Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

British Exploitation of German Science and Technology from War to Post-War, 1943-1948

Hall, Charlie (2016) British Exploitation of German Science and Technology from War to Post-War, 1943-1948. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:60242)

Language: English
Download this file
[thumbnail of 84PHD THESIS.pdf]


The aim of this thesis is to present a rounded picture of British efforts to obtain information on German science and technology, both military and civilian, after the Second World War. This endeavour was conducted for numerous reasons - to secure some form of reparations, to improve defence capabilities for any future conflict, and to ensure that Germany possessed no lasting scientific war potential - and in various ways - the examination of laboratories and factories, the confiscation of equipment and documents, and the interrogation of experts. In some cases, these same experts were detained, brought to Britain, and occasionally offered work at government research establishments or private companies, in order to exact long-term benefit for Britain from the occupation of Germany. Unsurprisingly, an endeavour of this nature encountered difficulty from multiple quarters, including public opposition in Britain, conflict with other initiatives, such as reconstruction, in Germany, and competition with foreign powers, most notably the Soviet Union. As a result, this thesis sits at the intersection between various fields of historical inquiry. It incorporates elements from the history of intelligence, such as the necessarily secretive nature of many of the exploitation operations and the involvement of high-level intelligence bodies in the direction of the programme; from diplomatic history, not least how exploitation was affected by the reconfiguration of Britain's status on the world stage as it was steadily eclipsed by the United States and the Soviet Union; from the history of science, as the programme encompassed some of the most significant technological developments of the period, including the atomic bomb, the jet engine and guided missiles; and from military history, both because the first units and individuals concerned with the initiative were military and because many of the most valuable spoils removed from Germany were of a warlike nature. Ultimately, though, the narrative presented in this thesis is primarily concerned with British policy - policy towards occupied Germany, science and technology, and the nascent Cold War - and how this evolved throughout, and was shaped by, the deeply transformative period surrounding the end of the Second World War. The story of the British exploitation of German science and technology is, therefore, a crucial, but thus far understudied, facet of Britain's adjustment to the new post-war era in 1945.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: history; Cold War; Second World War; science and technology; Germany; Britain; chemical warfare; rocketry; Paperclip; recruitment; brain drain
Subjects: D History General and Old World
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 12:00 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 21:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Hall, Charlie.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.