- Hardcover: 340 pages
- Publisher: St Martin's Press - Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (April 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312055102
- ISBN-13: 978-0312055103
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990 Hardcover – April, 1991
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From Kirkus Reviews
Here, Hunt, a former CNN investigative reporter, tells a shocking tale: how a branch of the US government deliberately thwarted attempts to bring to justice Nazi scientists who were guilty of war crimes, and who, in at least one case, actually participated in fresh atrocities in the US. While it is common knowledge that the US used Nazi scientists during the cold war, Hunt reveals for the first time that the project to recruit and utilize Nazi scientific talent- -code-named ``Paperclip''--continued until 1973. In addition, while former Nazi scientists (like Werner von Braun) contributed greatly to the development of rockets, jet planes, and other prodigies of technology, Hunt convincingly demonstrates that several such scientists also participated in ``Dachau-like experiments on over seven thousand U.S. soldiers'' on the effects of LSD and other chemicals at Edgewood, Maryland, between 1947 and 1966. Moreover, Hunt explains that the US avidly recruited many Nazi scientists, despite their war crimes--including utilization of slave labor and execution of prisoners--and despite the continuing devotion of many to Nazi ideology. Hunt also relates the sordid details of the intelligence community's attempts to prevent bringing these scientists to justice. And, in at least one case, she shows that the program was inimical to US interests--the man who conceived and ran Paperclip was ultimately convicted of selling American defense secrets to the Soviet Union. An engrossing examination of how a small clique of defense and intelligence officials deliberately subverted stated US policy. (Eight pages of b&w photographs.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Therefore, I was stunned, actually, by the amount of negative information she uncovered about German (and non-German) citizens who were brought into the U.S. for purposes of "national security" following and preceding May 9, 1945, VE Day. In fact, just that amount of negative information that should have resulted in Wernher von Braun's return to Germany to undergo a Denazification Trial is substantial, and yet, he became director of the the NASA facility at Huntsville, Alabama. The Saturn V rocket, upon which all moon launches were based, came from the minds of the German scientists who were brought to the U.S. under "Operation Paperclip." I was surprised to find a bronze plaque of W. von Braun in a corridor at Tegel Airport in Berlin in 2003--certainly "rehabilitated" as a national figure in reunited Germany.
However, the extent to which the State and Justice Departments were subverted in their examination of the background of former Nazis who were already working for the U.S. Government in various capacities (intelligence and scientific) is truly astonishing. I've not seen it documented elsewhere to such a great and detailed extent.
SHOULD the hundreds or thousands of former German and non-German intelligence officers, scientists, engineers, and bureaucrats who were brought to the U.S. (usually with families and in one case--a mistress) have been brought here? I think there is no question that this put us back ahead of where Germany was technologically at the end of the war. And, despite Sputnik, we ended up a decade or two ahead of the Soviets, who had pickings of the remaining personnel after the U.S. snatched up so many, so quickly. I can't comment on the morality of what was done, although surely former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman would comment quite negatively. She authored the 1978 immigration act that banned Nazis from the shores of the U.S. (and, presumably, Hawaii and Alaska and our Territories.
In one of Levenda's books, he relies on Hunt's FRENCH version of "Secret Agenda" but I was able to obtain a copy in English, with not much difficulty. If you have any true interest and dedication to understanding how the U.S. handled the "war crimes" of the Third Reich, this book is essential reading, and would be an obvious gap in your research. To the extent you can find the original RGs (Record Groups) and documents, you'll want to. However, the Interagency Work Group (IWG) under the Clinton Administration attempted to combine frequently-requested documents, such as those concerning SS-General and Gestapo Head Heinrich Müller, putting together a group of documents that has been often pilfered (that's my personal observation) in the late 1990s, Thus, many of the documents she refers to have probably been dispersed, refiled, or moved. We may never have such an expose as Linda Hunt's again--on any subject. I highly recommend it for that reason alone.
Putting the author's own bias aside, the book chronicles a project led by men in the US Intelligence and aviation communities with purely practical goals in mind. The fact that it continued after its official closure shows how critical these former Nazis were to the United States. As a side note, I should mention that the Russians got their share of rocket scientists as well. Many people are unaware of how many worked in Peenemunde during the war.
In 1950, a two volume set of books was published titled German Aviation Medicine under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force. It should be pointed out that a title like, Aviation Medicine would have been descriptive enough. Its authors were some of the same Germans that worked for NASA.
The author also covers the effect of former Nazi technicians arriving in Argentina and other South American countries to continue their work there. The following chapter paints a disturbing picture of Paperclip scientists being involved in experiments in the United States with dangerous and mind altering substances. She also reveals that Austrian scientists were being recruited.
The book closes with chapters devoted to ferreting out information about any criminal wrongdoing by members of the rocket team during the war and the implication that America was too influenced by Nazi ideas and thinking. This is a very dubious claim. The British stated at the end of the war that the V-1 and V-2 were necessary for their very survival. Indeed, this technology was not just about getting to the moon but was the genesis of ICBMs and current cruise missiles. There was no time wasted between the Americans and Russians; everyone grabbed whatever they could, nailed down or not. And everyone raced to arm for the next possible conflict.
Though the author condemns those in charge of bringing Nazis to the United States in violation of the law and moral norms, the fact of the matter was that the Russians still had their armies in Eastern Europe and fears of an early conflict were quite real. The Russians had added captured German jet fighters and bombers to their inventory. They also had captured V-1s and V-2s. Estimates regarding the development of the first Russian atomic bomb were being drawn up.