Verner Von Braun

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Barney Dannelke
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Verner Von Braun

Postby Barney Dannelke » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:20 am

Frank - I would dispute both your contention and your tone on this one. I am of the opinion that more people in America were aware of the Nazi brain trust imported to America then you seem willing to grant. We had German P.O.W. internment camps in the United Kingdom and in this country. Ours were generally located in the south. People serviced these camps. Local N.I.M.B.Y. arguments were made, etc.

Articles about these "German problems" appeared in the occasional newspaper and in at least one instance that I am looking at right now, in a Readers Digest article - which, at the time this article was written in early 1945 had the largest circulation of any magazine in the world.

I distinctly remember my father and his brother bragging in a local tavern in 1967 that we had stolen the best Nazi's from under the Russian's noses. And, trust me, they had plenty of WWII conversations (having both fought in WWII) before my snot-nose was allowed to tag along.

Another fellow I used to work in the armored car industry with (who I thought was dumber than a hammer because that's how he preferred to roll) told me one day that after WWII he stayed on in Italy doing counter-intelligence (fucking with) against the local communists.

My point is that I believe you write off too many people's political awareness too quickly. IMHO.

I mention this because you write that Americans (particularly of the generation my father represented) walked around entirely clueless and devoid of these sort of "what are these governments REALLY doing?" type of thoughts. My dad and his brother were not geniuses (or, wink, rocket scientists) and there politics were not my politics or your politics but they had an intellectual life. Moreover, they did not delude themselves that all the Nazi's dried up and blew away three days after we got to Berlin.

Reader's Digest talks about them in the 1940's
My dad talking about them in the 1960's
Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer writing about them in the 1970's
THE RIGHT STUFF movie making fun of them in the early 1980's

Other than that - a Big Secret.

********************************************************************************************************

Rob - I still say that photo you site is White Sands or the military base in Texas (but I believe White Sands) and not Von Braun's office. His OFFICE may have been crammed full of Nazi memorabilia and the bones of Jewish children. I'm saying that's not his office AND it's most definitely NOT NASA. Wrong decade. Wrong state.

The use of the word conspiracy in my pavilion post is being misunderstood. One of the places that Von Braun photo appears on the internet has the photo location as somewhere in Nevada. While there are skunk work things that are located inthat state there is no record of Von Braun spending time in that state or any "missing" time in Von Braun's life chronology. So. while a lot of weird alien conspiracy / UFO / experimental aircraft stuff comes to us via New Mexico (and thus conspiracy hay is made) I was SIMPLY trying to say that a photo credit that said Nevada probably MEANT to say or SHOULD have said New Mexico.

That's all.

And now to the nut of it. Rob - APART from who knew what and exactly when, since we had access to Von Braun and the Russian's didn't my question to you Rob is -

What should we have done with him?

- Barney Dannelke
History is a vast early warning system. -Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

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Barney Dannelke
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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Barney Dannelke » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:53 am

and there politics were not my politics


Should be "their."

comes to us via New Mexico


I meant to type Nevada, not NM. Got ahead of myself.

The rest can stand.
History is a vast early warning system. -Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

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FrankChurch
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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:46 pm

Barney, there are no mainstream discussions about Project Paperclip, unless it is in some obscure journal that nobody reads. Google it and you mostly find obscure sources.

Americans tend to get their information from commercial sources. Doubtful that many of them would know about Paperclip. Hell, half of the country cannot find Iraq on a map.

But I do love you. Hows that bookstore going?

I change the subject good...lol

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Barney Dannelke
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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Barney Dannelke » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:23 pm

Frank - OK, we're already pretty much down to terms now. If the contention is how common was the term "Operation Paperclip" in the American vernacular I would say nearly non-existent. The first reference I could find was in a book I have about the OSS from about 1970. So, were my dad and his brother using that term? Absolutely not. Did he and his brother and others know "smart nazis" were allowed to stay in the United States if they helped OUR causes? Yes, that was an assumption they made and it was based on things they read and heard.

How common was this knowledge? Depends. It's certainly written about in HOW I STOPPED WORRYING AND LEARNED TO LOVE THE BOMB and that was a bestseller before it was made into DR. STRANGELOVE. So there we are talking about a pre-1965 popular culture trope.

Around the same time as Wolfe is writing THE RIGHT STUFF you have Michener's SPACE and again he writes about those Germans and that program. My impression is that Michener was and is a pretty popular writer.

So again, my argument is that it's all secret and obscure unless you are talking about Readers Digest and James Michener and Stanley Kubrick and what my dad and Uncle Karl argued about over 10 cent PBR's at the Legion Hall. Minus the term "paperclip."

The bookstore proceeds like the work on the Sistine Chapel.

- B
History is a vast early warning system. -Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby cynic » Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:50 am

early 60's humor
Tom Lehrer - Wernher von Braun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEJ9HrZq7Ro
we were all so uninformed and naive

i remember a family night out at McCormick place (chicago) convention center, '60/'61. primarily a boat and recreation show for that exibit. there was one large section i fell in love with, the bomb shelters. my older brother and sister had to drag me away so they could see the motor homes.

sputnik in '57 was a riot :D . alan, chuck, probably barney and others remember "duck and cover"drills in school...good times. not a care in the world.
follow your bliss,mike

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby cynic » Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:30 am

not to change the subject, but this is cool.
lots of other neat stuff nearby.

Disney's Man in Space - Werner von Braun (1955?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBi69V8oNuw
by the 45th second, the development director of the original V2 has been revealed. they edited out the paperclip part.
good thing, someone may have made a connection.
follow your bliss,mike

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Barney Dannelke
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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Barney Dannelke » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:45 am

I caught two years of "duck and cover" drills. Perhaps the most useless exercise in self preservation ever. Milwaukee stopped doing them when I hit the third grade, although it seemed like they tested that air raid siren every single damned day until you would bleed out of your ears. That may have only been once a week but it SEEMED like every day. What was funny was the kindergarten kids didn't have to do the hallway drills.

I asked why this was years later and a retired teacher from the Milwaukee County School district told me, "well, we didn't want to scare them." As if, by the 1st grade, the concept of death by atomic fire (shown to me in the training films) didn't scare the shit out of me ALMOST as much as The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Fuck those half-day kindergarten kids. Comes the atomic apocalypse those snots were on their own.
History is a vast early warning system. -Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby admin » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:05 am

Barney Dannelke wrote:
and there politics were not my politics


Should be "their."


I thought I turned on the ability to self-edit posts within a time limit. You shouldn't have to quote yourself to correct typos.

I'm surprised there is not any speculation that the swastika was simply photoshopped or otherwise edited in. Given the conspiracy-theorist nature of the conversation so far and the degree people are willing to go to rationalize a bunch of dudes posing for a picture under a sign with a frigging swastika on it, it seems the obvious next choice...

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Barney Dannelke
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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Barney Dannelke » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:40 am

I forgot about the reinstatement of the edit feature. Since I am to blame for it's original removal I may have actually blocked this knowledge from myself. In the words of that philosopher, Homer Simpson, "stupid brain."
History is a vast early warning system. -Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Chuck Messer » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:54 pm

I do know that the shoulder patch of the New Mexico national guard originally was a gold swastika on a red background. Once things got hostile with Nazi Germany, it was changed to a gold thunderbird on a red background. American Indians signed an agreement to leave their swastikas off any crafts they made once the war started. I don't know if that agreement is still in effect.

I don't know if that explains the swastika on the sign in the photo or not. I suspect there were those in Von Braun's team who were ardent Nazis and those who weren't. I get the impression that their military commander, Walter Dornberger, was a believer in the Nazi cause. I don't get the impression that Von Braun was a Nazi believer, and he was thrown in jail by Himmler at one point because he was more interested in spaceflight than weapons.

Werner Von Braun made a Faustian deal with the Nazi government in order to persue his dream of spaceflight. I suspect he wrestled with that issue until his death. I do think he tried to rationalize what he did, though in a filmed interview, he described the horrors of the Nordhausen work camp with visible discomfort, as if he were seeing the gruesome images all over again.

There was a documentary series on Discovery Channel titled, Rockets. It was narrated by Ed Asner and the episode that covered the development of the V2 cut Braun no slack.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Coil 2.0 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:31 pm

I think KOS's post made a lot of sense.

I do remember duck and cover. Pretty damned stupit* exercise, seen in retrospect.

I remember Sputnik, but do I remember it or do I remember subsequent discussions of it? I was only 4 at the time.

I do remember John Glenn's first flight around the world. I was so interested in it that my teacher brought a transistor radio to class so I could here it. I then wrote a report about it. Looking it up, I see that it was in 1962, and I would have been 9 at the time.

* stupit, as defined by my bald, German, part Jew, 6-foot-5, Minnesotan friend, is reserved for the REALLY stupid things or people in life.

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:50 pm

We should actually blame Einstein more.

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby paul » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:53 am

FrankChurch wrote:We should actually blame Einstein more.


If only he'd been a watchmaker....
The medium is the message.

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:08 am

FrankChurch wrote:We should actually blame Einstein more.


Why?
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: Verner Von Braun

Postby Moderator » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:57 am

Ezra Lb. wrote:
FrankChurch wrote:We should actually blame Einstein more.


Why?


Tch, tch, Ezra.

Haven't you heard? Blaming other people is IN!

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