'Project Blue Book' Season 1 episode 4: The murky reality of 'Operation Paperclip' may be the turning point in the storyline

Hynek and Quinn suffer from an internal conflict about the authenticity of their investigation, based on what they find out in 'Operation Paperclip'


                            'Project Blue Book' Season 1 episode 4: The murky reality of 'Operation Paperclip' may be the turning point in the storyline

History Channel's latest release 'Project Blue Book' has done a remarkable job in portraying the real-life titular investigation undertaken by the US Air Force in the 50s, following a sudden rise in reports of alien and UFO sightings. Coming from Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis, the show follows his signature style of sprinkling historical facts with nuanced fiction, and the upcoming fourth episode is set to take viewers on a similar journey, as the protagonists — Dr. J Allen Hynek, and his Air Force counterpart, Captain Michael Quinn — dig deeper into the truths behind 'Operation Paperclip'.



 

On the show, we see Aidan Gillen as Dr. Hynek — the real-life astrophysicist on board the investigation to offer some scientific explanation to the mysterious alien sightings in the Washington DC area at the time. And helping him through the journey is Michael Malarkey as Captain Quinn. The characters' introduction to 'Operation Paperclip' happens in the show's fourth episode when they come across a German scientist, in charge of leading the same expedition of weaponry in the US. This causes massive doubt in the minds of both Dr. Hynek and Quinn, about the authenticity of the investigation they are participating in, the reason behind which can be explained by detailing what actually comprised the real-life 'Operation Paperclip'.



 

In History Channel's documentation of the real-life operation, the website states that "As World War II was entering its final stages, American and British organizations teamed up to scour occupied Germany for as much military, scientific and technological development research as they could uncover. Trailing behind Allied combat troops, groups such as the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee (CIOS) began confiscating war-related documents and materials and interrogating scientists as German research facilities were seized by Allied forces. One enlightening discovery — recovered from a toilet at Bonn University — was the Osenberg List: a catalog of scientists and engineers that had been put to work for the Third Reich."

German-born American atomic and rocket scientist, Ernst Stuhlinger (1913 - 2008) at a symposium on electrical power units for space vehicles, at the America House in Munich, West Germany, 4th April 1962. He is attending at the invitation of the Heinkel aircraft company. Stuhlinger was one of over 1600 German scientists and engineers to be recruited by the United States at the end of World War II, as part of Operation Paperclip. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
German-born American atomic and rocket scientist, Ernst Stuhlinger (1913 - 2008) at a symposium on electrical power units for space vehicles, at the America House in Munich, West Germany, 4th April 1962. He is attending at the invitation of the Heinkel aircraft company. Stuhlinger was one of over 1600 German scientists and engineers to be recruited by the United States at the end of World War II, as part of Operation Paperclip. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Tasked with the responsibility of not allowing any of America's ammunition or weaponry assets to fall into the hands of the then Soviet Union, over 1600 such German scientists and their families were brought to the US, and they were also assigned the task of harnessing German intellectual resources to help America advance and develop its arsenal. The reason the operation is labeled as murky in present times is that now declassified documents state that despite the then president, Harry Truman, forbidding the recruitment of any Nazi members or active Nazi supporters, officials handling the task whitewashed evidence on paper and recruited people with a war-oriented criminal past anyway, because their intellect was deemed crucial for the project.



 

In the end, defenders of the tightly kept secret that the operation was, tried to argue that the majority of the power would have landed up in the hands of the Soviet Union, had it not been for the inclusion of these Nazi scientists. But all of those arguments were refuted by critics of the operation who pointed out that keeping the scientists onboard was done by ignoring "the ethical cost of ignoring their abhorrent war crimes without punishment or accountability." And this is perhaps the enlightenment Dr. Hynek and Captain Quinn acquire in the upcoming fourth episode too, in turn spurring their doubts over the authenticity of 'Project Blue Book'.

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