Thursday, August 1, 2013

V-2 Safety, Version 2

Looking at the photographs here of the newly delivered V-2 (A-4) missile being erected at the Flying Heritage Collection in Seattle, WA, USA*, I was struck at the (almost literal) belt and braces safety we are all used to. Frustrating it may be at times, but it does save lives and reduce injuries.

Image from GeekWire.

But I was also led to think about the safety those that built the V-2 rockets did not have.  For a weapon of war, a terrible thing, it was a notable low even in such terms.  V-2 missiles were built with slave labour under appealing conditions and with huge numbers who died as a result, or through murder by the instruments of the Nazi regime. Quite the contrast.

"The Waltz" by Felicie Mertens from: here.

In some ways we have certainly come a long way since the mid 1940s.  Both in the scope of war and the risks occurring in so-called civilised nations.

How much discussion should there be of human costs and barbarities in the display of such a machine?  It is easy to focus too far either on the shiny technology, or the barbaric methodology without recognising both are significant, as it seems (and I would suggest rightly) it is impossible to separate the dreadful costs of this rocket's creation from the eventual result of a man on the moon.

Some further reading. An excellent resource on the V-2: (with thanks to Karl Hemphill). Material on the slave labour camp and here: Contrasts in war-work from W.W.II, including the slave labour:

* Incidentally, it would be good to hear back from FHC, if anyone's listening, with some details of the V-2 beyond the press release. My contact details are, as ever, listed above right, JKightly AT Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. It is nice, too, to have the man in the picture for the sake of scale. Though I've seen a V-2 example it I can truly appreciate it's size with this image. I concur with your observations, as well. Joe -- Travel for Aircraft