Main Points:

Wernher von Braun’s self-admitted streak of amoral opportunism was certainly one side of his character – one that emerged when it served his personal ambition to be the Columbus of space – but his conservative-nationalist instincts, and the long family tradition of Prussian military and civil service, pushed him in the same direction.  If going with the German army was the most important decision of his life, it was no a decision that proved difficult to make.  Just as would later be the case in Cold War America, his inherited values and politics coincided with his ambition and his obsessions, making it easy for him to accept military money for the development of rocketry. (55)

Otherwise there is the danger that profit-making opportunities in industry would arise from development the state has carried out at a considerable expense.  It was a very statist conception of technological development, one with Prussian army roots more than National Socialist ones. (78)

Still it must be said: if von Braun had been asked to build a nuclear missile for Hitler, he doubtless would have done so as a patriotic duty. (126)

[Hitler] saw clearly that small numbers of conventionally armed missiles were not going to be decisive, and thus asked for hundreds of thousands, as if they were artillery shells. (128)

A-4 first launch: 13 June 1942 (132)                           A-4 = V-2

A-4 third launch: 16 Aug 1942 (133)

A-4 first manmade object to touch the edge of space (137)

First satisfactory (full flight profile including getting somewhat close to its destination before blowing up) launch of A-4 took place in late 1943 (140)

To the British investigators immediately following the war, von Braun wrote, that the A-4/V-2 was “an intermediate solution conditioned by this war,… and which compares with future possibilities of the art about in the same way as a bomber plane of the last war compares with a modern bomber or large passenger plane. (204)

The Greek proverb: War is the father of Events…  No, gentlemen!  Those men were animated by secret visions of reaching into the heavens. –General Braden in von Braun’s Mars Project (223)