Could we have won the space race without the German scientists?

February 18th, 2014
Few questions occupy us more today than what do we need to know and when do we do we need to know it, with respect to what our government is doing.  How much should we know, particularly in times of war and what might really jeopardize national security?

These questions haunt us today, but they are nothing new.  In the closing days of WWII America recruited scores of German scientists that became the bulwark of our space effort.  These scientists had shady pasts and were far more connected to the Third Reich than we were ever told.

If we knew, might the nation have objected, and if so, might the Soviets have beaten us in the space race and to the moon?  And what broader implications might that have had for the cold war and for global geopolitics?

Annie Jacobsen is a journalist and author, and uncoverer of secrets. She’s the author the NYT bestseller Area 51 and now she turns her attention to the story Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America.

My conversation with Annie Jacobsen: