Ministry of Aviation (Nazi Germany)

Last updated
Reich Ministry of Aviation
Reichsluftfahrtministerium
Reichsadler der Deutsches Reich (1933-1945).svg
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1979-074-36A, Berlin, Reichsluftfahrtministerium.jpg
The Ministry of Aviation, December 1938
Agency overview
FormedApril 1933 (1933-04)
Dissolved8 May 1945 (1945-05-08)
Jurisdiction Nazi Germany
Minister responsible

The Ministry of Aviation (German : Reichsluftfahrtministerium), abbreviated RLM, was a government department during the period of Nazi Germany (1933–45). It is also the original name of the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus building on the Wilhelmstrasse in central Berlin, Germany, which today houses the German Finance Ministry (Bundesministerium der Finanzen).

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus architectural structure

The Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus is a building in Berlin that at the time of its construction was the largest office building in Europe. It was constructed between February 1935 and August 1936 to house the German Ministry of Aviation, headed by Hermann Göring, a prominent Nazi.

Contents

The Ministry was in charge of development and production of all aircraft developed, designed and built in Germany during the existence of the Third Reich, overseeing all matters concerning both military and civilian designs — it handled military aviation matters as its top priority, particularly for the Luftwaffe. As was characteristic of government departments in the Nazi era, the Ministry was personality-driven and formal procedures were often ignored in favour of the whims of the Minister, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. As a result, early successes in aircraft development progressed only slowly and erratically during World War II.

<i>Luftwaffe</i> Aerial warfare branch of the German military forces during World War II

The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.

<i>Reichsmarschall</i> military rank

Reichsmarschall, Marshal of the Reich, was the highest rank in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Hermann Göring Nazi German politician and military leader

Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a German political and military leader as well as one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party (NSDAP) that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. A veteran World War I fighter pilot ace, he was a recipient of the Pour le Mérite. He was the last commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, the fighter wing once led by Manfred von Richthofen.

History

The Ministry was formed in April 1933 from the Reich Commissariat for Aviation (Reichskommissariat für die Luftfahrt), which had been established two months earlier with Göring at its head. In this early phase the Ministry was little more than Göring's personal staff. One of its first actions was to requisition control of all patents and companies of Hugo Junkers and Richard Wolfgang the German aeronautical engineer. These included all rights to the Junkers Ju 52 aircraft.

Hugo Junkers German aviation pioneer

Hugo Junkers was a German aircraft engineer and aircraft designer who pioneered the design of all-metal airplanes and flying wings. His company, Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, was one of the mainstays of the German aircraft industry in the years between World War I and World War II. His multi-engined, all-metal passenger- and freight planes helped establish airlines in Germany and around the world.

Junkers Ju 52 airliner and military transport aircraft

The Junkers Ju 52/3m is a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1931 to 1952, initially designed with a single engine but subsequently produced as a trimotor. It had both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler. In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber. The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s. The aircraft has continued to be used well beyond that date for purposes such as sightseeing.

Defence Minister General Werner von Blomberg decided that the importance of aviation was such that it should no longer be subordinate to the German Army (Heer). In May 1933 he transferred the army's Department of Military Aviation (the Luftschutzamt), to the Ministry. This is often considered the birth of the Luftwaffe. The Ministry was now much larger, consisting of two large departments: the military Luftschutzamt (LA) and the civilian Allgemeines Luftamt (LB). Erhard Milch, the former head of Deutsche Luft Hansa, was placed in direct control of the LA, in his function as Secretary of State for Aviation.

Werner von Blomberg German General Staff officer and field marshal

Werner Eduard Fritz von Blomberg was a German General Staff officer, who, after serving at the Western Front during World War I, was appointed chief of the Troop Office during the Weimar Republic and Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the first general to be promoted to Generalfeldmarschall in 1936. His political opponent Hermann Göring confronted him with criminal records among allegations of ponographic activities of his newly wed wife and forced him to resign on 27 January 1938.

<i>Reichswehr</i> 1921–1935 combined military forces of Germany

The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was united with the new Wehrmacht.

Erhard Milch German general

Erhard Milch was a German field marshal who oversaw the development of the Luftwaffe as part of the re-armament of Nazi Germany following World War I. During World War II, he was in charge of aircraft production. He was convicted of war crimes during the Milch Trial held before the U.S. military court in 1947 and sentenced to life imprisonment; he was released in 1954.

In September 1933, a reorganization was undertaken to reduce duplication of effort between departments. The primary changes were to move the staffing and technical development organizations out of the LB, and make them full departments on their own. The result was a collection of six: Luftkommandoamt (LA), Allgemeines Luftamt (LB), Technisches Amt (LC, but more often referred to as the C-amt) in charge of all research and development, but having no clear way of receiving and acting on requests from front-line combat personnel of the Luftwaffe during the war years, to improve their aviation and weapons technology as a "technical-tactical" department would do in other nations' military aviation bureaus, the Luftwaffenverwaltungsamt (LD) for construction, Luftwaffenpersonalamt (LP) for training and staffing, and the Zentralabteilung (ZA), central command. In 1934, an additional department was added, the Luftzeugmeister (LZM) in charge of logistics.

Logistics management of the flow of resources

Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers or corporations. The resources managed in logistics may include tangible goods such as materials, equipment, and supplies, as well as food and other consumable items. The logistics of physical items usually involves the integration of information flow, materials handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and often security.

With the rapid growth of the Luftwaffe following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Ministry grew so large that Göring was no longer able to maintain control. This period was marked by an increasing inability to deliver the new aircraft designs that were desperately needed, as well as continued shortages of aircraft and engines. In 1943 Albert Speer took over from Milch, and things immediately improved. Production reached their highest levels in 1943 and 1944, and though Speer introduced the same measures of self-regulation that he had introduced in other areas of industry, and tried to take credit for the so-called Armaments Miracle, contemporary German statistics show that the real reason for increased production were measures and investments made by Milch and his staff in 1941 and 1942. [1] Though German aircraft production had briefly caught up with that of the Soviet Union in 1944, it collapsed in 1945. The RLM never overcame the shortage of raw materials and fuel supply, lack of experienced pilots and deficits in technology and know-how that had handicapped it since the beginning of the war.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Albert Speer Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany

Albert Speer was the Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany during most of World War II. A close ally of Adolf Hitler, he was convicted at the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Ministry building was one of the few public edifices in central Berlin to survive the severe Allied bombings in 1944–45.

Command flags

Reich Minister for Aviation

Reichsluftfahrtminister 1933 - 1935 (obverse) OKLw1 links.svg
Reichsluftfahrtminister 1933 1935 (obverse)
Reichsluftfahrtminister 1933 - 1935 (reverse) OKLw1 rechts.svg
Reichsluftfahrtminister 1933 1935 (reverse)

On 5 May 1933 the German Air Ministry, with Hermann Göring as Reich Minister for Aviation (Reichsluftfahrtminister) was founded. This event came along with the introduction of a command flag that was produced in different sizes, ranging from 200 to 30 cm (79 to 12 in). The flag consisted of bright red material on which was placed in the centre of the obverse a wreath of silver coloured laurel leaves. In the centre of the leaves was a black eagle. Suspended from the base of the wreath was a true-coloured representation of the "Pour le Mérite". Extending from the left and right side of the wreath were a pair of stylised wings each consisting of four ascending "feathers". Also extending from the wreath towards the four corners of the flag were four black-edged white inactive wedges, a feature that was to be incorporated in the design of the future unit Colours of the new Luftwaffe. In each of the four corners was set a black swastika. The reverse looked almost the same as the obverse but a black swastika replaced the eagle and eagles replaced the four swastikas. The flag was in use until the end of 1935.

Reich Minister for Aviation and Commander-in-Chief of the German Air Force

On 26 February 1935 Hitler officially created the Luftwaffe with Hermann Göring as its Commander-in-Chief (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe). Late in 1935 a flag was instituted that consisted of a square of bright red silk. The flag was similar to some extent to that used before. The differences of the obverse were that now there was placed in the centre a gold swastika and instead of the four black swastikas four golden Luftwaffe eagles were added. The wings were left out. Moreover, the flag was edged on all four sides with a gold-braided border, which incorporated a row of 76 small gold swastikas all standing on their points. The reverse displayed a golden Luftwaffe eagle in the centre and four golden swastikas set in each corner of the flag. Suspended from the base of the silver laurel was a true representation of the Pour le Mérite . When Göring was promoted to "Generalfeldmarschall" a pair of Luftwaffe field marshal's batons were added to the flag's reverse design and shown crossed above the "Pour le Mérite". The obverse remained the same as before. This alteration took place on 28 April 1938.

See also

Notes

  1. A. Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy[ page needed ]


Coordinates: 52°30′31.31″N13°23′2.4″E / 52.5086972°N 13.384000°E / 52.5086972; 13.384000

Related Research Articles

Willy Messerschmitt German aircraft designer and manufacturer

Wilhelm Emil "Willy" Messerschmitt was a German aircraft designer and manufacturer. He was born in Frankfurt am Main, the son of Baptist Ferdinand Messerschmitt (1858–1916) and his second wife, Anna Maria née Schaller (1867–1942).

The Heinkel He 277 was a four-engine, long-range heavy bomber design, originating as a derivative of the He 177, intended for production and use by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. The main difference was in its engines. Rather than using two fire-prone Daimler-Benz DB 606 "power system" engines, each of which consisted of side-by-side paired Daimler-Benz DB 601s and with each DB 606 "power system" weighing 1.5 tonnes apiece — or two of the similar DB 610, each of which used a pair of DB 605 engines in a similar "twinned" configuration on later He 177A airframes, the He 277 was intended to use four unitized BMW 801E 14-cylinder radial engines, each mounted in an individual nacelle and each turning a three-blade, four-meter diameter propeller.

Organization of the Luftwaffe (1933–45) 1933-1945 structure of commands and units used by Germanys air force

Between 1933 and 1945, the organization of the Luftwaffe underwent several changes. Originally, the German military high command, for their air warfare forces, decided to use an organizational structure similar to the army and navy, treating the aviation branch as a strategic weapon of war. Later on, during the period of rapid rearmament, the Luftwaffe was organized more in a geographical fashion.

<i>Oberkommando der Luftwaffe</i> 1944-1945 command staff of the German Air Force

The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL), translated as the High Command of the Air Force, was the high command of the Luftwaffe.

Ural bomber

The Ural bomber was the initial aircraft design program/competition to develop a long-range bomber for the Luftwaffe, created and led by General Walther Wever in the early 1930s. Wever died in an air crash on June 3, 1936, and the program ended almost immediately. Albert Kesselring took over his position in the Luftwaffe, abandoning most of his designs and turning others into tactical bombers.

<i>Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe</i> award

The Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe was a Luftwaffe award established on 27 February 1940 by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the Reich Minister of Aviation and Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. It was officially known as the Ehrenpokal "für Besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg", or Honor Goblet "For Special Achievement in the Air War". The award was given only to flying personnel. Recipients' named were published in the periodical Ehrenliste der Deutschen Luftwaffe. German archives indicate that approximately 58,000 were given "on paper", but only 13-15,000 goblets were actually awarded according to the records. The first airman to receive the goblet was Johann Schalk on 21 August 1940.

Hans Jeschonnek German Generaloberst

Hans Jeschonnek was a German Generaloberst and a Chief of the General Staff of Nazi Germany′s Luftwaffe during World War II. He committed suicide in August 1943 after mistakenly ordering anti-aircraft guns to fire upon German fighter planes gathered near Berlin.

Pilot/Observer Badge award

The Pilot/Observer Badge was a World War II German military decoration awarded to Luftwaffe service personnel who had already been awarded the Pilot's Badge and Observer Badge. It was instituted on 26 March 1936 by the Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring. It was worn on the lower part of the left breast pocket of the service tunic, underneath the Iron Cross 1st Class if awarded. It was to replace the older 1933 Aircrew Badge.

Hans-Georg von Seidel was a German military leader who served in the German Army during World War I and in the Luftwaffe during World War II. Seidel was promoted to the rank of General der Flieger.

German Air Sports Association

The German Air Sports Association was an organisation set up by the Nazi Party in March 1933 to establish a uniform basis for the training of military pilots. Its chairman was Hermann Göring and its vice-chairman Ernst Röhm.

The German Air Ministry had a system for aircraft designation which was an attempt by the aviation authorities of the Third Reich to standardize and produce an identifier for each aircraft design's airframe type produced in Germany. It was in use from 1933 to 1945 though many pre-1933 aircraft were included and the system had changes over those years. As well as aircraft of the Luftwaffe, it covered civilian airliners and sport planes, due to the RLM handing all aviation-related matters in the Third Reich, both civilian and military in nature.

Siegfried Knemeyer German engineer and aviator

Siegfried Knemeyer was a German aeronautical engineer, aviator and the Head of Technical Development at the Reich Ministry of Aviation of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Uniforms of the Luftwaffe (1935–1945)

The Luftwaffe was the air force of Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II. Luftwaffe styles of uniform and rank insignia had many unique features between 1935 and 1945. By Hitler's decision on February 26, 1935, the Luftwaffe was to be officially the third branch of the Wehrmacht as of March 1, 1935. The new Luftwaffe was faced with the problem of uniforms, as they wanted a uniform distinct from those of the other two branches of the Wehrmacht and also wanted a clear differentiation in dress of military and civilian flyers.

Walter Lemcke German sculptor (1891-1955)

Walter E. Lemcke was a German sculptor who mainly worked in bronze. He produced numerous sculptures for Nazi Germany, including the eagles holding swastikas that flanked the entrance of the Ministry of Aviation in Berlin. He is also remembered as being the designer of the first Olympic Torch, which carried the flame during the 1936 Summer Olympics torch relay.

Aircrew Badge (Nazi)

The Aircrew Badge was a German military decoration awarded to members of the German Air Sports Association, an organisation set up by the Nazi Party in March 1933 to establish a uniform basis for the training of military pilots. The German Air Sports Association was a cover organization for the future German Air Force (Luftwaffe). Its chairman was the future Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring and its vice-chairman Ernst Röhm. Since the Treaty of Versailles officially forbade Germany from building fighter planes of any sort, the German Air Sports Association used gliders to train men who were still officially civilians for the future Luftwaffe. It was the first qualification badge recognized by the Luftwaffe.

Rüstungsstab was a Nazi German governmental task force whose aim was to increase production of military equipment and munitions during the final year of World War II. Established in August 1944 on the basis of the Jägerstab, it was composed of government and SS personnel, as well as representatives of the armament manufacturers.