July 16th, 1969. Three men aboard a spaceship began the spectacular journey that allowed Neil Armstrong to be the first person in the history of humanity to walk on the surface of the Moon. But the chief author of that gigantic scientific feat was a German engineer, Werner von Braun.
Von Braun was born in Wirsitz, Germany in 1912. The legends that have grown around his person say that his passion for rockets was extremely precocious, and even as a child he dedicated time and effort to it. In the early 1930s the young Von Braun began his research activity in the field of missiles and during the Nazi period he became the designer of the deathly V2 missiles that threw the city of London into terror and with it all of Great Britain. But in 1945, when the defeat of the Nazis was at hand, Von Braun, together with a group of about one hundred German scientists, surrendered to American troops and took with them approximately 1000 tons of material and documents. At long last Von Braun was able to begin work on what had been his life-long dream: the conquest of space. But as Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and his dream came true, the decline of his career also began.