Project Paperclip

Title:                      Project Paperclip

Author:                 Clarence G. Lasby

Lasby, Clarence G. (1971). Project Paperclip: German Scientists And The Cold War. New York: Atheneum

LCCN:    75108824

Q149.U5 L38 1971


Date Updated:  May 2, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Based on an extensive study of U.S. government documents supplemented by interviews with knowledgeable individuals, this book traces the evolution of U.S. thinking and policy describes the efforts to identify, locate, and utilize German scientists and technicians at the last stages of the war and after it. It is also the story of the search for German scientific installations and secrets and of the tug-of-war in the government on how best to make use of what was acquired. Lasby clarifies the reasons for changes in U.S. policy and the effect certain Soviet actions had, including the shock of U.S. officials on learning of Soviet espionage from Gouzenko after his defection in Canada. We also learn the Soviets began to deport thousands of German scientists to the Soviet Union one month after President Truman approved a new U.S. policy ending U.S. indecision on whether to exploit these scientists for military and civilian purposes. Though one review called this a definitive study, that is not the opinion of others, despite a general consensus as to its high quality. One reviewer found the closing chapter on accomplishments to be weak and to rely too much on sweeping estimates of the U.S. military. What is more to the point is that this is largely a treatment of the overt side of the story. The covert or intelligence side needs to be researched to produce a fuller picture of the total effort and to fill in what Lasby tells of the general work of various organizations involved.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[2]

An interesting look at the post-WWII intelligence effort to find and exploit German scientists.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[3]

A definitive study of U.S. intelligence teams competing with French, Soviet, and British counterparts in a search for German scientists, engineers, and technicians and in a race for exploitation of Germany’s wartime technology. The author, a professor of history, conducted interviews with more than 200 PAPERCLIP personnel and studied extensive documentation held in government files. Important insights are revealed regarding the role of PAPERCLIP in the emergent cold war, and in the little-known struggle for scientific supremacy in the immediate postwar period.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 284-285

[2] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 40

[3] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 111



Date Posted:      January 14, 2015

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4 Responses to Project Paperclip

  1. Pingback: Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: The ALSOS Mission | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Scientific and Technical Intelligence, Chapter 10 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Pingback: The Nazis Next Door | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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