As the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks on New York looms, the UK premiere of a National Geographic documentary explores how Hitler’s Third Reich made elaborate plans to topple the skyscrapers of New York, ultimately settling on a suicide flight mission.
Efforts to design a plane capable of crossing the Atlantic saw engineers and industrialists create ever more bizarre blueprints. A plane capable of delivering bombs in New York and returning to Germany without refuelling were beset by fuel and weight problems. Prototypes that were built were destroyed by the Allied bombing campaign.
However, Hitler’s vision of the skyscrapers of New York being razed to the ground persisted and desperate arms manufacturers fed his vision in return for contracts, favour and the opportunity to save their workers from conscription to the Eastern Front.
Efforts were made to send men to bomb buildings in New York. This was only unsuccessful because one man allegedly gave up his group before an attack could occur. Huge seaplanes were created that could re-fuel in the middle of the ocean from submarines. Jets and rockets were developed, beginning the race for an intercontinental missile. Persistent Allied bombings led to the creation of painstakingly built hangers carved from the mountains of Austria. Forced labour created space for rockets that were never completed.
The Condor – a passenger plane that could cross the Atlantic – was considered for remodelling, but would have been prone to attack.
Eventually, Daimler-Benz engineer Fritz Nallinger designed an aircraft which won approval for manufacture in January 1945. The “mother” plane would have carried five piloted bombs that would be detached over New York and directed to their targets by members of the Luftwaffe. Envisioned as early as 1944, the project was not ready before the end of the war, though some of the recruited suicide pilots were used to try and slow the advance of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.
Exploring the macabre thinking of an industrial nation’s best engineers and war architects demonstrate the difficulty of mounting an attack on a continent isolated by ocean.
Hitler’s War on America debuts in the UK at 8pm on Sunday 28th August 2011 on National Geographic channel for UK audiences only.