Operation Paperclip - Converting German Scientists?

August 22, 2019


On June 20th, in the year of 1945 the United States government set into motion a program called Operation Overcast. This program was later renamed “Operation Paperclip.” It was a top-secret initiative with a goal of capturing as many Nazi scientist as possible in order to develop new rocket technology. According to Annie Jacobsen, Paperclip was meant to bring “scientists who helped the Third Reich wage war” to the US in order for them to work for the US government in developing weapons against the Soviets.[1]They’d eventually help the United States triumph in the space race. One of these “Prisoners Of Peace,” as the captives deemed themselves, was named Werner Von Braun.


Werner, one of the developers of the Nazi V-2 missile, and many other rocket scientists were brought to either Fort Bliss, Texas or White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico.[2] They were brought there to create new rockets for the United States. During his time in captivity, Von Braun became one of the chief architects of the Saturn V moon rocket.[3]                


On June 1st 2017 the LEGO company released a Saturn V rocket building set with a brick count of 1,969. 1969 was the year we first landed on the moon. The scientists captured during Operation Paperclip were dedicated Nazis. It was because of this that the people who ran operation paperclip tried to whitewash the pasts of their captives. they did this so that they could utilize their knowledge and abilities rather than sending them off to jail. These Nazi engineers greatly impacted America’s technology. They changed the U.S. and helped us to win the Space Race by creating the rocket that sent commander Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. 






[1] Jacobsen, Annie. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that brought Nazi Scientists to America. (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2014), 1.


[2] “Why the US Government Brought Nazi Scientists to America after World War II.” Smithsonian.com (Accessed August 11, 2019) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-us-government-brought-nazi-scientists-america-after-world-war-ii-180961110/.


[3] “Dr. Wernher von Braun, First Center Director: July 1, 1960 – Jan. 27, 1970.” MSFC History Office. (Accessed August 11, 2019) https://history.msfc.nasa.gov/vonbraun/bio.html.

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