World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Metal detector finds

If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series.

Nazi scientists and Nazi science

Nazi scientists and the science in the Third Reich.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: German tanks, V-2 rockets: von Braun, WW2 technology, WWII Military Vehicles, WW2 documentary films, Lebensborn and Nazi Master Race, Wernher von Braun, Nazi rocket scientists.

Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, last of German rocket team, dies in Alabama
Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, the last of the German rocket scientists who was part of Dr. Wernher von Braun's moon rocket team, died at 104. Von Tiesenhausen - Von T as he was known to the Germans - was a legend in rocketry. When the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville gave von Tiesenhausen a lifetime achievement award in 2011, Neil Armstrong made a rare public appearance to present it. Von Tiesenhausen taught Space Campers for years after retiring from NASA.

Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)

Research carried out in Peenemünde was not only crucial to the course of WWII, but impacted the space travel as well
Peenemünde looks out across the mouth of the River Peene where it drifts into the Baltic Sea. In 1935, engineer Wernher von Braun pinpointed the village, which offered a 400km testing range off the German coast, as the perfect, secret place to develop and test rockets. 12,000 people worked on the first-ever cruise missiles and fully functioning large-scale rockets at the site, which spanned an area of 25sqkm. The research and development carried out in Peenemünde was not only crucial to the course of the biggest war in history, but impacted the future of weapons of mass destruction, as well as space travel.

How the Nazis Robbed Their Country of Its Scientific Legacy (And Gave it to the World)
The gutting of Germany`s intellectual heritage is far from the worst crime committed by the Nazis, but it was a crime nonetheless. The irony is it was a crime that contributed to their loss of the war. But it also robbed the country of its intellectual riches decades after the war was over.

America Experimented on Conscientious Objectors During World War II
The vast majority of Americans supported involvement in World War II, but a small minority refused to serve in combat because of their beliefs. The Selective Service and Training Act of 1940 gave them the option of serving in non-combat military roles or joining the Civilian Public Service for non-military `work of national importance under civilian direction.` Those who refused either option went to prison. The PBS documentary The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It points out that roughly 43,000 Americans refused to fight and filed for conscientious objector status. Of those, 25,000 served as noncombatants in the military, 6,000 went to prison and 12,000 served in CPS. But 500 conscientious objectors `competed to volunteer` to be `human guinea pigs` for `dangerous and life-threatening medical experiments seeking cures for malaria, infections hepatitis, atypical pneumonia and typhus,` according to the PBS Website for The Good War.

High-level Nazi scientists helped U.S. test LSD on Soviet spies, new book shows
Nazi scientists who produced chemical weapons for Hitler were hired by the United States to fight the Cold War, and helped U.S. intelligence test LSD and other interrogation techniques on captured Soviet spies, according to a book by U.S. journalist Annie Jacobsen. "Under Operation Paperclip, which began in May of 1945, the scientists who helped the Third Reich wage war continued their weapons-related work for the U.S. government, developing rockets, chemical and biological weapons, aviation and space medicine (for enhancing military pilot and astronaut performance), and many other armaments at a feverish and paranoid pace that came to define the Cold War," writes Jacobsen in "Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America."

The Nazi Anatomists: How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science (long article)
In 1941, Charlotte Pommer graduated from medical school at the University of Berlin and went to work for Hermann Stieve, head of the school`s Institute of Anatomy. Pommer had grown up in Germany`s capital city as Hitler rose to power, but she didn`t appreciate what the Nazis meant for her chosen field until Dec. 22, 1942. What she saw in Stieve`s laboratory that day changed the course of her life. Stieve got his `material,` as he called the bodies he used for research, from nearby Plötzensee Prison, where the courts sent defendants for execution after sentencing them to die. In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only `dangerous criminals.` But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them.

CIA`s denial of protecting Nazis is lie: Nazi scientists continued their human experiments in the U.S.
Even before WWII had ended, U.S. leaders wanted to recruit Nazi scientists, and set in motion several projects - Operation Alsos, TICOM, Operation Surgeon, Project Paperclip - to do just that. Mostly ignored in the large numbers of German scientists secreted into the US were a fairly large number of Nazi chemists - deeply involved in the human experiments.

Ed Buckbee recalls working with Wernher von Braun, talks about Peenemunde's links to US space program
When von Braun was arrested by the SS in March 1944 - for saying the V-2 rocket was meant for the space travel - things changed for the Nazi rocket team, which began planning to leave the Third Reich. "If it hadn't been for Walther Dornberger coming to his defense, he would have been executed," Ed Buckbee explained.

10 strange military experiments - Including: seeing infrared, injecting Plutonium shots   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The U.S. Navy wanted to improve WWII sailors' night vision. Vitamin A contained part of a light-sensitive molecule in the eye's receptors, so scientists fed volunteers supplements extending their vision into the infrared region. The success had no use because a device to see infrared was developed. Japan fed its pilots a preparation that increased vitamin A absorption, improving their night vision by 100% in some cases. --- American scientists, building atomic bombs, wanted to know more about the dangers of plutonium. Testing began on April 10, 1945 with the injection of plutonium into the victim of a car accident in Oak Ridge.

World War II dominates list of the 15 worst experimental deaths
(11) Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study was a study of malaria on the prisoners in the U.S. in the 1940s. The defence team of the Nazis said there was no difference between the experiments in the American prison, and in the Nazi camps. (6) The Demon Core was a nuclear device that went critical (twice 1945, 1946) and killed researchers at the Los Alamos lab. (4) The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment. (3) The Nazi Experiments. (2) Josef Mengele's tests on twins to boost the birth rate of the master race. (1) Unit 731: A Japanese research base in China, which killed 10,000 persons by medical experiment.

The Nobel judge who dined with Hitler: How racism of one Nobel judge kept the prize from Albert Einstein
Famous Swedish scientist Sven Hedin explored Central Asia and Mongolia in the early 1900s. Among the 150-plus books he wrote were atlases of Central Asia - Chinese Government still uses his maps to build railways. 1905-1949 Hedin was one of 18 judges on the Nobel Prize Committee. In the 1930s he admired Adolf Hitler and often met him. "Whenever I wanted to see Hitler I would call Prince Wissen of the German embassy... Hitler was a hypnotic talker, a fascinating man. I also made friends with Goebbels, Himmler, Goering and Doenitz." In 1946 Hedin revealed that Nobel committee members were prejudiced and vain: The anti-Semitism kept the prize from Albert Einstein.

T-Force: The Race for Nazi War Secrets, 1945 by Sean Longden
Ian Fleming's James Bond novel Moonraker - about a villain with nuclear-rocket technology - was inspired by author's real-life WWII experiences in a secret military unit. Fleming worked with Target-Force, which brought Nazi rocket scientists to UK before they were seized by the Russians. Military historian Sean Longden has spotted uncanny similarities between Fleming's work and the Moonraker. plot. For example Bond villain Hugo Drax's Moonraker project was similar to Operation Backfire (a British project to test Nazi V2 rockets). Drax's henchman Dr Walter was in real life Dr Hellmuth Walter, who ran the Walterwerke factory (the V1 and V2 rocket engines).

Should we use the unique data from Nazi medical experiments
Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on prisoners in several Nazi camps. The subjects were forced or tricked into taking part in the procedures, which often ended in death or deformity. The experiments yielded reams of data on the genetics of twins, hypothermia, malaria, tuberculosis, the use of antibiotics, sterilization, poisoning, and low-pressure conditions. Such abuse of humans is unlikely ever to be repeated, therefore the data gathered is unique. Should it be ignored, having been obtained so objectionably - or should it be put to good use and thus render meaningful the ultimate sacrifices by the victims?

One of the greatest heists of all time: The theft of German patents after World War II
In Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio, in the Library of Congress and in the Department of Commerce in Washington, is a huge load of 1,500 tons of German patents and research papers - all looted after the war. One American bureaucrat called it "the first orderly exploitation of an entire country's brain power." Luckily, it was for the benefit of the US, which, having foiled Adolf Hitler's crusade against the Soviet Union, had to face the same task. The beginning of the project to grab German secrets was in 1944, when, astonished by German technology from rockets and jets to Tiger tanks, a Joint Intelligence Objectives committee was set up to seize Nazi inventions.

How chemists helped win World War II by developing synthetic rubber
Without them, America and the Allies could not have won World War 2. A band of Akron chemists created synthetic rubber in the 1940's. Their largely unsung history is kept alive through hundreds of hours of audio recordings at the University of Akronv. You can listen an extended excerpt from an interview with E.J. Thomas from the Rubber Division archives online.

How the Nazis' experiments became an accepted part of German medical research
We all have an image in our minds of the role of Nazi scientists: sinister, lab-coated figures who spent half their time carrying out grim experiments, and the other half inventing wonderweapons for Hitler to hurl at the advancing Allies in a last attempt to avoid defeat. Their work was similar - in form, if not content - to the research of today. Much of what Nazi scientists did was subject to standard protocols of peer review in conferences and journals - for example Dr Josef Mengele held seminars to discuss his experiments and got research funds from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. Other notorious doctors included Sigmund Rascher, Karl Gebhardt and Fritz Fischer.

Message in old cipher caused Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's death
The successful US decrypting of secret Japanese messages, that led to Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Yamamoto's death, was because one of those messages was written in an old cipher that should have been destroyed earlier. Although the US military revealed after the war that it ambushed him after decoding Japanese Navy messages, the specifics have been unknown. Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, was killed in an aerial ambush on April 18, 1943. Declassified US intelligence files, found at the US National Archives by historian Katsuhiro Hara, include a report by a US cryptanalytic activity unit and two decrypted Japanese Navy messages.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed links Darwinism and the policies of Adolf Hitler
In Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" links between Darwinism and the genocidal policies of Adolf Hitler are examined. "Among German historians, there's really not much debate about whether or not Hitler was a social Darwinist. He clearly was drawing on Darwinian ideas. It drove pretty much everything that he did. It was not just a peripheral part of his ideology," said Richard Weikart, author of "From Darwin to Hitler". Darwinism was very influential in German academia and Hitler drew "on what many other scholars, biologists, and geneticists in Germany were ... teaching."

Historical look at physiology and World War II Air War
WWII-era physiologists solved problems related to flight, research that paved the way for an Allied victory, says Jay B. Dean, who prepared "High altitude physiology research and training platforms used by American physiologists during World War II: Innovative altitude chambers and high flying bomber aircraft" - presentation for the Experimental Biology conference. At the beginning aircraft were neither pressurized nor heated, but crews flew as high as possible to avoid enemy. Flying at 25,000-30,000 feet the crews suffered from the lack of oxygen and the low pressure - And long range bombing missions could last 8-10 hours.

Colossus Declassified - Rewriting computing history with Colossus
A secret project conducted more than 60 years ago held the origins of the modern computing era, and that the country behind project did such a good work erasing its tracks that it did itself a disservice. The world's first digital computer wasn't developed on American soil but during a British top-secret wartime effort "Colossus". A team built the room-sized computer to decrypt German military radio transmissions. There were 10 Colossus models produced during the war by a team led by Thomas Flowers. The Brits have declassified the key documents, and as a result a book is out "Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-breaking Computers".

UK Gestapo-styled post-war campaign to loot german military assets
Their methods had echoes of the Gestapo: kidnapping at night by unidentified officials. Declassified secret papers reveal how at the end of WW2 an elite British unit abducted German scientists and put them to work at UK ministries and firms. In a related programme, German businessmen have been forced to travel to post-war Britain to be questioned by their rivals. The economic warfare programmes are detailed in batches of Foreign Office files, at the National Archives at Kew. The files detail the way to uncover the Nazis' military secrets, to assist the continuing war effort, turned to an early cold war campaign to prevent Germany's assets falling into Soviet hands.

Nazi Nuclear Scientist Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker dies at 94
Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, a physicist who researched atomic weapons for the Nazis and became a philosophy professor who espoused pacifism after World War II, died at 94. He claimed he worked on the atomic bomb to avoid being conscripted into the Nazi army and in postwar interviews that he was grateful the nuclear technology was never used by the Nazis. But a secret recording of German scientists captured by the Allies caught him saying, after hearing of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Japan that, "If they were able to finish it by summer 1945, then with a bit of luck, we could have been ready in winter 1944-1945."

Robert Oppenheimer: The Road to Alamos
In 1943 Robert Oppenheimer left Berkeley University to become director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, where the first atom bomb was built. It is unlikely that anyone else could have performed his role at Los Alamos so successfully. Many of his colleagues considered him responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb during World War 2. If he had not been there, they believe the atom bomb would not have been developed until after the WW2. Two atom bombs ended the war and made a profound difference in how the subsequent Russian-American rivalry played out.

The Great Escape - Albert Einstein left Nazi Germany
Though a pacifist, Einstein well understood the Nazi threat; like Szilard and Wigner, he had left Nazi Germany because of Adolf Hitler. So he signed a letter, prepared primarily by Szilard, to the Belgian ambassador in Washington, warning the Belgian government that bombs of unimaginable power could be made out of uranium, whose source was the Belgian Congo. Two weeks later, on July 30, Szilard travelled back to Einstein's cottage. Together Szilard and his driver extracted a second letter from Einstein. It was probably the most important letter of the twentieth century.

The British technology pioneers who helped win World War II
Sir Barnes Wallis came up with the design of the bouncing bomb. It was a variety of depth charge used to attack heavily-defended dams in Nazi Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley. The mission, in May 1943 and led by Guy Gibson VC, was immortalised in the film, The Dambusters. Alan Turing was the key figure in the battle to decode messages encrypted by the increasingly complex Enigma machines. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers. For a time, he was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German Naval cryptanalysis.

British scientists wiped out an island with biological experiment
The killing power of anthrax was shown by British scientists during World War II when it was released on a tiny Scottish island to wipe out a flock of sheep. Gruinard island, off the Wester Ross coast, was so contaminated it remained out of bounds for almost 50 years. The 1942 tests were set up amid fears the Germans might attack the UK with chemical weapons. A film was made of the Gruinard Island tests but it remained classified until 1997. The report on the tests suggested anthrax could render cities uninhabitable "for generations".

Former Nazi Removed From Space Hall of Fame
A former Nazi scientist Hubertus Strughold who was linked to experiments on prisoners in the Dachau camp in Germany has been ousted from the International Space Hall of Fame. The German-born scientist was brought to this country by the U.S. military after World War II to work on aerospace projects. Strughold was linked to experiments on prisoners in the 1940s as the Nazi director of medical research for aviation.

The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and SS Ahnenerbe
"Nazi Science": the phrase sounds absurd. But for Heinrich Himmler, the stargazing Reichsfuhrer who ran the SS, Hitler's elite praetorian guard, Nazi science was going to build a future world full of genetically pure Aryans. Himmler insisted that science had to serve the Nazi party. He set up the SS Ahnenerbe institute to scientifically prove Nordic racial superiority. Himmler brought together a motley collection of fanatics, madmen and opportunists under the auspices of the Ahnenerbe. In its early stages, the institute sent archaeologists to search the globe for documentation of the origins of Nazism in a mythical ancient Aryan civilization.

UK plans to "forcibly" employ German scientists after WWII
The UK drew up plans to "forcibly" employ leading German technicians and scientists after WWII to prevent them working for the Russians. There were fears the Germans could help the Soviet air force become the most powerful in the world, papers released by The National Archives reveal. About 100 ended up agreeing to work for the UK government in 1946 and 1947. The so-called denial policy was first drawn up in the summer of 1946 and highlighted over 1,500 German scientists and technicians formerly involved in wartime research.

A Better Breed of American
In America and elsewhere, enthusiasm for eugenics was broadly supported by elites. Theodore Roosevelt, the leaders of the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw embraced its goals. American compulsory sterilization policy, which had officially begun in 1907 when Indiana passed a law allowing scientists to use surgical methods to eradicate the unfit — "the first law in human history, allowing doctors to operate on otherwise healthy citizens against their will." Hitler modeled Germany's sterilization policies on California's 1909 sterilization law.

When Scientific Ideology Was a Mask for Racism
When Americans talk about racism, we are mostly referring to white discrimination against blacks. But racism, in its early-20th-century heyday, was about more than simple hatred. As the word itself suggests, racism, like communism, originally purported to be a science. Facts, as they emerged in the writings of 19th-century racial theorists, seemed to fit perfectly into the world picture advanced by Charles Darwin, who revealed the merciless truth about the survival of the fittest. As with species, so too with human races, thought the founder of eugenics, Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, and the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler.

Nazis and medical ethics: Deadly Medicine - Creating the Master Race
The practice of medicine in Nazi Germany still profoundly affects modern-day medical ethics codes. "During the 1930s, the German medical establishment was admired as a world leader in innovative public health and medical research," Dr. Wells said. "How could science be co-opted so that doctors as healers evolved into killers and medical research became torture?" The story of medicine under Nazism is instructive and an important theme in understanding the evolution of the Holocaust.

Doc accused of Nazi clinic atrocities dies
Dr. Heinrich Gross who was implicated in nine deaths as part of a Nazi plot to eliminate "worthless lives", had escaped trial after a court ruled he suffered from severe dementia. Gross was a leading doctor in Vienna's infamous Am Spiegelgrund clinic. Historians and survivors of the clinic had accused him of killing or taking part in the clinic's experiments on thousands of children deemed by the Nazis to be physically, mentally or otherwise unfit for Adolf Hitler's vision of a perfect world.

A secret Stalinist plan to create a master race of super apemen   (Article no longer available from the original source)
According to declassified documents, the late dictator Josef Stalin in the mid-1920s ordered Russia’s top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, to invent a mutant simian warrior. Stalin told the scientist: “I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.“ Ivanov was sent in 1926 to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his experiments in impregnating chimpanzees. The effort, unsurprisingly, was a total failure.

Kon-Tiki adventurer cooperated with Nazi scientist
Celebrated Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, best known for his daring expedition to Polynesia on the Kon-Tiki raft, briefly cooperated with a Nazi scientist, according to a new biography. In February 1938, the acclaimed anthropologist traveled to Germany to visit Nazi racial scientist Hans Guenther and honor him with the skull of a native of the Marquesas Islands. -- "We (Guenther and Heyerdahl) both hold everything French in real contempt. One cannot find a people more fake, more impolite and more uncultured," Heyerdahl said.

The USA: A Birthplace of Nazi Genocide
On Monday I had the honor of giving the opening talk for Holocaust Remembrance week. It was titled "American Complacency and the Holocaust", I though my preferred title might have been, "The USA: Birthplace of Nazi Genocide." Essentially, in it, I explore American ideological culpability for the Holocaust vis-à-vis eugenics and scientific racism. I assert that Hitler looked towards America as the model for enacting his Aryan master race plan, and I thoroughly substantiate the same.

No place for Nazis in medicine
A Nazi war criminal's contribution to medicine is being slowly written out of the medical record. Until a few decades ago, "Reiter's syndrome" was the term used to describe a certain disorder. It was named after German doctor Hans Reiter, who ran Hitler's Reich Health Office, and during the second world war designed typhoid inoculation experiments that killed more than 250 people. He was also implicated in enforced sterilisations and euthanasia.
(New Scientist)

Hitler's debt to work of American eugenicists
American raceologists were proud to have inspired the strictly eugenic state the Nazis were constructing. In those early years of the Third Reich, Hitler and his race hygienists carefully crafted eugenic legislation modelled on laws already introduced across America and upheld by the supreme court. Nazi doctors, and even Hitler himself, regularly communicated with American eugenicists from New York to California, ensuring that Germany would scrupulously follow the path blazed by the US. American eugenicists were eager to assist.