UFOs and Psychological Warfare by Shepherd Johnson
Excerpt from Issue # 736
At the beginning of the Cold War the US government found itself in the throes of a flying saucer problem. Citizens all over the country were looking up into the sky and reporting strange objects which had no easily drawn explanation. The military turned to scientists, astronomers, physicists, and engineers for answers to the unexplained phenomenon but with no physical evidence to examine, the science community almost unanimously claimed that the sightings were largely psychological in nature. Unlike other conventional wars, the Cold War did not have any singular event that set off hostilities such as the attack on Pearl Harbor which thrust the United States into World War II. Instead, the Cold War was a nebulous ideological war which pitted the United States against the Soviet Union. The roots of the Cold War can be found in several operations at the end of World War II which saw both sides repositioning themselves in an attempt to dominate the geopolitical theater in the last half of the 20th century. Many of these operations began be- fore the war ended. Both sides were en- gaged in exploitation operations in Nazi Germany while much of the fighting was still ongoing. The United States was successful in acquiring many of Germany’s most distinguished atomic scientists and rocket engineers in a project undertaken by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) called Operation Paperclip. A large portion of these scientists would go on to work on U.S. atomic weapons testing and the U.S. space program, the two projects complimented each other with the result being in later years the advent of the nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile.
Another aspect of Operation Paperclip was a project called Operation LUSTY which was an endeavor to capture German experimental aircraft and rockets. Intelligence operatives were able to acquire these machines which they shipped back to be examined by the Air Technical Intelligence unit at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. The Air Technical Intelligence teams were also involved with crash retrievals of advanced German aircraft downed during the war. Wright-Patterson AFB would later become the home of the U.S. Government investigation into the new and unexplainable phenomenon known as flying saucers, later categorized as unidentified flying objects or UFO. With so many pilots and airmen in the skies over Europe during World War II stories emerged of strange objects pacing aircraft on combat missions. Mysterious lights that would appear at high speeds, demonstrate radical maneuvers and then disappear were reported by aviators from several nations involved in aerial combat. The strange objects became known as “Foo Fighters” by allied pilots, a colloquialism derived from the French word “feu” meaning fire.
The test detonation of an atomic bomb at the Trinity site, the use of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war and the subsequent tests known as Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean can all be seen as key points that set the tone for the adversarial nature of the Cold War. The Soviets would detonate their own atomic bomb in 1949, four years after the successful American tests in the desert of New Mexico. The new science of atomic weapons development and its application to warfare led to new terminology such as the Missile Gap and Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Atomic laboratories in New Mexico were also reporting mysterious lights that would appear in the air- space above test facilities. These objects became known as “green fireballs” and speculation about their nature led to theories that they were craft flown by extra- terrestrial beings that had been drawn to the laboratories to investigate the recent testing of atomic devices.