After WWII ended in 1945, victorious Russian and American intelligence teams began a treasure hunt throughout occupied Germany for military and
scientific booty. They were looking for things like new rocket and aircraft designs, medicines, and electronics. But they were also hunting down the
most precious "spoils" of all: the scientists whose work had nearly won the war for Germany. The engineers and intelligence officers of the Nazi War
The U.S. Military rounded up Nazi scientists and brought them to America. It had originally intended merely to debrief them and send them back to
Germany. But when it realized the extent of the scientists knowledge and expertise, the War Department decided it would be a waste to send the
scientists home. Following the discovery of flying discs Foo fighters
, particle/laser beam
weaponry in German military bases, the War Department decided that NASA and the CIA must control this technology, and the Nazi engineers that had
worked on this technology.
There was only one problem: it was illegal. U.S. law explicitly prohibited Nazi officials from immigrating to America--and as many as three-quarters
of the scientists in question had been committed Nazis.
Convinced that German scientists could help America's postwar efforts, President Harry Truman agreed in September 1946 to authorize "Project
Paperclip," a program to bring selected German scientists to work on America's behalf during the "Cold War"
However, Truman expressly excluded anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an
active supporter of Naziism or militarism."
The War Department's Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) conducted background investigations of the scientists. In February 1947, JIOA
Director Bosquet Wev submitted the first set of scientists' dossiers to the State and Justice Departments for review.
The Dossiers were damning. Samauel Klaus, the State Departments representative on the JIOA board, claimed that all the scientists in this first batch
were "ardent Nazis." Their visa requests were denied.
Wev was furious. He wrote a memo warning that "the best interests of the United States have been subjugated to the efforts expended in 'beating a
dead Nazi horse.'" He also declared that the return of these scientists to Germany, where they could be exploited by America's enemies, presented a
"far greater security threat to this country than any former Nazi affiliations which they may have had or even any Nazi sympathies that they may
When the JIOA formed to investigate the backgrounds and form dossiers on the Nazis, the Nazi Intelligence leader Reinhard Gehlen met with the CIA
director Allen Dulles. Dulles and Gehlen hit it off immediatly. Gehlen was a master spy for the Nazis and had infiltrated Russia with his vast Nazi
Intelligence network. Dulles promised Gehlen that his Intelligence unit was safe in the CIA.
Apparently, Wev decided to sidestep the problem. Dulles had the scientists dossier's re-written to eliminate incriminating evidence. As promised,
Allen Dulles delivered the Nazi Intelligence unit to the CIA, which later opened many umbrella projects stemming from Nazi mad research.
(MK-ULTRA / ARTICHOKE
Military Intelligence "cleansed" the files of Nazi references. By 1955, more than 760 German scientists had been granted citizenship in the U.S. and
given prominent positions in the American scientific community. Many had been longtime members of the Nazi party and the Gestapo, had conducted
experiments on humans at concentration camps, had used slave labor, and had committed other war crimes.
In a 1985 expose in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Linda Hunt wrote that she had examined more than 130 reports on Project Paperclip
subjects--and every one "had been changed to eliminate the security threat classification."
President Truman, who had explicitly ordered no committed Nazis to be admitted under Project Paperclip, was evidently never aware that his directive
had been violated. State Department archives and the memoirs of officials from that era confirm this. In fact, according to Clare[nce] Lasby's book
[Project] Paperclip, project officials "covered their designs with such secrecy that it bedeviled their own President; at Potsdam he denied their
activities and undoubtedly enhanced Russian suspicion and distrust," quite possibly fueling the Cold War even further.
A good example of how these dossiers were changed is the case of Wernher von Braun. A September 18, 1947, report on the German rocket scientist
stated, "Subject is regarded as a potential security threat by the Military Governor."
The following February, a new security evaluation of Von Braun said, "No derogatory information is available on the subject...It is the opinion of
the Military Governor that he may not constitute a security threat to the United States."
Here are a few of the 700 suspicious characters who were allowed to immigrate through Project Paperclip.
During the war, Rudolph was operations director of the Mittelwerk factory at the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camps, where 20,000 workers died from
beatings, hangings, and starvation. Rudolph had been a member of the Nazi party since 1931; a 1945 military file on him said simply: "100% Nazi,
dangerous type, security threat..!! Suggest internment."
But the JIOA's final dossier on him said there was "nothing in his records indicating that he was a war criminal or and ardent Nazi or otherwise
objectionable." Rudolph became a US citizen and later designed the Saturn 5 rocket used in the Apollo moon landings. In 1984, when his war record was
finally investigated, he fled to West Germany.