World's First Jet Plane - Messerschmitt 262

Eric Brown, the RAF's chief test pilot, flew a Messerschmitt 262 home to Britain after the war was over.  This plane - the world's first jet which, like other German-produced WWII weapons, had been built underground and with the help of slave labor - had a major impact on the Allies thereafter.

Her top speed was 568 miles an hour while the Allies' top-speed fighter maxed-out at 446 miles per hour.  Had the war not ended when it did, the ME-262 would surely have had a major impact on the Allies' ongoing effort to stop Hitler.

Both America and the USSR designed new aircraft based on the design information they were able to take from Germany after the war.  The U.S. developed the F-86 Sabre while the Russians produced the MiG-15.

During the Korean war, Americans were shocked when they first saw the MiG.  Many were convinced it must have been one of their own planes because the MiG and the Sabre were so similar.

The same thing was happening with rocket technology as new designs were implemented in both countries.  Von Braun, and his engineers, were teaching Americans (who thought they were ahead of the Soviets in the space race).  Meanwhile, advancements were also being made in Russia.

Both the American and the Russian space programs - not to mention early fighter jets - were based on the designs and input of German scientists.  The backgrounds of those individuals were ignored in favor of the value their services brought to their new governments.

As NASA’s “Earth Observatory” website notes, for example:

Wernher von Braun is, without doubt, the greatest rocket scientist in history. His crowning achievement, as head of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, was to lead the development of the Saturn V booster rocket that helped land the first men on the Moon in July 1969.

See, also:
Operation Paperclip

Hitler's Scientists - Building V-2s at Nordhausen

Hitler's Scientists - The ME-163 Rocket Plane

Hitler's Scientists - von Braun Surrenders


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 06, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Apr 15, 2015

Media Credits

Clip from the series "Revealed," episode "The Hunt for Hitler's Scientists," copyright Windfall Films (2005), all rights reserved.  Clip provided as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program. 

Producers:  David Dugan, Mark Radice and Emily Roe

Narrator:  Paul Brightwell


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"World's First Jet Plane - Messerschmitt 262" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 06, 2013. Nov 19, 2019.
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