Rocket engineer Arthur Rudolph accompanied Wernher von Braun to the United States through Operation Paperclip after World War II. In Nazi Germany, Rudolph was the production manager for the V-2 missile program; in America, he became NASA’s project manager for the Saturn V, the rocket that put men on the Moon. But Rudolph’s past under the Third Reich came back to haunt him when, in 1982, a special unit within the Department of Justice investigated his involvement with concentration camp labor. What happened next was an international firestorm -- but nowhere did the controversy hit harder than in the rocket team’s adopted “hometown” of Huntsville, Alabama. In this episode of PAPERCLIP, comedian Michael Ian Black and historian Monique Laney -- together with attorney Neal Sher, who ran the Rudolph investigation -- discuss how exposing one Paperclipper’s dark past brought many harsh truths to light. 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.