Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America

3.9 11
by Annie Jacobsen
     
 

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The author of the acclaimed bestseller Area 51 reveals the explosive dark secrets behind America's post-WWII science programs.

In the chaos following World War II, some of the greatest spoils of Germany's resources were the Third Reich's scientific minds. The U.S. government secretly decided that the value of these former Nazis' knowledge

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Overview

The author of the acclaimed bestseller Area 51 reveals the explosive dark secrets behind America's post-WWII science programs.

In the chaos following World War II, some of the greatest spoils of Germany's resources were the Third Reich's scientific minds. The U.S. government secretly decided that the value of these former Nazis' knowledge outweighed their crimes and began a covert operation code-named Paperclip to allow them to work in the U.S. without the public's full knowledge.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with dozens of Paperclip family members, colleagues, and interrogators, and with access to German archival documents (including papers made newly available by direct descendants of the Third Reich's ranking members), files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and lost dossiers discovered in government archives and at Harvard University, Annie Jacobsen follows more than a dozen German scientists through their postwar lives and into one of the most complex, nefarious, and jealously guarded government secrets of the 20th century.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Wendy Lower
Operation Paperclip is not the first unveiling of the program…But Jacobsen's book is the first on the topic to appear since President Clinton signed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in 1998, which pushed through the declassification of American intelligence records, including the F.B.I., Army intelligence and C.I.A. files of German agents, scientists and war criminals. Jacobsen's access to these documents, along with her research in various special collections and her interviews with former intelligence personnel and relatives of the scientists, make her study the most in-depth account yet of the lives of Paperclip recruits and their American counterparts.
Publishers Weekly
★ 12/09/2013
As comprehensive as it is critical, this latest exposé from Jacobsen (Area 51) is perhaps her most important work to date. Though Americans are quick to remember the United States’ heroic feats in WWII, they tend to be more amnesic (or allergic) toward some of our nation’s shadier activities in the effort—one of which seems to have been forgotten altogether. For just as some Nazis awaited trial at Nuremburg, others—namely prominent, potentially useful scientists—were secretly smuggled into the country by the U.S. government to help prepare for an ostensibly impending “total war” with the Soviets. In fact, even an appearance at Nuremburg didn’t rule out a trip to the States. Needless to say, what to do with potentially useful war criminals posed an unusual predicament. If such a claim sounds dubious, Jacobsen persuasively shows that it in fact happened and aptly frames the dilemma in terms of “Who would be hired, and who would be hanged?” Rife with hypocrisy, lies, and deceit, Jacobsen’s story explores a conveniently overlooked bit of history the significance of which continues to resonate in the national security issues of today. (Feb.)
Library Journal
09/01/2013
Most of us know that German scientists, valued for their knowledge despite associations with war crimes, were spirited into this country post-World War II, but Jacobsen's thoroughly researched account reveals the full extent of Operation Paperclip, as it was called. From the author of the New York Times best seller Area 51; with a 75,000-copy first printing.
From the Publisher
One of The Boston Globe's Best Books of 2014

One of iBooks' Top Ten Nonfiction Books of the Year

"Important, superbly written.... Jacobsen's book allows us to explore these questions with the ultimate tool: hard evidence. She confronts us with the full extent of Paperclip's deal with the devil, and it's difficult to look away."—Matt Damsker, USA Today (4 stars)

"With Annie Jacobsen's OPERATION PAPERCLIP for the first time the enormity of the effort has been laid bare. The result is a book that is at once chilling and riveting, and one that raises substantial and difficult questions about national honor and security...This book is a remarkable achievement of investigative reporting and historical writing."—Boston Globe

"As comprehensive as it is critical, this latest expose from Jacobsen is perhaps her most important work to date.... Jacobsen persuasively shows that it in fact happened and aptly frames the dilemma.... Rife with hypocrisy, lies, and deceit, Jacobsen's story explores a conveniently overlooked bit of history." -- Publishers Weekly (starred)

"The most in depth account yet of the lives of Paperclip recruits and their American counterparts.... Jacobsen deftly untangles the myriad German and American agencies and personnel involved...more gripping and skillfully rendered are the stories of American and British officials who scoured defeated Germany for Nazi scientists and their research."—New York Times Book Review

"Chilling, compelling, and comprehensive accounting.... Jacobsen's impressive book plumbs the dark depths of this postwar recruiting and shows the historical truths behind the space race and postwar US dominance. Highly recommended for readers in World War II history, espionage, government cover-ups, or the Cold War." -- Library Journal (starred)

"Darkly picaresque.... Jacobsen persuasively argues that the mindset of the former Nazi scientists who ended up working for the American government may have exacerbated Cold War paranoia."—New Yorker

"An engrossing and deeply disturbing exposé that poses ultimate questions of means versus ends." -- Booklist (starred)

"Annie Jacobsen's Operation Paperclip is a superb investigation, showing how the U.S. government recruited the Nazis' best scientists to work for Uncle Sam on a stunning scale. Sobering and brilliantly researched." -- Alex Kershaw, author of The Liberator

"Throughout, the author delivers harrowing passages of immorality, duplicity and deception, as well as some decency and lots of high drama. How Dr. Strangelove came to America and thrived, told in graphic detail." -- Kirkus Reviews

"[A] gripping, always disquieting story of a nation forced to trade principle for power.... Jacobsen gives us many vivid moments.... OPERATION PAPERCLIP takes its place in the annals of Cold War literature, one more proof that moral purity and great power can seldom coexist."—Chris Tucker, The Dallas Morning News

"Jacobsen uses newly released documents, court transcripts, and family-held archives to give the fullest accounting yet of this endeavor." -- The New York Post

"Doggedly researched." -- Parade

Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-14
The story of how perpetrators of World War II were treated as spoils of war, brought to light with new information in this diligent report. Generations after Germany was defeated, disturbing revelations about the recruitment of Nazi scientists--Operation Paperclip--still appear. Jacobsen (Area 51: The Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, 2011) expands previous material with the use of documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act, as well as personal interviews, memoirs, trial evidence and obscure dossiers. It's not a pleasant story. Weapons of mass destruction were born at war's end, and in Europe, scientists were victors' prizes, reparations for conquerors who coveted their special talents. They were Luftwaffe doctors, rocket scientists, managers and chemists working on all sorts of bad science for bad ends. Japan was still to be defeated, and national security required their services; it was important for business. However, the primary reason posited as the Cold War developed was: If we don't get those wizard warriors, Russia will. As such, the once–high-ranking Nazis who used slave labor to fabricate V2 rockets, who killed concentration camp prisoners in cruel experiments and who sought to weaponize bubonic plague became the property of the United States. Of the many hundreds of Paperclip scientists, many were convicted war criminals. Former enemies became American citizens; rewarded for their work, they lived the American dream. The operation took paperwork, and Jacobsen, in her research of the documents, found countless instances of mendacity. She provides snapshots of the scores of villains and the few heroes involved in collusion of the Nazis and U.S. military and intelligence agencies. Throughout, the author delivers harrowing passages of immorality, duplicity and deception, as well as some decency and lots of high drama. How Dr. Strangelove came to America and thrived, told in graphic detail.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316221047
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
02/11/2014
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
313,167
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.10(d)

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