Secret Technologies Invented by the Nazis

Nazi Germany developed a huge amount of technology that was either suppressed after the war or became the stuff of conspiracy theories. Some of this Nazi technology, like guided missiles and stealth bombers, became part of today's modern military. Others, like giant tanks and Sun Guns, were purely theoretical. Still, some are just the makings of paranoid delusions - things like time travel and aspartame. What secret technologies did the Nazi party and military invent?

What's real and what's urban legend among supposed Nazi technological developments? These pieces of technology that the Nazis are linked to range from prototypes to the Internet ramblings of conspiracy theorists. But there were plenty of German military weapons developed during World War II, and theory or real, this list has all the craziest inventions, supposedly developed by the Nazis.

  • Nuclear Weapons

    German nuclear weapons research was competitive with American research, as German physicists made important discoveries in nuclear reactor construction, isotope separation, and heavy water production.

    A variety of factors kept Nazi Germany from the breakthroughs needed for a nuclear bomb, including interference from the government, the expulsion of Jewish physicists, and other doctors being drafted and sent into combat and limited resources. But their findings later became key to Allied nuclear weapons research in the Cold War.

  • The World's First Mass-Produced Helicopter

    Both the Axis and Allies were developing helicopter technology, but Germany got there first in terms of actual production. The Flettner Fl 282 became the world's first large-scale produced helicopter, with a handful of prototypes, and a full order for 1,000 machines placed in 1944. Allied bombing affected the Flettner factory production and 24 had come off the line by May 1945. Three survived the war.

  • Space Planes

    The German project codenamed "Silbervogel" was a theoretical design for a sub-orbital bomber aircraft that would have been able to attain 90 miles in height and bomb New York when launched from Germany. The aircraft got as far as a wind-tunnel mockup, and work done on the design continues to influence rocket and ramjet technology today.

  • Sophisticated Jet Fighters and Bombers

    While the ME-262 became famous as the first operational jet fighter, Germany had a wide range of other jet fighters and bombers in various developmental stages. Some saw limited action, and others never made it off of the drawing board. The most effective was the Arado Ar-234 jet bomber, used in very limited numbers at the end of the war. The first Ar-234 combat mission, a reconnaissance flight over the Allied beachhead in Normandy, happened on August 2, 1944. Other designs were the Messerschmitt Me P.1101 swept-wing fighter, the Ta-400 long range bomber, and the Fa-269 VTOL fighter.


  • Giant Super Cannons

    Known by a variety of nicknames, including the V3 and the "London Gun," the German super-powered cannon was a gigantic artillery piece that could shell the British capital from tunnels dug into fields near the coast of France. When complete, the cannon was 130 meters long and could fire a shell at 1,500 meters per second at a target over 100 kilometers away. It fired through a series of charges igniting down the barrel, increasing the speed of the shell as it went.

    The cannon was immobile and impractical, and became an inviting target for Allied bombers, but did manage to fire a few shells.

  • Stealth Bombers

    Stealth Bombers
    Photo: M. Muller / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Arado E.555 and Horton HO 229 jet bombers were Germany's prime candidates to fly from Europe to the U.S. for the purposes of dropping a bomb. They used the same flying wing designs that the B-2 bomber would later adapt.