Munich Conference Honors Space Pioneer Krafft Ehricke

Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche addressing the Munich conference honoring Krafft Ehricke.


An audience of 130 gathered at the Sheraton Arabella Park hotel in Munich, March 25, for a one-day conference organized by the Fusion Energy Forum and the Schiller Institute on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the German-American space pioneer Krafft Ehricke. The theme of the event was “Krafft Ehricke’s Vision for the Future of Mankind” placing his work for a new paradigm of human existence in the context of the present-day effort of the New Silk Road.

Werner Zuse

After remarks of welcome by Werner Zuse of the board of the Fusion Energy Forum, who particularly welcomed Lyndon LaRouche who was attending the conference, three artists (Diana Milewa, soprano; Roland Albrecht, baritone; Elena Arnovskaya, pianist) who also performed again after the first break, introduced the event with three pieces (Josef Haydn: “Nun scheint in vollem Glanze der Himmel,” aria from The Creation; two songs by Franz Schubert: An die Musik; Fruehlingssehnsucht).

The first speaker, Marsha Freeman, science editor of EIR and biographer of Krafft Ehricke, spoke on his “extraterrestrial imperative” which laid out a vision for a human civilization that would finally be liberated from wars and poverty and make use of man’s creativity the potential of which is unlimited.

Marsha Freeman

Ehricke’s commitment to space exploration as the venue for this new paradigm was sparked by Fritz Lang’s 1929 movie “Frau im Mond” (The Woman on the Moon) which he saw in at the age of 12, and during the early 1930s he wrote short fiction pieces portraying how human civilization had changed in the course of space exploration and colonization, as seen from a date in the future. Ehricke was always guided by the question: where will we live in 50 years, in 100 years from now? Focusing human creativity on the realization of this vision would finally unify all peoples and nations, mankind would finally become mature.

While in his addition to his work on the technical realization of space exploration, Ehricke was a prolific author also on the political and social aspect of this entire process over decades, he made a special effort at the end of the 1960s to elaborate his concept of the “extraterrestrial imperative” further, he gave interviews, speeches, writing articles and books. He did that explicitly as a fight against the rise of the rock-drug counterculture, the movements against nuclear power and against science, whose aggressiveness reminded Ehricke of the Nazi shock troops he had experienced in Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic.

Ehricke, who died of cancer in 1984 at the age of 67, had long before become a household word in the United States, he and his role in shaping the American space programs had made his name familiar to everybody. His designs for “Selenopolis,” a permanent human settlement on the Moon powered by fusion energy and with a maglev transportation system, and for “Astropolis,” a permanent station in space as large as a city, and the logical step forward deeper into the Solar System were visions popular throughout the United States and beyond. Ehricke’s personal contribution to the development of space technology and the designs of space missions is uncontested, reviving his work also for the present younger generation is a must.

A personal message from Christa Ehricke, his eldest daughter who could not attend the conference, was then read to the audience. There, she portrayed him as a scientist totally committed to the development of space science and technology, being a caring father at the same time, who always challenged his daughter to understand concepts and to develop new ideas. She and the Ehricke family grew up in the immediate environment of the first U.S. astronauts who carried out the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions.

The three musicians performed several pieces also during the first coffee break: Ave Maria for soprano by Giulio Caccini; two duets for soprano and baritone by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Ich wollt meine Liebe ergoesse sich, and Volkslied; and “Casta diva,” an aria for soprano from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma.

The second speaker at the conference was Jacqueline Myrrhe, a renowned freelance space journalist in Germany who also publishes the Go Taikonauts! journal. She presented the development of the Chinese space program from its first conception in 1958, through the highly disruptive periods of the Maoist “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution” periods which prohibited real progress in Chinese space science and technology.  Only from the 1970s on, China’s space sector made progress with the work on a  geo-satellite from 1981 on, and on a space station from 1992 on. The space sector has always been viewed in China as a science driver with a priority on the national economic and social development, the broader perspective of it being the roadmap for progress until the year 2050. The Chinese space program may have been slow, particularly in its earlier stages, but it has taken up pace and shows the absolute determination of the Chinese to turn its plans into reality within a set timeframe. Others, particularly the United States, may have been there first, but China is arriving there step by step. The space station, the lunar missions (first unmanned, then manned), the Mars program of China, feature a consequent and optimistic development of technological and scientific capacities, and the entire future program is open for cooperation with other nations, as is the design for the New Silk Road, Myrrhe explained.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche

The afternoon session of the conference, beginning with a speech by Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, was introduced with a Chinese love song, performed by Feride Gillesberg-Istogu (soprano) and Benjamin Lylloff (piano). Zepp-LaRouche spoke on her personal memory of Ehricke, whom she first met in the early 1980s and engaged in intense dialogue with until his early death in 1984. Ehricke was characterized by a strong optimism, he was firmly convinced  of the necessary evolutionary step mankind had to make to develop from a terrestrially-confined species to a space species. This will be an epochal change comparable to the one which occurred from the Middle Ages to the modern civilization, triggered by the Renaissance period. The New Paradigm which China is introducing with the New Silk Road strategy, is congruent with what Ehricke designed and what the LaRouche movement has campaigned for for more than four decades: a new and just world economic system which will develop conditions appropriate to promote human creativity.

The New Paradigm poses a challenge to the old paradigm, the oligarchical system of Western globalization whose inhuman axioms do not want to be overcome. In this strategic context, Helga explained the issue of “Trump,” the fact that the new U.S. President, whose declared plans pose a threat to the elites of the old system, is attacked by an unprecedented campaign of lies, black propaganda and hatred serving the defense of the doomed old paradigm, the British System. In his most recent public speeches, in Detroit, Tennessee, Kentucky, Trump has addressed the importance of reviving the American system as practiced by Abraham Lincoln, Henry Carey, George Washington; he has announced to invest $1 trillion in the domestic infrastructure, to stop the regime change wars abroad, to establish a mutual cooperation with the two other world powers of Russia and China. Trump’s meeting soon with China’s President will, if it works well, bring a positive breakthrough in the global strategic situation, that is why Trump is attacked by the same intelligence agencies that have worked for the old system, for Obama, for the British. The task which is ahead for the United States is comparable to the one that Friedrich List defined, when writing almost 200 years ago about the American System as an alternative to the British System.

The Chinese New Silk Road strategy, first formulated in 2013, has been able to recruit 4.4 billion people in more than 60 nations for a global development program in the range of $21 trillion, promoted in projects along  six routes (Belt and Road) on land and one maritime route reaching out beyond Eurasia also into Africa. What China is initiating there in Africa in terms of infrastructure development, is largely congruent with the Africa plan presented by Lyndon LaRouche about 30 years ago—Europe, which ought to play a constructive role there on its neighboring continent, remains absent, but the New Paradigm  keeps marching forward, Zepp-LaRouche said.

The advance of mankind on the Moon, she explained, was seen by Ehricke as a process opposite from what has occurred on Earth: there, man arrived very late in the evolution, whereas on the Moon, man will be the beginning of evolution. The lunar civilization will develop characteristics different from those which have dominated man on Earth, mutual cooperation for the good of all others will have to be the basis of human life under lunar conditions, there has to be harmony at the center of relations, as it has to be at the center of the New Silk Road development, according to China’s leading official Yang Jiechi during his recent visit to the United States. The notion of harmony as laid out by Confucius and by Nikolaus von Cusa, who also portrayed peace and harmony as only coming on the basis of all microcosms working for the benefit of each, the education in universal history and the best contributions of all cultures should guide mankind in the future, Zepp-LaRouche said.

The second speaker of the afternoon session, former Swiss astronaut Prof. Claude Nicollier, gave a review of his personal “Steps in Space” which included four service missions at the Hubble Space Telescope carried out from the Space Shuttle. Nicollier, today President of the Swiss Space Center Lausanne, said he fully agrees with Ehricke that space is the necessary next step in human evolution. This is a challenge, as much as it was when Kennedy, in his famous Houston speech in September 1962, said that the Americans want to go to the Moon, not because it was easy but because it was hard, because Americans were confident they would have the capability to overcome all difficulties and make it to the Moon by the end of the decade—which they did. The lunar exploration program unfortunately was terminated with the Apollo 17 mission, but the ISS was built, and the Hubble Telescope for deep space investigation was built. These are important steps into space, and new manned missions have to follow, which Nicollier is optimistic will follow.

Professor Claude Nicollier

Before the last speech at the conference, a message of endorsement of the revival of the Ehricke heritage by Thomas Stafford, a veteran U.S. astronaut from the Gemini missions on through the entire Apollo Program, and the work on the orbital stations Salyut and ISS, was read to the audience, and two videos were shown: from a Silk Road-connected new science initiative for the youth of Yemen; and from a Leipzig-based team of German youth who have developed a prototype of a Moon rover which won a contest past year at an international presentation of rovers in Huntsville. A video showing Trump’s endorsement and signing of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of the United States just a few hours before, was shown as well.

The concluding speaker, Prof. Carl-Otto Weiss, former president and professor at the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB), spoke on human creativity being the only resource of mankind that will and can secure a future. The attacks on science by the green movement, by the climate hoaxsters, have from the propaganda drive of the Club of Rome on, caused a loss of optimism among people. This propaganda, behind which Weiss sees a method originating in the interests of the economic-financial oligarchy of the Western system, has to be challenged with facts which show that the past inventiveness of man in the course of his evolution allows confidence that all problems will and can be solved—by science, creativity and development.

Climate change is not man-made, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever backing this ideology, the nature of climate is determined by other factors that have to do with the fact that the Earth is not a closed system but embedded in the Solar System and in the Universe which have profound effects on terrestrial conditions. The green propaganda causes fear, and intimidated populations are easy to manipulate.

Ecologism is the new religion, which has replaced the churches as traditional partners of the ruling elites, Weiss said, stressing that there is no such scarcity of resources as claimed by the new religion, there is an abundance of raw materials to guarantee supplies to mankind for thousands and millions of years. Mankind made its first big step in the evolution with the discovery of fire, its next big step has been the development of nuclear power, to be followed by an even larger resource with nuclear fusion, Weiss said.

He also explained that for him, a particular aspect of the green propaganda is that it is the heaviest in and against Germany for a special reason: Anglo-American geopoliticians have always wanted to destroy the scientific-technological potential of Germany, especially its potential to work with Russia which has been perceived as a mortal challenge to the Western system.

The conference was concluded by the Schiller Institute Chorus, singing “Va Pensiero,” the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves,” from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco.

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