By Peter Fritzsche
Giant, fragile airships soaring in an enormous sky, warfare aces passionate about loss of life and destruction, bold younger males launching their handbuilt gliders, schoolchildren donning gasoline mask in the course of air-raid drills - the intense idealism of flight and its darker provider in overall struggle come to existence during this ebook 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 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 warfare I, and at last to the worldwide achieve 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 turned a depressing story approximately nationalism and conquest. Even earlier than the Nazis, fliers embodied a brand new breed of fellows and ladies who stood able to fix German energy. The e-book concludes with an exploration of the bothered intersection of recent expertise and nationwide Socialism. by way of drawing from a variety of inner most 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 through examining 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 awesome photograph of the German mind's eye in a deadly age of technological success and nationalist ardour.
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Extra resources for A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination
79 In the mind's eye, the trajectory of airship flights around Europe and into the North Sea provided a radius of action, a projection of power, so many hundreds of square kilometers of Raumbeherrschung or dominion over space. The airship allowed strategists to conceive of France, Great Britain, and Africa as plausible theaters of German operations in a way that not even Admiral von Tirpitz's navy allowed. The shifting scale of zeppelin parlor games is revealing. An early board game (1906) featured Lake Constance, around which players would "fly" their airships.
What did Graf Zeppelin need experts for, after seeing his plans rejected by technical commissions in 1894, in 1900, and again in 1905, the Konstanzer Zeitung asked incredulously. " On this point there was unanimity: nothing should obstruct the people's wish to fund the zeppelins without conditions. 70 Once Graf Zeppelin incorporated the airship works in Friedrichshafen, talk of an experts' Kuratorium ended abruptly. But the claims of popular sovereignty were not exhausted and would take even more hazardous political form three months later in the Daily Telegraph Affair, in which the kaiser came under sustained attack for his erratic and highly personal style of government.
58 This all-German chorus of approval had finally assembled the nation's diverse and contesting classes. "In this endeavor" to raise funds for Graf Zeppelin, the Kolnische Zeitung remarked, "the differences between parties, and religions, and estates have faded into the background," a "completely singular" occurrence. Giant Airships and World Politics Even Social Democrats cooperated, the paper added. Again and again, socialists and workers, so often tarred as the internal enemy of the Reich and denounced as "journeymen without a fatherland," served bourgeois commentators as happy affirmations of the genuine and popular character of the public subscription.
A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination by Peter Fritzsche