This question is more on the history side. What I want to know is what the differences between the USA and Germany before 1945 were that led to the States falling behind in space technology.
The United States could boast:
- Robert H. Goddard, a pioneer of rocketry
- Theodore von Kármán and his associates at Caltech
- Huge industrial potential
More specifically, I'm interested in pre-war progress (the Manhattan project did divert a bit of resources during the war).
NOTE: I'm not asking for subjective opinions. Please back your argument with historical documents, memoirs, reports or other evidence.