Operation Osoaviakhim was a Soviet operation which took place on 22 October 1946, when NKVD and Soviet Army units at gunpoint removed more than 2,200 German specialists – a total of more than 6,000 people including family members – from the Soviet occupation zone of post-World War II Germany for employment in the Soviet Union.Much related equipment was moved too, the aim being to literally transplant research and production centres, such as the relocated V-2 rocket centre at Mittelwerk Nordhausen, from Germany to the Soviet Union, and collect as much material as possible from test centres such as the Luftwaffe's central military aviation test centre at Erprobungstelle Rechlin, taken by the Red Army on 2 May 1945. The codename "Osoaviakhim" was the acronym of a Soviet paramilitary organisation, later renamed DOSAAF.
Between midnight and 3am, when everybody was asleep. They knew exactly where I lived, first of all: a few days before I was captured, a fellow came. They had a key - they had everything to the apartment, to the door. There was one interpreter who told me [in German]: "Get up! You are being mobilized to work in Russia", and there were about half a dozen soldiers with machine guns, who surrounded me. When I wanted to get to the toilet, they checked it out first to make sure there was no escape hatch. It was a very tight operation. They did that with every family. Many families came, while I was alone.— Fritz Karl Preikschat, a German engineer recruited to the Soviet Union via Operation Osoaviakhim and held in the Soviet Union for six years
The operation was commanded by NKVD deputy Colonel General Serov, outside the control of the local Soviet Military Administration (which in a few cases, such as Carl Zeiss AG, tried to prevent the removal of specialists and equipment of vital economic significance for the occupation zone, [ citation needed ]unsuccessfully, as it turned out, with reportedly only 582 of 10,000 machines left in place at Zeiss ). Planned some time in advance to take place after the zone's elections on 20 October, to avoid damaging the Bloc of the Anti-Fascist Democratic Parties Unity List's result, the operation took 92 trains to transport the specialists and their families (perhaps 10,000-15,000 people in all ) along with their furniture and belongings. Whilst those removed were offered contracts (the specialists were told that they would be paid on the same terms as equivalent Soviet workers ), there was little doubt that failing to sign them was not a realistic option.
A major consideration of the Soviet decision to undertake the operation was fear of the German economy and technological potential re-acclimatizing amidst the cooperation of Soviet and German technical experts after the war, and the simultaneous desire to cultivate this technological potential for the Soviet Union's benefit (especially as it concerned the nascent rocket program thereof). [ citation needed ] New agreements were expected on four-power inspections of remaining German war potential, which the Soviets supported, being concerned about developments in the western zones. The operation has parallels with Allied operations such as Alsos Mission, Operation Paperclip and Russian Alsos, in which the Allies brought military specialists, notably Wernher von Braun, from Germany (primarily to the United States).In particular, A. G. Myrkin of the Soviet artillery directorate wrote a letter to the head of NKVD operations in Germany complaining about the prominence of German scientists in important state-secure work. Another possible reason for the operation was the Soviet fear of being condemned for noncompliance with Allied Control Council agreements on the liquidation of German military installations.
Operation Paperclip was a secret program of the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) largely carried out by special agents of Army CIC, in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as Wernher von Braun and his V-2 rocket team, were taken from Germany to America for U.S. government employment, primarily between 1945 and 1959. Many were former members, and some were former leaders, of the Nazi Party.
Nazism and the acts of the Nazi German state profoundly affected many countries, communities, and people before, during and after World War II. The regime's attempt to exterminate several groups viewed as subhuman by Nazi ideology was eventually stopped by the combined efforts of the wartime Allies headed by Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States.
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Mass operations of the NKVD were carried out during the Great Purge and targeted specific categories of people. As a rule, they were carried out according to the corresponding order of the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Nikolai Yezhov.
Upon defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, the victorious Allies asserted joint authority and sovereignty over 'Germany as a whole', defined as all territories of the former German Reich west of the Oder–Neisse line, having declared the destruction of Nazi Germany at the death of Adolf Hitler. The four powers divided 'Germany as a whole' into four occupation zones for administrative purposes, under the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union respectively; creating what became collectively known as Allied-occupied Germany. This division was ratified at the Potsdam Conference. The four zones were as agreed in February 1945 by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union meeting at the Yalta Conference; setting aside an earlier division into three zones proposed by the London Protocol.
Helmut Gröttrup was a German engineer, rocket scientist and inventor of the smart card. During World War II, he worked in the German V-2 rocket program under Wernher von Braun. From 1946 to 1953 he headed a group of 170 German scientists who forcibly worked for the Soviet rocketry program under Sergei Korolev. After returning to West Germany in December 1953, he developed data processing systems and contributed to early commercial applications of computer science. In 1967 Gröttrup invented the basic principles of the smart card as a forgery-proof "key" for secure identification and access control.
War crimes perpetrated by the Soviet Union and its armed forces from 1919 to 1991 include acts committed by the Red Army as well as the NKVD, including the NKVD's Internal Troops. In some cases, these acts were committed upon the orders of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in pursuance of the early Soviet Government's policy of Red Terror, in other instances they were committed without orders by Soviet troops against prisoners of war or civilians of countries that had been in armed conflict with the USSR, or they were committed during partisan warfare.
The Aftermath of World War II was the beginning of a new era, defined by the decline of all European colonial empires and simultaneous rise of two superpowers: the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (USA). Allies during World War II, the US and the USSR became competitors on the world stage and engaged in the Cold War, so called because it never resulted in overt, declared hot war between the two powers but was instead characterized by espionage, political subversion and proxy wars. Western Europe and Japan were rebuilt through the American Marshall Plan whereas Central and Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet sphere of influence and eventually behind an "Iron Curtain". Europe was divided into a US-led Western Bloc and a Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Internationally, alliances with the two blocs gradually shifted, with some nations trying to stay out of the Cold War through the Non-Aligned Movement. The War also saw a nuclear arms race between the two superpowers; part of the reason that the Cold War never became a "hot" war was that the Soviet Union and the United States had nuclear deterrents against each other, leading to a mutually assured destruction standoff.
The Allied occupation of Austria started on 27 April 1945 as a result of the Vienna Offensive and ended with the Austrian State Treaty on 27 July 1955.
Max Christian Theodor Steenbeck was a German physicist who worked at the Siemens-Schuckertwerke in his early career, during which time he invented the betatron in 1934. He was taken to the Soviet Union after World War II, and he contributed to the Soviet atomic bomb project. In 1955, he returned to East Germany to continue a career in nuclear physics.
The Soviet Alsos or the Russian Alsos was an operation that took place during 1945–1946 in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and whose objectives were the exploitation of German atomic related facilities, intellectual materials, material resources, and scientific personnel for the benefit of the Soviet atomic bomb project.
Rudolf Heinz Pose was a German nuclear physicist.
Günter Wirths was a German chemist who was an authority on uranium production, especially reactor-grade. He worked at Auergesellschaft in the production of uranium for the Heereswaffenamt and its Uranverein project. In 1945, he was sent the Soviet Union to work on the Russian atomic bomb project. When he was released from the Soviet Union, he settled in West Germany, and worked at the Degussa company.
Karl-Heinrich Riewe was a German physicist. After World War II, he was sent to Russia to work on the Soviet atomic bomb project. After going on strike at a defense related facility in 1948, he was accused of sabotage. He was sentenced to 25 years in the GULAG and disappeared.
The industrial firm Auergesellschaft was founded in 1892 with headquarters in Berlin. Up to the end of World War II, Auergesellschaft had manufacturing and research activities in the areas of gas mantles, luminescence, rare earths, radioactivity, and uranium and thorium compounds. In 1934, the corporation was acquired by the German corporation Degussa. In 1939, their Oranienburg plant began the development of industrial-scale, high-purity uranium oxide production. Special Soviet search teams, at the close of World War II, sent Auergesellschaft equipment, material, and staff to the Soviet Union for use in their nuclear weapon project. In 1958 Auergesellschaft merged with the Mine Safety Appliances Corporation, a multinational US corporation. Auergesellschaft became a limited corporation in 1960.
Walter Herrmann was a German nuclear physicist and mechanical engineer who worked on the German nuclear energy project during World War II. After the war, he headed a laboratory for special issues of nuclear disintegration at Laboratory V in the Soviet Union.
Approximately three million German prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union during World War II, most of them during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war. The POWs were employed as forced labor in the Soviet wartime economy and post-war reconstruction. By 1950 almost all surviving POWs had been released, with the last prisoner returning from the USSR in 1956. According to Soviet records 381,067 German Wehrmacht POWs died in NKVD camps. German historian Rüdiger Overmans maintains that it seems entirely plausible, while not provable, that one million died in Soviet custody. He also believes that there were men who actually died as POWs amongst those listed as missing-in-action (MIA).
NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post–World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany from May 1945 to January 6, 1950. They were set up by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) and run by the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs MVD On 8 August 1948, the camps were made subordinate to the Gulag. Because the camp inmates were permitted no contact with the outside world, the special camps were also known as silence camps.
As Allied troops entered and occupied German territory during the later stages of World War II, mass rapes of women took place both in connection with combat operations and during the subsequent occupation. Most Western scholars agree that the majority of the rapes were committed by Soviet servicemen, while some Russian historians maintain that these crimes were not widespread. The wartime rapes had been surrounded by decades of silence. According to Antony Beevor, whose books were banned in 2015 from some Russian schools and colleges, NKVD files have revealed that the leadership knew what was happening, but did little to stop it. Some Russian historians disagree, claiming that the Soviet leadership took some action.
Fritz Karl Preikschat was a German, later American, electrical and telecommunications engineer and inventor. He had more than three German patents and more than 23 U.S. patents, including a dot matrix teletypewriter, a blind-landing system for airports (1965), a phased array system for satellite communications (1971), a hybrid car system (1982), and a scanning laser diode microscope for particle analysis (1989). He was the only engineer to work on both sides of the Space Race: a lab manager for NII-88 in Soviet Union (1946-1952) and a lead engineer for the Space division of Boeing (1960s).