German Toy Pulled From Shelves for Implying Nazis Invented UFOs
Revell’s “Haunebu II” flying saucer model was marketed as “the first object in the world capable of flying in space."
A toy UFO decorated with Third Reich iconography has been discontinued after an outcry over its apparent glorification of Nazi technology. Produced by Revell GmbH, a model manufacturer based in Bünde, Germany, the toy flying saucer was marketed as “Haunebu II,” a name that has been associated with conspiracy theories about UFO projects developed in secret by Adolf Hitler during World War II.
As described on the box, the fictitious Haunebu II was "the first object in the world capable of flying in space," according to the German branch of the news organization The Local.
These characterizations likely originate from the V-2 ballistic missile, the first artificial object to reach outer space, which was developed by German engineers during World War II—most notably Wernher von Braun, who went on to design the Saturn V rockets responsible the Apollo Moon landings.
Read More: Why Do We Keep Finding Nazis on the Moon?
But there’s a huge difference between a suborbital missile and the advanced contraption represented by Revell’s Haunebu II toy, which never existed outside of fiction. For this reason, the German Children's Protection Association (DKSB) and the Military History Museum (MHM) in Dresden, Germany reprimanded the model company for its historical inaccuracy.
MHM historian Jens Wehner also added that revisionism about the Third Reich—like promoting the idea that it produced anachronistically sophisticated technologies—feeds conspiracy theories about the period as a whole. "Enthusiasts can use this as a strategy to cast doubt on what we know today about National Socialism," he told the publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Revell issued an apology for the toy, and has stated it will investigate how it came to be greenlit in the first place, calling the blowback “absolutely justified.”
Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.
- revisionist history
- National Socialism
- Third Reich