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 these theories and fictional stories, 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 World War II. 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:
- Nazi Germany claimed the territory of New Swabia in Antarctica, sent an expedition there in 1938, and planned others.
- Nazi Germany conducted research into advanced propulsion technology, including rocketry, Viktor Schauberger's engine research, flying wing craft and the Arthur Sack A.S.6 experimental circular winged aircraft.
- Some UFO sightings during World War II, particularly those known as foo fighters, were thought by the Allies to be prototype enemy aircraft designed to harass Allied aircraft through electromagnetic disruption; a technology similar to today's electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.
In World War II, 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. 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 operational jet-powered Me-262 fighter planes, and that a minority of foo fighters seemed to have inflicted damage to allied aircraft.
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 Nazi era. Klein identified two types of supposed German flying disks:
- A non-rotating disk developed at Breslau by V-2 rocket engineer Richard Miethe, which was captured by the Soviets, while Miethe fled to the US via France, and ended up working for Avro.
- A disk developed by Rudolf Schriever and Klaus Habermohl at Prague, which consisted of a ring of moving turbine blades around a fixed cockpit. Klein claimed that he had witnessed this craft's first manned flight on 14 February 1945, when it managed to climb to 12,400 m (40,700 ft) in 3 minutes and attained a speed of 2,200 km/h (1,400 mph) in level flight.
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:
The Morning of the Magicians
Le Matin des Magiciens ("The Morning of the Magicians"), 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.
Ernst Zündel's marketing ploy
When German Holocaust denier 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 a deliberate hoax to build publicity for Samisdat, although he still defended it as late as 2002.
Miguel Serrano's book
In 1978, Miguel Serrano, a Chilean diplomat and Nazi sympathizer, published El Cordón Dorado: Hitlerismo Esotérico [The Golden Thread: Esoteric Hitlerism] (in Spanish), 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 due to his schizophrenia 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. On December 26, 1980, Chase was found dead in his cell. An autopsy found that he committed suicide with an overdose of prescribed antidepressants that he had saved over several weeks.
In popular culture
- In 1947, Robert A. Heinlein published Rocket Ship Galileo, a science fiction novel featuring a German moon base.
- Iron Sky (2012): a science fiction black comedy about Nazis who left Earth from their hidden base in Antarctica and established a secret fortress on the dark side of the Moon. After Germany's defeat in 1945, the Nazis vowed to return to Earth "in peace," and they finally return in the year 2018, but with a full invasion force of flying saucers in order to finally defeat the Allies and restore Nazi Germany. During their invasion, they end up battling with the President of the United States (who in the film resembles Sarah Palin) and unintentionally cause a worldwide nuclear war when every space-faring nation on Earth lays claim to the Nazis' powerful Helium-3 resources on the Moon.
- Iron Sky: Invasion (2012): a video game space combat simulator and an expansion of the 2012 movie, with interactive and flyable recreations of numerous alleged prototypes and models of Nazi UFO spacecraft.
- Iron Sky: The Coming Race is an upcoming Finnish-German comic science fiction action film directed by Timo Vuorensola, a sequel to Vuorensola's earlier Iron Sky. The film is currently being crowdfunded through Indiegogo and is aiming for a 2018 release. A major inspiration of the content (and the title) appears to be the Vril Society.
- Robert Rankin's novel Nostradamus Ate My Hamster features Hitler and a group of Nazis escaping the end of the war to the future in a time machine; they attempt the subtle takeover of Earth through media manipulation until their time machine is used against them.
- Francisco Ortega's novel El Verbo Kaifman (Kaifman Verb) (2014), describes a Nazi Haunebu UFO found by the main character, Paul Kaifman. The craft is described as a copy of a Vimana and is later used by Paul to travel through time.
- The History Channel program Ancient Aliens has featured episodes about Nazi UFOs and Nazi UFO conspiracy theories.
- Unsealed Alien Files claims that Nazi technological advances came from alien technology stolen from a crashed UFO and the possibility of their own UFOs.
- In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus UFOs are used by the Nazi regime as a form of space travel, and the resistance successfully manages to steal one of them when they sent Blazkowicz to Venus.
- Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2002). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-3124-4.
- Journals, Cambridge
- Chester 2007.
- Swords, Michael D (2000), "UFOs, the Military, and the Early Cold War", in Jacobs, David M, UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge, University Press of Kansas, pp. 82–122
- Childress, David Hatcher; Shaver, Richard S. Lost Continents & the Hollow Earth. ISBN 0-932813-63-1.
Nazi UFOs are misconceptions (recorded proof) of Zeppelins flying over the sea side of Germany
- "Flying Discs 'Old Story', Says Italian". Daily Mirror. 24 March 1950.
- "Luftfahrt". Der Spiegel. 1950-03-31. Archived from the original on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2006-12-01.
- "Nazi Flying Saucers". The UnMuseum. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- Turner, Brad. "Rudolf Schriever". German Discs. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- Kiger, Patrick J. "Nazi Secret Weapons". National Geographic. Archived from the original on February 26, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- Hitler's UFO, Burlington UFO and Paranormal Research and Educational Center
- Gunston, Bill. By Jupiter! The Life of Sir Roy Fedden. ISBN 0-903409-07-0.
- Pauwels, Louis; Bergier, Jacques (1967). Aufbruch ins dritte Jahrtausend: Von der Zukunft der phantastischen Vernunft (in German). ISBN 3-442-11711-9.
- Van Helsing, Jan (1993). Geheimgesellschaften und ihre Macht im 20. Jahrhundert (in German). Rhede, Emsland: Ewert. ISBN 3-89478-069-X.
- Van Helsing, Jan (1997). Unternehmen Aldebaran. Kontakte mit Menschen aus einem anderen Sonnensystem (in German). Lathen: Ewertlag. ISBN 3-89478-220-X.
- Jürgen-Ratthofer, Norbert; Ettl, Ralf (1992). Das Vril-Projekt. Der Endkampf um die Erde (in German). self-published.
- Friedrich, Christof (1974). UFOs – Nazi Secret Weapon?. Samisdat.
- Friedrich, Christof (1979) . "Samisdat Hollow Earth Expedition". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
- "Ernst Zündel's Flying Saucers". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
- Zündel, Ernst (2002-12-01). "Zündelgram". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
- Serrano, Miguel (1978). Das goldene Band: esoterischer Hitlerismus [The Golden Thread: Esoteric Hitlerism] (in German). ISBN 3-926179-20-1.
- "Iron Sky: The Coming Race". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
- Chester, Keith (2007), Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in WWII, Anomalist, ISBN 978-1-933665-20-7.
- Cook, Nick (2003), The Hunt for Zero Point, New York: Broadway.
- Farrell, Joseph P, Reich of the Black Sun: Nazi Secret Weapons and the Cold War Allied Legend.
- Godwin, Joscelyn (1996), Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival, Adventures Unlimited, ISBN 0-932813-35-6.
- Lyne, William R (2007) , Pentagon Aliens (3rd ed.), Creatopia, ISBN 978-0-9637467-7-1, 306 pp.
- Partridge, Christopher (2002), UFO Religions, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-26324-7.
- Ratthofer, Norbert Jürgen; Ettl, Ralf (1988/90), UFO – Das Dritte Reich schlägt zurück? [UFO – The Third Reich Strikes Back?] (in German) Check date values in:
- UFO – Geheimnisse des Dritten Reichs [UFO – Secrets of the Third Reich] (in German), 1992 and in English.
- Stavros, Leytan (2011), UT-1, Saint Martin, ISBN 978-2-916766-23-2.
- Stevens, Henry (February 1, 2003), Hitler's Flying Saucers: A Guide to German Flying Discs of the Second World War, ISBN 1-931882-13-4.
- Vesco, Renato; Childress, David Hatcher (September 1994), Man-Made UFOs 1944–1994: 50 Years of Suppression, ISBN 0-932813-23-2.
- Walton, Bruce Alan 'Branton' (April 15, 2000), The Omega Files: Secret Nazi UFO Bases Revealed, ISBN 1-892062-09-7.
- Mythos Neuschwabenland: Das letzte Geheimnis des Dritte Reiches [The Myth of Neuschwabenland – The Last Secret of the Third Reich], Polar Film + Medien, 2008.
- The Earth vs. The Nazi Flying Saucers, Paranoia Magazine.
- The Tale of the Nazi Saucer, Saturday Night Uforia.
- Identified Flying Objects: German flying discs in WW2?, Laesie works
- German Disc Aircrafts [sic] – 1922–1945 and Beyond, Biblioteca Pleyades.
- Disc Aircraft of the Third Reich (1922–1945 and Beyond), US: Grey falcon.