User:Otolemur crassicaudatus/Science and technology in Nazi Germany

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Nazi Germany was developed in the field of science and technology. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, they started development in the field of science and technology and rearmament. Due to the defeat in World War I, emphasis was given on the German rearmament programme by the Nazi regime which was initially started by the Weimar Republic in the early 1920s.[1] In April 1922, the Treaty of Rapallo was signed between the Weimar Republic and the Soviet Union, which led to renouncement of all territorial and financial claims against each other by both countries, also aimed at cooperation in the fields of aviation, armour and chemical warfare.[1] During the Nazi regime this cooperation ended, but the Nazis carried out the rearmament on much greater scale.[1] Nazi Germany produced weapons in mass quantities.[1]

Germany's entrance in the World War II was highly premature and the Nazi leadership did not expect and prepared for a war in global scale to continued for four or five years.[2] Germany was in the middle of a massive rearmament program.[2] During the invasion of Poland, Hitler did not expect that France and the United Kingdom will declare war against Germany.[2] Germany became involved in a full scale war and the Wehrmacht needed high levels of improvement in of science technology.[2]

Germany faced several problems in developing technological superiority. Some exiled German scientists worked for the Allies.[2] Notable among them was Leo Szillard, who was instrumental in initiating the Manhattan Project.[2] Edward Teller moved to the United States, had significant contributions in the development of the hydrogen bomb and is know as the "father of the hydrogen bomb".[2] Theodor von Karman had great role in aeronautical research by the Allies.[2]

Aviation research[edit]

Heinkel He 178 was the world's first aircraft to fly purely on turbojet power.
Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world's first operational jet fighter.

Nazi Germany made several efforts for development and improvement of jet engine technology. Initial attempts for developing new mode of propulsion was made by Ernst Heinkel.[3] After a meeting with Wernher von Braun, a small existing air-frame was adopted for this purpose - Heinkel He 112.[3] This plane successfully flown in 1937.[3] The more advanced model, the Heinkel He 176, made its maiden flight on June 20, 1939.[3] The plane was demonstrated to the German aviation leaders in the next day.[3] But they became angry with Heinkel for developing the plane without sanction from the Reich Ministry of Aviation, saw Heinkel's actions too independent and prohibited further work on it.[3] In July 1939, Heinkel demonstrated the plane before Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, but they also considered the plane useless and no effort was made for its development.[3] In 1936, Heinkel privately financed the development of a turbojet engine under the leadership of Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain.[3] However the Reich Ministry of Aviation did not completely ignore the development of jet engine, and a contract was given to Junkers and BMW for this purpose.[3] The new Heinkel He 178 achieved its successful flight on August 27, 1939 piloted by Erich Warsitz who also piloted the Heinkel He 112 and Heinkel He 176.[4] Heinkel He 178 was world's first jet aircraft.[5]

But after the successful invasion of Poland, Hitler ordered to stop long-range research projects.[4] The order was maintained until the Battle of Moscow, which was a strategic Soviet victory, and it became clear that no quick victory is possible.[4] However despite this order, construction of jet engine was continued.[4] Willy Messerschmitt continued the development of Messerschmitt Me 262.[4] A rocket-powered aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 163, was also built.[4] In May 1941, the Messerschmitt Me 163 broke world's speed record by reaching a speed of 1000 km/h, but the fact remained undisclosed and never announced.[4] On April 2, 1941, the Heinkel He 280 made its first flight.[4] On April 4 1941, the Messerschmitt Me 262 made its maiden flight with a reciprocating engine and in July 1942, the Messerschmitt Me 262 achieved its first successful flight with jet engine developed by the Junkers.[4] The Messerschmitt Me 262 was world's first operational turbojet fighter aircraft.

Missile development[edit]

V-2 rocket was world's first ballistic missile.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28, 1919, Germany was restricted to manufacture heavy artillery.[6] Due to this restriction, Germany was forced to consider using rockets for long range bombardment.[6] Germany had been developing rocketry since the 1930s.[7] Nazi Germany developed several missiles including the Fieseler Fi 103 and the V-2 rocket.

The Fieseler Fi 103 or V1 was world's first guided missile used in war en masse.[8] V1's airframe was designed by the Fieseler and its pulse jet engine, the Argus As 014, was produced by the Argus Motoren.[9] V1 was devised in early 1935, but due to problems in design, the development was slow and not much priority was given to the project.[8] The first production order of V1 was made in 1942 and the missile was first launched on 13 June 1944.[8] Approximately 29,000 missiles were manufactured.[8]

The V-2 rocket was world's first ballistic missile.[7] The V-2 was first launched successfully on 3 October, 1942 from Peenemünde.[7][6] In the final stage of the World War II, approximately 3000 V-2s were launched against the United Kingdom, France and Belgium.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Azriel Lorber (2002). Misguided Weapons: Technological Failure and Surprise on the Battlefield. Brassey's. pp. p190. ISBN 1574885286.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Azriel Lorber (2002). Misguided Weapons: Technological Failure and Surprise on the Battlefield. Brassey's. pp. p193. ISBN 1574885286.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Azriel Lorber (2002). Misguided Weapons: Technological Failure and Surprise on the Battlefield. Brassey's. pp. p198. ISBN 1574885286.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Azriel Lorber (2002). Misguided Weapons: Technological Failure and Surprise on the Battlefield. Brassey's. pp. p199. ISBN 1574885286.
  5. ^ Heinkel He 178
  6. ^ a b c German Army V2 (Assembly 4) Royal Air Force Museum
  7. ^ a b c d Martin J. Collins (1999). Space Race: The U.S.-U.S.S.R. Competition to Reach the Moon. Pomegranate. pp. p14. ISBN 0764909053.
  8. ^ a b c d Fiesler Fi103 (V1) Royal Air Force Museum
  9. ^ Dennis Piszkiewicz (2007). The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War. Stackpole Books. pp. p81. ISBN 0811733874.