Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Science and technology in Nazi Germany

That should be admitted. Germany during the years 1932 to 1945 became une of the main World centres, maybe even the main one, in scientific and technologic research. During that period, the bright German engineers created more than 300,000 patents, which, after the war, were appropiated by the Allies, who took advantage from them in further developments, that lead to many products we use nowadays.

This post is not at all a support or identification with National-socialist ideology or Hitler's regime. It just tries to show the technological advances achieved during this time and political context.

Military advances

Considering Hitler's military objective, there was a strong financial support to war oriented research. However, many of the achievements in weaponry were unused because of confrontations between different factions of the army, as well as Hitler's unstable planning abilities. Many resources were wasted in politically impressive but unrealistic projects, while little effort was made to make the new inventions practical. Despite all that, the Germans had technological advantages in the war, as they used inventions such as the first automatic rifle and the first railgun type guns.

The Messerschmitt Me 262 -called "Schwalbe", the swallow- was the first oprational jet plane in History. After a series of changes and failures, technically due to the lack of alloy able to resist the overheating due to high velocities, but also to Hitler's conviction in a quick victory and the unnecessarity of the new model, in May 1943 the prototype was ready. During the test flights, it reached nearly 900 kmph, what made Adolf Galland, chief of the Fighter Aviation, exclaim: "It looks like pushed by the angels!". However, Hitler's obsession for turning it into a bomber delayed its production in one year, and suppressing the great advantages it provided, speed and fire power against bombers. In the end, less than 300 units ever engaged in combat. Despite some punctual successes, such as the legendary actuation of the JV44 squadron, involving J. Steinhoff and Galland himself, which shot down more than one thousand planes, the jet fighter had no repercusion due to the general lack of fuel and expert pilots -it became a deadly trap for novices-. Besides, the confrontations of Göring with Galland caused it not to be built at the necessary scale. After the war, the Allies took possession of the remaining intact models, from which directly they developed the American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet MiG-15.

The U-boot, German submarines, were the most operative naval weapon they had during the whole war. Specially, the U-boot VII model was the most advanced model of the time, armed with five torpedo launchers while reaching 18 knots at surface. The tactics proposed by the Kriegsmarine commander Dönitz, the "wolf pack", was based in night group attacks to English convoys, which led to huge losses to the Royal Navy. Anyway, it took too long to the admiral to convince Hitler of the convenience of submarine war considerably decreased its scale. From 1943, the Allies learnt to face the U-boot by means of radar detection and torpedo launcher planes.

However, the major German innovation in submarine warfare was the U-boot XXI. This new-generation submarine, directly related to the design of the first American nuclear ones, combined novel technologies that could have made it into one of the greatest challenges for the Allied navy and decisively influence the war outcome. It included a new hydraulic reloading system, which granted a fire power six times larger than the VII type U-boot. On the other side, its sonar system allowed non-periscope-aided shooting, thus increasing its stealth. But mainly, the combination of its stylish hull design with the wide electric battery capacity, granted a higher speed when inmersed than on surface -17 knots vs 15- and a larger inmersion time, what made it specially difficult to hunt. From 1943 to 1945, 118 units were built. However, only two of them -U2511 and U3008- took part in combat missions before the end of the war, due to the large period needed to crew training in such a novel technology.

The first ballistic missile, the Vergeltungswaffe 2 ("Weapon of Revenge"), or V-2, was developed by a group of engineers led by Wernher von Braun in 1942, after a decade working on alcohol and liquid oxygen propulsion. But, even if it had all the support from Hitler, its mass production did not begin until the end of 1943. The rocket had its huge speed as an advantage, which made it virtually impossible to locate and destroy by the Allies. However, its short autonomy (little more than 300 km) and no precision, made it only useful for the indiscriminate bombings Hitler carried out in the English south coast. Until the beginning of 1945, almost 1500 rockets fell into British territory. Once the war was finished, both the USSR and the USA rushed to take the rocket specialists back to their countries. Among them, the team of Von Braun himself created the Saturn V rocket for the NASA, which -supposedly- took the man to the Moon in 1969.

V-1 should also be mentioned, developed in parallel to the V-2, and considered the first guided missile. Same as V-2, traditional defense measures used by the Allies -interceptor fighters, anti-aircraft guns, balloons, ...- proved uneffective for these new threats. The only adequate defenses were the destruction of launching bases and counterinformation activities (in which souble agent actions of the XX system, and specially the Spanish spy Juan Pujol, "Garbo", were of vital importance-.

It is also suspected that the Germans carried out nuclear tests in Thuringia in March 1945, two months earlier than the Americans. However, the classification of the documents that supposedly prove it has made it impossible to find out the degree of development they had.

Other inventions

In 1935, the engineer Fritz Pfleumer developed the K1, first magnetophonic recorder. This provided, the first concerts and political speeches in History were the German ones. Its military use was extensive, as a recording medium of both friend and intercepted transmissions. The Allies knew that the Nazis had such a device, but did not find it out until they invaded Germany in 1944. There, the American engineer Jack Mullin analyzed the device, a great invention for its time, which was commercialized by the firm Ampex and revolutionized the American media industry of the '40s and the '50s.

The first machine working with binary arithmetics, the Z3, including programming capacity, was developed in 1941 by the German engineer Konrad Zuse, and became in essence the first digital computer. Although it was destroyed in a bombing in 1944, it meant a step forward to the development, in 1948, of the famous American computer ENIAC, that added decimal arithmetics.

Infra-red devices were included in German interceptors that proved very usefil in night missions, while the Americans were starting to wonder if such a technology was possible.

In medicine, we will not point out the infamous pseudo-scientific experiments Dr Mengele carried out with concentration camp prisoners. From a more constructive side, German scientists of the time achieved the first direct relation of tobacco with lung cancer -and smoking was even banned in the Luftwaffe for several years-. They also were the inventors of methadone and modern pesticides.


Anonymous said...

hitler did some good

if you want to talk more email at


email archiving said...

It is sad that many of these discoveries are used for destruction instead of helping build our civilization. Technology should be utilized for the common good and not for war.

Anonymous said...

Right away I am going away to do my breakfast, when having my
breakfast coming again to read more news.
Here is my website - The Truth Teller show

Anonymous said...

nice to be here litestraboen.blogspot.com admin found your site via yahoo but it was hard to find and I see you could have more visitors because there are not so many comments yet. I have found site which offer to dramatically increase traffic to your website http://mass-backlinks.com they claim they managed to get close to 4000 visitors/day using their services you could also get lot more targeted traffic from search engines as you have now. I used their services and got significantly more visitors to my site. Hope this helps :) They offer best services to increase website traffic at this website http://mass-backlinks.com

Anonymous said...

First off I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question that I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Thanks!

Also visit my web site - youtube converter

Anonymous said...

Without the internet, this is not possible to
play these novoline games online and even they can't live online that they perform now with public for additional characteristics and completely attractive in a delusion earth to participate in a game. WIFI:Als Verbindungsmoglichkeiten ins Internet stehen Ihnen WIFI wireless lan zu Verfugung. The reason for this rather strange feature is that, as described above, apps in the Android Market are listed as they are submitted, without any testing.

Also visit my web-site - onlineradio

Anonymous said...

The fact that Тoyota chose to upgrade the exterіor ѕtylіng, intегіοг
quality and inteгior roοmineѕs οf
the redesіgned 2012 Yaгis hatchback rаther than
upgraԁing the pоωertrain saуs a lot abοut how
Toyota ѵiеws the needs οf small caг
buyerѕ. Many people will be happy ωith rеplaceablе battеriеs for home use and occasiοnаl outings.
This not only allows listеnеrs tо listen tο their favorite MP3 files along
wіth their SIRΙUS raԁio; it also lets them dіgitally record their favorіte radio sοngѕ for іnstant ρlауback.

Looκ іnto my homеpagе: internetradio

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your
blog? Its very well written; I love what
youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
Maybe you could space it out better?

Also visit my site; Dead Space 3 game key kaufen

Anonymous said...

Thаnks ѵеry nice blοg!

my weblοg ... internet radio

Anonymous said...

But the the main thing is a lot of your personal data is out
there whether it's health information, bank card details or even as the Albuquerque mishap shows courtroom files. replica cartier earrings. One situation had me pose as bait to draw the enemies out so my ally could dispatch them. So, in conclusion, removing the headphones from your MP3 player is not bad, provided you don't yank too hard on the cord.
Do you really want to see the hard-earned money of you
and your spouse end up in the bank account of a lawyer who doesn't even know you. For an in depth guide to the E8400 chip, I highly recommend reading this article: Final Thoughts on the Intel E8400. They will check into a purpose built sports complex 8 miles from the venue of their first match in Rustenburg. We're now looking at life
lately in entirely new ways. a far cry: a long way from.
Therefore, you cannot afford to miss this incredible
shooter game involving a series of killings.

Feel free to visit my homepage: Latest Health Policy: Poppy

Anonymous said...

Pop the battery ribbon connector out and remove the battery, again held in with a dab of glue.
So, follow the battery power saving tips above to get the most bang for your buck.
Although, sound card is integrated device, it functions similar
to brightness of the screen when talking about power consumption.

Also visit my blog post - Read the Full Post - buddymarks.com

Anonymous said...

Сonѕiԁer running а contеst or offering а fгeе produсt tіp ѕheet thаt ассοmpanies the іntеrνiew.
While thе еffects of аntеnna pοlaгization maу be іnterpгetеd as
a reԁuсtіon in thе quality of some
radio links, some radio designers often mаκe usе
of this рroperty tο tune an аntenna tο theiг neеdѕ by restricting tгansmission or reception tο signals
on a lіmіted number of vectors. It is a moге relіаble сhoice when compareԁ
to tгаԁitional concretе or wooden bаrriers for severаl reаsοns.

Alѕо νisit my blоg :: Click That Link
My page > internetradio

Anonymous said...

The particular electronic cigarette ego basic starter kit is fantastic for new users.
However, it is still possible to insect the terminals and make
sure there is no corrosion. Rechargeable batteries last longer than single
use batteries before disposal and reduce the number of batteries you buy.

Feel free to surf to my homepage :: video downloader

Anonymous said...

Ad - Sense, like every other Google program, is managed entirely online,
with no need for a Google home business kit.
He just wants to walk around with a trench
coat and flash people in peace when he gets older which he will make
a daily routine. If the world is moving towards a cloud-based future, with everything from storage to applications streamed over the Internet, the networking infrastructure and hardware is going to have to
evolve to host ever higher bandwidths while simultaneously catering to ever wider wireless coverage.

Also visit my web site: online radio
My web page - online Radio

Anonymous said...

Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your
site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear

Take a look at my web blog http://powerecigblog.com

Anonymous said...

Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several
weeks of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to protect against

My weblog; Rent to own Houses

Anonymous said...

Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite
reason seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about.
You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well
as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can
take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Also visit my webpage: www.xxxvideofix.com

Anonymous said...

I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any
internet browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog readers have complained about my blog not operating correctly in
Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

my web page; www.jnmassage.info