Nazis were crazy. I mean, that's a pretty well-established fact. When most people think about the radical political power, they think of toothbrush mustaches, u-boots, bids for world domination and, most appalling of all, systematic genocide. Through the years, films, TV and even comics have told wild tales of Nazi's searching for the Ark of the Covenant, reanimating the dead and other dabbles in the occult. Shocking as it might be, most of these stories are actually based in fact. Their attempts to raise the dead pale and find ancient relics in comparison with their attempt to build a giant death ray in space.
Essentially the idea was to send a gigantic mirror into orbit around Earth. The weapon would gather rays from the sun and be able to be maneuvered into position over a major city to unleash it's stored energy, annihilating its target city. In effect it would be like a kid holding a magnifying glass over an anthill, except that the kid would be a maniacal toothbrush-mustached man and the hill would be Manhattan.
Speaking of Manhattan (Project) the Nazis were also working on a nuclear bomb. Of course many of their greatest minds bailed to America when they realized how crazy the Nazis were kookier than a cuckoo clock, and so America succeeded in creating the world's first nuclear bomb after the Nazis had had the living crap beat of them by the allied (read: Russian) forces. One of the biggest fears that accompanied the detonation of an atomic bomb, was that it would ignite the entire planet's atmosphere. When American scientists tested the first bomb, they literally had no idea what was going to happen.
Looking back now, the idea of a giant mirror in space is crazy, considering how hard it is to get something into space, especially when that something is something as fragile as a mirror, but you have to remember that this was the 1930s and 40s. The idea of splitting an atom seemed every bit as crazy as sending a giant mirror into space, in fact fission may have seemed more farfetched than a sun-gun to some minds.
Source: Life Magazine July 23, 1945
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