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The Great Patents Heist

One of the greatest ripoffs of all time was the theft of German patents after World War II

It is quite acceptable to American pride to acknowledge that immigrants have contributed to our prosperity and greatness. It's a little harder to swallow that a good deal of our scientific lead and prosperity - despite the ever-increasing burdens of non-skilled illegal immigrants and unproductive home-growns - has come from simply seizing German patents and inventions after World War I [the most prominent war booty which Woodrow Wilson seized in 1917 was the patent on aspirin, that "miracle drug"] and far more so after World War II.

There are those who claim the key to America's felicity has been its Jewish citizens. After all, this is now a "service economy" of stockbrokers and financial and entertainment services. Could America dispense with actually manufacturing or growing anything, and instead focus on the essentials like Broadway shows, Hollywood sitcoms and currency speculation?

The message of Bernt Engelmann's 1974 Deutschland ohne Juden, published in English by Bantam Books, New York in 1984 as Germany Without Jews, is clear: You Germans were mediocre until we Jews came, and now that we're gone, you have sunk back into mediocrity.

Engelmann cites endless lists of great Jewish MDs of German or Austrian domicile, several of whom, such as bacteriologists Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915) and Robert Koch (1843-1910), won the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology (Ehrlich, 1908; Koch, 1905). Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), of dubious credentials, is one of Engelmann's prize examples.

Engelmann also slays entire forests with pages of printed paeans to forgotten Jewish playwrights, songsters, operetta producers, critics, publishers etc. How could one forget the immortal Meyerbeer? To the wary eye, it smacks of ethnic self-congratulation. One gifted Jew writes a piece, another publishes it, yet another reviews it favourably, a fourth sits at the box office counting out his money and a fifth takes his 10 percent as agent - an unconvincing proof that the nation of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven needed music lessons.

Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) and Karl Benz (1844-1929) invented the modern gasoline engine in 1878-1887. Other Germans took the lead in 19th-century chemistry and created the first contact lens (in the 1880s), X-rays (Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895), quantum physics (discovered in 1900 by Max Planck, 1858-1947), aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and last (and least), saccharin in 1913. As for previous centuries, the Germans got no credit for inventing the croissant or "Kipferl," as the Germans call it, in Vienna to celebrate defeating the Turks in 1683; one notes the Turkish religious logo, the crescent (a baked good then snatched up by the French as the "croissant"). Equally, they receive zero credit for baking the first quiche, which in Lorraine and Rhinelander dialects ("Kisch") simply means "kitchen leftovers baked into a pie."

Baked goods aside, the facts reveal that the most creative period in world history may have been Germany between 1932 and 1945, and that much of America's scientific lead came from looting German patents by the ton, both in World War I and far more so after World War II.

And because Germany was so devastated after World War II, there has been a brain drain ever since of the top young German scientists - to Massachusetts and California for computers and genetics and to greater Los Angeles, Houston and Cape Canaveral for aerospace. As one German scientist remarked: "Since the war, we have not had the financing capabilities for basic research for the long-term future. That kind of serious money only the Americans have. In Germany, and in Japan, also, we do applied and clinical research for immediate applications. But to be on the cutting edge, the money and the positions are now in America and we have to go there. [1]

An astounding admission of the stripping of German inventiveness after the war came in an October 1946 article by C. Lester Walker in Harper's magazine. Entitled "Secrets by the Thousands,"  it presents some problems for the Bernt Engelmanns of this world who imply that German science in the 1932-45 period would have been "nothing without the Jews."




In every collection of Harper's - even that held in a prestigious university research library - the October 1946 issue is missing. A coincidence?

Fortunately this document exists in cyber-space...



 

In fact, the article suggests in deadly seriousness that German Chancellor Adolf Hitler had been right, from his point of view, to prolong the war to the last gasp. According to the deputy commanding general of Army Air Forces Intelligence, Air Technical Service Command, in a speech to the American Society of Aeronautical Engineers:

The Germans were preparing rocket surprises for the whole world in general and England in particular which would have, it is believed, changed the course of the war if the invasion had been postponed for so short a time as half a year.

Even without its brilliant Jewish minority, the Germans' "V-2 rocket which bombed London was just a toy compared to what the Germans had up their sleeve." They had 138 types of guided missiles in various stages of production or development, using every kind of remote control device or fuse: radio, radar, wire-guided, continuous wave, acoustics, infrared, light beams and magnetism. And for power the Germans were years ahead in jet propulsion at both subsonic and supersonic speeds - even creating a "jet helicopter" wherein tiny jets spun the helicopter blade tips at blinding speeds.

Just as the war was ending, and President Franklin Roosevelt was ordering both Gens. George Patton and Dwight David Eisenhower to pull back and let "Uncle Joe" (Josef Stalin) have Berlin and Eastern Europe, the Germans had been readying their giant A-4 rocket for production. Forty-six feet in length, it weighed over 24,000 pounds and could travel 230 miles - rising 60 miles over the earth to a blistering top speed of 3,375 miles per hour. Its secret was a rocket motor running on liquid nitrogen and alcohol. It was either radar controlled or self-guided by a gyroscope. Since it flew faster than the speed of sound (by many times), it could not be heard before it struck.

Another rocket in the works was the A-9, still bigger at 29,000 pounds and equipped with wings. It had a range of 3,000 miles. Manufactured at Peenemünde, it arced into the sky at an incredible 5,870 miles per hour.



 





Fritz Todt (September 4, 1891 – February 8, 1942)

Todt first caught Hitler's attention in 1932 by emphasizing the importance of road building for national economic recovery. Following the appointment of Hitler as Reichskanzler on January 30, 1933, Todt became (in July) Generalinspektor für das deutsche Straßenwesen ("Inspector General for German Roadways") and was involved in the new construction company for the motorways (Reichsautobahnen). Every aspect of Autobahn construction -- its design, aesthetic ("to harmonize with the German landscape"), and model role in National Socialist labor relations -- was stamped with Todt's personality. He later became Leiter des Hauptamts für Technik in der Reichsleitung der NSDAP ("Director of the Head Office for Engineering in the Administration of the Reich of the NSDAP") and Generalbevollmächtigter für die Regelung der Bauwirtschaft ("General Commissioner for the Regulation of the Construction Industry"). As a special privilege, Todt was permitted to have considerable power and was not necessarily immediately answerable to any of the Reich ministries. He was also appointed to the rank of Generalmajor of the Luftwaffe after its official promulgation in March 1935.

In 1938, he founded the Organization Todt (OT), joining together government firms, private companies and the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labor Service), for the construction of the "West Wall", later renamed the "Siegfried Line", for the defence of the Reich territory. With the outbreak of war, Todt's organization provided German troops an exemplary corps of engineers, filling out Germany's expanding imperium with new roads, bridges, aircraft fields, and fortifications.

On March 17, 1940, he was appointed Reichsminister für Bewaffnung und Munition ("Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions") and oversaw the work of Organisation Todt in the occupied west. After the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, he was appointed to manage the restoration of the infrastructure.

In 1941, he became increasingly distant from the commanders of the Wehrmacht and from Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe (Commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe) in particular. He did remain close to Hitler at this time, yet, after an inspection tour of the Eastern Front, he complained to him that, without better equipment and supplies for the armed forces, it would be better to end the war with the USSR. Inevitably, Hitler rejected such an assessment of the situation and carried on the offensive against the Soviets regardless.

On February 8, 1942, while flying away from the conclusion of a meeting with Hitler at the Wolfsschanze ("Wolf's Lair") at Rastenburg, his aircraft exploded and crashed. He was succeeded as Reichsminister by Albert Speer, who had narrowly missed being on the same aircraft. He was buried in the Invalidenfriedhof, located in the Scharnhorst-Strasse in Berlin and became the first holder, albeit posthumously, of the Deutscher Orden ("German Order"). It was even suggested that Todt was the victim of an assassination plot, but this has never been confirmed.

Speer recounted that the power-hungry but lazy Hermann Göring raced to Hitler's headquarters upon word of Todt's death, hoping to claim the office of Reichsminister for Armaments. Hitler instead presented Göring with the fait accompli of Speer's appointment.

Speer tried to put the German economy on a war footing comparable to that of the Allied nations, but found himself incessantly hindered by party politics and lack of co-operation from the Nazi hierarchy. Nevertheless, by slowly centralizing almost all industry control and cutting through the dense bureaucracy, he succeeded in multiplying war production four times over the next two and a half years, and it reached its peak in 1944 during the height of the Allied strategic bombing campaign.

 

But most Americans know about German World War II rockets. A few even know that in addition to the car engine the Germans also invented the jet and perfected the superhighway or Autobahn (the three most important inventions binding this vast country. Virtually no one knows that in Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio, in the Library of Congress and in the Department of Commerce in Washington, a "mother lode" of 1,500 tons of German patents and research papers were being mined furiously after the war. One gloating Washington bureaucrat called it "the greatest single source of this type of material in the world, the first orderly exploitation of an entire country's brain power."

Fortunately, it was for the benefit of the United States, which, having thwarted Hitler's crusade against the Soviet Union, had to take up the same gauntlet against a communism spread worldwide by the late 1940s.

The genesis of the project to grab German secrets was in 1944, when, amazed by German technology in everything from rockets and jets to Tiger tanks, a Joint Intelligence Objectives committee was set up to confiscate German inventions the instant they were obtained, even before the surrender, for use against Japan.

Even before reaching the German border, fascinating discoveries began to be made, including one with which every American is familiar: audio tape. The 1946 Harper's article shows the head of the Technical Industrial Intelligence Branch, in quaint excitement:

"...[p]ulling some brown, papery-looking ribbon off a spool. It was a quarter-inch wide, with a dull side and a shiny side. "That's Magnetophone tape," he said. [2] "It's plastic, metallized on one side with ferrous oxide. In Germany, that supplanted phonograph recordings. A day's radio program can be magnetized on one reel. [Then] you can demagnetize it, wipe it off, and put on a new program at any time. No needle, no noise or record wear. An hour-long reel costs 50 cents."

A Short History of Recording and Its Effects Upon Music by Michael Chanan [3] points out that even in the late 1920s, before the "12 darkest years of German history," [4] one Fritz Pfleumer had developed a plastic recording tape. It was launched commercially by BASF [5] in 1934. The idea was based on the film strip, and its original application was for dictation in an office environment. In Britain, a project funded by the great radio genius Guglielmo Marconi was attempting the same thing. (On D-Day, the Americans played audio tapes of combat loudly at various locations to try to throw off the German defenders.)

However, the great leap forward came when one A. M. Poniatoff, president of a small California company called Ampex (a trade name still familiar to the older generation), then wearing a U.S. Army uniform, helped seize German-held Radio Luxembourg in late 1944. Instantly grasping the gold mine in profits and quality which the Magnetophone tape represented, Poniatoff had the 3M Company rush the new tape into American production, and it swept the Los Angeles entertainment industry.

Its major breakthrough came in 1947 when Bing Crosby first used it to record his network shows. The crooner not only preferred the Magnetophone sound but invested heavily in Ampex. Later, movie soundtracks went onto audio tape as well, improving mixing and dubbing efficiency as well, and avoiding the infuriating mishap where a successfully shot movie scene had to be retaken due to sound defects. Ampex later went on to introduce the first videotape recorders in 1956 (all now but a memory, sacrificed on the altar of free trade with Japan).

The list goes on and on: synthetic mica, which increased American cold steel production by 1,000 percent; "the secrets for 50,000 dyes, many of [which] are faster and better than ours, colors we were never able to make"; milk, butter and bread preservation without chemicals; and refrigeration and air-conditioning for German U-boats so efficient that their subs could cruise from the Atlantic to the Pacific, fight there for two months and return to Germany without having to take on fresh water for the crew. In addition, there was the pilot ejector seat, the infrared rifle scope, and even the negative-air ionizer, which many Americans use for the fresh feeling it puts in the air, with claims of reduced blood pressure, allergy and asthma symptoms.

In addition to official government looting of Germany (what GIs always called "liberating"), there was also the personal looting bonanza exemplified by Robert Maxwell, financier extraordinaire, and at one time the most hated man in Britain. The great contribution of this Orthodox Jewish citizen, born Jan Hoch in what was then Czechoslovakia, was to found a scientific publishing empire in Britain, called Pergamon Press, based entirely on German research he had looted with British intelligence connivance. Maxwell came to dominate the British tabloid press and raided his own employees' pension fund to the tune of 90 million pounds. He finally perished mysteriously and nakedly in a plunge from his yacht in 1991 just a week after standing up to the Israeli secret police, the Mossad - who may have set him up in business in the first place. Interestingly, his main co-conspirator in the United States, Robert Rubin, formerly of Goldman Sachs, is now secretary of the treasury [6].

When not gunning down a surrendering German mayor armed only with a white flag (as he boasted in a Der Spiegel interview) or bribing British officers to invent his heroic war record (for which war record Montgomery personally pinned a medal on him), Maxwell/Hoch [7] was in the British Zone of Berlin in 1946 with the full backing of British intelligence, coercing the vast research findings of the Springer science publishing house from Springer's widow for pence on the pound.

Ultimately, after Maxwell stripped $94 million from the pension funds of the 5,000 employees of the Mirror Group, his U.S. financiers at Goldman Sachs were stripped of an estimated $250 million to settle their claims - whereupon Maxwell's body was fished from the sea by an astonished Spaniard, to be buried with full honors in Israel and hopefully forgotten. Far from exemplifying that the Germans were nothing without Jewish scientific help, his life suggested that one Jew could become a billionaire exploiting German ideas.

Which raises the justifiable question of the atom bomb, which European Jews did produce for America and German scientists did not provide in time for Germany.

In his magisterial Verschwörung und Verrat um Hitler ("Conspiracy and Treason Against Hitler"), [8] Gen. Otto Ernst Remer details how anti-Hitler elements in the German scientific community maneuvered their own Werner Carl Heisenberg (b. 1901) into the key uranium-developing program at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (now succeeded by the Max Planck Institute of Physics). His clear mission, proudly proclaimed after World War II, [9] was to bureaucratically delay the German A-bomb project until the Allies had won the war. [10]

As just one example, munitions minister Albert Speer pleaded with Heisenberg and his fellow conspirator von Weizsäcker (brother of a later West German president) to name whatever money or materials they required after they claimed they had been held up by shortages. Von Weizsäcker's reply asking for "40,000 marks" caused Speer to stare in amazement, and to later confess that he had himself planned to propose 100 million marks for starters.

Not only did Heisenberg state explicitly to Der Spiegel, "We never tried to produce any atomic bombs and we are glad not to be responsible for having made any," he also admitted leaking the latest information on German uranium-splitting research to the half-Jewish Danish scientist Niels Bohr, who promptly informed his racial confreres in the U.S.

Thus, Germany did not lack the bomb because it lacked Jews, but rather because a handful of key scientists hostile to Hitler wormed their way into the German atomic program. Heisenberg had even admitted to a shocked Luftwaffe audience in 1942, after the devastating British 1,000-bomber annihilations of the port cities of Kiel and Lübeck, that Germany could produce a bomb with material "the size of a banana" (gesturing with his hands) to wipe out an entire enemy city, but then he caught himself and said this of course would be economically impossible. [11]

One of Gen. Remer's most interesting assertions is that just as the Americans were racing in the final days to convert German inventions for use against Japan, Hitler was sending a U-Boat packed with secrets to that same nation at Emperor Hirohito's explicit request.

In Verschwörung und Verrat um Hitler, Remer first notes the criticism that propaganda minister Josef Göbbels had received for his "stand-fast, the miracle weapons are coming" message after Stalingrad. Ironically, while many of these weapons came too late to save Germany from its fate of occupation, government decapitation and dismemberment, Remer reports that a member of U-234 sent him the following:

In the spring of 1945 I was ordered to report to serve on U-234. The sub was a specially redesigned former mine layer of the type XB with 1,760 tons, 4,200 horsepower and a 52-man crew. The commander was [a] Capt. Fehler.

On March 23, 1945 the boat steamed out of Kiel toward southern Norway unsubmerged. On April 15, 1945 it dove at South Christiansand with an immediate goal of proceeding between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The destination was Japan.

Our orders stated that we were to bring air force Gen. Kessler as a Luftwaffe attaché with his staff and technicians to Tokyo. The [emperor] had asked us to help build up Japan's air defenses with the weapons developed in Germany.

Also on board to this end were, besides the general, two air force officers, a navy anti-aircraft specialist, an underwater demolitions specialist, a low-frequency specialist from the staff of Prof. Küpfmüller as well as two Messerschmitt engineers (specialists for the construction of Me-262s) [12] and two Japanese frigate captains. One of them was [a] Capt. Tomonaga, who had collaborated with us in his capacity as a specialist for one-man torpedoes [13] when we were developing our own small combat boats.

Our cargo consisted of 12 steel cylinders, of the sort used for storing in mines, containing comprehensive microfilm material on the latest developments in German offensive and defensive weaponry, especially in rocket and rocket defense [anti-rocket rockets; TBR ed.] warfare, as well as our research findings in the areas of high- and low-frequency technology, and finally a decisive contribution to the development of nuclear energy and atomic warfare.

After passing through the Straits of Iceland and 28 days submerged at an average depth of 260 feet, a message reached us in the night of the 12th to the 13th of May [14] during snorkel travel, in which Grand Admiral [Karl] Dönitz ordered us to capitulate. At this point in time we were located in the middle of the Atlantic, southeast of the banks of Newfoundland.

The order to our captain was couched in a very personal tone, telling him to hand the U-boat over without destroying its valuable cargo. [15] After 12 hours of debate and reflection, Capt. Fehler decided in harmony with Gen. Kessler and after informing the two Japanese frigate captains that he would be carrying out Dönitz's order and surface to surrender. The two Japanese officers took their own lives before the boat surfaced.

Eight hours later, U-234 was taken as a prize of war by the American destroyer Sutton and brought to the U.S. Navy base at Portland, Maine.

The American officers and officials who subsequently interrogated us were evidently horrified over the contents of our U-boat. They criticized us for supposedly having no idea how valuable our cargo was. At the end of July 1945 the officer in charge of the investigation team declared to me that the microfilm evidence and the testimony of our technicians had proved that in decisive technical developments, we were "100 years" ahead of the United States.

Which raises the nagging question of where all these continual "UFO" sightings come from, which began a few short years after World War II - and the capture of German high tech. The same government which gave us the Warren Commission cover-up, the public silent treatment of the Israeli assault on the USS Liberty, [16] and a blithe nonchalance about the social significance of the Black/White/Asian racial differences proven in the best-selling Harvard study The Bell Curve, seems anxious to keep the public in the dark about all such "unconfirmed" sightings. [17].

It is at least interesting that it was just two years after the seizure of "50 tons" [18] of German aerospace and physics papers that the first major UFO story, the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico incident, broke. After all, what has fascinated researchers ever since (particularly government skeptics monitoring Area 51 at Groom Lake, north of Las Vegas) is things the Germans were working on: spacecraft which use new, tough, but lightweight materials, make 180 degree turns at Mach 4 without spilling the drinks and generally defy the laws of gravity, perhaps by the use of gyroscopes within gyroscopes.

It is well known that the German SS sent expeditions to Tibet, reputedly a land of mind-over-matter marvels - in the late 1930s. [19] The purpose was both to delve into evidence of Indo-European origins in the Himalayas and secret techniques used there, possibly including anti-gravity levitation. What ties this together with Europe, ancient America and Egypt is the finding of blond mummies or Nordic remains in or near many sites of architectural miracles.

As anyone who has seen the excellent programs on Egypt on the cable History Channel, can testify, both the people living in ancient Egypt and the rulers of Macchu Picchu were doing virtually gravity-defying feats in constructing their pyramids and temples.

One can only speculate as to what secrets the Germans may have revived or discovered anew during the Third Reich, and which are now being utilized by the current government in Washington. It is well known from excavations of blond mummies in Egypt and in South America by Thor Heyerdahl as well as the statements of Mexican Emperor Montezuma (welcoming the Spanish "back" as their fabled "white gods") that some sort of ancient white scientists or advanced physicists were involved with the origins of these cultures. Even the Chinese admit the existence of red-haired, blue-eyed tribes constantly infiltrating into ancient China (of which pictorial evidence is presented in a recent National Geographic). The great teacher Confucius himself (roughly 551-479 B.C.), of the noble K'ung family, was said to be a man of unusually tall stature for a Chinese, and Genghiz Khan (A.D. 1167-1227), the Mongol conqueror, had red hair and green eyes.

But the historical blackout continues. The government appears to be willing to hint that "aliens" from outer space are behind all this high tech. God forbid it should turn out that ancient Indo-Europeans were doing these things thousands of years ago, or especially Germans researching without the benefit of the Jews in the Third Reich.

Notes:

[1] In Anton Zischka's Und war es ein Wunder ("And It Was a Miracle") we read: "If the surely not oversensitive Nazis had retired [with pension!] a total of 1,628 professors when they took power, the victims of the [Allied] anti-Nazis numbered no less than 4,289 professors and instructors, who received no pension whatsoever. As the newspaper Christ und Welt calculated in 1950, the Nazis dismissed 9.8 percent of their university teaching staff, the Allies 32.1 percent. Almost every third German professor lost his teaching or research post through the will of the victors. In Germany as a whole it was every second professor... In accordance with Control Commission Directive No. 24 of January 1, 1946, a total of 373,762 persons were found inappropriate for any public service or economic activity above that of manual laborer." Quoted in Remer, Otto Ernst, Verschwörung und Verrat um Hitler ("Conspiracy and Treason against Hitler"). See below (Note 9).

[2] Magnétophone is still the French word for an audiotape player.

[3] London, Verso Publishing, 1995.

[4] The mantra-like phrase every modern German schoolchild learns about the Hitler period.

[5] A German chemical giant, which nowadays has a large plant for adhesives and audiotape in North Carolina.
[6] See Maxwell articles in The Spotlight newspaper of Nov. 18, 1991; May 16, 1994; April 10 and May 1, 1995; and Feb. 3, 1997.

[7] And, briefly, Du Maurier, after a popular cigarette.

[8] Verschwörung und Verrat um Hitler, Urteil des Frontsoldaten ("Judgement by a front-line soldier"), Otto Ernst Remer, general, retired, Verlag K. W. Schütz, Preussisch Oldendorf, 1981. Remer was a highly decorated combat officer, a ramrod straight old-style Prussian. Bearer of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (personally presented to him by Hitler), he instantly thwarted the July 20, 1944 officers' putsch against Hitler once he had heard Hitler's voice on the phone stating that he was alive and how to proceed. After the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, he founded the highly popular Socialist German Reich Party (13 percent of the vote), which the Allies banned. He had to flee Germany in the early 1990s and died in Spanish political exile in 1996.

[9] Der Spiegel, Nov. 24, 1952.

[10] No more unbelievable than people calling themselves "Americans" parading the streets of Washington, D.C. during time of war in 1968, screaming: "Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh! Viet Cong are gonna win!"

[11] Remer .

[12] The German 500-mph fighter-bomber.

[13] One intact example of such a manned torpedo may be seen at the Mystic Seaport museum in Connecticut.

[14] After the German surrender and the arrest of all its officials, including Hitler's successor, Grand Admiral von Dönitz

[15] Dönitz, who had been chosen as successor by Hitler because of his immaculate war record as well as his genuine National Socialist leanings, apparently felt that whatever his admiration for the fighting Japanese people, it would be better that the Americans get these secrets for use against the Soviets than for their ally (who had not notified Berlin before she attacked Pearl Harbor) to receive them in an obviously losing cause.

[16] U.S. Navy officers seem well aware of this outrage. The author spoke with a Navy captain (and, coincidentally, Mayflower descendant), who waved his hand and said, "Don't get me started."

[17] Which is the same as "unconfirmed sightings" of Vietnam-era American POWs, and the standard operating procedure when the Pentagon, CIA or White House has something to hide: "We will neither confirm nor deny..."

[18] Walker

[19] In fact, one expedition was trivialized into a movie, Seven Years in Tibet, about the real SS man Heinrich Harrer - played by Brad Pitt - and a young Dalai Lama.




Uncensored History of World War II

Theft of German Scientific Research Fueled Post-War Technology Boom

"TO THE VICTORS BELONG THE SPOILS" is an American saying (attributed to Andrew Jackson) and, regrettably, an occasional American practice as it was in the case of "the Great Patent Heist of 1946." It was made official policy in World War II by President Harry Truman's Executive Order 9604, also known as the "License to Steal," which permitted agents of the U.S. government to execute the greatest robbery in world history: the theft of German intellectual (scientific) property. What technology the Americans and Soviets stole has, in fact, fueled some of the greatest scientific advances of the modern era.

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By Daniel W. Michaels

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Now, almost three-quarters of a century after World War II, as the fear of arrest and punishment for denying the received version of the causes and consequences of World War II as established by the victorious Allies diminishes, more and more Germans are investigating Allied behavior before, during and after the war. Aside from the "holocaust," which remains immune from critical studies, almost any aspect of the war, however embarrassing to the victors (e.g., the strategic bombing campaign), may now be studied without fear of retribution.

In this new spirit, Friedrich George has published a study of Allied postwar policy regarding the disposition of German intellectual property, especially the modern and futuristic patents of Nazi Germany. George finds that the Allies, chiefly the Americans and the Soviets, simply confiscated all patents, designs, inventions etc they could lay their hands upon - military, industrial and commercial - regardless of international law or the Geneva Conference. Once in the United States or Soviet Russia the German inventions were "reinvented" and stamped "Made in the U.S.A." or "XXXX."

When World War II ended, America's elite determined that the United States would not lapse back into its prewar depressed state, but rather would revitalize its economy and have a first-class military and industrial establishment. To this end, Germany’s advanced military hardware; aeronautical and industrial secrets would simply be confiscated and transplanted in America.

Even before the war ended, Vannevar Bush, America's scientific advisor, recommended that the activities of the Combined Intelligence Operations Subcommittee (CIOS), a joint Anglo-American intelligence-gathering operation, be expanded to include the exploitation of German technical information of an industrial nature as well as of strictly military matters. In August 1945, President Harry Truman, acting under the adage that "might makes right" issued Executive Order 9604 ordering the release and distribution of confiscated German scientific and industrial information (technologies, inventions, methods, processes, equipment etc) to the U.S. civilian economy. It was literally a license to steal.

President Truman's Executive Order 9604 provided for:

The release and dissemination of certain scientific and industrial information heretofore or hereafter obtained from the enemy, including all information concerning scientific, industrial and technological processes, inventions, methods, devices, improvements and advances heretofore or hereafter obtained by any department or agency of this government in enemy countries regardless of its origin, or in liberated areas if such information is of enemy origin or has been acquired or appropriated by the enemy.

~Gimbel, John. Science, Technology, and Reparations. Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 1990.

As the American military began to occupy Germany, they initially concentrated on locating and securing advanced German military hardware used in the war. In the summer of 1944 the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff created military-civilian teams, called the Joint Intelligence Objectives Committee (JIOC), which was to follow the invading armies and uncover Germany's military, scientific and industrial assets. "Field Intelligence Agencies, technical" units (FIAT units) scoured the countryside for German economic assets. While the U.S. military had no qualms about confiscating German military hardware, they hesitated and eventually refused to engage in the wholesale seizure of German commercial and industrial assets, considering such action not within their authority. More than a few honorable U.S. Army officers, led by Gen. Lucius D. Clay, interceded with civilian occupation policymakers on behalf of the Germans to stop the looting.

Concerning the legality of the U.S. confiscations of German property, William G. Downey, chief of the Army's International Law Branch in the Judge Advocate General's Office, quoting extensively from The Hague Convention rules on the seizure of private enemy property, wrote:

It is a generally recognized principle of the international law of war that enemy private property may not be seized unless it is susceptible of direct military use. An army of occupation can only take possession...of property belonging to the state. (Gimbel 172)

The theft of intellectual property is not new, but the extent and ruthlessness of what the "wannabe" superpowers did in Germany from 1945 to 1948 was unprecedented. The United States and the Soviet Union literally stole the entire extant store of German patents, designs, inventions and trademarks. Germans, who were not forthcoming in informing the U.S. Occupation Forces of the existence and location of such records could be imprisoned, punished and even threatened with death for "insufficient reporting." To ensure that the Allies would have an insurmountable head start in exploiting the patents, the Germans were even forbidden to use or refer to their own inventions after they were confiscated. The German Patent Office was closed by the Allies and not reopened for several years. When it did reopen, the first number assigned was 800,001, indicating that some 800,000 original patents had been looted by the Allies. As a result, in the immediate postwar years, with Germany prostrate and robbed of its intellectual property, America and Russia soon emerged as the two superpowers in a bipolar world.

Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the German Federal Republic, wrote in his Memoirs:

At the end of 1948 the director of the American office for technical services, Mr. John Green, gave the press a report on his activities, which were concerned with the exploitations of German patents and industrial secrets. What strikes one in this report is the fact that AMTORG [Moscow's foreign trade organization] was the keenest purchaser. During one month alone the Russians bought more than 2,000 Wehrmacht reports on secret German weapons, for which they paid $6,000. According to a statement made by an American expert, the patents formerly belonging to IG Farben have given the American chemical industry a lead of at least 10 years. The damage thus caused to the German economy is huge and cannot be assessed in figures. It is extraordinarily regrettable that the new German inventions cannot be protected either, because Germany is not a member of the Patent Union. Britain has declared that it will respect German inventions regardless of what the peace treaty may say. But America has refused to issue such a declaration. German inventors are therefore not in a position to exploit their own inventions. This puts a considerable brake on German economic development. (Adenauer 429)

Adenauer denied reports in the British zone of occupation press that he had characterized Allied measures regarding German patents as sheer robbery:

I had said nothing of the kind....I had mentioned the view of leading foreign politicians that the German patents were extremely valuable. My speech was intended to point out that German inventors still did not enjoy international protection of their rights and that this constituted a notable obstacle to German recovery. (147-51)

Years later, in 1953, the chancellor pressed President Dwight Eisenhower to resolve the question of the use of trademarks owned by German nationals before the war. Some progress had been made in restoring trademarks to their previous German owners, and Adenauer received assurances that no further German assets or trademarks would be confiscated or liquidated and that restitution would be "considered" at some later date. (That date has not yet arrived.)

The United States also promised to review the situation concerning German ships, with an eye to possibly returning them to German control.

Although Americans today find it hard to believe that this country was once a laggard nation in science and industrial innovations, it was, until the hostilities broke out in late 1941. America under President Franklin Roosevelt had failed to pull the country out of the doldrums of the depression, and while the economy, after having been put on a wartime basis, was unsurpassed in its volume of production, its products, including wartime hardware, were inferior to those of the German war machine. Mass production-quantity rather than quality-characterized American manufacturing.

Even during the war the United States was not particularly noted for major breakthroughs in pure science or innovative technologies. The National Science Foundation brought this deficit in American capabilities sharply to the attention of the government in a 1946 report indicating, among other factors, that up to that date the United States had been the home of only four Nobel Prize winners in chemistry as compared to 37 recipients in Europe, eight U.S. winners in Physics to 39 in Europe, and six in medicine, to 37 in Europe. Most of these prizes were awarded to Germans and Austrians.

While military analysts the world over now recognize the superiority of German World War II hardware, few, however, are aware that German scientists had done much of the basic scientific pioneer work in the development of many postwar industrial technologies and products for civilian use. In consumer goods and medical advances, Germans under National Socialism were enjoying color TV and color photography a decade before the American public could buy its first black-and-white sets. The Nazi government had modernized the road system in Germany in the 1930s with the Autobahn, and Volkswagen had begun to produce the 'Beetle' so that all citizens could afford to own an automobile. It was not until the 1950s, under President Eisenhower, that the United States undertook the construction of a modern highway system.

German scientists established a link between smoking and cancer in the 1930s, but fierce resistance of the American tobacco companies prevented the American people from having access to this knowledge until 20 years after its discovery. They studied the effects of positively and negatively ionized air on health conditions, developed performance-enhancing drugs, and introduced other innovative and therapeutic treatments that are common practice today everywhere. During the war Germans had also developed a synthetic blood plasma (capain), a blood liquid substitute (periston), and synthetic penicillin, 'substitute 3065.'

The revolutionary birth control pill, whose discovery was announced in the United States in 1951, also had its origins in investtigations conducted in the laboratories of Gottingen University, Germany, in the 1940s. Chemist Carl Dierassi, who emigrated from Vienna to America shortly before the war, worked with pharmacologists Gregori Pincus and John Rock to introduce 'Enovid' on the American market, protected by a U.S. patent, in the 1960s. (Georg, 157)

Germany, like Japan, was and remains one of the 'have-not' nations, small in size and wanting in natural resources. The development of synthetic (ersatz) products of all kinds was essential to German existence, especially in wartime. Necessity being the mother of invention, German chemists undertook to provide substitutes for Mother Nature's shortcomings. Most synthetics served well. Some, like ersatz coffee (Kaffee-Ersatz), fell short of general acceptance.

One of the largest hauls of classified information harvested by the Allies came from laboratories and plants of IG Farben, a syndicate with close American ties that held an almost complete monopoly on chemical production. Chemistry of course was the foundation for the creation of most synthetics. The enormous IG Farben Building in Frankfurt, which housed records of estimable value, was 'miraculously' spared during World War II bombing orgy, proving that better bombing accuracy was possible if the Allies had wished it. The vaults of the Farben Building contained secret industrial information on, among others, liquid and solid fuels, metallurgy, synthetic rubber, textiles, chemicals, plastics, drugs and dyes. Secret formulas were obtained for over 50,000 dyes, many faster and better than those in the democracies.

Several U.S. Army officers stationed in the Farben Building after the war commented that the value of the files and records confiscated would alone have been sufficient to finance the war.

In the digital world, for example, German prewar and wartime scientists had been at the cutting edge of important developments, from the quartz clock, semiconductors, silicon technology and transistors to the first computer. Among others, German researchers Herbert F. Matere and Heinrich Welker, working with Zeiss, Siemans and the Kaiser Willhelm Institute for Silicate Research, were the first to develop the process for the industrial production of integrated circuits and transistors.

The culmination of these advances in solid-state physics and digital instrumentation in Nazi Germany was the wartime development of a pioneer computer, the Z4. Engineers Konrad Zuse and Helmut Schreyer in Berlin developed these earliest computers. Zuse's laboratory and earlier models of his computer, dating from 1937, were destroyed in bombing raids during the Battle of Berlin, but in the immediate postwar era Zuse was able to rebuild a fully operational Z4 by 1949, several months before the debut of the U.S. Eniac. Zuse is also credited with having developed the first programmable computer language, 'Plankalkul.' America's Bill Gates met with Zuse in 1995 and now displays Zuse's picture in his office at Microsoft.

Of foremost importance to all industrial nations, and to Germany in particular for the war, was the need for a reliable source of energy to power the factories, heat the homes, and fuel the ships, planes and vehicles of the nations.

Germany possessed coal but not oil. German chemists met the challenge quickly and successfully through the development of both the Fischer-Topische and the hydrogenation methods of converting (liquefying) coal into oil and, from the oil, to make lubricants and gasoline. In the course of the war these plants were gradually being moved underground to protect them from bombing. After the war the Allies confiscated all patents and records on the design and operation of the hydrogenation and Fischer-Topische plants and forbade the Germans from using existing plants or developing new ones, making them dependent on imported oil. For example, 10% of Marshall Plan had to be used to buy American oil.

Germany is also said to have invented a distillation process for the separation of gasoline from oil by the use of audible frequency vibrations. Self-sufficiency in power generation is essential to the sovereignty and independence of all nations. So important is the power factor that the planned Berlin-Baghdad-Basra railroad is said to have been as decisive for the British declaration of war against Germany in World War I as the development of the Fischer-Topische and hydrogenation processes in Germany was for the British declaration of war in World War II. As long as Britain and France controlled the Near East oil fields, Germany would never be granted free access, nor would the Allies want to see Germany gain oil independence through its newly developed conversion processes.

In the matter of nuclear power, German scientists in Berlin were making feasibility studies of the possible uses of nuclear energy to propel ships and submarines as early as 1941. Moreover, the possibilities of employing nuclear reactors to power land vehicles were also being explored.

To list just a few of the many technological advances of consumer interest, German industry developed synthetic mica, synthetic sapphires, Diesel engines, plastics, rayon-weaving machines, the cold-extrusion process, UV milk pasteurization, fruit juice sterilization without heat, food preservation techniques, magnetic tape, infrared night vision aids, laser guidance and so on. The patents, test models, and prototypes of all of the above were simply taken and exploited by their new proprietors.

By the time the war ended, Germany had 138 types of guided missiles in various stages of development and production as well as every conceivable experimental and operational guidance and triggering systems (radar, radio, wire, continuous radio waves, acoustic, infrared, light beams, and magnetics) for its war effort. The 'rocket' that launched the United States into superpower realm was German. The Soviet Union also copied the German weaponry but largely ignored consumer products.

In May 1955 Paris Agreement, the Allies, aware of the improprieties involved in their seizure of German industrial secrets, made the German Federal Government agree to renounce all claims or objections to Allied actions during the occupation:

The [German] federal government shall in the future raise no objections against the measures which have been, or will be, carried out with regard to German external assets or other property, seized for the purpose of reparation or restitution, or as a result of the state of war, or on the basis of agreements concluded, or to be concluded by the Three Powers with any other Allied countries, neutral countries or former allies of Germany. (Georg 338)

It is clear from the above provision that the Allies, chiefly the United States, still maintain the right to monitor German industry by means of the 'Echelon' eavesdropping program and other intellignece aganecies. The fruits of this ongoing surveillance are sent, among other destinations, to U.S. and Israeli recipients. (Georg 345)

It is of course impossible to determine exactly how much the confiscation, sale, and the industrial exploitation of the German patents enriched the United States and Israel in dollars. Prof. John Gimbel, in his book Science, Technology, and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany, estimates the 'intellectual reparations' taken by the U.S. and the UK alone amounted to about $10 billion.

In 1952 the publisher Herbert Grabert ventured an estimate of $30 billion. Converted into 2008 dollars these estimates would amount to hundreds of billions. If the loot taken by the Soviet Union were also taken into account, the sum would likely approach $1 trillion. An infusion of this amount into the U.S. economy over a period of years easily explains U.S. postwar prosperity.

In conclusion, author Friedrich Georg warns that successive countries in history have for a time enjoyed a leading position in world power, only to see the baton pass on to competing nations, America too must guard its vanguard position. In order to ensure its status as the world's superpower today, the United States will have to maintain an innovative scientific, engineering and technological base. China, Georg believes, is currently in the best position to overtake the United States in that the Chinese have talent, the drive, the geography and most importantly, thanks to globalization, the wealth (in U.S. dollars) to buy whatever they require.

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DANIEL W. MICHAELS was for over 40 years a translator of Russian and German for the Department of Defense, the last 20 years of which he was with the Naval Maritime Intelligence Center. He is the author of various scientific reports and is a contributor of book reviews and articles to geographical and historical periodicals. Born in New York City, he now lives in Washington, D.C. area.

 


"Captured" German and Japanese Information and Know-How

 

Following the advancing Allied Troops into France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and, later, Japan, teams of military and industrial specialists came right on the heels of the combat units to collect documents and study German and Japanese military and industrial developments that had produced some of the major weapons used by the enemies especially towards the end of the war: the jet engine, the V-1 and V-2 rockets, high-speed aircraft, remotely guided mini-tanks to destroy combat tanks, one- and two-man kamikaze U-boats, and many more. Worse, there was talk of the existence of flying saucers, atomic bombs, chemical and biological ammunition, and other miracle weapons which Hitler or the Japanese were going to use during the end-phase of the fighting in order to wrest victory from the Allied Forces.

The more desperate the situation became for the Axis Powers, the weirder the schemes that came to light: there was talk, for example, that the Japanese were building mini-bombers which could be stored on U-boats and thus transported close to the Central American mainland. Re-assembled on board and launched from the boat, these bombers were to destroy in a suicide mission, the gates of the Panama Canal and thus interrupt the shipping of essential war materials and supplies from the factories of the eastern United States to the Pacific theater of war. The American and British teams of military and industrial specialists following the combat troops were charged to find out what was actually there and what could, reasonably, be expected to happen. This was, by no means, a safe and pleasant job. Most of the 'targets' had, more or less, been subjected to bombing or devastated during the fighting; the Germans were still counter-attacking; there were mines and unexploded ammunition everywhere; and the just 'liberated ' Germans were not always friendly or co-operating. Some of the intelligence men lost their lives or were wounded and all were living and working under conditions that were not better than those for the soldiers. But why the hurry, could this information gathering not have taken place later?

One reason why not was the lack of intelligence concerning the state of atomic bomb development in Germany. The Allies did not know that Hitler, not wanting, or not being able to recognize the revolutionary potential of atomic weapons, did not favor, and, therefore, support financially, the development of these bombs on the level that would have assured success. There was also talk later on that German physicists like Werner Heisenberg and Otto Hahn, and their staffs, who had been in the forefront of atomic research prior to the war, were hesitant to deliver the all-destructive power of the atom into the Führer's hands and kept stalling. Furthermore, some of the most brilliant minds had left Germany and Europe for the United States during Hitler's persecution of the Jews and were now working for the Allies. True or false: the West did not know what was really going on and how far the German research had advanced literally until the last days of the conflict when, with the capture of Heisenberg, they finally could breathe easier.

What was known to the Allies was that the German chemists had developed highly toxic and deadly gases and biological cultures, that these were already being used to kill Jews and other 'undesirables' by the thousands, and that there would be a good chance that Hitler would use these poisons at the end of the war to destroy his enemies and what was left of his own people. To secure and study these weapons and, possibly, find antidotes, was another reason for the rapid deployment of the intelligence troops.

Thirdly, it was expected that the war against Japan, especially following the Allied invasion of the Japanese homeland, would be a bitterly fought and long-lasting battle costing many casualties on both sides. Where there any weapons in the German arsenal that could be quickly adapted for use against the Japanese?

Finally, the development of German miracle weapons had to be based on advances in research and development by Germany's industry and research facilities from basic to advanced levels and the results of that research had to be made available to American and Allied companies for their exploitation and use, especially during the period of conversion from wartime to peacetime economy.

The Collectors

The teams collecting military and industrial information and documents were made up of small groups of military and/or industrial specialists, working independently. They were recruited from military or Government laboratories and from American and British companies and were experts in their fields. Knowing the state of development in their specialties in their own countries, they were able to judge whether German development was superior, inferior, or just useful. All teams reported to their own field agencies; their reports were generally classified "secret" until after the capitulation of Germany and of Japan respectively. There seems to have been little coordination or cooperation between the individual agencies and, to the dismay of German factory owners and what was left of their technical staffs, many of the targets were visited by several teams and more than once, and, what one team left behind, the others took. The most important agencies working in Germany and their 'fields of interest' were the following: (1)

OSS, the Office of Strategic Services - identified targets of strategic and industrial importance and provided this information to other agencies which then sent investigative teams.

EEIS, the Enemy Equipment Intelligence Service - actually located German and Japanese equipment, such as new aircraft, tanks, binoculars, ammunition, metalworking equipment, etc. for evaluation and to instruct Allied personnel in its use. Later, the staff was used to evaluate German industrial equipment in general.

ALSOS Mission - This group, composed of military and counter-intelligence specialists was charged with a specific mission: to determine the state of atomic bomb development in Germany.

FIAT, the Field Intelligence Agency, Technical - was established to investigate German industrial development during 1939 - 1945 primarily in the American Occupation Zone. Headquartered in Frankfurt, it was the 'collecting' arm of the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee (TIIC).

CIOS, the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee - was made up of American and British specialists to examine German industrial targets. The reports issued by this group are the CIOS and JIOA (Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency) document series.

TIIB, the Technical Industrial Intelligence Branch (later: TIIC, Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee) - was established as an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but transferred to the Department of Commerce in January 1946. Its task was to look into every segment of the German industrial landscape and obtain any information that might be of interest to American companies. During 1946 TIIB sent over 400 investigators into Germany. Many of these industrial experts traveled at their company's expense, sworn in as temporary Government employees without compensation. TIIB arranged with the Army for their transportation and for their living and working quarters in Germany. In return, the investigators agreed that their findings would be fully reported in writing to TIIB and that these reports would be made public.

To make sure that individual investigators did not use information obtained from German companies for their own or their company's exclusive use, two men from competing companies were teamed up. Furthermore, the reports submitted were reviewed for completeness by TIIB staff and the American military government. Overall, TIIB staff selected from the 3.5 billion pages collected from the files of German industry about 3.5 million which were considered of interest to United States industry. The documents chosen were filmed in Germany, the rest were left there. In addition, TIIB brought more than 300,000 pounds of German equipment and product samples from Germany, in addition to the 200 tons of materials captured by the Army and Navy, which was also turned over to civilian agencies for study and testing after the military had completed its studies (2).

Navy Technical Mission, Europe (Japan) - original a portion of the ALSOS Mission, was assigned to investigate German (and Japanese) advances in synthetic fuels and lubricants of interest to the Navy. U.S. Naval Technical Oil Mission in Europe: Production of Synthetic Fuels by the Hydrogenation of Solid and Liquid Carbonaceous Materials (PB 27701).

TOM (Technical Oil Mission) - A non-military group sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, was made up of American and British petroleum experts and charged with investigating the industrial production of synthetic fuels and lubricants from coal using the Fischer-Tropsch method. The Bureau and American industry actually built petroleum manufacturing plants according to German specifications after the war, but the glut of petroleum available then made the program uneconomical. In the 1970's, however, faced with a petroleum embargo, the Republic of South Africa developed the SASOL synthetic petroleum plant using the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Working under different economic constellations, it is still in operation today. U.S. Government Technical Oil Mission. Index. Microfilm. Reel.... (LC call number: Z6972.U6)

The Documents Research Center, A-2, United States Air Forces in Europe - was "organized for the purpose of collecting and processing all captured German air documents. The organization was moved to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in 1946 where the project is being continued by the Air Documents Division, Intelligence, T-2. While the Research Center was still in Europe it was estimated that between 1,000 and 1,500 tons of German air documents eventually would be collected. The final screened library, however, and the collection which is now at Wright Field consists of approximately 220 tons. These documents are in the process of being cataloged, indexed, abstracted, translated and analyzed." (3).

The Library of Congress was to have received a complete copy of the filmed material but only about one third of the total output was sent. The archival copy was turned over by the Air Force to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and can be consulted at its Garber Facility in Suitland, MD. The copy retained by the Library of Congress cannot be used in modern reader-printers which tear the microfilm copies into small segments. All books and journals from the same haul were turned over by the Air Force to the Library of Congress where they were examined and new items incorporated into the general collections. Duplicates were made available to other libraries or discarded, if not claimed. The reports are indexed in a multi-volume Desk Catalog of German and Japanese Air-Technical Documents (Z5063.A1U6). Some of the air documents were also made available to the Publication Board of the Department of Commerce, re-issued and made available to the public as PB documents.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey - studied the effectiveness of the Allied bombing effort on targets in Germany, as well as German-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Library of Congress Foreign Mission - was sent to gather books and journals published in Germany (and the rest of Europe) and not available for purchase through normal channels once the war had been declared. Up to that point German literature could still be obtained either directly from the sources or by way of neutral countries (Sweden).

The Targets

Any company having in some form contributed to the German war effort (and who had not, no matter how large and small) or having research information or products that would be of interest to Allied manufacturers, was considered a 'target'. Much information on German industries had already been compiled and made available to the Allied air armies by the United States intelligence agencies. Further targets were research institutes, universities, military laboratories, testing ranges and supply depots, Government agencies like the Reichsforschungsrat (The National Research Council), even concentration camps (sites of medical research using humans as test objects), the Reichspatentamt (Patent Office), the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Air Force Ministry), the Wehrmachtwaffenamt (Army Weapons Agency), their subordinate departments, research/test facilities, etc.

It was not always easy to find the targets - many had been destroyed by bombing or during combat, their documents burned, looted, removed for or from safe storage; owners, managers, scientific personnel killed, drafted into the armed forces, dispersed, relocated; roads and rail lines impassible; the population frightened, uncooperative, hostile: 'After what you have done to us, why should we give you our family- company- and commercial secrets? They belong to us, we will need them to rebuild...' In other cases people cooperated willingly, often for the chance of getting food, cigarettes.

Sometimes several visits and some arm-twisting was needed to get the Germans to deliver documents, information, and sometimes it just took a good dose of Yankee ingenuity. Theodore von Karman, a world famous aeronautical scientist, who was a member of one of the teams looking for information on German experimental aircraft, describes his experiences at an aeronautical research facility near Braunschweig that had escaped Allied detection and bombing because it was so well camouflaged that nobody knew it existed. The team had gone through the trashed, chaotic laboratories, looking, but finding very little, when, suddenly, on a desk in a corner someone noticed a scale model of the swept-wing bomber, a type of aircraft that nobody had ever seen before. They reasoned that were there was a model, there must also be documentation, like wind tunnel, testing, and design data. But no matter where they looked and whom they interrogated, the records could not be located. Finally von Karman, who had been a student at nearby Göttingen University before the war, resorted to a ruse:

I had with me a sergeant assigned to Intelligence. Frank Tchitcherine was of Russian origin, and in fact had been related to the first minister of education in the Kerensky government of Russia. As we were walking to our automobile with the director, I said in English, which I knew the director understood:

'Listen, Tchitcherine, we are through here. I think now it is time to notify Russian Intelligence to take over'

Russian Intelligence was nowhere in the vicinity. But I knew that the Germans were terrified of the Russians and that this might stir them into action. I was right. The next day the director called in Tchitcherine and took him to a dry well. He looked inside. It was full of documents.

Among them were the papers describing the sweptback wing and providing considerable wind-tunnel data which showed clearly that the sweptback plane had superior speed properties near the speed of sound. These data were the first of its kind. Schairer quickly wrote to his Boeing associates to stop work on the Mach 1 transonic plane with the straight wing which they had designed, telling them of his find. He microfilmed the data and used them when he got back to Seattle to design the B-47, the first U.S. sweptback bomber....

In going through the papers, Ted Toller, one of my former assistants who was on a committee involved with these documents, came to me one day and said that he had found a very interesting report. The title, as translated by the English-speaking German sergeant, was 'The Resistance of Undernourished Bodies.' Troller wondered what this title was doing in a collection of aerodynamics material. So he looked up the author and found it was von Karman. It was a translation of my 1931 paper 'The Drag on Slender Bodies'.

The documents revealed that the Germans had conducted a variety of interesting research at Braunschweig. For instance, they had run studies of the effect of wind on human beings and shown that the human being can take velocities up to 550 miles an hour. They also had developed an emergency pressure suit fixed up with a cylinder of oxygen like those used in USAF life rafts. If a plane flying at 70,000 feet loses pressure, the pilot can jerk a ribbon and re-pressurize himself. All these items were valuable to the United States." (4)

The Loot

I am not sure that there was, in the end, an exact accounting of how many documents/pages were taken from Germany, or if that was at all possible. Some documents contained more than 1,000 pages, others, like patent applications, only one.

Von Karman, in the source already cited goes on to say that "some 3,000,000 documents, weighing 1,500 tons were sifted and microfilmed in Europe; eventually they formed the basis for the collections of ASTIA, the Armed Services Technical Information Agency, " now the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). The Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce for 1946 (5) talks about 3,500,000 pages that TIIB selected. If one adds the documents brought to the United States and processed at Wright Field, and those deposited at the Library of Congress, then the number of pages becomes astronomical.

I remember that when I came to the Library in 1957, there were large green boxes, 'footlockers' 8 feet long, stored, to the very ceilings, in the hallways and vestibules of the 4th floor of the Adams Building, containing documents to be processes by the Air Information and Air Technology Divisions under contract to the Air Force. One day they were gone - "shipped back to Germany" and soon AID and ATD were abolished also. In addition to corporate papers, there were interviews with plant/laboratory personnel, photographs, blueprints, patents and patent applications (the Secretary of Commerce talks of thousands of applications obtained from the files of the giant I.G.Farben complex alone which had not even been filed with the Reichspatentamt because of staff shortages everywhere) and much more. From these mountains of materials the industrial teams prepared summary reports some up to 1,000 pages thick. To give an idea of the coverage it is interesting to look at just a small selection of the important new discoveries which they contained:

One of the best customers for German technical information were the American aircraft and airline industries. In addition to general studies of the German air transport industry (PB 17920, 19717), there are studies on 'Plastics in the Aircraft Industry' (PB 1104, 4351, 27000, 58373), 'Aircraft Hydraulic and Fuel Systems' (PB 16684), 'Magnetic Brakes for Propellers (PB 464, 4349), 'Helicopters' (PB 6339, 6340, 16712, 17544), 'De-icing of Windshields' (PB462, 23815, 23856, 31251, 40292, 58242); then there are numerous reports on rocket fuels (PB186, 392, 405, 4284, 23815, etc). In terms of military aircraft two reports are of interest: The Horton Tail-less Aircraft (PB 260) possibly a forerunner of the stealth bomber, and German High-Speed Airplanes and Design Development (CIOS XXXI-3).

In the area of construction the Germans were forced, because of the devastating success of Allied bombings, to put their most important factories underground. Immense tunnels running for miles under the Harz Mountains in Thuringia were built by slave labor from the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp at a horrendous cost in human lives to house whole synthetic fuel refineries as well as aircraft and rocket assembly lines. Obviously, such underground installations and their ventilation, heating and cooling, sanitation, etc. systems were of great interest to the Bureau of Mines and the mining industries, as well as the Defense Department, which was preparing abandoned mines as 'safe places' for high Government officials in case of future wars. (PB 25638, 25639, 27779).

Acetylene is one of the most versatile intermediates for the generation of synthetic rubbers, plastics (vinyl), and industrial alcohols, plus many other compounds. It is also highly explosive so that its generation, transport and use must be subject to very strict controls. German industry, depending greatly on acetylene, devoted much energy and research to making it safe and expanding its use. (PB 188, 189, 377, 485, 517, 969, 1017, 4287, 7745, 7747, 23750, 25560, 28556, 44943, 46966).

Germany has not been blessed with significant oil deposits; to fuel her war machine she depended on imports from the Soviet Union and Rumania. When these sources were lost, she had to rely on synthetic fuel derived from her rich coal reserves. The process, called the Fischer-Tropsch Process, uses water gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide derived from the hydrogenation of coal, coke, or lignite and extra hydrogen over catalysts at elevated pressures and temperature to generate straight-chain hydrocarbons and waxes which can be further processed to yield fuels, lubricants, facts, even some type of margarine. (PB 284, 288, 289, 373, 1279, 1291, 7745, 7917, 12624, 18911, 18926, 23750, 28883, 46390, 49196, 66130, 75817, 75845, 77706, 78242)

Plastics and synthetic fibers have always spawned successful industries in Germany. Here are just a few examples of many reports published in these areas: 'Plastic Plants' (PB 400, 403, 531, 979, 1069, 25642, 37784); 'Chemical Developments in the Synthetics Industry' (PB 1243); 'Soda Ash and Caustic Soda' (PB 7746, 7797, 27434, 40122); 'Dyestuff Intermediates' (PB 82, 60945, 67569, 77672, 78269, 78276)

Solid fuels: Germany always has had enormous supplies of coal in the Ruhr and, after the annexation of portions of Poland in 1939, also control over the Upper Silesia coal deposits. Improving the technologies of mining and processing coal was important for the war effort (PB 1827, 4322, 4323, 4345, 4461, 4462, 20579).

Sulfonamide: In wars past more soldiers died of infections of their wounds than in actual combat. With the beginning of the 20th century, great strides were made in the development of sanitary methods and anti-bacterial agents. German doctors, chemists and pharmacists had always been in the forefront of medical research. The development of sulfonamide was no exception (that it was tested on human guinea pigs in the concentration camps is another chapter). (PB 237, 248, 918, 77766, 80380 with 10 supplements)

One of the most dreaded diseases was malaria and research to find effective drugs was really universal. The German effort , except for the test methods, was significant (PB 237, 239, 246, 1101, 1718, 1859, 81613)

Some of the most cruel experiments were performed in the field of aviation medicine by the infamous SS-doctor Sigismund Rascher at Dachau Concentration Camp. Simulating conditions experienced by a pilot shot down over the North Atlantic, he subjected inmates to exposure to cold by immersing them in ice water to find out how long they could survive and possibly have a chance for being rescued (PB250). Another experiment involved pilots at high, oxygen-poor altitudes - when should they pull the cord to inflate the parachute and how long could they free-fall before losing consciousness? (same report).

Metallurgists in Germany were far ahead of their American counter-parts in the field of magnesium and magnesium alloy production and processing; the reports were much in demand by American companies (PB 204, 18930, 18948, 29663, 23748, 44675, 49828, 94315)

One curiosity is reported in the literature that simply begs to be repeated: Among all these high-technology, war-related products and efforts, there appears a lonely teddy bear and other stuffed toy animals manufactured by the Steiff Company, which was the target investigated by a British specialist on behalf of a British manufacturer.

Evaluating the Loot

The activities of FIAT and the 'acquisition' of German industrial know-how are best described in a unique book by John Gimbel: "Science, Technology, and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany." It is 'must-reading' for anybody studying or interested in the years immediately following World War II in Europe. It is the only attempt, to my knowledge, of reporting the efforts of trying to put a price tag on what was taken. In summary, Gimbel refers to a meeting early in 1947 in Moscow of the Council of Foreign Ministers, established by the victorious nations to deal with problems arising from inter-zonal relations and the question of German reparations.

Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, "argued the case of his government's claim against Germany for 10 billion dollars in reparations, reportedly stating that Great Britain and the United States had already received considerable reparations from Germany in the form of patents and other technical know-how. 'Press reports say that these reparations amount to more than ten billion dollars' Molotov said" (6). (In true Soviet fashion, and true to the old Communist maxim that 'what is yours is mine and what is mine is none of your business' Molotov did not mention that the Soviet Union had already taken from her occupation zone literally everything that was not nailed down, and if it had been, they took that and the nails, too. For example, the Russians dismantled vast stretches of the rail system in East Germany, the locomotives, passenger- and freight cars, the rails, the ties upon which the rails rested, and then the gravel upon which the ties had been laid). "General Marshall", Gimbel continues, "the American Foreign Minister, in response stated: 'We have used United States scientists to obtain information on German science, including patents, all of which information is being published in pamphlets and made available to the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, Amtorg, the Soviet Purchasing Agency in the United States, has been so far the biggest single purchaser of these pamphlets. The pamphlets cost a nominal fee to cover printing and administrative expenses. No ten billion in reparations is involved." (7).

But once raised, the question of the value of the German industrial information obtained by Britain and the United States would not go away. Early estimates ranged from $10 million to $275 million. It was General Lucius Clay, the American High Commissioner in Germany, who kept on raising the question and prod the War-, Navy-, State-, and Commerce Departments to come up with a 'realistic' figure. General Clay was not against the official position of the United States that America should not pay the Germans for the industrial know-how taken; on the other hand he felt strongly that the value of this information should be counted towards the reparations that would be imposed by the victors on the Germans. Years of political maneuvering between the U.S. Government departments involved produced no results.

The Departments of the Army and the Navy did submit data; Commerce declined, saying that the true value could only be assessed five to ten years down the road when it became known what American industry had done with the information; State refused to comply outright saying "that such an evaluation would serve no practical purpose except 'to keep the American conscience clean'... The FIAT material should not be valued for reparation purposes. The discussants had essentially three reasons: First, given the hundreds of tons of documents and materials held by the Commerce Department, the task of sorting and evaluating separate items with the staff that could be assigned to it would be physically impossible. Second, the material was not only for the United States, and it would be doubtful that other countries would agree to charge their reparations accounts similarly. Third, reparations was an integral concern and properly the subject of an international agreement." (8)

John Gimbel tried to make his own evaluation of the know-how taken from Germany. Using statements made in public or in writing by U.S. Government officials and industrialists directly involved in evaluating and/or using the information contained in the German documents, as well as reports from the political and trade press, he arrived at a value of $ 5 billion for the U.S. take. By doubling this value to account for the British 'acquisitions' he arrived at - surprise! - the $10 billion mentioned by Mr. Molotov.

But this did not conclude the question of the value of the intellectual know-how derived from German industry. In late 1946 and early 1947 various German initiatives were started to evaluate the German losses. Up to this point the Germans had only been repaid for copying costs of the documents, obviously a ridiculously low sum. But the German efforts also failed as most companies, even those hardest hit, refused to cooperate for tax reasons. In other attempts the reported data could not be reduced to common denominators to yield meaningful results.

Only after the new West German Government had agreed to forego any tax investigations that might evolve from the reporting, did industry finally comply. A report, issued by the Notgemeinschaft für Reparationsgeschädigte Industrie (Emergency Union of Industries Damaged by Reparations) in February 1951 "estimated the total value of the patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property ('geistiges Gut') removed from Germany to be somewhere in the range of 10 to 30 billion Deutschmarks (DM) not Reichsmark, the currency used in Germany prior to its devaluation of 1949, or between $4.8 and $12 billion" (9). What was the actual value? If we consider that the Library of Congress still receives requests for copies of the German materials, more than 50 years after the War, primarily in the areas of dyestuffs, plastics, fuels, and, more recently, for the location of industries, test ranges for guns and ammunition, storage depots of chemical, biological, and explosive weapons (for the purpose of localizing and sanitizing toxic soils) then, maybe, the Commerce Department was right when it insisted that the value should be based on the usefulness and actual use by American industry over an extended period of time?

Other Foreign Documents

Obviously, the main interest in foreign information was concentrated on the German collection: its size, the immediacy of collecting and processing, the language (many American scientists and engineers still had studied German in college), the fact that German industry before the war had been a main competitor of many American companies, and that the Germans were renowned for the quality of their research. This also explains why Germany was investigated so thoroughly.

From the very beginning, the situation involving Japanese information was different: not many people could read Japanese and the systematic investigation of Japanese industries did not begin until much later, giving the Japanese industrialists a chance to sort out what they wanted to give and what not. Also, as the mountains of German documents, along with materials from U.S. and British sources started to pile up, the Japanese documents were somewhat neglected. In his Annual Report for 1947 the Secretary of Commerce stated:

In addition to data from Germany, and documents from American sources, the (Bibliographic and Reference) Division (of the Office of Technical Services) is beginning to receive materials directly from Japan. Some of it consists of up-to-date technological studies prepared by Japanese nationals on subjects of interest to American industry. Many wartime and pre-war Japanese publications have also been received during the past year from the Washington Document Center. This Center is the Washington processing office which was set up to handle materials gathered in Japan by the military forces. Although much material has already been received, a large part of it is now out of date and of little value. We have been assured, however, that valuable documents from this source will reach us during the coming year. (10)

The Secretary continues:

The Belgian Government has voluntarily contributed scientific reports to the Division. In addition, extremely important material has been received from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, South Africa, Italy, and France.... The excellent relations which OTS through this Division, has had with the British in the exchange of reports is noteworthy. At present the British Intelligence Objective Subcommittee, commonly known as BIOS, maintains a liaison office in Washington. Our work with this office might well be cited as a fine example of international cooperation. The British have generously provided large quantities of their printed reports and with single microfilm copies of any of their manuscript reports which were requested. They also provide a special reference service for this Office and for American business firms. We, on our part, provide a similar service for the British. (11)

What Happened to the Documents?

We must not forget that the collectors were dealing with mountains of material and that only a very small fraction was processed and filmed. Thus the question has remained ever since "What happened to the rest?" It is still being asked today, especially if a researcher is interested in, let's say, a particular camera made by the Leitz Company and he is looking for the user manual. In my search for the answers I have, over the decades, talked to many people some of whom had been in the collecting and processing effort. "You cannot imagine, unless you had been there, how many documents and single pages were scattered all over the floors, crammed into shelves, stacked from floor to ceiling, falling over, spilling, it was utter chaos," I was told. The filming was often equally wild: page after page the documents were pulled through the machines , with quantity rather than quality being the determining factor by untrained machine operators who did the best they could under the circumstances. Quality control was non-existent. The result was that some film rolls contain almost in their entirety, only blurred, useless images. Also, when specialists wrote reports, let's say on the 'German Optical Industry' the supporting documents were, unless the were deemed important enough to be registered individually, discarded; the same happened to translated documents.

Military and Nazi Party documents generally were brought to the United States, sorted, filmed, and eventually returned to German archives. Books and journals were, supposedly, turned over to the Library of Congress, but we are not sure that we actually received all that was designated for the Library. According to Richard Eells, Acting Chief of the Aeronautics Division, "the Library, by agreement with the Air Material Command, Wright Field, has become the depository for all purely historical and descriptive portions of this captured material. The preliminary winnowing of the shipment from Wright Field yielded 9,114 aeronautical books, periodicals, and ephemera. In addition, more than 18,000 items representing the literature of related fields were turned over to the Library for its general collection. Some of the confiscated libraries belonged to institutions that loomed large in the history of the Luftwaffe: e.g., Junkers, Focke-Wulf, the Deutsche Akademie der Luftfahrtforschung (German Academy for Aeronautical Research), the Deutsche Forschungsinstitut für Segelflug (German Research Institute for Gliding), the Flugfunkforschungsinstitut (Research Institute for Aeronautical Radio), and the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Air Ministry) itself." (12). During the past years I have inspected about two thirds of the Library's aeronautical collection but found but a dozen or so volumes having book plates ascribing them to the libraries of the institutes just mentioned. This certainly does not add up to the 12,000 books from the Junkers Aircraft Company Library alone that we supposedly received.

It is interesting to note that according to German newspaper reports (13) published after the war, the American officer in charge of the team collecting the Junkers Library was none other than Charles Lindbergh, who was no stranger to Hitler's Germany. Because of his friendship with Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and General Udet (he was later accused of having been a Nazi sympathizer) many doors had opened to him in Nazi Germany and he had visited and inspected the aircraft manufactured by Junkers several times. We must also remember that the Allies had much respect for the German Luftwaffe and that one of the stipulations of the German capitulation was that she would never again build an air force. Therefore, all books and reports in German libraries that could be used to re-build the Luftwaffe, were to be removed from Germany. Now Dessau, where Junkers was located, was to be in the designated Russian Zone - why would the Americans leave a library of such importance to the Russians? So, what happened to these libraries?

Eells, in the article cited (14) also mentions another important aspect:

A check of the Deutsche Nationalbibliographie indicates that the Library of Congress has acquired many, if not all, of the commercial aeronautical imprints in Germany during the war years.

One of the strengths of the Library of Congress before and for some decades after the War was its aeronautical collection. Now, if we already had almost all of the books contained in the Junkers and the other German libraries, we would have made the rest either available to other interested American libraries, or, on demand, returned the volumes to German archives (the disappeared footlockers?). Since the Junkers Aircraft Company, located in the Russian Zone or the German Democratic Republic, did no longer exist after 1945, who would have received the returned material? The Russians?

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Bibliography

1. Library of Congress. Science & Technology Division. Note of Karl Green. n.d.

2. United States Department of Commerce. Report of the Secretary of Commerce, 34th 1946. Washington, DC : GPO, 1946: xxvi-xxvii

3. Eells, Richard. 'Aeronautical Science. German Documents.' Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions 3 (4) Aug. 1946

4. Von Karman, Theodore. The Wind and Beyond. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co. 1967

5. United States Department of Commerce. Report of the Secretary of Commerce, 34th, 1946. Washington, DC: GPO, 1946

6. Gimbel, John. Science, Technology, and Reparations. Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990

7. Ibid

8. Ibid

9. Ibid

10. United States Department of Commerce. Report of the Secretary of Commerce, 35th, 1947. Washington, DC: GPO, 1947

11. Ibid

12. Eels, Richard. 'Aeronautical Science'. Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions 3(4) Aug. 1947

13a. "Junkers Bibliothek: Ein verschollenes Objekt der Begierde" Mitteldeutsche Zeitung Dessau, 17 June 1995

13b. "'Bernsteinzimmer der Technik' soll nach Dessau zurückkehren." Anhaltische Zerbster Nachrichten 24 March 1995

13c. "Fundgrube für Junkers Forschung und die Bibliothekssuche in Amerika" Der Alte Dessauer, 28 April 1995

14. Eells, Richard. Ibid, 1947