Under Operation Paperclip, which began in May 1945, the scientists who had helped the Third Reich wage war continued their weapons engineering work for the US government, developing missiles, chemical and biological weapons, aerospace medicine (to enhance the performance of military pilots and astronauts) and many other armaments at a feverish and paranoid pace that marked the Cold War. The age of weapons of mass destruction had dawned, and with it came the treacherous concept of “brinkmanship” – the art of pursuing a dangerous policy to the limits of safety before stopping.
The atrocities that followed Hitler’s Final Solution were unfathomable to the rest of the world. Nazi technicians had decided to melt down the gold teeth in their prisoners’ fillings, but thought it easier to kill the victims first for easy access to the jaw.
Ice baths were filled with ice-cold water and a prisoner placed naked in them to find out how long an air force pilot could withstand ice-cold water in a crash. In the notes on this experiment, the Nazi doctors used the term “adult pig” in reference to a human test subject.
The doctors routinely subjected the prisoners to operations without anaesthesia. One man had part of his liver removed in this way, and a young woman had her shin bones removed.
In other experiments, limbs were severed and sewn back on at a different angle.
The US military intelligence knew all of this, yet carefully manoeuvred their Paperclip Doctors out of prosecution at Nuremberg and into America to begin work. This caused some outrage in the international media. Albert Einstein denounced Operation Paperclip in a letter to President Truman.
We hold these individuals to be potentially dangerour. Their former eminence as Nazi Party members and supporters raised the issue of their fitness to become American citizens and hold key positions in American industrial, scientific, and educational institutions.