An extensive search in the mainstream, 'consensus' historical record of this, the most researched and chronicled period in history, found no mention of even the most prominent features of the mythos. Putting these two findings together, the only reasonable conclusion on the available evidence is that the long-held belief that high-performance, German, disk-shaped craft actually flew during the Second World War can be shown to be a false belief. I hope that this investigation into the 'Nazi UFO' mythos has demonstrated that the evidence presented to date - at least, that of which I am aware - is irrevocably flawed.
Of course, there is much more to investigate, particularly the links between the 'flying discs' and the supposed survival of the Third Reich in -or under - South America and the Antarctic. Joscelyn Goodwin's book Arktos > has set out some useful information in this respect, but misses the drama of the creation of New Berlin the trips to the Moon and Mars, the belief in the dramatic US-Nazi battles in Operation Highjump, and the links that those making these claims may have with particular cultural and political groups.
I don't want to try to direct the responses that readers may have to the material I've put together here. My opinions of fascism and those who use their authority - real or false - to mislead others for their own profit or other advantage are pretty obvious. I hope that readers will also have appreciated that I have tried to distinguish between material that harms, and that which does not. However, I'd like to set out a couple of points that arise from the inconsistencies between the mythos version of history, the 'consensus' version of history, and the somewhere-in-between history of ufology.
Operation Paperclip was a secret , now well-documented initiative by the
US government to enable the Western Allies in the war to benefit from the knowledge of former Axis scientists who were, nominally, forbidden to enter the USA because of their previous affiliations. Even before the defeat of the Germans, it was apparent to both politicians and military leaders in the West that the Soviet Union was now the enemy of choice, and Paperclip was one of the steps seen as necessary to deal with that enemy. Overall, it appears to have been a sound policy decision, apparently (though reports are not entirely consistent) bringing the talents of luminaries like Werner von Braun to work in, and for, the West.
Paperclip was, if nothing else, carefully organized. It was a secret operation, being run for high stakes, and there is no reason to believe that it failed to target the best and most skilled scientists available. In the field of rocketry, certainly, it succeeded, laying the foundations for the space program in general, and the successes of the Sixties in particular.
Most detailed Nazi UFO accounts refer to Operation Paperclip, using it to support the argument for the extent of German wartime technical achievements with flying discs by implying that the development of US technology - up to and including the present generation of 'Stealth' aircraft - depended on the importation and input of German scientists. Yet the very German 'scientists' who were supposedly responsible for the development of those wonderful discs seem to have been completely ignored by Paperclip, and to have ended up in inappropriate employment in Europe, with only popular newspapers showing an interest in their skills. Either the saucer builders were also 'the men that Paperclip forgot', or because there were no saucers, Paperclip didn't make a mistake in not taking them off to the USA.
In a recent disagreement I had with Tim Good and his publishers over the provenance of photographs printed in his book 'Alien Base' , I raised what I thought was a valid point. Many of the photographs - the ones which didn't depict faked alien corpses - were from Fifties ufology, supposedly taken by George Adamski, Paul Villa, Daniel Fry, Howard Menger and Hugo Vega. These have attracted both belief and ridicule over the years, and Good had not addressed various doubts about their provenance, such as possible associations with kitchen equipment, string, the use of perspective to make small objects look larger, and the simple tactic of throwing things in the air.
Tim Good agreed, honourably, to have these photographs examined by a university expert using modern techniques at his own expense, and although hampered by the copies being some generations from the original, these reports were published. The expert was not convinced that the photos depicted independently airborne craft of the size and at the distance claimed by the photographer.
The point I had raised was whether, even if the photographs showed no evidence of deliberate faking, it was likely that these craft - mostly chubby, awkward, tinny and lacking any visible method of propulsion or steering - were actually aerodynamically viable. Could they fly over short distances here on Earth, let alone between planets in our solar system or beyond? As it happened, there was sufficient doubt about the provenance of the photos, and the reality of what they purported to show, that the wider question didn't have to be answered, but I'd suggest that the answer should be a resounding 'No'. If these craft were real, and of the size and in the place that those who took the photographs suggested, then there isn't the slightest chance that they had flown from Venus or Mars, let alone any further away. They couldn't. They look as though they'd been made out of the bits left over in the average suburban garage, and that they would fall to bits if the string holding them up were to break: whether that's what they actually were you might well ask, but I couldn't possibly comment.
An alternative explanation has been given for the inadequacy of these 'craft'. It's always lurked somewhere in the background of extra-terrestrial ufology, as a fall-back position to take where interplanetary flight seems a deeply unlikely explanation for a UFO photograph, but nobody wants, or dares, to cry 'fake'. In recent years this second-best explanation has been adapted into an explanation of choice, eagerly adopted by David Hatcher-Childress and others, in books and in videos. No longer are these clumsy aggregations of household waste even supposed to be extra-terrestrial craft. Instead, they are prime evidence of the might of Nazi UFO technology, either imported by the US after the war, or by the Russians, who were using them for reconnaissance or, even more wonderfully, by the Nazis themselves, flying to prove that the Third Reich never died, but lives and fights on in secret bases in South America or Antarctica. As you can imagine, if there was no wonderful flying disc technology in
That said, one hopefully simple conclusion - moral, even - does come to mind. Ufology has always sought for respectability. It has sought scientific respectability and, trying to explain away the absurdly sudden beginning it had in 1947, has also looked for a history going back before that date. The 'foo fighter' material is certainly interesting in this respect, but those sightings bear no real resemblance to the craft of early ufology: I'd suggest that for research purposes it should be regarded as an entirely separate subject from the tinny close-up saucers and Nordic occupants of just a few years later. If my approach to the wartime flying disc material is correct, then 1947 looks more sudden - and inexplicable - than ever, and the contact experience even more isolated. Far from achieving any kind of respectability, by accepting so readily the existence of high-performance wartime German flying discs without, with a handful of honourable exceptions, bothering to make even the simplest of enquiries, ufology has again made itself look amateur, gullible, and easily manipulated. So no change there, then.
Thanks, at least, are due to David Sivier, Dave Newton, Peter Brookesmith, Peter Williams, Wayne Spencer, Andy Roberts, Eugene Doherty, Hilary Evans, Martin Kottmeyer, James Moseley, JC Carbonel, Peter Rogerson, Maurizio Verga, Tim Matthews, Jeff Lindell, Claude Mauge and Eduardo Russo for their thoughtful and intelligent assistance in putting this investigation together.