scientist could help the military as well as the American researchers in scientific endeavours[5]. Most of the scientists were war criminals but they were pardoned by the USA and given the second chance. However, apart from the Germans being accused of war crimes alone, the Americanswere also have their skeleton in the closet. Two atomic bombs were dropped by the US on two Japanese cities killed and injured over 1 civilians. The US employment of Nazi war criminals was a betrayal to its Allies and the American troops. The US Army and the Allies fought hard and died on the battlefield to get rid of Hitler and Nazi remnants just for them to get a safe place in the US.

The most prominent people that benefited from the Paperclip project included a scientist by the name of Otto Ambros[6]. Before coming to America; he was the manager at a rubber company in Auschwitz. He was responsible for the invention of Sarin gas which was used in killing the inferior race in the infamous gas chambers. During his trial, he was charged with slavery and mass murders. However, in 1951, Ambros was given clemency by the US and later offered a contract at the US Department of Defense.

Dr. Frank Olson worked closely with former Germany soldiers and scientists in developing interrogation techniques that could control the mind. The intelligence community believed that the Soviet had such kind of capabilities and they wanted to be ahead of them. The program run by Dr. Frank was meant to see how the American spies would react if captured and interrogated using the Soviet interrogation techniques. He died on the spot after jumping from a building[7].

Emil Augsburg was an SS officer in the German military and was a key player in Hitlers government. During the World War II, Emil was tasked with killing the enemies of Germany as well as the Jews. After the war, the Polish government sentenced him in absentia but he escaped and was employed by the US intelligence services. His work was to advise the government on Russian affairs since he was considered an expert in matters related to the e Soviets.

Walter Robert Dornberger was another scientist that benefited from the Paper Clip project. He was a close friend of Hitler and the General in the Third Reich. He was a skilled engineer and was among the first people to work on rockets for the Nazi regime. In the US  he was working on missiles for the US military. He was successful in building the first air-to-surface missile.

There was a high need to visit the space, and it was the Nazi scientists who were tasked with that duty[8]. Wernher Von Braun was instrumental in the growth of the projects carried out in NASA. He had developed the V-2 rocket for the Germany military before coming to the US. Wernher was an important figure in the Nazi aerospace projects. He was a faithful Nazi party member as well as an SS officer. After the end of the war, the CIA recruited him, and he was the brain behind the design of the V-2 rocket. While at the Army Ballistic Missile School, he developed a missile known as the Jupiter-C-rocket. The rocket was used to launch the first American satellite to space. Wernher was also a key player in the moon mission projects.

Unlike other scientists who willingly joined the Nazi party, Werner Dahm was reluctant to join the party. He joined it after he was forced to and given no option. He was an expert in aerodynamics, and helped in developing Germans supersonic wind tunnel and rockets. Werner was among a team of experts who built the V-2 rocket, a radar-guided missile rocket and propellant tanks[9]. Werner was an exceptional engineer, and he is credited with the design of the ballistic missile warhead by using a theoretical approach. Once recruited by the US, he got a job at NASA. His research evolved around aerodynamics, making hydrogen propellant engines as well as Saturday V rockets. Due to his research, Dahm was promoted to the position of a chief of aerodynamics.

Hermann H Kurzweg was a chief designer of the V-2 rocket program before he was brought to the US.[10] He was also among a team of researchers who worked on supersonic wind tunnel projects as well as designing anti-aircraft rockets. The Paperclip initiative allowed him to come to the US and join NASA as a director at the Naval Ordinance Division. He continued his research that he had been carrying out in German in the US Naval Laboratory. He was later promoted to the chief researcher position in the Department of Aerodynamics.

Konrad Dannenberg was a colleague of Von Braun and was in the team that developed the V-2 rocket. They were also the people who launched the first item in space. His main area of research was the manufacture of rocket engines. After Paperclip initiative, he joined his former colleague in helping the US make missiles and rocket engines[11]. The scientist was also responsible for creating engines used by satellites and shuttles. He was awarded an exceptional medal by NASA for starting the development of the biggest rocket ever. Kurt Heinrich Debus was active in organizing moon missions and launching of satellites. Before coming to the US, he worked with Von Braun in developing the V-2 rocket. He was also a NAZI party member and SS member. Walter Roberts was a close ally of Hitler, and his skills were in development of missiles. His achievement in the US included building air to the surface missile as well as developing guided missile.

Hubertus Strughold was another German scientist who was a pioneer in the space medicine program. Before coming to America, Hubertus was involved in experimentation on people. The experiments were carried out on inmates without their consent. Some of the experiment often resulted in death, trauma or permanent disability. The experiments included performing of surgery without anesthetic, putting people in vacuums and depriving them of oxygen as well as exposing people to conditions that caused hypothermia[12]. The experiments were meant to see how people react to different situations. The aim of the experiment was supposed to help German soldiers tackle different situations and assist in advancing the racial indoctrination.

During his stay in the US, Hubertus oversaw the research that studied the effect of vacuum and weightlessness on people. The experiments were vital in building the space shuttle. The engineer was a key member in the building of simulators used by astronauts in flight practices. The pressure suits worn by astronauts were also part of Stronghold research. Other achievements that he was involved in included designing support system that was used in shuttles.

There was an experiment done using plague vaccines by Kurt Blome on people in the concentration camps. After the war, he was charged with the extermination of sick people but he was later acquitted. He was also involved in research and manufacture of biological weapons. Kurt was brought to the US and was employed by the US military to work on biological warfare research. Hemann Becker was a Nazi official that conducted experiments on inmates. He used to starve them and then force them to drink sea water and watch their reactions. He was also accused of killing 80 prisoners by putting them under low pressure. The US Air Force recruited him and asked him to write about the gruesome tortures. Reinhard Gehlen was a general in the military of Hitler. His squadron was involved in killing Jews and other minorities. With the help of the CIA, Reinhard escaped from German. The US government used the experience that Reinhard had conducted to set up death squads in Argentina, Chile and other places.

The scientist brought from Germany had a significant impact on medical field. Dr. Hubertus Strughold was instrumental in developing a supporting system that was used on the space shuttle. He also worked together with space engineers to develop a suite that could keep astronauts safe.[13]. The research and work done by Dr. Hubertus were very critical in today's;astronauts;safety. Although the scientists had a dark past, their contribution could not be ignored[14].

The politics of the country was affected by the Paperclip operation where the politicians ignored ethics for the sake of national security. The US was supposed to ensure there was justice carried out in Germany. However, their personal interest was too high and they chose to protect the war criminals. Because of the Cold War, America was willing to overlook all the horrific things done by the scientists. The ethical issues could not pass the public eye, and the scientists had to be brought to the US in secret[15]. The US government has always acted like the Big Brother and looking at other nations that violate various international agreements. However, in this case, the US had lost all the moral authority to tell other countries what they should or should not do.

The countries that were fighting Hitler lost their soldiers and used a lot of their resources. The US action of turning around and supporting the same people who its allies had been fighting was not welcomed by other nations. It was a political and moral betrayal by the country of the brave and free. The political system, however, justified their actions by citing national interest and the threat of the Soviets.

The US recognized the danger that they faced from the Soviets. The Cold War era was characterized by;arms;race between the US and the Soviets. After Hitler had been defeated, the people who had committed war crimes were supposed to be sentenced to pay for their crimes. Some of the people were sentenced, but some people were able to escape thanks to the CIA and the US government that facilitated their escape.

The CIA wanted to get information about the Soviets. The CIA, therefore, decide to recruit former generals who have connections in the country. By having eyes and ears in the field, the intelligence system was able to react accordingly to the threats faced from the Soviet Union. Other parties such as the Airforce wanted to get the scientists to advance their air force. The scientists that were brought to the country were brilliant specialists in different fields. The other sectors such as NASA wanted to have fresh blood and new ideas for their space exploration. The scientist who came to the country brought with them new ideas that saw NASA expand and advance rapidly to become a top research agency. Some of the work done by the German scientist involves the design of the outer body of a shuttle that protects it from burning due to high friction. The suits that are worn by the astronauts are a result of the work done by the scientist brought from Germany[16]. Other contributions included the designing of the space shuttle simulator and the design of life support system in the shuttle.

The Americans were faced with a hard question, to let the Soviet expand and risk national security or to work with the Germans. The CIA and the US government knew what these people had done, but they still worked with them. The government was looking at the bigger picture and its national security[17]. The CIA knew that the people who had committed these atrocities had a lot of potentials to offer. They also knew that they were dedicated individuals who loved their country. Moreover, not all the scientists agreed with;Hitlers;policy. Some of them were a force to work at the given projects. War is a dirty game. The scientists who were working on various projects were just pawns in a political game.

When we look back, some people can justify the actions of the US while others believe citizenship cannot be bought. People would like to see the scientists pay for the suffering they made them go through. Some of the things done to the people were inhuman and against the laws that govern the wars. However, the US administration may not look at the system in this way. History will, however, be left to judge as to whether the US did the right thing or the wrong one. The future generations will be left to speculate on the morality of the decision since this will go on for a long time.

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