Wernher von Braun: German/American?

How a Nazi from the Third Reich helped America win the space race…

Wernher Von Braun was born March 23, 1912 in Germany. In 1932 he graduated from the Technical University of Berlin with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Shortly after he enrolled at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University of Berlin, where he received his doctorate in Physics in 1934.

On November 12, 1937 he applied for membership to the Nazi party, and in 1940 he joined the SS (Hitlers paramilitary force) where he served as a lieutenant or “Untersturmfuehrer”

The only picture in existence of Von Braun wearing his SS uniform.

You’re probably wondering how in the world did this guy help the United States beat Russia to the moon in 1969? Well, he didn’t just help the United States beat Russia to the moon. He was the reason we won the Space Race.

Bear with me…

  • 1934–1937 Von Braun developed the A-2 & A-3 German rockets which had inertial guidance system. The first of their kind.
  • 1942 Von Braun develops the A-4 rocket which is much larger and therefore carried a much larger warhead.
  • December 22, 1942 Adolf Hitler signs an order approving the production of von Braun’s A-4 rocket as a “vengeance weapon” and wanted it to target London.
  • In 1944 Von Braun developed the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile, The V-2 rocket.
  • Beginning in September of 1944, over 3,000 V-2 rockets were launched by the Germans against Allied targets, killing thousands.

The V-2 German rocket that Von Braun developed killed tens of thousands of people. And to save money they were built using Jewish concentration camp prisoners as slave laborers. Where over 20,000 Jewish prisoners died during the development of the V-2 rockets.

  • April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler commits suicide in Berlin and the German army and Nazi regime were in full retreat

After hearing the news of Hitlers death, Von Braun, his brother and members of his engineering team fled to Austria.

  • May 2, 1945 Von Braun and his brother Magnus surrendered to an American soldier. Reports say Von Brauns brother was seen calling out in broken English: “My name is Magnus von Braun. My brother invented the V-2. We want to surrender”

Almost all of the 500 German scientists had surrendered to either Russia or the United States. When asked why Von Braun chose to surrender to the Americans he said:

“We knew that we had created a new means of warfare, and the question as to what nation, to what victorious nation we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision more than anything else. We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.”
  • June 20, 1945, the U.S. Secretary of State approved the transfer of von Braun and his specialists to America

Shortly after coming to America Von Braun was in a group of scientists that the U.S. Intelligence Agency created false employment histories for. They also expunged any Nazi affiliations from their public record. Military intelligence pretty much rewrote history and erased all evidence of their ties to Nazi Germany. It was called Operation Paperclip:

The U.S. Government then granted Von Braun secret security clearance to work for them.

  • September 1945 Von Braun was transferred to Fort Bliss, Texas. Where he spent the next 5 years developing rockets for the American military.
  • Summer of 1950 Von Braun and his team were moved to Huntsville, Alabama where he lived for 20 years and led the US Army rocket development team at Redstone Arsenal.

While in Huntsville he developed the Redstone Rocket which led to the first nuclear ballistic missile test conducted by the United States.

  • February 1, 1956 Von Braun became the director of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency.
  • 1957 Von Braun developed the Saturn 1 Rocket for the U.S. Army While at the (ABMA)
  • October 4, 1957 the Soviets launched Sputnik 1 and were ahead of the Americans in the space race.
  • July 29, 1958 NASA was established

Shortly after NASA was established von Braun and his team were transferred to Washington DC Where Von Braun had face-to-face meetings with many of Washington’s elite at the Pentagon, afterwards he made it clear to NASA he would only join if development of the Saturn rocket was allowed to continue.

NASA agreed and appointed Von Braun as director at NASA’s Marshall space flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Where he worked on and developed the Saturn 1 and 1B Rockets.

  • February 1959 Von Braun developed the Saturn 1B rocket. Which was the first real space vehicle.
  • 1961 NASA developed the Apollo Program to land humans on the moon.
  • January 10,1962 Von Braun developed the Saturn V Rocket.

From 1962 to May of 1969 NASA launched 10 Apollo missions. All using von Brauns Saturn Rockets.

  • July 16, 1969 NASA launched Apollo 11 the crew was Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
  • July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Neil Armstrong was the first human to ever set foot on the moon.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

To this day it is one of America’s greatest accomplishments. The Apollo 11 crew were sent into space on a Rocket designed by Wernher Von Braun. A Nazi and lieutenant in Hitlers SS. A man that used to wear a swastika on his uniform. A man that was responsible for killing tens of thousands of people with his V-2 German rocket in WWII.

Wernher Von Braun died on June 16, 1977 at the age of 65. And to this day it’s a mystery to many as to what his real beliefs were. He served one of the evilest men to ever walk the planet. He was responsible for thousands of deaths, and he approved slave labor camps to build his German rockets during the Holocaust.

The reason I told this story is this:

In 1946 in a small church outside El Paso, Texas Von Braun gave his life to Christ. He was forgiven of his sins. And he led a new life in America that guided him to be at the forefront of mankinds greatest achievement.

At the end of his life he wrote:

“One day in Fort Bliss, a neighbor called and asked if I would like to go to church with him. I accepted, because I wanted to see if the American church was just a country club as I’d been led to expect. Instead, I found a small, white frame building… in the hot Texas sun on a browned-grass lot… Together, these people make a live, vibrant community. This was the first time I really understood that religion was not a cathedral inherited from the past, or a quick prayer at the last minute. To be effective, a religion has to be backed up by discipline and effort.”
-Wernher Von Braun