Tom Lehrer's Song Wernher Von Braun

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In Tom Lehrer’s 1967 released song ‘Wernher von Braun,’ there is a lot of context behind the lyrics that many first time viewers and the newer generation may not fully understand without explanation. Wernher von Braun was a German engineer who worked on rocket technology during and after World War II first for Germany and then the United States (Biography Editors). When he was in Germany, he was the main developer in creating the V2 rocket that were fired at Britain where 2,754 were killed while an estimated 6,000 were injured in 1944 (Chris Trueman). As WWII was coming to an end, Braun was informed that Adolf Hitler ordered that him and his team of scientist to be executed to prevent from being captured, but Braun instead surrendered to the United States allies in 1945 (United States History). His time in the United States included becoming technical director of the U.S. Army Ordnance Guided Missile Project in Alabama and in November of 1967, he debuted the Saturn V which was twice as big as the Saturn I (Wernher von Braun). Just before Christmas of 1968, Braun launched Apollo 8, the world's first spacecraft to travel to the moon (Wernher von Braun) In the first few lines of the song, Lehrer recites “Gather…show more content…
This line creates a comedic effect because he’s native to Germany, where the predominant language is German, he then relocated to the United States where the predominant language is English, and Lehrer provides humor by saying that he’s learning Chinese to possibly migrate to China because of him already being in and already involved with two different countries. It’s also ironic that learning to count down to zero were two of his important roles in Germany with the uses of the V2 missiles and the launching of various space vehicles and rockets (Biography
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