A renowned toymaker recently issued an apology after pulling one of its most controversial models from European shelves, which resembled a hypothetical, flying saucer-shaped World War II aircraft.
Famous hobbyist brand Revell was recently reprimanded after one of its products, bearing the supposed likeness of a fictional Nazi aircraft called the Haunebu II, was dubbed “historically inaccurate” by the both The German Children’s Protection Association, as well as Dresden’s Military History Museum, according to Germany’s The Local.
“Emblazoned with emblems from the Third Reich, the product is presented as a war machine from the period of the Nazi regime even though an aircraft like this never existed, according to the DKSB and the MHM,” The Local reported. At the heart of the matter, concerns about the description appearing on the model’s packaging evoked concerns due to the fact that “people who buy it might actually believe the Nazis possessed superior technologies,” according to Military History Museum historian Jens Wehner.
Since the Revell company’s models are aimed at younger audiences, the package’s labeling, which describes the Haunebu as “the first object in the world capable of flying in space” is problematic, to say the least.
As I’ve noted in the past here at MU, if the Nazis had actually been working with secret developmental aircraft technologies of this sort, it seems strange that German aircraft produced near the end of the war–while innovative in design–were often structurally inferior. Take, for instance, the Volksjäger, a mostly-wooden jet that was designed for purposes of being built simply, and with non-strategic materials (i.e. metals and other imported resources). The Volksjäger’s sparse design specifications offered a number of benefits: it could be cheaply produced, and also assembled simply by non-specialized labor forces (this would have included slaves). Finally, the aircraft’s controls were simple enough that non-experienced pilots could operate the craft, with the primary goal of employing lightweight members of the Hitler Youth that were willing to operate the planes disposably in “Kamikaze” fashion: that is, with no promise of returning alive.
The notion that any of the limited metal stock the Nazis did posses might have been allocated toward experimental technologies–for which no practical basis existed–seems unlikely. This is especially the case, given that they had plenty of reliably field-tested designs on hand already; namely the Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 fighter, the most renowned fighter craft at Germany’s disposal at that time.
Researcher Kevin McClure has discussed the paltry evidence of supposed Nazi flying disc aircraft like the Haunnebu, noting that very little has ever appeared which justifies their existence prior to the end of the war. According to McClure, “not one claim of flying Nazi discs pre-dates 1949 and the increased US media interest in reports of flying saucers.” Some researchers, McClure included, interpret this to mean that the promotion of such “Nazi UFO” conspiracies had more likely been one part of a broader post-war propaganda effort, which borrowed from the burgeoning interest in flying saucers toward the end of the 1940s.
The so-called “Nazi UFOs” are by no means the only conspiracy theories that involve the Third Reich, and alleged technologies they might have been aiming to build. Stories of wartime projects the Nazis might have undertaken range from the near-mythic Die Glocke, more commonly known as “The Bell”, to its aspirations for creating an atomic program similar to that of the U.S., the latter of which bearing some historical precedent.
Beginning in April 1939, the Uranverein, or “uranium club,” was the beginning of Germany’s prospective atomic weapon project. However, the project was limited in scope due to Hitler’s preoccupation with building a long-range missile that could be used to attack enemies of Germany abroad.
According to the Atomic Heritage Foundation:
“The German project had fundamental flaws from its conception. Many top German scientists had left Germany, some of them Jewish émigrés fleeing the new laws of German National Socialism. Other scientists left in protest, significantly decreasing the number of experts available to work on a German bomb. A substantial number eventually came to the United States to work on the Manhattan Project. The bigger problem, however, lay in lack of support. Hitler was much more interested in developing the V-2, a long-range ballistic missile.”
Much like the problems Germany’s Uranverein faced, dwindling material resources, paired with Hitler’s own obsessive design constraints, leave very little in the way of room for so-called “Nazi UFOs.” As far as the Revell company’s production of such models, perhaps we’ll see the Haunebu back on the shelves at some point… only this time, with more specific–and historically accurate–labeling.