“Vergeltungswaffe zwei” was the designation given to Adolf Hitler’s principal long-range warhead. Long before the Americans and Soviets initiated their pursuit of space, the Germans had ambitions of their own. The “German Army Ordnance,” in fact, toiled tirelessly constructing rocket-like missiles before the Second World War. Hitler and the Nazis believed that the capability to attack strategic foreign objectives in a concise period of time would cripple their counterparts and ordain the Germans unstoppable (“Space Race Exhibition” 1).
The mastermind behind the V-2 missile technology was a young German national named Wernher von Braun. Von Braun and his small band of fellow scientists were thought to be incompetent before a few eye-opening launches led the Nazi regime to seek his services (Kallen 12). Hitler’s curiosity in the V-2 led to multitudes of enslaved Jewish prisoners generating these rockets. Throughout the War, Nazi forces utilized thousands of V-2 rockets against the Allied forces in Europe. When von Braun perceived America was destined to achieve victory in WWII, he brought his intelligence to the States, where he continued his research in New Mexico (Kallen 14). Many war-time V-2s were ultimately stolen by the United States and aided American physicists and scientists in their own missile development (“Space Race Exhibition” 1).
By this time Nazi Germany had fashioned a technologically advanced missile of their own. However, the United States was making significant strides toward the completion of their own by the mid 1940s. The “WAC Corporal” epitomized the commencement of the America...
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...Reed Educational and Professional Publishing, 2001. Print.
• Kuhn, Betsy. The Race for Space. Minneapolis: Twenty-first Century Books, 2007. Print.
• Mogul, Zahra. "Interesting facts - Space." Science and Technology Facilities Council, 10 Dec 2008. Web. 14 Apr 2011.
• “Space Exploration and Travel.” The New Book of Knowledge. 1 vol. Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated, 1994. Print.
• Space Race: Cold War Front. The History Channel: 2011, Film.
• Space Race Exhibition. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 2002. Web. 6 Apr 2011.
• “Timeline: The Space Race.” American Experience: Race to the Moon. PBS, 6 Oct 2005. Web. 6 Apr 2011.
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