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Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler - A secret weapons' expert of the Third Reich?

Some historians, such as of Rainer Karlsch, speculate that the "Obergruppenführer" (SS General) Hans Kammler did not commit suicide in 1945 but was brought to the United States by intelligence service to make him transfer his knowledge about the secret weapon's projects of Nazi Germany US authorities' technicians.[1]

                                                                                    Hans Kammler[2]

Indeed, Kammler had been responsible for the expansion of underground production facilities for jet engines, jet airplanes, motors and the A4 rocket program since August 1943. On September 1st, 1943, he was appointed "Sonderbeauftragter des Reichsführers-SS für das A 4-Programm" (Special Representative of the Reichsfuhrer-SS for the A 4 programme) under Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl by the "Reichsführer-SS", Heinrich Himmler. Previously, he had been working in various administrative positions related to various construction projects since October 1933 until the end of the war. [3]

Peenemünde, V2 launched [4]

In a documentary by German TV-channel ZDF Kammler is addressed as mechanical engineer several times.[5] Although this is one of his two regularly acquired academic titles,[6] however, it suggests wrongly that Kammler had possessed a deeper technical understanding of the special weapons technology – but this he did not possess! Unlike General Walter Dornberger[7], he was an architect (in Germany, also architects are granted the "Dipl. Ing." - title once they successfully complete their studies)[8], and not a mechanical engineer. So, he was not able to design weapons at all; and even the construction of the underground factories for the special weapon's production was probably "only" coordinated by him; static calculations were most probably done by a civil engineer! 


Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler was an important SS-bureaucrat and armor manager of the Nazi regime, but he was not a designer who would possess a deeper technical knowledge, of whatever kind, of the secret weapons projects of the Third Reich! Accordingly, Albert Speer describes Kammler as follows:
"Or Kammler. I knew him when he was still in the Air Ministry in charge of the construction division. A inconspicuous, sociable and very hardworking civil servant, of which no one would have thought it possible that he would be one day one of the most brutal and ruthless of  Himmler's employees. "[9]

In the idea of Kammler as a “diabolical scientist genius” it is normally not taken into account that he had worked his way up in the system of Nazi-bureaucracy. For example it is systematically concealed that Kammler in 1933 after the so-called "Gleichschaltung” (co-ordination) became the "Führer des Reichsbundes der Kleingärtner und Kleinsiedler Deutschlands" (Leader of the Reich Federation of allotment holders and small settlers of Germany),[10] because this obviously did not go along his reputation as a "Special Representative of the Reichsführer-SS for the A 4 program "! Certainly Kammler was a criminal, a "technocrat of destruction", as referred to him by Rainer Fröbe,[11] largely responsible for the planning of Auschwitz-Birkenau,[12] but his career in Nazi-Gemany made him a typical representative of the "banality of evil" [13], and not for a brilliant weapons designer!

The thesis that the Obergruppenführer had been captured alive by the Americans, and was brought to the United States, is obviously caused by a remark in Albert Speer's book "The slave state - My confrontation with the SS". In his book, Speer attributes that Kammler had the intention to give documents and, especially, development engineers of progressive secret weapons against a guarantee of his freedom.[14]

Even if he had been taken prisoner alive by the forces of the Allies, he would have been interrogated by TECHINT-officers at once. All technical documentation would have been taken away from him without consideration, and competent German weapon designers would have been sought after anyway, and systematically brought to the USA within "Operation overcast" or "Paperclip".[15]

This raises the question of what special value Kammler should have been for the Americans, once technical documents had been taken away from him! – His role in the armaments' industry of the Third Reich is most likely similar to that of Albert Speer, a man known to be charged and convicted at the Nuremberg Trials. – The direct military superior of Wernher von Braun, on the other hand, Major General and mechanical engineer Walter Dornberger, was, completely independent of Wernher von Braun, brought to the USA in 1947. First, Dornberger worked as a technical consultant for projects of the US Air Force, and later, until his retirement, for the "Bell Aircraft Corporation". It should be added that he himself had conducted research in Germany on the gyro-stabilization of missiles in the 1930s.[16]

Author: Christian Brandau - The text is available under the "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)".




[2] Mémorial du camp de concentration Mittelbau-Dora


[4] „Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1978-Anh.026-01, Peenemünde, V2 beim Start“ by Unknown - provided by Bundesarchiv für Wikimedia Commons, i.e. a cooperation between the Bundesarchiv and Wikimedia Deutschland.

Licensed after CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons,_Peenem%C3%BCnde,_V2_beim_Start.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1978-Anh.026-01,_Peenem%C3%BCnde,_V2_beim_Start.jpg





[9] Speer, Albert: Der Sklavenstaat – Meine Auseinandersetzungen mit der SS, Stuttgart 1981, p. 28 – 29.

[10] Hans Kammler, Führer des Reichsbundes der Kleingärtner und Kleinsiedler Deutschlands, in: Der Kleingärtner und Kleinsiedler, Nr. 1, 26.10.1933, p. 4.

[11] Fröbe, Rainer: Hans Kammler, Technokrat der Vernichtung. In: Smelser, Robert / Syring, Enrico Syring (Hrsg.): Die SS. Elite unterm Totenkopf. 30 Lebensläufe. Paderborn 2000.



[14] Speer, Albert: Der Sklavenstaat – Meine Auseinandersetzungen mit der SS, Stuttgart 1981, p. 342.



(c) 2011 - Christian Brandau