Even if you’ve never heard of Operation Paperclip, chances are you’ve heard of Wernher von Braun -- the visionary rocketeer whose brilliance brought us, literally, to the Moon and back. With his telegenic charisma and stunning contributions to America’s civilian space program, Wernher von Braun is undeniably the most prominent figure to emerge from Operation Paperclip. But how do we reconcile von Braun’s status as a national hero -- and even, at one point, a household name -- with his past as an integral part of the Nazi war effort? In this episode of PAPERCLIP, comedian Michael Ian Black and historian Monique Laney tackle this question -- among many others -- as they take us through the complexities of Wernher von Braun’s work, life, and legacy. This is a paid podcast funded Amazon Studios. The Los Angeles Times newsroom was not involved in the production of this podcast. The views expressed on this podcast are not necessarily the views of Amazon Studios or the Los Angeles Times.
It’s 1945. Hitler is defeated. America is looking to outsmart a new enemy, the Soviet Union. To advance in rocketry, aviation, and chemical weapons, America recruits scientists and engineers who fueled the war machine of another nation...Nazi Germany. Inspired by the true story behind the Emmy-eligible drama series "Hunters" from Amazon Studios, starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman, PAPERCLIP explores how Operation Paperclip – the recruitment of Nazi Germany’s most brilliant and, in many cases, most villainous scientists to the United States after World War II – impacted some of America’s most vital, monumental, and controversial endeavors in military technology, medical research, and the space program. As our two hosts, history professor Monique Laney and actor-comedian Michael Ian Black, tackle Operation Paperclip from multiple angles – from its “pragmatic” Cold War motivations to its wide range of applications – listeners will come to understand this little-known and unbelievable moment in American history.
This is a paid podcast funded Amazon Studios. The Los Angeles Times newsroom was not involved in the production of this podcast. The views expressed on this podcast are not necessarily the views of Amazon Studios or the Los Angeles Times.
Produced with support from Treefort Media.