JF Ptak Science Books Post 1994
I was prepared to just list this for sale in the books for sale section of this blog and be done with it--until I semi-realized that this famous (or at least significant) report is not to be found available online. Von Braun is far from being of interest to me--I don't need to know his part of the space program from 1946-1977, though I am interested in his what he was doing from 1936-1945 when he was trying to kill London.
Again, I'm no expert on this man, but reading between the lines of his politically whitewashed account of German/Nazi flying bomb program makes me wonder about his enforced/codified forgetfulness and suggestive memory.
The paper in hand is his "Survey of Development of Liquid Rockets in Germany and their Future Prospects", a six-page effort that appeared in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society on March, 1951. It is a reprint of a reprint of a report that he wrote for his Anglo-American interrogators in the summer of 1945, when he and the Allies were scurrying around and trying to figure out what to make of the post-war world with all of that valuable German technology-ops out there in the wind.
In any event, von Braun wrote out this history and prognostication (as there is a big chunk of the paper devoted to future space travel and such) for them in 1945 which then found itself in print by at least 1946. There are many glosses. For example, his use of the A.-prefix determination throughout the course of the document to refer to the V-weapons though it is noted in the first sentence of the report (and no doubt by an editor), that the A.4 "is known to the public as the V.2". (Perhaps that has the scent of freshness to it, to rid the report of a small part of its scrubbiness...or not.)
He writes occasionally in the third person, and also makes the case that the development of the rocket complex at Peenenemunde was for research in high-flight/super-fast travel, when the place had always been intended for military applications. He does mention that the A.4 had severe problems with the guidance system, but that was acceptable since they were given large-target areas to bomb--such as "London".
It is an interesting read for what it says about the future of vast fast travel, as well as for what it does not say about defeat and responsibility and the use of slave labor and bombing large civilian areas. But that's not what he was talking about, here. Or basically ever.