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The University of Michigan presents they fought alone. I'll be frank I need the field. If we didn't you would have been paid back long ago for that little fiasco of the fuel mixture some years ago. That's your jew friend that account has been subtle for some time now what do you mean. Didn't you know. I haven't heard from him in several years. Surely he suffered an unfortunate accident in his laboratory in Vienna explosion everyone killed even his family. Oh no. Yes. Too bad isn't it. But that fuel can be dangerous to work with especially for a man as in judicious and or. All right Doctor let's get back to business. What is your decision. My decision what choice do I have.
In cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters the University of Michigan presents they fought along. Stories of the men who fought for our freedom to nose. Toward the middle of the 20th century a restricted group of German scientists began intensive experiments to achieve one of the oldest dreams of mankind. But their work was blocked. And it is that story we tell today. The names have been changed. The events have happened. Oh. Today in the western part of the United States there was a flat sandy valley
between two mountain chains where the sun beats down hard and hot on the dunes of blinding white gypsum. There on a flame blackened base stands a 14 tongue dream forty six feet of metal and fuel as sleek and compact as science can build. This is White Sands New Mexico and our business is that clear blue sky overhead. Rocket fire control radar room report radar tracking. Standing by. You'll station report is about 90 seconds time minus 12 minutes. Roger. By the wire an X minus. The man monitor station. Yes. The telomeres good. How about the secondaries Davis is a rocket launching stage these are the minutes the dragon the sleigh and the rechecking of the countless devices that will
fire the rocket and record every foot of its light beyond the atmospheric the central control man sets before the meters on his master panel his assistants check their instruments adjusted dials iron their gear on watch I want to give it to tracking. Thirty nine hundred miles per second. Oh you got it. 139. Roger and out coming on radar. Radar tracking. Larry we're on final if using match pointers for one point three nine on secondary stage. Ok us check in on your panel. That's got it. Attention Attention is now X minus. Fire the fly in a corner of the room sits a quiet country square jawed masses who was there listening to the final acknowledge he is Dr. Carle Arab. His mind is on that V2 standing proud and ready on the launching platform and back back through the years of nightmare to
Berlin in the 1930s. Yes well of course I've heard a great deal about your work at the university. In fact I was reading. Yeah I think I understand you're already one of the three top men in the final round to be perfectly frank. I'm a bit embarrassed. You see I've just received my doctorate in engineering and you are so well established of course but what's the point.
I was in Austria last winter to visit a friend of mine Dr. Hindu. Well you can handle. He's been doing some work along this same line and never heard of him. What engine does he use modified. And he's been getting splendid results. The alcohol oxygen combination and using it through a system of injected tubes as a cooling for the motor. Oh very interesting but impractical. You just can't use fuel to cool the motor and it explodes anyone knows that. But I tell you I can sense nonsense. As for your investment forget it. I also have been working on the alcohol oxygen combination. It's merely your friend's misfortune to have discovered it too late. You don't understand. But we can handle has had the formula for nearly five years. So why didn't we publish it then. We didn't consider it why. You see when he's a Jew with the things the way they are in Germany these days you know all that vicious talk of a bad business you're getting
mixed up with a Jew. Now just a moment Professor. No no you listen to me. You're a brilliant young engineer with a great future. Not everyone becomes prominent in the rocket society. You can't afford to be blacklisted. BLANKLEY That's right. This is only the beginning. You don't know what's coming in Germany. I confess I don't know much about politics. But all of this insane talk about rioting about putting the Jews when it it turns my stomach my boy take a piece of advice don't get mixed up in this thing just continue with your experiments and leave politics to the politicians. It will all straighten out. Yes well now tell me I know what is it you're working on these days. You ideas using a small motor of 200 kilograms thrust on a testing stand if you will. He is the alcohol and oxygen mixture. Oh then you're still testing fumes. We're satisfied with the fuel.
As a matter of fact I'm trying out a method of controlling flight direction within but that's been done already and not to adequately at left but no one has ever tried using deflective fins inside the stream of thrust right in the tailpipe. Yeah inside. Yes yes very interesting. But but does it work. And if you like so you can see it for yourself. I'm giving a small demonstration in the test chamber of the rocket society. Day after tomorrow would you like to come. Yes I did you light and I'll expect you. Incidentally my friend is coming up from Austria. You ought to enjoy chatting with him about. All right Paul. Well there's a gentleman. What do you think. Remarkable control doctor. Positively remarkable. And it responds beautifully. Very sensitive these into your deflector veins if they work on this testing bench they should work in a real missile. But frankly doctor
I'm more interested in the fuel system. Yes doctor I watch the thrust indicator. I must say you've achieved excellent results as the man who can tell you all about that. Well Doctor handle excellent excellent Dr. Weil has a question on the future. What would you like to know Doctor. The mixture. What is it. Liquid oxygen in a far superior to gasoline if you will. Yes Professor Doctor Hendon here when describing the mixture derived from my formula yesterday was an improvement in performance. Just a minute Professor I told you where I got this for you Dr. Hamburg worked it out. That's nonsense. Thank you Dr. Weil. As you know a mixture of alcohol and liquid oxygen has been tested at various times as a rocket propellant. This particular mixture however and the fuel injection system were developed by this gentleman Dr. handle.
Please stop pacing around like that. You have been nervous as a kid all evening I'm sorry I can't I just can't get that one right can a business alter my mind. Don't they did when he was on the wrong track and utterly now in his article he doesn't even mention the water component and that's what's made all a success. A water alcohol mixture to cool the engine and burn slower. Everything says was written by Obama three years ago. Oh yeah that man is going to make trouble. Karl I'm surprised at you. What difference does it make who gets the credit anyway. The main thing is the fuel efficient and the rocket society was embraced. Yeah perhaps you're right. Here let me fill your glass.
Two a year of achievement. What's the matter. I wish I could bring to that. But it's a lie it's a vicious year. Things are bad and there is worse to come. And every time I walk the streets and see the broken windows and the words painted on walls and fences these are no children springless I know I am not blind. I don't have my family here in Germany. Tomorrow they go back to Vienna with me. They are not safe even there. No one is safe anymore these crazy men with bags would burn the world if they could and they grow in strength every day with fools like rightnow falling upon them. It's disgusting. It will pass and the close von Reich knows will die with them. So what are men to do in the meantime. What action what defense. It's too big to stop. The most important thing for men like you is to survive it in any way you can.
Great minds in the land mines with vision dreams. Those men in the rocket society who saw them the fever in their eyes the plans the experiments is not who understands us we are ridiculed people say we are crazy grown men shooting up tiny rockets like children playing with kites a quarter mile a half mile always a little higher. They ask us what good it will do. Then tell them tell them what you are trying to do. I'm not so sure that we know ourselves. Reach the moon perhaps have the dimness and mystery of a half formed read yes that's true. But we must seek facts information perhaps to apply it. Perhaps Ward's own sake and the choice must be ours. You know science has to function that way. Once you insist on the practical application you immediately create a barrier a barrier to circumscribe your thoughts and desires to devote your imagination.
And yet it's coming. I'm afraid it's coming. What that barrier you mentioned it's beginning to take on shape in substance or scientist when accepted not of his own volition no where will be forced on him. But these politicians by the rule of mob. Perhaps you're right but from that moment Germany goes downhill if they destroy our freedom of choice. The mental climate in which we studied they destroy everything and yet somehow you must survive that too. If you believe that work is important I believe you know you can. I believe it with all my heart. Then go on. No matter what happens each little discovery is a link in the chain. Each improvement is an inch of progress. Someday somewhere all of the interest from all the minds will join together and the dream will become a reality that awaken I will drink. And so for eight years the rocket society continued to meet and share the fruits of
their inches of discovery. But while the rockets went higher and higher the guns boomed louder and louder. One day they reached Dr Evan an official car picked him up at his home and took him to the headquarters of the Gestapo. This is Dr. Karn Arab as you ordered over right now. Good. You're under arrest. Whatever gave you that idea doctor that you have done nothing wrong have you. Not that I'm aware of. Then you have nothing to fear. Go through that door please knock first. We meet again this time I am the host of honor I can move on like it is more appropriate these days. Sit down Doctor. I trust you are treated with respect on your trip. Yes more than I expected as a matter of fact. Good. I caution the God that you were
precious property. You know how overzealous they get on occasion. I take it that your patriotism brought you to this new position in his own way doctor. No doubt. But tell me what is your business with me not doing in the past few years you've achieved considerable prominence in my own narrow field yes. A most interesting feat. I find it so and so do I ever so do I. But unfortunately my services to the fuel load run me somewhat away from technological developments. I hear you're president of the rocket society now. I have that honor. Don't be a doctor what's new. What are you trying to accomplish these days. Let me send you some of my publications. I already have your publications all of them. I'm interested in your objectives. Are you trying to achieve with these rockets objectives. If you let it control. The typical scientist spends his whole life running the trip but doesn't know where he wants to go. Let's just say
I've continued my rocket work. OK good let us say that you've been able to obtain instruments and measure for that work not so the government has been surprisingly liberal with certain privileges along that line yes. Gentleman doctor. You think it's your sparkling personality that procures least favorites. I don't delude myself. Naturally there have been reasons behind this generosity but until such time as they choose to expose themselves I do not choose to invest but time is now my friend. I am those reasons you your cherished rocket society has been working with materials granted under my authority. I don't understand why should you I had my motives. I have here on my desk a complete report of all experimentation by the society. Your rocket model A3 25 feet long with special internal vent control veins fired vertically reached an altitude of 40000 feet. Fired at an angle attained a range of 11 miles duration of the blast 45 seconds.
Is that information correct. Yes Doctor ever your private experiments with an end the rocket society is hereby dissolved. What you're saying it was raided last night. Books records equipment everything is confiscated. Every member is under guard in his home except you of course. You were here is my guess at least for the moment. One right can of this is monstrous. I had to wait until you perfected the missile I could although to my purposes the A3 is that it performs the basic requirements. Now that performance would be improved under my direction from this point on that rocket belongs to the viewer and so does the rocket society. Also there are a few new policies in your research doctor. You are through shooting for altitude your goal is not empty air but distance and the missiles will carry you warheads could let you receive a doctor a
research center on the Baltic coast. Imagine brand new laboratories workshops testing stands the industrial might of the Fatherland behind us and the brains of the rocket society on the star. Make a Bomb and he wouldn't do it. They wouldn't not Dr. Weil and Bergman they're going to do it. No wonder in a concentration camp your friends do not think very highly of the alternatives they are intelligent people. And what about me. What is my alternative. I'll be frank doctor as the president of the society you are needed. If you weren't you would have been paid back long ago for that little fiasco over the fuel mixtures. And as for your jew friend that account has been settled for some time. Or what you mean. Well didn't you know I haven't heard from him in several years. Naturally he suffered an unfortunate accident in his laboratory and the
explosion everyone killed even his family. Too bad isn't it. But that fuel can be dangerous to work with especially for a man so so in judicious and poorly doctor let's get back to business. What is your decision. My decision do I have any choice. You're quite shrewd. No you don't have any choice. We're playing with huge stakes. You're either a friend of the Third Reich or an enemy and it's enemies find it difficult to survive. Yes Offhand I should say they would find it impossible. That he will come out of one right now. I'll go with you. And so the rocket society with claw is fun like you're in charge of research became civilian
employees of the German army weapons division. From some of the earlier experiments of the society was born Nala the V-1 missile. Better known as the buzz bomb and then following research on perfection of the A3 miss own to suit a definite goal a game a completely new and remarkable instrument. Forty six feet tall with a range of one hundred fifty horizontal miles and a 1 ton warhead. This rocket the world came to know as the V2 was there as. This is madness. This rocket is the best we have ever made to see it. I agree with Dr. Weil. Paul what do you think. I keep thinking we never could have achieved this in the old rocket society but everybody lost something in the process
lost nothing. The government pays all the bills. Carl is right. We have lost something. You can't measure it in dollars and cents. It's a spirit and attitude that's channelized. We're working toward a blind alley of our own making. I want to know what's up there far up. I want to put instruments in those rockets and what do they give me. I hate to interrupt your friendly chit chat but we must get to work. More vetoes just what they are bringing in you and so let me just let you know what I said. But the viewer had been wrong before. By 1945 the Hitler shells of hate were exploding in the barrel and Germany blew wide open. No wonder there was mad confusion. The Russian army was before Staton only 50 miles southwest of the
base. The Americans were at nearby North. They received five orders telling them to stay where they were and five orders telling them to destroy everything and retreat to Bavaria. A decision was made at once. Arab and the rocket met for what might be the last time these frenzied orders be nothing anymore. Germany is finished what do it do. Sit here and wait for one of the armies to capture us now Dr. Weil. For years we have been waiting for a return of our freedom of choice. It's curious but now in a moment of destruction we suddenly have that freedom once more. It doesn't seem so to me. Nevertheless it is there in the also not all 100 of all of the rockets we can destroy them all save them for mankind to repeat as best we can for some of the destruction we have caused. And we also have a choice of surrendering to the Russians. Well to the Americans. You know this begins to sound a little like the old German rocket society again. We are the
Society Dr. Weil. But today we are mentally bankrupt. You have developed the greatest rockers of all time but it is an end in itself. We have achieved a limited goal and there is no place to go. If we go on as we are now before we can advance further. We must first go backwards and explore those interesting sidelights that we have ignored to make this be true. We have gotten to the point where we think only of horizontal distance and the size of the warhead. Once more we must learn to look up how this does sound like the old rocket society. But we're too late. Perhaps not. We must give ourselves up to a society where the only goals are those of reason and intelligence where men may look up as well as sideways. When knowledge is sought for its own sake surely you are not thinking of the communists and communism is like our own. It's nothing more than a
weapon of the Soviet dictatorship. Gentlemen we must go with the West. On May 5th 1945 the entire research staff of the German rocket center surrendered to American forces in our house. Only one big name was missing. Colonel Klaus fun likeness. Later of unlikeness body was found in the wreckage of a staff car about 90 miles to the south of Benin Monday. Army engineers examining the wreck concluded he had suffered an unusual accident. The fuel tank of his vehicle had exploded. And at White Sands New Mexico on February 24th 1949.
10 minus 9. With Dr. Carl air the sitting quietly in the control room. A German V-2 carrying a secondary stage rocket in his nose was one. Zero. Six and one half minutes after that altitude was two hundred fifty miles above sea level where the air is nearly a perfect vacuum. Man had taken his first step into outer space. This is Professor Claude Egerton to conclude our story of rocket research. I'd like
to present a professor of physics and dean of the Horace school of graduate studies Dr. Sawyer. The drama which you have just heard pictures one aspect of the decline of interest in science and learning in Nazi Germany in the early part of this century German Scholarship and culture were famous throughout the world. Even the defeat in World War 1 and the misery of the inflation that followed it did not destroy this position for the German republic like the Empire before it believed that progress and development must rest on solid learning and basic research in all fields. The Nazis however held almost opposite beliefs. They drove out of the country are sent to concentration camps. Many scholars scientists and artists who did not agree with them or who are non Arion they had little interest in any scientific work that would not contribute directly to their reanimate all war effort. For this reason and for other reasons too of course they failed. And as the
Nazi house of cards collapsed Germany lost as in this story. Many of her remaining scientists to the free world and some unfortunately to Russia the United States has a fine record in developing scientists and scholars in balancing their use between defense or industry and in the production of new knowledge. Such a policy based on intellectual freedom is essential to our continued strength and progress. You have been listening to rockets west on the University of Michigan series. They fought along. Featured in today's cast were Martin's arc off as Carl Ariba and Todd Jones as Klaus fun writing or. Others in the cast included Wendell cocking dick good Dan Mullen Al Radford Dick Tino and Dwight Thomas music
arranged and played by Ivy Reed names of all characters were fictitious but the events were based on actual occurrences. Today's script by Robert Fosco editorial supervision by Professor Claude Egerton and William Bender Jr. the program was directed by Edward stoushes your narrator has been at Griffin. They fought alone is produced done transcribed by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. This is the end I take. The.
They fought alone
German rocket scientists go west
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
German rocket scientists "go with the West" to find the freedom to pursue knowledge for its own sake.
Series Description
Drama series on pioneering individuals produced at University of Michigan
Broadcast Date
Rocketry--History--20th century.
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Composer: Bassett, Anita
Performer: Barton, Robert
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Speaker: Eggertsen, Claude A. (Claude Andrew), 1909-
Speaker: Sawyer, Ralph A. (Ralph Alanson), 1895-1978
Speaker: Griffin, Ed
Writer: Foshko, Robert
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-3-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:25
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Chicago: “They fought alone; German rocket scientists go west,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “They fought alone; German rocket scientists go west.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: They fought alone; German rocket scientists go west. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from