By Peter Fritzsche
Tremendous, fragile airships soaring in an enormous sky, conflict aces keen about demise and destruction, bold younger males launching their handbuilt gliders, schoolchildren donning fuel mask in the course of air-raid drills - the brilliant idealism of flight and its darker provider in overall struggle come to existence during this e-book approximately Germany's perilous romance with aviation. From the Kaiser's moment Reich to Hitler's 3rd Reich, laptop desires mingled with imperial goals and mastery over the wildlife held the promise of mastery over the political international. this is often renowned heritage of the fashionable period. From the crowds within the shadow of Graf Zeppelin's highly well known airships, to the myths surrounding the chivalrous fighter pilots of global battle I, and at last to the worldwide succeed in of airplanes within the Twenties, Fritzsche goals to teach flight to be a wealthy image for energy and modernism. yet German aviation was once extra that an exuberant tale of technical accomplishment; it grew to become a depressing story approximately nationalism and conquest. Even prior to the Nazis, fliers embodied a brand new breed of guys and ladies who stood able to fix 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 deepest files, 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 by way of studying 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 plenty and machines, and seeks to supply a amazing photograph of the German mind's eye in a perilous age of technological success and nationalist ardour.
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Giant, fragile airships soaring in an enormous sky, warfare aces enthusiastic about loss of life and destruction, bold younger males launching their handbuilt gliders, schoolchildren donning fuel mask in the course of air-raid drills - the brilliant idealism of flight and its darker provider in overall battle come to lifestyles during this booklet approximately Germany's perilous romance with aviation.
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Extra resources for A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination
Whoever had "all-Germany" as a friend need not despair, the editors boasted, because "town and village" stood faithfully behind the Graf. 18 Newspapers organized collections across Germany: in Cologne, Munich, Braunschweig, Leipzig, Osnabriick, Pforzheim, and Plauen. Elsewhere, municipal representatives took the lead, offering thousands of taxpayer marks to Graf Zeppelin. Dozens of cities throughout southern and western Germany and beyond sponsored civic collections. Even the tiny Hessian village of Haigen earmarked 50 marks for Graf Zeppelin.
Eyewitnesses habitually referred to the zeppelin flights as elements of a great "drama" in which humankind was locked in battle with nature. The terms of engagement were often physical and strenuous. But the ultimate decision, which was the victory of the human spirit over unruly natural elements, was not in dispute. The first decade of the twentieth century was a time when Europeans still happily attached active, heroic verbs to technological undertakings such as the opening of the Panama Canal, the journeys to the North and South Poles, and the electrification of the cities.
87 In England itself, zeppelins loomed in overheated imaginations. " 88 Fantasies such as these were the stuff of serious conversation. Martin, for example, received considerable publicity and held numerous public meetings throughout 1909. " This show of force would force England to accede to German ultimatums, Colsman argued. 89 On the whole, Tirpitz was unwilling to sacrifice additions to his "risk navy," which was measured in gun power, to purchase airships, or to contemplate the benefits of superior scouting against superior firepower.