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Old 06-05-2019, 04:39 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 19,571
About the "von" thing. That was an indicator of nobility, which his family had belonged to prior to the end WWI and official titles were abolished (but such prefixes could be kept as part of a name).

WvB's father Magnus von Braun was essentially a baron.

He supported the Kapp Putsch in 1920. This was an attempt by ultra-conservatives to overthrow the Weimar Republic and restore things back the way they were.

Another supporter was a young Adoph Hitler who tried flying to Berlin to help out. But his pilot, Robert von Greim, messed up and landed at the wrong airport. Despite this von Greim was long a favorite of Hitler. E.g., in the last days of the Reich he appointed von Greim to replace Göring as head of the Luftwaffe.

Magnus von Braun later served in notable positions in the government, and helped to favor people of his status. But once Hitler came to power, despite quite a bit of common ground, that ended. People like Magnus often really liked Hitler.

von Braun's older brother served as a diplomat in the Nazi era and was a party member. The youngest brother Magnus also became a rocket scientist and was sent to Mittelwerk where he directly worked with the slave laborers. Also joined the US rocket efforts. Once his past became publicly known, in 1983 he gave up his US citizenship and returned to Germany.

In short, it seems that the father and two brothers were also happy to work for or support Nazi policies, why would Werner be an exception?
Old 06-05-2019, 07:19 PM
Dana Scully is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Dizzyland
Posts: 243
"Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Werner von Braun"

"You too can be a hero
When you've learned to count backwards to zero
In German or English I know how to count down
And I'm learning Chinese, says Werner von Braun
Old 06-05-2019, 07:21 PM
Dana Scully is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Dizzyland
Posts: 243
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience...

You too may be a big hero
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero.
"Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
Hah--Nazi, schmazi, says Werner von Braun"
Old 06-05-2019, 07:53 PM
Wendell Wagner is offline
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 14,323
In post #45, md2000 mentions the title I Aim For The Stars and the joking subtitle But Sometimes I Hit London. This joke comes from the 1960 movie I Aim at The Stars. This is a fairly favorable biography of Von Braun. See the discussion here:

Last edited by Wendell Wagner; 06-05-2019 at 07:57 PM.
Old 06-06-2019, 09:46 AM
Fir na tine is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Maine
Posts: 1,198
For an excellent account of the US Government program bringing Nazi's to America after WW2, check out Operation Paperclip from your local library!
Old 06-06-2019, 02:35 PM
TimfromNapa is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 150
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
No doubt about any of that. But if you want to condemn him for playing along, you do have to explain what else he could have done without getting hauled out and shot. Not many who resisted the Nazis lived to tell about it. And, you do have to look at what else he did than just play along, and there just wasn't anything significant.

He also arranged, along with the bulk of his team, to surrender to the Americans instead of the Russians or British, because they'd be more able to pursue rocketry there. That was what mattered to him. Was that a character flaw? Maybe, but he survived and thrived because of it.
"Don't say that he's hypocritical. Say, rather, that he's a-political. 'Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down. That's not my department', says Wernher Von Braun" (Tom Leherer)
Old 06-06-2019, 02:49 PM
TimfromNapa is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 150
Post 18 beat me to it, I see; however, it is a good song and deserves to be sung twice. The extra fun part about the recording was that Lehrer made it sound like a sort of children's song. You can just about visualize Von Braun with a propeller beanie on his head and large ears sticking out.


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