Operation Paperclip

German scientists

German scientists

The operation Overcast (English overcast = cloudy, overcast) was a military secret project of the United States from 1945 to recruit German scientists and technicians and their military-technical skills and knowledge for their own purposes after the defeat of Germany in World War II. Code-named Operation Paper Clip (clip) found shortly after the shipment of the first group, the beginning of the implementation of the operation Overcast instead. From 1946, the term Project Paperclip was used for the naturalization of the scientists and the continuation of the operation Overcast. Today the terms are often (wrongly) used interchangeably.

Foundation and history

Basis of the operation was a secret document of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dated 6 In July 1945, shortly after the end of the war in Europe, and before the defeat of Japan. However, the basic ideas started already years ago and are explained by the fact that in the U.S. the comprehensive demobilization and interruption was retrospectively assessed the military research after the end of World War I by many politicians and the military as a mistake. The growing opposition to immediately before or allied USSR under Stalin, many were aware of the General Staff, were possibly fueled there. The operation Overcast can be seen especially from the point of shortening by the incorporation of German military technology’s development and to position themselves for a future arms race. At the same time, these scientists and engineers should be beyond the reach of the USSR and its defense industry. The German military technology was the Allied n years ahead in many areas, especially in jet engine s n and their use in aircraft and missile s (V1, V2, Heinkel He 178, Messerschmitt Me 262)

Selection criteria:

The number of scientists was limited to 350, which should first be brought for six months without relatives in the United States in order to distribute to the different branches of service (Army, Air Force, Navy). The quota is not convicted war criminals are. Anyone who would be recognized as such, should be sent back to Germany. In 1946, it was clear that the researchers would remain in the U.S. longer to settle partially here and wives would follow suit, followed by extremely loose rules, for example, the NSDAP – to justify and SS membership Wernher von Braun’s. In fact played Nazi loads in choosing not matter has been carefully screened and given the limited quota regard to the vocational qualification. This is the more remarkable, because at the same time, for example, the responsible Minister of Armaments Albert Speer was sentenced to 20 years in prison as part of the Nuremberg trials, not least because of mass used in the production of armaments forced laborers. The V2 production at the manufacturing facility Dora-Mittelbau was under inhumane conditions and forced labor. Responsible for the scientists and engineers that remained without consequences as well as the civilian victims of the V1 and V2 attacks on London, for example. Obviously prevailed here, the military-technical self-interest of the United States. Within the American public was this procedure, the immigration of Nazi’s, first by no means uncontroversial. So Joesten J. wrote in the weekly newspaper The Nation:… If you love the collective murder, but your skin is dear to you, as scientists would, my son! This is currently the only way to kill with impunity. Are you a politician warmongers, then you have no safe game more recently. If you lose, they depend on you. If you are defeated and General will, they shoot you. An industrialist you go to jail. Do you call yourself but researchers, and you will, showered with honors victor or vanquished.

The “Paperclip Boys”

Under the code name Operation Paperclip was still brought the first group of scientists in the United States in the summer of 1945. The name Paperclip (German:, paperclip ‘) was derived from the inserted in the appropriate records paperclips, which marked the pages with relevant scientists who were to transfer to the USA. The scientists were also called Paperclip Boys. Originally, enter 100, this quota was actually 127 people. Core group of scientists was standing under the direction of Wernher von Braun Peenemunde r group of missile experts, which was housed during the winter of 1945/46 in Bad Kissingen in the hotel “Wittelsbach court” and was placed at the beginning of 1946 in the United States.

No later than 1946, it was clear that it would not stick to the originally planned duration of 6 months, with the initial maximum number of 350 persons was considered insufficient. A joint committee from the Army, Navy and State Department developed draft Principles, along with Britain as an expansion and continuation of the program should be regulated. Thus, the number of victims of the reunification of families up to the subsequent naturalization was increased to a total of 1000, and regulated. These principles were fixed in a secret document entitled use of the Austrian and German scientists under the Paperclip project. In addition to the term Operation Paperclip here is also the name of Project Paperclip for this “sub-project” was introduced and used widely for the operation Overcast, which are not so clearly separated. On 13 September 1946 U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the document. The “Declaration of Principles” appeared on 24 October in force. Only now is the presence of the German Nazi scientists to the American public, it was announced by the mass media, which mainly responded with incomprehension and rejection.

With the technicians and the entire post-war leftover equipment was shipped, if it fell into the hands of it recognized American units. These were essentially not yet launched V2 rocket and partially finished rocket motor s from Peenemünde from the concentration camp Dora-Mittelbau manufacturing plant that would otherwise fallen to the USSR.

At Fort Bliss, White Sands, New Mexico, they should conduct research on the development of American rocketry. Between April 1946 and October 1951 66 V2 rockets were launched at White Sands testing purposes. Some were with plants, some even equipped with experimental animal s, all of which were killed in the country spreads. From the end of 1951, the start was moved to Cape Canaveral, Florida. These were used long after the manned space program, which led to the moon landing.

Recruited scientists and engineers

As part of Operation Paperclip

•Wilhelm Angele

•Rudi Beichel

•Kurt Blome

•Wernher von Braun

•Werner Dahm

•Konrad Dannenberg

•Kurt Debus

•Friedrich Duerr

•Ernst Eckert

•Krafft Arnold Ehricke

•Ernst Geissler

•Sidney Gottlieb

•Dieter Grau

•Fritz Haber

•Heinz Haber

•Karl Heimburg

•Otto Hirschler

•Helmut Hoelzer

•Hans Guardian

•William Jungert

•Heinz-Hermann Koelle

•Hermann H. Short Path

•Alexander Lippisch

•Hans mouse

•Heinz Millinger

•Fritz Müller

•Willy Mrazek

•Erich W. Neubert

•Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain

•Theodor A. Poppel

•Eberhard Rees

•Gerhard Reisig

•George Rickhey

•Werner Rosinski

•Arthur Rudolph

•Harry Ruppe

•Charles Edward Schuessler

•August Schultze

•Walter Schwidetzky

•Ernst Stuhlinger

•Bernhard Tessman

•George of Tiesenhausens

•Adolf Thiel

•Woldemar Voigt

•Hans Ziegler

A copy of the U.S. National Archives, published as Harry Brunser report containing a total of approximately 500 names.

After Operation Paperclip

•Walter Dornberger

•Anselm Franz

•Walter Häussermann

•Hermann Oberth

•Hubertus Strughold

•Guenter Wendt

Other States

With their program of harnessing “brains” were by no means the United States alone. All four allies similar programs with different focuses. Thus, Britain sought to German naval expert, but had, as well as other victorious powers, so that any problems, since a large part of the population was against the immigration of German scientists due to the poor economic situation in the UK. After an admiral had smuggled a German U-boat team to the West Coast (German scientists were not allowed), the media discussion of the two interest groups reached its peak. The result was that the Germans were taxed twice (in the UK and Germany).

The chief designer of the Soviet missile program Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was summoned to Berlin in 1945. He was commissioned to make employee Wernher von Braun locate that had not been deposited in the United States. With about 150 Germans (scientists and their families), he returned to the Soviet Union back in 1946. In addition to other work in this time the assistant of Wernher von Braun, Helmut Gröttrup, and the aerodynamics Werner Albring under the direction of Korolev on the island Gorodomlia Seliger, Tver region, in the northwestern part of Central Russia. Between June 1951 (in the former East Germany) and 28 June 1953 (in the Federal Republic of Germany) they were free to return to Germany. A small group of electronics experts signed five-year contracts in Moscow and saw the launch of the Russian space program, with the first flight of Sputnik.

At the end of the war in Junkers Ju 287 V1 fell in Dessau into Russian hands. Under Soviet supervision, V2 and V3 were completed in September and moved personnel and aircraft to Podberesje in Moscow. The development of the model was continued under the direction of Baade Brunolf. Baade also under the twin-engine bomber model 150 was developed in the USSR.

The great influence of German scientists, engineers and technicians to the e military technology of the two superpowers documented mainly in the aircraft and missile production in the first decade after the war. So for example, were located in the Korean War from 1950 to the American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet MiG-15 over two machines that used the wing profile of the Me 262.


•Volker Neipp: With screws and bolts on the Moon – The incredible life’s work of Dr. Eberhard FM Rees. With a previously unpublished documents, including the private letters of an unknown Paper Clippers from the United States to the family in Germany and over 200 photographs, etc. – From Peenemunde to the last moon mission. Springer Verlag, Trossingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-9802675-7-1

•Tom Bower: Paperclip Conspiracy.Nazi scientists in the service of the victorious powers, Munich, List, 1988 ISBN 3-471-77164-6

•Uwe Obier: Operation Paperclip.The catalog for the exhibition “Operation Paperclip” in the city’s museums Lüdenscheid of 6 January – 22 January 1995 Lüdenscheid, 1994, ISBN 3929614154

•World premiere of the musical “mission Apollo-a dream a reality” 26 June 2009 Trossingen, based on the biography by Eberhard Rees

•Franz Kurowski: Allied hunt for German scientist – The Company Paperclip, publishing crystal at Langen – Mueller, Munich, 1982, ISBN 3-607-00049-2

Cold War

Intelligence Services operation

Rocket Science

History of space travel

German in the United States

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