tv Pursuit of German and Japanese War Criminals CSPAN December 30, 2016 6:37am-8:17am EST
then on how world war ii changed the united states and the world. later, the life and postwar career of cartoonist bill maudlin. a look at the fate of nazi and japanese war criminals. to punish or to partner was part of a conference hosted by the national world war ii museum in new orleans. it's just over 90 minutes. we will now hear about what happened to those who managed to escape prosecution. our panel will begin with pulitzer nomineeannie jacobson who will talk about the race to capture nazi scientists to put them to work against the soviets in the new cold war. then we'll hear from dr. gerald
steinacher of the university of nebraska who will talk about the rats lines utilized by nazis to escape europe and justice. our final speaker will be linda holmes who will shift the focus to the japanese who were responsible for horrific treatment of p.o.w.s, yet most did not have to suffer the consequences of their actions. so ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming our first speaker, annie jacobsen. [ applause ] >> thank you so much. i'm annie jacobsen, a journalist and author. i write about wars, weapons, u.s. national security and secrets. i'm very interested in history. i'm particularly interested in how history gets recorded, and how history gets reported. i came upon "operation
paperclip" which was the secret program to bring nazi scientists to the united states for our weapons programs. when i was working on another book called area 51 about the spy plane programs that were going on out in the nevada desert. the u2th in sr-71 and the a-12 ox cart. and i learned from the scientists and spies that i was interviewing about the horton five, which is the nazis flying wing. and i learned that the person in charge of the horton five during the war was a fellow by the name of siegfried knaimeier. he was a pilot and brilliant engineer. he was one of the top ten pilots. and after the war, he came to the united states. and this is what i found peculiar. kneimeir was so important to
goring that goring called him my boy. and i found out that when he came to the united states under "operation paperclip" he became so important to the u.s. department of defense that when he retired in 1977, he was given the distinguished civilian service award. and i wondered to myself, how do you go from being that important to the nazis to being that important to the pentagon. and there began my quest for information. in 1942, hitler had a dinner party. and he had a small circle of scientists friends there. and there's a famous quote that he said. he said, i'm mad about technology, exclamation. and shortly after the war, 1946, year zero, 1600 of hitler's
technologyists were on their way to the united states under "operation paperclip." now many people here -- or almost everyone here has heard of von brown, part of "operation paperclip" but most of you haved not heard of the hundreds and hundreds of others. and that's what interested me. these were not nominal nazis. the myth was that these were the good germans. in the book that i wrote "operation paperclip," i highlight 21 of these nonnominal nazis. and just to give you an indication of their position within the reich, ten of them were members of the ss or sa. two of them wore the golden party badge. that little pin that indicated that you had favor by the fuhr. one of them, dr. otto ambrose,
was given a 1 million reichs mark bonus for his effort during the war. eight of them worked side by side with either hitler or goring. and they came to the united states and they built our weapons programs. and what really intrigued me was the question, you know, how did this happen and what does it mean? it really is a story about how do you get ahead? and this was a conundrum that american military scientists faced after the war. and i'll give you a very brief overview of the program, which went -- of how it came to be, which went like this. there was an operation. and after the -- as the allies advanced, the al sauce scientists very quickly learned that the nazis were behind in
atomic energy. that was the big fear. but they were ahead in rocketry. it's why von brown was at the top of the black list for capture. but they were also ahead in aviation medicine. and this was very important because the u.s. knew that aircraft would play a primary role moving forward in our weaponry and our weapon systems. and the reich had been able to advance aviation technology. the idea was, how do we fly higher, further and faster and whereas american, you know, medical researchers had to work with rabbits and guinea pigs, the reich had access to humans in the concentration camp. putting humans in high altitude chambers and so forth. and these were the kind of individuals that were taken to america. but what was really alarming to
the allies, to the scientists in this -- in the immediate aftermath of the war was how far advanced the reich had become in chemical weapons and biological weapons. and i found this little part of the story particularly interesting. i'm going to briefly tell you about two characters. the person who led the biological weapons program and the chemical weapons program bt because "operation paperclip" is also a story about rivalry. and so the reason the impetsus for this program was the -- and the program worked out of the e ring at the pentagon, the joint chiefs of staff approved it, and the idea was that hiring these nazi scientists, hitler's technology giists was the lessef two evils. if we didn't hire them, then the soviets surely would. so we took on, in addition to the rocket scientists and aviation scientists and the
medical doctors, the deputy fuhr -- the deputy surgeon general of the reich who had been tried at nuremberg and acquitted and also major general walter schreiber who ran the chemical weapons program. and what was fascinating was these two men fought with one another all throughout the war. one worked on offense, you know, on biological weapons. the other worked on the vaccines to inoculate soldiers against these kind of weapons. they hated one another during the war, and then when they began working for "operation paperclip" they hated one another. and it's interesting to me how rivalry produces supremacy, but it can also produce downfall. and i highlight this in the book and that's exactly the one moment of expose of this program because, keep in mind, this was a secret program and the government worked very hard to keep the documents out of the public eye to keep the
backgrounds of the nazi scientists hidden. and the little crack that happened was in 1951 when dr. major general dr. schreiber came to the united states as part of the secret program and he was set up in texas. and it was kind of a moment of glory when one of the doctors at the nurenberg trial who i write about in my book "operation paperclip," his name was leopold alexander. he had persecuted many of these -- or tried to -- doctors at the doctors trial unsuccessfully and schreiber was one of the ones who was not present because he'd been captured by the russians. and he reappeared and was secreted to the united states and set up in texas at the aviation medical institute there. but that same month that he was in texas, that he arrived, with a degree of hubris, the military
made a small announcement that he had come to the united states, and they praised him as a good german. but at that same time, dr. leopold alexander was doing pro bono work with some of the very victims of the medical experiments, the few who had survived at a hospital in boston. and so when dr. alexander learned from a little clipping in a medical journal that he just so happened to be reading that the deputy surgeon general of the reich was here in america working, he became so insensed that he called up the military. and the military was over a barrel. and this is the heart and soul of "operation paperclip" because the scientists knew that the military had a vested interest in keeping their histories secret. and so there was a big battle that went on behind the scenes with schreiber saying, you know, essentially, if you let them know my past, i will let you
know about the 16 other -- 1600 others of us who are here. and dr. leopold saying this san outrage. this man should not be in america working as a doctor. and the fight took place behind scenes until leopold became so upset he went to truman himself. that's a teeny small victory that i share with you in the short amount of time i have to talk about this fascinating program. when its darkness is revealed, people often ask me, did any good come of this? reporting about this story 70 years after the fact. and to that, i say, yes, because there may not be a hero in the story of "operation paperclip." it may be peopled with darkness and this idea of nazi science building up our weapons program, but i always believe as a
journalist, as an -- and as an author that when the facts get revealed, that is its own personal, private and public victory. to report this book, i was able to find new documents through the freedom of information act that had never been made public before, including long secret lists of the actual crimes that the doctors had committed. i was able to interview the children of most of the major nazis that i write about and learned so much about their perspective on history. and that is why i find it so important to care about history, about how history gets recorded and now history gets reported. i thank you all so much, and i look forward to any questions you might have. [ applause ]
>> yeah, thank you very much for your interest in this topic and in my research. i want to thank the organizers. the world war ii museum for the kind invitation to come to new orleans. it sauis always good to be back new orleans where i was a graduate student as an exchange student from the university of innsbruck in austria. i have 20 minutes so let's get started. let's start by going back to
1945. one principle, the allied powers could agree on when it came to germany and austria was denazification. but there was little agreement about what that meant and how it should be implemented. the u.s. eventually choose the rule of law through courts of law. a long and complicated process. individual guilt or innocence was to be established but notions of collective guilt briefly discussed but for the most part rejected. had the western allies not chosen the rule of law, things could have turned out quite differently as the example of italy shows. in italy, war crime trials and defascization courts were established but revenge was widespread. not only was longtime italian dictator mussolini killed in cold blood without any legal proceedings but so an estimated
12,000 -- 12,000 italian fascist and suspected -- raiders. in germany, things were quite different as we had heard earlier today. largely thanks to the u.s., the international military tribunal in nurenberg against some surviving members of the third reich was created. later was the united states without the other allies that had responsibility industry leaders, diplomats, physicians, lawyers and generals in 12 subsequent nurnen berg trials which went on as we've heard today until 1949. these nurenberg trials, despite their many shortcomings, set a new standard in international law which is valid until today. there were a number of other war crime trials, notably the u.s. military court proceedings in
dachau. in addition to that, the allies set up a sophisticated system of denazification courts. in the u.s. zone of occupation, 13 million germans filled out questionnaires about their recent past. nazis who had not committed the crime in the narrow legal sense could still be convicted in denazification proceedings. punishment ranged from prison sentences to professional bans or the loss of voting rights for certain time period. my research is about the tens of thousands of nazis as collaborators and fascists from all over europe who fled overseas in order to escape trial and punishment. i wanted to know in my research how those people got out, how they got new identities, travel papers, vis as, money for
overseas travel. how they started new lives and new careers. i also wanted to know which institutions helped them and what was their motivation for doing so and the issue, the question for motivation for these institutions and people helping is one of the most difficult questions in my research. the escape of nazis, war crimes perpetrators of the holocaust after 1945 is among the few major gray areas of the nazi past. until recently -- trying to get the image. let's see. nope. that's too far. until recently, our image of nazis gave us more fiction than fact and often shaped by conspiracy theories. the odessa organization is a good example for this. odessa stands short for organization of former s member.
it is based on books by holocaust survivsurvivor. here you see a film poster of the 1974 film. "the odessa file." the fictional idea of an almost almighty organization of former s officers became a reality for many. the escape routes of nazi criminals and their collaborators were indeed shrouded in mystery but a single global secret society by the name of odessa or any other name for that matter, did not plan them. the reality is much more complicated but certainly not less interesting. the end of the cold war in 1989 changed our knowledge on this topic. the afterlife of nazism as i call it after the end of the so-called third reich. yet two major reasons for the
difference or the changes in research. first, a layer of protection dropped away for nazi criminals still alive. investigations and trials started in many countries. in italy, the case of former s officer eric britka gave much attention after he was apprehended in argentina and extradited to italy in the 1990s. in the u.s., the case of john ivan demijanjuk was all over th media. i'm sure you remember the case. in may 2011, he was convicted on more than 27,000 counts of being an accessory to murder. the second point why our knowledge about nazis kept changing since the 1990ss. archives were opened in the east and in the west. for example, cia archives in the united states, very important
sources. many archives are now accessible and offer rich field for future research. new historical findings, more and more structures of escape route have come to light and now let me give you a short overview of how war criminals and nazis fled overseas. the routes preferred and institutions involved in the early postwar years. here's some of my findings. the first one is the importance of italy. italy played a central role as a nazi escape hatch. the port of jgenua was the closest port. this port is where countless refugees converged looking to leave and start a new life and a better life away from europe. these refugees were diverse group. survivors of the holocaust, anti-communists, slave laborers, stranded p.o.w.s and so on. and hiding among them, hiding in
plain sight were nazis and war criminals. in fact, the majority of nazis and war criminals who fled europe at the end of the war escaped through italy. it was there that holocaust survivors and perpetrators crossed paths once again. and the quote by simon weisenthal captures this quite well, in my opinion. let's read this quote together he writes, i know a small inn near merano where every now and then illegal nazi transports and illegal jewish transports spent the night under the same roof without knowing about each other. the jews were hidden on the second floor and instructed not to stir and the nazis on the ground floor were urgently warned not to let themselves be seen outside of the establishment. the italian/austrian border region was a quite unique place after 1945.
a kind of no man's land. this photo here of a gi, as you can, of course, recognize from the uniform, and a young man, actually. it's a young ss man guarding jointly a red cross building in may 1945 in northern italy. two weeks after the end of the second world war. it illustrates this point very well. a unique situation in italy. germany's secret surrender in northern italy may 2nd, 1945, code named "operation sunrise" created a very unusual situation. much freedom was given to the ss and german army forces there in northern italy. u.s. news reporters took notice. the headline of the stars and stripes through s military magazine read, and i quote, did we beat the nazis or not?
in northern italy, one couldn't tell. after december 1945, there was also no allied military government in italy anymore. so once in italy, nazis on the run could feel quite safe. but to flee overseas, they still needed travel documents, passports of sorts. this is when a well-known humanitarian organization stepped in. this is my second finding. travel documents for many nazis and war criminals were provided by the international committee of the red cross. the allied refugee organization declared itself not responsible for germans or ethnic german refugees expelled in large numbers from eastern territories. there were about 12 million. so large numbers. given this humanitarian emergency, the international red cross offered to help out. people refugees with no passport
and -- ethnic germans from czechoslovakia, hung aerks yugoslavia, poland, german, east prussia and so on, could obtain travel documents from the red cross. they were acquired in italy for the most part from the delegations of the international red cross in rome or genua. based under principle of neutral humanitarianism -- this is very important -- neutral humanitarianism, these papers were intended to help all refugees and war victims. given that there were no background checks and no real screening of applicants, abuse, not surprisingly, was very widespread. not just refugees but also war criminals and nazis used a simple method to get away. in some cases, with false names. one example is this one here. so this is an application form for travel document of the international red cross.
and this one is for a certain claimant. in his application form of a travel document of the red cross, he claims to be an eths nick german from northern germany. it's where i come from. and he wants to travel to argentina or emigrate to argentina. the name clement probably does not mean much to you except for some experts here maybe. but you all have seen a photo of this man before. you all have seen a photo of this man before. maybe even a film, a news reel. his real name was not clement but eichman, one of the organizers of the holocaust, and this is how he fled europe in 1950 with the help of a red cross travel document. i come to my third finding. in italy, there was a close cooperation between the vatican
eight commission for refugees and the red cross. the vatican commission for refugees confirmed the identity of refugees in a letter of recommendation to the red cross. the red cross then, without further inspection, issued a travel document. in the words of a red cross official, and i quote, who can question the word of a priest? the vatican commission of refugees set up 20 subcommittees in order to manage the wave of catholic refugees from central and eastern europe. this refugee aid was financed large lie by t-- largely by the kat catholic church of america. head of the austrian section, an anti-semite german nationalist and anti-communist who had dreams of a christian national socialism. he considered himself -- here
you have a photo of the bishop. he considered himself a bridge builder between the nazis and the catholic church, especially in the 1930s. in 1937, he published this book here. you see the cover. the title is "the basic foundations of national socialism." explaining the ideology from a catholic point of view. he was one of the most outspoken catholic figures. one of the people he helped was schtanel. he was commandant of an extermination camp. the death factory in just one year, between 1942 and 1943, more than 900,000 people were murdered. and he was in charge of this camp. here you see a recommendation
from the vatican with a coat of arms from the vatican commission of refugees for him. and here you have his application form for travel document for the international red cross. the address he states here where he lives in rome is the initial residence of the bishop. not sure you can see this here. i can point to you. maybe you see it. and the information here, this travel document is confirm ed. the bishop is most notorious, by no means the only catholic or christian dignitary helping n i nazis. the catholic leadership was appalled and shocked by the nazi
crimes they saw nurenberg trials is the wong way to deal with guilt and responsibility. catholic bishops and cardinals were outspoken and active in criticizing the allied war crimes trials and intervened tirelessly in favor of the accused. christian notions of mercy and forgivene forgiveness, humanitarian ump and also anti-communism played a role in all of this. catholic leaders worried that for war crime trials would only weaken the german, austrian andu talian societies and facilitate a communist takeover. i come to my fifth and last finding because i'm slowly running out of time. fifth, the escape routes were by no -- were no secret at the time. they were very well known. various governments were informed. the red cross and the vatican also knew, and several
newspapers reported on the matter in some detail. so when eichman left europe in 1950, the structures that facilitated his escape were no secret. one famous example in this context is the may 1947 la vista report named after u.s. state department official in rome. la vista documented the escape structures, recognizing the important role played by vatican officials and international red cross documents. la vista's report directed some attention in washington and elsewhere and u.s. diplomats approached the institutions involved. for example, the international committee of the red cross. but it was to be handled discretely. by the summer of 1947, things changed for good. the cold war had reached italy. priorities shifted. it was decided not to destroy these underground routes, but instead used them for cold war purposes. the case of klaus is a good
example of this. klaus was the former chief of the gestapo in occupied france. he had a reputation as a cruel torturer killing resistance fighters and arresting jews. after the war, he was wanted by french authorities for war crimes. the u.s. military counterintelligence, however, deemed him useless for fighting communists. and after a few years of service, he was provided with a red cross travel document under the alias of eichman. you see his application form is here. klaus eichman. and with the help of catholic officials in rome, he was channeled in south america. this recycling of nazis for the intelligence field was quite common as we've learned from research since the late 1990s. some were deemed more useful as intelligence assets than on trial. in addition to that, allied nations competed for german
minds. they were considered iceful and allowed a new career against the background of the early cold war. i have one minute left, and i conclude. i conclude. it's enough time for conclusion. i have to conclude. i conclude. most nazis and holocaust perpetrators got out between 1946 and 1950. nobody -- nobody fled europe at the war's end in 1945. let me be clear, very clear, there was no u-boat submarine waiting for high-ranking nazis. with the berlin blockade, the communist takeover in prague and finally the war in korea, the cold war became hot, or very cold, depending how you want to see it. the new enemy was communism in general and the soviet union in
particular. the persecution of nazi war criminals became less and less of a priority. as a consequence, nazi immigration came to a halt. most nazi perpetrators had little to fear after 1950 and easily managed to integrate themselves in postwar societies. the escape of holocaust perpetrators and nazis was ultimately only possible because the interest in punishment quickly decreased after 1946, 1947. the escape of nazi criminals and collaborators should therefore be seen in the contsks denaziification, war crime trials and the early cold war. it was not an anomaly but an integral part of this history. it also showed both the successes of western allied attempts of accountability, new standards in international criminal law and human rights, but also the limits of postwar justice. thank you for listening.
[ applause ] >> aren't you taking questions? >> we're taking questions at the end. >> oh, at the end. okay. dr. steinacher talked about how hitler's henchmen escaped justice. i'm going to speak about how the japanese escaped that same kind of justice because the tokyo war crimes trials were a little bit odd because the main focus was
on general douglas macarthur. and his orders came from washington, although he took a lot of heat for what he did, which was commuting the sentences of japanese war criminals. although five of them were put to death. hideki tokyo atojo and general homa who supervised the baton death march, and one of my famous -- favorite quotations of his is when he was asked, why didn't he give any food to the death marchers for all those days leaving baton and coming, you know, to their final
destination. he said, oh, i thought they had their own food. what a cop-out. but the tokyo war crimes trials, as i said, were presided over by general douglas macarthur. but since he took his orders from washington, people blamed him tremendously for commuting the sentences of all the rest of these japanese war criminals. and, you know, they didn't -- people didn't know that he was acting under orders from washington because all of a sudden, we had to make nice to the japanese because they were our bullwark against russia.
and so these postwar tokyo war crimes trials were really truncated because general macarthur was told to shut them down as soon as possible so that we didn't offend the russians anymore than we needed to. and the americans were very much involved with covering up the war crimes trials of the -- in tokyo. and sugamo prison, which was in tokyo, was empty a few years later and was closed because it was empty. and that, to me, is a tremendous
indication of what the americans did in covering up the japanese atrocities, you know, in the tokyo war crimes trials because we were under the impression that the russians were going to take over japan. and so all of a sudden, the japanese were our bullwark against the russians. and we all of a sudden were making nice to the japanese. and this baffled a lot of the ex-p.o.w.s.
and i'm sure les tenny will talk about that when he speaks. but i just couldn't get over when i did my research in my second book "unjust enrichment" which -- for which i borrowed a legal term which means when you enrich yourself at the expense of someone else, you are unjustly enriching yourself. and so i felt that was a very good title for my second book. and the americans were so dazzled by the feeling that the
russians were going to take over japan if the americans didn't make japan a bulwark against the soviet union that they really bent over backwards to exonerate so many of these other japanese war criminals. and as i said, sugamo prism was closed in a few years because it was empty. and i just found that quite shocking. so i would be happy to take questions. you said our q&a period was at the end of my talk, so i would be happy to participate in any
questions you might have. [ applause ] >> open the floor up for questions? >> yes. >> douglas macarthur -- oh, great, thank you. >> we can't hear you. >> i have a loud voice but this makes it even louder. douglas macarthur was taking his orders from the federal government, the united states government. >> yes. >> but what do you think his feelings were about the attitude toward towards letting japanese war crimes go by the boards? >> well, his feelings seemed to be that he was very, very
friendly and forgiving of the japanese. and when he was made the overseer of japan for several years, he was very accommodating, i thought, to the japanese. and he, you know, i think he himself agreed more with our government than he might let on. >> another question in the center. >> earlier today we heard about the nurenberg trials and the exoneration of german war criminals. ex-nazis joined the government of west germany. to what extent did the japanese
war criminals also join into the government of their country? >> well, the major number of them took positions in the japanese government, and they were accommodated in that way by general macarthur because he was in charge of postwar japan. i hope i've answered your question. >> a question all the way in the back. >> thank you, all three panelists, for your fine talks and for your written words. the commenter heard earlier said -- or agreed with you that general douglas macarthur
took -- or followed his orders from washington. i would add when it pleased him. >> there. >> i also, with respect to his attitude towards the defeated japanese, in a book about the great british general william slim who achieved victory in burma, when he was told that he should allow japanese officers to keep their swords i think it was, because general macarthur did not want japanese soldiers to lose respect for their officers. general slim expressed the thought that it was exactly what he wanted for those -- for japanese troops to lose respect
for their officers. thank you. >> good old general slim. >> next question in the center. >> this question is to dr. steinacher. enjoyed your presentation very much, sir. you mentioned the role of the catholic church in getting nazis on the boat to argentina and south america. did the catholic church in south america play a similar role to helping them acclimate, setting up jobs, getting involved in their communities? >> yeah, thank you very much for your question. it's a very important question. i just want to point out a few things maybe, if i may. first of all, not all the holocaust perpetrators went to south america. the near east was very popular destination as well. syria, egypt. we don't have much research about that, yet, but it's going to change hopefully in the next few years.
and, of course, north america, canada, united states. 10,000 former collaborators, many from eastern europe, from the ukraine and so on came to canada and the united states. we shouldn't forget that. the role of the catholic church, i mean, it's important to make it clear that, in my research, i point out to the role of individual high-ranking catholic officials. it is not -- it is not yet so well researched what the top hierarchy, including the pope were thinking about these activities and how much, you know, what kind of role he had in this in the leadership of the catholic church. that's a question for future research once the archives are open. the vatican archives, i mean. the other thing is south america, yes, the catholic church there was accommodating and helping these refugees for a number of reasons.
because, one obvious reason, refugees and people, you know, on the run, as well. one obvious reason is many of these people were catholic. one thing that you probably noticed that these applications forms for travel documents of the international red cross, whenever it asked a question, what religion, it's always catholic. >> we have a question in the back center. >> this is a question for dr. steinacher. how did the nazis finance their travels, and was there bribery involved? >> this is also very good question. and i have very little time to answer that, but as i said, there was no central secret organization with unlimited money and gold in swiss bank accounts. this is fiction. it really depends from case to case. i give you a good example. two examples. one is the case of josef
mangale, probably well known to everyone here and his crimes that he committed. experiments on humans. when he used this way to get out of europe, he had plenty of money because his family was rich. they had a big enterprise in germany that's still operating and producing agricultural machinery. so he was staying in hotels in italy while on the run. eichman had no such sources. he had to rely on, you know, monasteries where he could stay and people who helped him out, and he certainly didn't have the financial means to stay in a hotel. so it really depended case by case. bribery -- bribery, certainly played always a role in such situations. extraordinary situations, you know. you had to find people who would maybe willing to give or swear that you are actually the
claimant and then you would, in return, pay this person. yes, this kind of briberies happened, of course. very common in italy, yeah. >> i would like to address the gentleman who just finished speaking. what i take away from this morning's presentations is that much that was attempted through the courts ultimately failed or was modified by political considerations and it would seem that in both the case of japan, but even more so in the case of europe and germany that it was political considerations that drove the ultimate results. my question is, it raises a
question about the function and the ultimate success of the role of justice and morality. it seems we should just skip all of that and go directly to the political and let the politicians decide how they want to resolve that. i would be interested in hearing your comments on that. >> i have an interesting note on that, and it's a good point. during the trials a doctor names theodore benzager was mysteriously released to the u.s. army air forces and secreted on a boat and sent to the united states where he researched and worked on
programs his whole life. when he died in the mid-90s his new york times obituary boasted about the fact he invented the ear thermometer. it left out the fact that he was doing human experiments on prisoners having to do with high altitude. the idea that weapons development, u.s. excellence in that area could outweigh any kind of moral issue was para mount to the paper clip program and what you speak about as well n. japan we were afraid the russians would take over and in the united states we needed to have an offensive program that would terrify the russians into keeping mutual destruction in balance.
it was a precarious mind. this idea of brinkmanship lead foreign policy. this was the idea of pushing dangerous policy to the razor's edge which is why we had so many chemical weapons programs, biological programs all spear headed by former nazis and dismantled by nixon and no longer exist. >> that's very interesting. >> my opinion about this, i mentioned the case of italy and i did so on purpose. in italy it was 20 years of italian fascism. compared with austria and germany and in italy there was
no italian tland was a lot of revenge. with 12,000 people in the post war killed and i think it's my opinion that it's a very good thing to do by the americans and given credit for the people who are in charge of that to imp pliment the principle of the rule of law. that was the right way to start a better society and make a clear distinction line and new beginnings of a democracy. italy didn't have that in that way. in my opinion i think the shortcomings later on have also looking back of course, looking back have also have to do with
that. >> obviously the world was well aware of the german rocket program. it sounds like as we were trying to prosecute this war and win it it was towards the end of the war that we became aware of some of the other advancements that german scientists had -- so i have two questions for you. one, what would have happened to these men and women had the allies been farther ahead in the research, what would have been their likely outcome and two, i guess if you put yourself in 1945 and you had -- i think you would say this opportunity what do you believe you would have done? >> it is a fascinatiing kefasci.
there was no doubt that the u.s. needed vaughn brown. there is a story i tell about how the russians would stand there with a bull horn. vaughn brown would stand there and they would say come to our side with a translator. they wanted -- that battle had begun in the ashes of world war ii, the cold war in essence. what would i do? impossible to say. to me it's one of the great joys of being a journalist. i try to get in the mind set of those who had to ask those questions in realtime. in this book i was able to do that by finding the journals of the man who was in charge of the chemical weapons program.
this is remarkable. it makes you wonder anyone out there who keeps a journal, if you're writing your dark secrets you wonder should i really be doing this? they might wind up at a military history museum and i might find them or someone else. it is interesting because there was a general named general lukes. they would come out on weekends, sit around with dr. lukes and discuss how to build our gas program. and from the journals, to answer your question, you see a real
adoration. you can see in the writings the american general saying well, hitler aside, you know, we won that war. let's work with these chaps at making our weapons program the top tier. >> yes. if i can add something to broaden the horizon a little bit here, as we stated earlier it was not just the united states. it was an international competition. the major allies, you know, german engineers and scientists but also countries like argentina. they sent their missionaries, diplomats to italy in order to arrange a transfer of scientists especially military experts to their countries. it was german scientists who developing the first in the
1950s. he was very ambitious and wanted to be number one. the german engineers helped him in this endeavor. >> a question really for either ms. jacobson or doctor. i think if you're focused now on 45 and 46, if you fast forward 30 years you will come to a time when the focus of journalists was iceland in a meeting between president reagan and the soviet premier gorbachev. they met in a small house to negotiation arms reduction.
the meeting concluded rather abruptly at the end of the afternoon when the interpreter for gorbachev said, you do understand, mr. president, that all the concessions i have offered this afternoon are contingent upon your abandonment of the defense initiative at which point the meeting was over because reagan slammed his notebook shut and turned and said we are out of here. and the photographs that record both reagan and gorbachev leaving that small house speak volumes. reagan is visibly angry and just as visibly agitated was mr. gorbachev who was buzzing in the president's ear trying to get him to come back to negotiation.
nine months later reagan stood at the brandenburg gate and said mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. the point i'm making is there was great concern on the part of the soviets, they simply did not have either the technology, the time or the money to compete with a strategic defense initiative. they didn't want the united states to have the hammer and the shield if they didn't have it, if they had only the hammer. among other things they thought it threatened the sudden almost overnight, the making obsolete investment on the part of the
soviets. so i think if you think about that that competition for technology was going on and it was with, as you have said, an international competition. so i think the stakes were high and perhaps higher than anyone knew, but it probably explains a great deal. >> absolutely. i think you speak to a great point which is that it leads with operation paper clip. it was not such a cut and dry issue as how could we have committed this moerl outrage? there was real concern at the pentagon. as i report in the book, the intelligence community came to the joint chief of staff with a very significant document in 1946 and said, you know, we must be prepared for total war with the soviets.
that was atomic war, chemical war and biological war in a kind of vision that then became very real as the cold war progressed through the 50s and 60s. i love your point about that final show down because i think that really was the -- that tipped the scales and it really does make one question whether or not, you know, that idea that one must stay ahead, one must be in the position in terms of national security, thank you. >> next question to your left. >> ms. jacobson i have been out and visited with some of the people that take you around their mu see upand talk about the scientists that came out. some of those moved on into
huntsville, alabama. tell me about the assimilation of the nazi scientist. he was guarding in a situation where the scientists were living out there but how well they assimilated the u.s. life and what became of their families, very little is written about that. he was of the opinion being able to know these people a little bit that they never became us citizens in terms of assimilating into our lifestyle. they had a protection to stay in the u.s. but did they assimilate to us or did they stay confirmed nazis? >> that is a great question. i find that character super interesting. i touch upon that in all of my books. you know, there are 112 nazis that worked there at white sands with 100 v2s that were brought back.
we captured the scientists. as far as assimilation is concerned maybe the best example i can give is who didn't work on the rocket program but rather worked on the aviation side of things. i interviewed -- you know, i like to track down the living family members who have that firsthand experience and i try to access journals and i have found one of his grandsons who agreed to let me interview him and even more interesting to me, agreed -- you know, he said to me when i asked him, will you talk to me about your grandfather, goring's right hand man, later the defense department distinguished civilian scientists. he said yes, i will. i will fed ex you a box of my grandfather's writings and papers and journals and awards.
when i went through that box and you know, side by side with a letter of recommendation and a letter of recommendation from goring this is during the war, there were letters of recommendation from defense department officials. for the assimilation this really made me think. he asked to be cremated rather than be buried. he asked for a simple paragraph to be read during his funeral. it said that he worked for and respected two nations, germany and america. >> uh-huh. >> all right. next question is to your right,
catholic official. it was the head of the catholic community in rome and he helped many perpetrators to escape to south america and other places. he was the man who actually helped the priest. he helped and working for the commission for refugees. that's what i meant earlier. the other thing, absolutely right. i mentioned in italy he was responsible for killing of
march, 1944, one of the most horrible killings, most notorious. 335 italian civilians were murdered as a reprisal of the killing of 33 german police soldiers. they committed to argentina. he lived there under his real name in the south of argentina. he was even very prominent in the german school there. nobody -- i mean it was not a secret that he was there. in the 1990s after the end of the cold war he was discovered. >> we will go with nathan. we'll get your second follow-up after we make the rounds here.
>> me question is it's kind of intriguing of the trials and their effect on the democracies in germany and italy. my question is with the lack of the war crime trials you said had an effect on their democracy even today. since i'm not familiar with the workings of their government can you give a couple of examples? >> for me the obvious reason there it has to do with the early cold war. so it was very soon to keep italy in the western camp. it was a great fear that italy would turn communist. they had the strongest party in southern europe and so there was a real chance that in the 1948 elections, for example, the communists could have won these
protection. >> he was shielded and in many ways is also selective and is a good example. he was spared prosecution because he was useful in helping to keep italy so to speak in the western camp and of course any earlier in saving many lives. this too, absolutely. that's important. >> we have a question in the front row, center. >> thank you. >> knowing about the monuments man where they had a specific group of people that were going out and trying to save the art in europe, was there a similar kind of group done for grabbing the scientists? how was it organized and how far in advance did we decide we wanted to do this? >> that was operation paper
clip. it was lead by a physicist. he had who later went onto be a paramilitary officer. there is a great parallel there. as they were looking for art the they were looking for sicientifc intelligence. i chronical this in great detail. the early documents are so interesting. we learned how this would -- some would call it plunder and others would call it the bid for science. and it was very -- it was kept very secret and only when general eisenhower was set up at the old building was there a real office and the organization of operation paper clip began.
europe. i'm curious, mrs. holmes, is there evidence of anything like that happening in japan with the japanese war criminals? >> well, not really because general mcarthur was in charge and his credo, you know, prompted by instructions from washington was that the japanese were to be released soon from prison. they could go through a war crimes trial and be sentenced, some of the wthem were sentence years but they were out very shortly because he commuted their sentences on instructions from washington. so i don't know if i have answered your question.
>> i might add a note to that. when i was researching it was sbre interesting because i came across the japanese and japanese war criminals who were not prosecuted. it sort of falls upon the access of the biological weapons program. so took up a lot. they had had most of facilities they were taken over by the russians. it was very real they might have a better biological weapons program. our scientists where the weapons program was went to japan on orders to interview who was the leader of their biological weapons program. we cut a deal with him that said, you know -- it was a very
crafty quid pro quo. she said if you look at the documents, well, you have to grant me full clemency before i tell you anything. it went back and forth and she handed over a pile of documents that amounted to absolutely nothing. >> yes. he was very good at that. >> yes. >> a question right in the middle here. >> this question is for doctor. a lot has been written about pope pius. i guess my take is what's your take on him and what's his role and should he be held accountable for subordinates? >> well, that's not an easy
question to answer. i mean there's no easy question to answer. i mean it's also the time frame and it is based very much on thousands of years of experience, how to come to terms with such -- or what to do after war and all of these atrocities that were committed. so the role of forgiveness was very strong in catholic churches. we heard today it supported the catholic church but at the lutheran church that gave to demands of amnesty or clemency to many of these convicted war criminals that they called war prisoners -- prisoners of war.
it was also mentioned this morning. so there was obviously a very different understanding of guilt and responsibility from the catholic leadership side, but why that is and what their vision was are to come to terms with these kind of issues. that's something i'm very much interested in and i'm certainly going to research this much more in the next few years. >> i will add one note. when i was in germany i went to where six of the paper clips were originally held who was convicted of mass murder and slavery and he was released and he later worked for the u.s. department of energy. i went and the fellow who took me around took me into the church there. it was very interesting.
it is about how they were going to get out. they showed me how they had to do a redesign because the benches were such that the go d guards couldn't see who was whispering. they could give someone a tap if they were whispering. they were talking about how their lawyers were making progress about getting them out and they did. >> and when i add to this i call it denazification.
some m jews among them. he converted in 19 -- he was rebaptized in 1948 by a local priest in northern italy. that was basically -- if you looked at the correspondent baptizing in rome it was basically the precondition, this case for helping him out and providing him the documents from the red cross. >> not just the local prison but also the higher ups.
i give you another example who was convicted to -- sentenced to death because he committed horrible crimes was responsible for a large number of victims. he converted and he became catholic in prison and his conversion to the catholic faith was cherished and celebrated in a publication. the publication was called -- i believe my return to god and he was compared to st. augustine. >> oh, my goodness.
i think it was a very important motivation for catholic priests and cardinals. >> next question on your left. >> thank you all so much for your presentation. i would like to say one comment first that i am not catholic but i do know that people like the scarlet of the vatican did also help jewish and from the allied side to receive aid. so i know that not all of them were culpable. but my question actually is about the difficulties of
establishing new governments in these conquered lands such as west germany and japan in particular. when you see men standing on the u.s.s. missouri who signed the surrender agreements and end up becoming part of the new government it's appalling and moe moral outrage when you know about the nazis put into leadership positions. who do you look to except people who have already had political leadership and are bureaucrats and know how to run a government? who do you look to? i think it's today a valid question with nation building as we call it.
>> i'll speak quickly to that issue. it is an interesting point today. so that's exactly what happened in post war germany. there was a point at which order needed to be restored and the people who had the -- you know, knowledge and practice were put back in power in many instances. what i also find interesting, because i care so much about the record of fact was that these documents were classified. so many of the documents that showed culpability. the reason for that was to maintain order. no one wanted a bunch of journalists going around and learning the nature crimes that had been kmitd wcommitted. there is an interesting reality which i noted after the invasion of iraq happened there was a scientific committee that went in and i was following along as this was happening wondering if
they were going what on earth to iraqi scientists have to offer? they were grabbing documents because they needed to be able to secret those documents so those in power were not, you know, sort of killed in essence. it went to the hoover institute where they remain for obvious reasons. >> just a quick note to that. may i mention there were huge efforts and 13 million germans were scammed. you can see this and those materials are part of the effort to collect the materials that it
could screen people. so the intentions were there but at a certain point they realized if you fire basically every teacher who was in the nazi party who is going to run these institutions and who is going to run the country? it was a difficult decision to make. there is no easy answer to that in my opinion. >> question to your right. >> my comments are basically related to the comments that have been made by the speakers and the audience. i think in retrospect they were
two of the most effective in post world war japan and germany and partly through their efforts immerged to modern democratic states from the carnage and killing of world war ii if you fast forward the history to year 2003 when he was appointed basically to the fall of saddam hussein you will see some very clear distinctions between the past and 2003 mr. brimmer
outlawed that party of saddam hussein, basically that move created an enormous chaos in the country is the only organization that was capable of running the country. the country fell into chaos and some historians believe that that was one of a very important reason for the syrian civil war. you can really debate what general mcarthur had done in the 1940s.
thank you. >> and the historians don't want to broach on current affairs. >> no. >> or modern history. >> i think that's exactly the pont i just made in my earlier comment. >> well, general mcarthur was, you know, put in charge of japan. and so his attitude towards japan and the japanese after the war was a crucial factor and he really proved the premise that, you know, he was very sympatheticic to the japanese people and that showed.
>> one final question in the center. >> when we went in 1967 a lot of time was spent on the principals, both p.o.w. civilians and a lot about nontorture. i believe most of the men were informed and were proud of how we treated the particular war i was involved with. the question i have now is given the recent united states apparent opposition to joining an international criminal compact concerning war crimes, has our country renunsuated the wonderful principals i hope we set? i know you're historians and an uncomfortable question. if i could get one answer from
each of you i would be obliged. >> well. i just don't know. i don't think so. but, you know, my colleagues may have more specific comment. >> the trials and the code in particular plays an important role in operation paper clip because the doctor that i mentioned who gave us that little crack into paper clips expose when he made public the presence in the united states, he was responsible for writing the code based on his experiences at the doctor's trial. and, you know, it's -- the
p.o.w. issue is end leslie fascinating to this historian. those issues i think are issues that, you know, individuals as americans should always be thinking about and are open to debate. so i'm not certain that it's a black and white question. i think that i always, you know, the hope for all of this in studying history and to inform the present for me comes frommizen hour's remarks whfro from eisenhower's responses, but he also had a hopeful adage which was that it's the responsibility of americans to remain informed and continue in debate. i think that's what all of us are doing by attending conferences like this.
>> yes. >> i think the rule of law, this was really crucial to have you establish that and with the trials it was also a way to inform the world what happened. millions of people saw the news about the liberation of the camps including the german public. >> maybe they created somewhere else and the view they had so the history is very mild. you know, i think that the rule of law and these trials, they really made a difference and helped to start a better
democratic society. >> well, in the tokyo war crimes trials the focus was really on exonerating people, japanese war criminals and as i said, the prison was closed after a few years because it was empty, but the focus on war crimes and the responsibilities that came out at the tokyo trials were really very different. >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for all of your wonderful
questions. thanks to our panelists. >> more programs about world war 2. at 8:00 p.m. examining the origins of the cold war. at 9:25 p.m. u.s. democracy and international creations. world war ii and the impact on the world. starting in january we'll have live coverage of trump administration confirmation hearings. we'll show you the hearings when they happen and we'll reair each hearing in prime time. on january 10th and 11th they hold confirmation hearings for jeff sessions. it's on the c-span networks on
tv, radio and online. new year's night on q and a. >> while people were starving he was having these fancy parties in the white house. it was part of the image making where he was the candidate for the poor people and here was this rich man in washington. thousands of acres in a state. he was actually a very wealthy man but he was portrayed as the champion of the poor. women waved handkerchievefhandk. >> ronald schafer, author of the book the carnival campaign
sunday night 8:00 eastern. now david kennedy on the aftermath of world war ii. in his lecture, unconditional jubilation. he argues that economic globalization and the formation of the u.n. transformed america and the globe in a positive way and were products of us strategy during the war. the world war ii museum hosted this hour-long event. >> the latest installment of the lecture of world war ii. general mason's career as you have heard the introduction yesterday took him from front lines with general patent in world war ii all the way to the pentagon in his period after world war ii a a