Author(s): Paul Astridge
Baron Wernher von Braun is one of the most controversial men in history. While he was responsible for the V-2 missile which caused devastation and killed thousands during WW2, he is also celebrated as the man who flew us to the moon in Apollo 11. Was he good or bad? A very murky line still clouds the truth. Not helped by the fact that there was a very suspicious lack of documentation in regard to his wartime activities. Official paperwork which it is debated, he deliberately destroyed, that would have answered the question of whether he was, in fact, an active member of the SS who brutalized prisoners at the infamous Dora Concentration Camp or simply a scientist doing his duty who bore no direct responsibility for the horrors of the Third Reich. The issue has never been resolved, but either way, there is no doubt that America actively turned a blind eye to his possible war crimes to secure his services. There was post war evidence that well before war's end, von Braun and his associates attempted to broker a deal with America's GE Corporation with a view to offering them their expertise in regard to future rocketry. Von Braun's switching of allegiance from one country to another proved to be a long, hard road. One fought in the desolated desert of New Mexico and against the dyed-in-the-wool prejudice of America's deep South. He, however, had a relentless drive and fought with a passion to achieve his dreams of space and to sell them to the public. He was a brilliant, charming man, who had it all. Too much, those who were jealous of his worldwide celebrity and genius would say. In both Germany and America, theirs was an unremitting campaign to bring him down and von Braun forever had an uphill battle combating the malicious envy of others and the endless accusations of his Nazi past. The question remains: Was he guilty or innocent? And will this book's intriguing new insights finally clear his name?