16 March 2016

Miscellaneous Musing #78

It’s well-known that many German war criminals came to the USA after the Third Reich fell, but we probably don’t think about the fact that not all of them had to assume new identities.  Consider the postwar career of Wernher Von Braun, who had been an officer in the SS and then built rockets, using slave labor, for the purpose of massacring civilians.  We ought to have handed him over for trial, but, because our desire to have him (and other, less-prominent scientists with National Socialist connections) in our space program overcame our desire to see the guilty punished, we instead gave him US citizenship, honors, and celebrity!  In doing so, we betrayed the high ideals for which our country purportedly stands, and we also betrayed our allies.  Would the man have escaped justice if his V-2's had been aimed at New York and Washington, DC rather than at London and Antwerp?