Cautionary Tales with Tim HarfordCautionary Tales with Tim Harford

Supersonic Nazi Vengeance: V2 Rocket (Part 1)

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At the height of World War Two, British intelligence began receiving reports that the enemy was developing a rocket weapon. The idea seemed fantastical — resources in Nazi Germany were scarce and a rocket-building program defied economic logic.

But one intelligence chief took the reports of a rocket weapon seriously and he managed to convince Winston Churchill to heed the threat too. The British Prime Minister gave the order to bomb Germany’s rocket factory to rubble, and 600 bomber planes embarked on a full-scale attempt to obliterate it.

From the air, the damage appeared devastating. The British thought they had succeeded in crushing the rocket-building program. But they were wrong.

For a full list of sources, see the show notes at timharford.com.


Do you have a question for Tim? Send it to tales@pushkin.fm and we'll do our best to answer it in an upcoming Q&A episode.

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