By Peter Fritzsche
Big, fragile airships soaring in an unlimited sky, warfare aces enthusiastic about dying 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 provider in overall conflict come to lifestyles 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 desires and mastery over the wildlife held the promise of mastery over the political global. this is often renowned heritage of the fashionable period. From the crowds within the shadow of Graf Zeppelin's highly renowned airships, to the myths surrounding the chivalrous fighter pilots of worldwide warfare I, and eventually to the worldwide achieve 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 turned a depressing story approximately nationalism and conquest. Even sooner than the Nazis, fliers embodied a brand new breed of fellows and ladies who stood able to fix German strength. The e-book concludes with an exploration of the stricken 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 via 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 extraordinary photo of the German mind's eye in a perilous age of technological fulfillment and nationalist ardour.
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Additional resources for A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination
Of course, Hofmannsthal beheld the dramatic suitability of Echterdingen in hindsight, after the airship had been destroyed and the public subscription launched. But he drew attention to the ways in which accidents were comprehended and invested with meaning. Echterdingen was not only seen as part of a strenuous struggle that would eventually be won; the disaster itself identified the (difficult) road to progress. A monument erected at Echterdingen soon after the explosion served as a signpost along this road.
19 At first glance the airship appears as iconic of Wilhelmine manners as the infantryman's Pickelhaube, but at the time zeppelin enthusiasm registered how bourgeois and metropolitan Wilhelmine public life had in fact become. By all accounts, Germans gave readily. In Cologne, for example, more than 33,000 marks had been collected by the liberal Kolnische Zeitung at the end of the first day, 6 August. This total had increased to over 80,000 marks three days later. Twenty thousand marks were collected in Osnabruck, a smaller city of only 60,000 inhabitants.
Graf Zeppelin received not only money but an outpouring of everyday supplies and neighborly cheer that any disaster victim might expect. According to Alfred Colsman, business manager of the zeppelin enterprise, sundry sausages, hams, liqueurs, and even woolen socks piled up at Friedrichshafen. Bremen's Ratskeller delivered a selection of its finest wines. Ordinary Germans also sent hundreds of poems and songs, a cultural side of the Volksspende that anticipated the immense literary production generated by the onset of war in August 1914.
A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination by Peter Fritzsche