Past Event

Douglas O’Reagan - American Intellectual Reparations from the Nazis and the Myth of German Technological Superiority

June 10, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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Event Description: 

Following World War II the Allied Powers attempted the largest-scale technology transfer in history, aiming to take “intellectual reparations” from occupied Germany. The most famous case is the willingness of the United States to take in Wernher von Braun, other German rocket scientists, and German physicians, some of whom had been war criminals, through such programs as the famous Operation Paperclip. Less well known is that this story is just one facet of a much larger international race to obtain German science and technology of all kinds. In the wake of the war the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and to some extent other nations sought out information on not just rockets and jet engines but also toy manufacturing, watch design, precision optics, forestry, chemicals, audio equipment, automobile engines, and much more. This talk will describe not just the successes but also the struggles to transfer technology from Germany, its importance for the postwar world, and the lessons the story can teach for an era terrified of Chinese industrial espionage aimed at the United States.

Event Speaker:

Douglas O’Reagan, Historian

Event Information:

Free and open to the public. Please join from your computer, tablet, or smartphone at You can also dial in at 872-240-3311 using access code 669-615-717. For more information, please visit the event webpage

Hosted by the Science History Institute as part of their Lunchtime Lectures series.