Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Biological Weapons: Required Background History

npr |  In the fall of 1944, the United States and its allies launched a secret mission code-named Operation Paperclip. The aim was to find and preserve German weapons, including biological and chemical agents, but American scientific intelligence officers quickly realized the weapons themselves were not enough.

They decided the United States needed to bring the Nazi scientists themselves to the U.S. Thus began a mission to recruit top Nazi doctors, physicists and chemists — including Wernher von Braun, who went on to design the rockets that took man to the moon.

The U.S. government went to great lengths to hide the pasts of scientists they brought to America. Based on newly discovered documents, writer Annie Jacobsen tells the story of the mission and the scientists in her book, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists To America.

On the origins of Operation Paperclip
It's just a few months after the landings at Normandy and you have Allied forces making their way across the continent, headed toward Berlin and Munich, and with them, sort of scattered among the soldiers, are these small teams of scientific intelligence officers. And they are searching for the Reich's weapons. And they don't know what they might find.

One example was they had no idea that Hitler had created this whole arsenal of nerve agents. They had no idea that Hitler was working on a bubonic plague weapon. That is really where Paperclip began, which was suddenly the Pentagon realizing, "Wait a minute, we need these weapons for ourselves." Full Text