With the benefit of hindsight we tend to look back at the the decision to bring ~2000 Nazi Scientists to the US after WW2 with a well deserved level of cynicism. But reading into some of the history it seems as though this was not a remotely controversial decision at its time, both by the political establishment and the scientific community.

On the political side, I am specifically referring to some internal memorandum in the War Department, including the letter sent to Truman by Acheson.

My only evidence for the reaction of the Scientific Community inside of the US (who had just dedicated 5 years to fighting the Nazis), is their loud apathy towards the matter, no one said anything. This is particularly noticeable because many in the Scientific community were proudly anti-Soviet. Any refference to the reaction of scientists during this time would be greatly appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ According to Wikipedia, the operation was secret. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2021 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ Yes; thats well known, but I have a hard time believing no one in Universities or Bell Labs noticed boat loads of Germans coming in after the war. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2021 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ You should edit your question to make it clear that you are aware of the secret nature of the project. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2021 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ I don't agree with the expression "Nazi scientists". They were primarily "german scientists". $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2021 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ @JeanMarieBecker I don't believe that to be true in the slightest. 1) The primary incentive(from 45-49) used to get the scientists on board was a threat of prosecution for SS membership, most non-Nazi scientists (of which there were many) could not be coerced with that. 2) Essentially all of the medical scientists worked at concentration camps; many from Dacau. 3) Many scientists most notably Heisenberg were not involved with SS all the while not abandoning their homeland; the same cannot be said of the V-2 Rocket team; the largest group in Paperclip and were true members of the Reich $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2021 at 20:19

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According to one history that I've read, denazification was done more thoroughly by the former Soviet Union than by the Western powers, although mainly on class lines. The Weatern Powers were concerned more with the growing 'threat' of communism hence it's likely Operation Paperclip was seen as non-controversial as they saw it simply as harnessing German scientific expertise.


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