Uploaded by Rkn on Sep 18, 2001
Was the "Hindenburg disaster" a result of sabotage committed by the opponents of the Nazi organization? Did a bolt of lightning strike the zeppelin? Or was one of the most devastating accidents in aviation history nothing but a cunningly planned insurance fraud?
Over 60 years ago, airships were the "queens of the skies." In the early 1900s, a stubborn, yet brilliant German count, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, took keen interest in balloon flights and was devoted to the design and construction of airships. At first, he had many difficulties and setbacks but soon his airships were able to accommodate passengers as well. This lighter-than-air vehicle will later be known as a zeppelin.
Blimps and zeppelins were very different. For example, blimps did not have an internal frame; whereas the zeppelin had a "skeleton" which supported the gas bags.
During the first World War, German zeppelins were used to bomb London from the air. Thus, they earned the name of "monsters of the purple twilight." Although their bombs damaged English cities, the zeppelins would often fly off course, miss their targets or be shot down by British planes. By the end of the war, so many German zeppelins have been lost that these high altitude warships were declared useless as war machines. To boost spirit, the Germans even made a song for it. Of course, I can't read German so I'll just read off the translation:
Hilf uns im krieg,
Flieg nach England,
England wird abgebrannt,
Help us win the war,
Fly against England,
England will be burned,
The Hindenburg, also known as LZ-129, was one of Nazi Germany's finest airships and was the first airship to provide air service across the Atlantic. In fact, it is the largest and most luxurious zeppelin ever built. It represented the greatness of the Third Reich and its leader, Hitler.
Construction began in autumn of 1931 but the Zeppelin Company ran out of money for the huge project and stopped. Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and quickly realized that a giant airship could be used to spread the propaganda of the new government so the Nazis provided money and quickly took control of Zeppelin Company. The Hindenburg was complete in 1936 and flew with the Olympic rings painted on its sides that year in honor of the Olympic games in Berlin.
The Hindenburg was a thrilling sight. It had gigantic Nazi swastikas painted on its tail fins...