2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 22 (82% non-fiction)

I don’t know why I am still surprised at things that smack of man’s nature, but somehow I am. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen had one or two of those moments, but as a lot of more horrific aspects of the war is information I already, it wasn’t the stuff you would expect.

operation-paper-clipThe big surprise to me was just how much of our technology was created by the Nazi scientists.  Our entire space program and information we developed on rocketry came from these scientists.  In addition, aviation science, biological warfare, chemical warfare and even a lot of just plain old medical information came as a result of their work.

More than just a stack of papers borrowed from a bombed out SS building, we actually took scientists.  Over 1000 Nazi scientists were moved to America, given VISA, given jobs and sometimes even awarded for their work.  These are the same scientists that experimented on the prisoners in concentration camps and systematically managed the slaughter of millions.

What could justify us giving these people a pass?  What would justify the American Government creating a secret (and illegal) program? National security.  The US was in an all-out race with the Soviets and as we nabbed scientists to further our defensive and offensive capabilities, they were doing the same.  The division of German knowledge was at the root of the coming Cold War.

This was a fascinating book that I will probably reread just to grasp it all.