By Peter Fritzsche
Sizeable, fragile airships soaring in an enormous sky, struggle aces enthusiastic about demise and destruction, bold younger males launching their handbuilt gliders, schoolchildren donning fuel mask in the course of air-raid drills - the intense idealism of flight and its darker carrier in overall battle come to existence during this ebook approximately Germany's perilous romance with aviation. From the Kaiser's moment Reich to Hitler's 3rd Reich, desktop desires mingled with imperial desires and mastery over the flora and fauna held the promise of mastery over the political global. this is often well known background of the trendy period. From the crowds within the shadow of Graf Zeppelin's highly well known airships, to the myths surrounding the chivalrous fighter pilots of worldwide struggle I, and eventually to the worldwide succeed in of airplanes within the Nineteen Twenties, Fritzsche goals to teach flight to be a wealthy image for power and modernism. yet German aviation was once extra that an exuberant tale of technical accomplishment; it grew to become a dismal story approximately nationalism and conquest. Even ahead of the Nazis, fliers embodied a brand new breed of fellows and girls who stood able to restoration German energy. The e-book concludes with an exploration of the afflicted intersection of contemporary expertise and nationwide Socialism. by way of drawing from various inner most records, together with these of Lufthansa, the Zeppelin corporation, the German Aero membership, and the papers of "the father of gliding", Oskar Ursinus, in addition to through reading well known poems, songs, and patriotic appeals, Fritzshe parades via his tale such heroes of aviation as Graf Zeppelin, Manfred von Richthofen, Oswald Boelcke, and Marga von Etzdorf. In doing so he lines the fascination with aviation of Weimar writers from Bertolt Brecht to Ernst Junger, dramatizes the grand twentieth-century spectacle of lots and machines, and seeks to supply a impressive photo of the German mind's eye in a perilous age of technological success and nationalist ardour.
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Additional resources for A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination
16 Although the influential Frankfurter Zeitung at first hoped to prod Reich authorities to provide Graf Zeppelin with the necessary funds to rebuild, the paper changed its mind and no longer addressed the state so as not to obstruct the "beautiful efforts" of the German people. The paper quickly launched a municipal fund drive, to which it contributed 2,000 marks and its publisher Leopold Sonnemann another 3,000 marks. 17 At the same time, the Wiesbadener Tageblatt, which two days earlier had reported the Mainz flyover so enthusiastically, opened a collection with 500 marks.
By the end of 1908, a year often called the annus mir- 21 22 A NAT ION 0 F F L IE R 5 abilis of flight, heavier-than-air craft were taking Europe by storm. , and by 10o-kilometer flights across France, accomplished not only by Wilbur Wright himself but also by the French pilots Henri Farman and Louis Bleriot. Only a year later, on 25 July 1909, Bleriot crossed the English Channel to immense public acclaim. By the time the Brescia airshow was held in September 1909, with Gabrielle D'Annunzio, Max Brod, and Franz Kafka among the spectators, airplanes had captured the imagination of European intellectuals.
The images were drawn in Germany and spoke to more exclusively national concerns about the sovereignty of the German people and the global ambitions of the German state. The zeppelin realized universal hopes and technical aspirations, but also enlarged Germany's arsenal and stoked Germany's fantasies. The real miracle at Echterdingen was not the technical achievement of the mastery of the air, but the fullness of public spirit which German citizens displayed in their subscription of the zeppelin project.
A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination by Peter Fritzsche