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In UFOlogy, conspiracy theory, science fiction, and comic book stories, claims or stories have circulated linking UFOs to Nazi Germany. The German UFO theories describe supposedly successful attempts to develop advanced aircraft or spacecraft prior to and during World War II, and further assert the post-war survival of these craft in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America, or the United States, along with their creators. According to the limited available information on the UFOs, various potential code-names or sub-classifications of Nazi UFO craft such as Rundflugzeug, Feuerball, Diskus, Haunebu, Hauneburg-Gerät, V7, Vril, Kugelblitz (not related to the self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of the same name), Andromeda-Gerät, Flugkreisel, Kugelwaffe, and Reichsflugscheibe have all been referenced.
Accounts appear as early as 1950, likely inspired by historical German development of specialized engines such as Viktor Schauberger's "Repulsine" around the time of WWII. Elements of these claims have been widely incorporated into various works of fictional and purportedly non-fictional media, including video games and documentaries, often mixed with more substantiated information.
German UFO literature very often conforms largely to documented history on the following points:
In WWII, the so-called "foo fighters," a variety of unusual and anomalous aerial phenomena, were witnessed by both Axis and Allied personnel. While some foo fighter reports were dismissed as the misperceptions of troops in the heat of combat, others were taken seriously, and leading scientists such as Luis Alvarez began to investigate them.[page needed] In at least some cases, Allied intelligence and commanders suspected that foo fighters reported in the European theater represented advanced German aircraft or weapons, particularly given that Germans had already developed such technological innovations as V-1 and V-2 rockets and the first jet-engine fighter planes, and that a minority of foo fighters seemed to have inflicted damage to allied aircraft.[page needed]
Similar sentiments regarding German technology resurfaced in 1947 with the first wave of flying saucer reports after Kenneth Arnold's widely reported close encounter with nine crescent-shaped objects moving at a high velocity. Personnel of Project Sign, the first U.S. Air Force UFO investigation group, noted that the advanced flying wing aeronautical designs of the German Horten brothers were similar to some UFO reports. In 1959, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the first head of Project Blue Book (Project Sign's follow-up investigation) wrote:
When WWII ended, the Germans had several radical types of aircraft and guided missiles under development. The majority were in the most preliminary stages, but they were the only known craft that could even approach the performance of objects reported by UFO observers.
While these early speculations and reports were limited primarily to military personnel, the earliest assertion of German flying saucers in the mass media appears to have been an article which appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale d'Italia in early 1950. Written by Professor Giuseppe Belluzzo, an Italian scientist and a former Italian Minister of National Economy under the Mussolini regime, it claimed that "types of flying discs were designed and studied in Germany and Italy as early as 1942". Belluzzo also expressed the opinion that "some great power is launching discs to study them".
The Bell UFO was among the first flying objects to be connected with the Nazis. It apparently had occult markings on it and it was also rumoured to have been very similar to a Wehrmacht document about a vertical take off aircraft. It is directly related to the supposed crash of a bell-shaped object that occurred in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania, USA on December 9, 1965. The same month, German engineer Rudolf Schriever gave an interview to German news magazine Der Spiegel in which he claimed that he had designed a craft powered by a circular plane of rotating turbine blades 49 ft (15 m) in diameter. He said that the project had been developed by him and his team at BMW's Prague works until April 1945, when he fled Czechoslovakia. His designs for the disk and a model were stolen from his workshop in Bremerhaven-Lehe in 1948 and he was convinced that Czech agents had built his craft for "a foreign power". In a separate interview with Der Spiegel in October 1952 he said that the plans were stolen from a farm he was hiding in near Regen on 14 May 1945. There are other discrepancies between the two interviews that add to the confusion. However, many skeptics have doubted that such a Bell UFO was actually designed or ever built.
In 1953, when Avro Canada announced that it was developing the VZ-9-AV Avrocar, a circular jet aircraft with an estimated speed of 1,500 mph (2,400 km/h), German engineer Georg Klein claimed that such designs had been developed during the Third Reich. Klein identified two types of supposed German flying disks:
Aeronautical engineer Roy Fedden remarked that the only craft that could approach the capabilities attributed to flying saucers were those being designed by the Germans towards the end of the war. Fedden (who was also chief of the technical mission to Germany for the Ministry of Aircraft Production) stated in 1945:
|“||I have seen enough of their designs and production plans to realize that if they (the Germans) had managed to prolong the war some months longer, we would have been confronted with a set of entirely new and deadly developments in air warfare.||”|
Fedden also added that the Germans were working on a number of very unusual aeronautical projects, though he did not elaborate upon his statement.
Le Matin des Magiciens, a 1960 book by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, made many spectacular claims about the Vril Society of Berlin. Several years later writers, including Jan van Helsing, Norbert-Jürgen Ratthofer, and Vladimir Terziski, have built on their work, connecting the Vril Society with UFOs. Among their claims, they imply that the society may have made contact with an alien race and dedicated itself to creating spacecraft to reach the aliens. In partnership with the Thule Society and the Nazi Party, the Vril Society developed a series of flying disc prototypes. With the Nazi defeat, the society allegedly retreated to a base in Antarctica and vanished into the hollow Earth to meet up with the leaders of an advanced race inhabiting inner Earth.
When German publisher Ernst Zündel started Samisdat Publishers in the 1970s, he initially catered to the UFOlogy community, which was then at its peak of public acceptance. His books claimed that flying saucers were Nazi secret weapons launched from an underground base in Antarctica, from which the Nazis hoped to conquer the Earth and possibly the planets. Zündel also sold (for $9999) seats on an exploration team to locate the polar entrance to the hollow earth. Some who interviewed Zündel claim that he privately admitted it was speculative fiction to build publicity for Samisdat rather than serious theory, although he still defended it as late as 2002.
In 1978, Miguel Serrano, a Chilean diplomat and Nazi sympathizer, published El Cordón Dorado: Hitlerismo Esotérico [The Golden Thread: Esoteric Hitlerism] (in Castillan), in which he claimed that Adolf Hitler was an Avatar of Vishnu and was, at that time, communing with Hyperborean gods in an underground Antarctic base in New Swabia. Serrano predicted that Hitler would lead a fleet of UFOs from the base to establish the Fourth Reich. In popular culture, this alleged UFO fleet is referred to as the Nazi flying saucers from Antarctica.
According to a 1979 interview conducted by FBI agent Robert Ressler, imprisoned serial killer Richard Chase believed, or claimed to believe, that Nazi UFOs had extorted him into committing his murders under threat to his own life. Chase further claimed that prison officials in league with the Nazis were poisoning his food, and he asked Ressler to provide him with a radar gun, with which he could apprehend his enemies.