Key Point: The fact that Berlin was making new plans to manufacture sophisticated intercontinental jet bombers even while columns of Allied tanks were advancing deep into Germany highlights how Nazism was not only an abhorrent ideology, but instilled a remarkable capacity for self-delusion.
In 1942, German air force chief Hermann Goering sketched out the requirement for the Amerika bomber—a strategic bomber capable of making 7,200-mile round-trip across the Atlantic. Earlier in 1938, Goering had stated:
“I completely lack the bombers capable of round-trip flights to New York with a 4.5-tonne bomb load. I would be extremely happy to possess such a bomber, which would at last stuff the mouth of arrogance across the sea.”
By the end of World War II, Nazi Germany was pursuing a diverse array of Wunderwaffen (wonder weapons.) The diversion of valuable production resources to so many experimental technologies reflected an almost megalomaniacal tendency to believe science could compensate for Nazi Germany’s materially untenable position combatting the combined might of the Soviet Union, the United State and the United Kingdom.
The decentralized nature of German military research led to money being funneled into numerous competing projects instead of being efficiently prioritized for faster and more concrete results.
German manufacturers built three different prototype heavy bombers to perform the task: the Junkers Ju-390, the Messerschmitt Me-264 and the Heinkel He-277. While prototypes of the Me 264 and Ju-390 were flown, none entered large-scale production. Nazi scientists also began developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, a manned suborbital rocketship called the Silbervogel, and piggy-back aircraft to execute inter-continental strikes without much to show for it.