German aviation history is closely connected with the industrialists and companies presented here. In fact it wasn't long after the Wright brothers that the first German aircraft developments made their mark in the early 20th century.
The two world wars had a major impact on the history of German industrial companies and airlines. Although they initially resulted in soaring production figures and the launch of numerous new aircraft, the victorious powers imposed harsh restrictions which were only relaxed much later. For example, under the Treaty of Versailles German aviation pioneers were forced to continue R&D work either secretly or abroad. After 1933 they became part of a centrally directed Nazi armaments machine which as well as setting production targets also allocated materials and people - including growing numbers of forced laborers and POWs working under appalling conditions right up until the end of World War II.
After 1945 the German aviation was forced into decline. It was only in the mid-1950s that West Germany was granted air sovereignty. This provided an important basis for the re-emergence of its own aerospace industry, and allowed Lufthansa to start flying again after being grounded at the end of the war.
Please click one of the following categories:
Industrial history gallery