The Luftwaffe: Creation (1933-35)

Luftwaffe creation
Figure 1.--Despite being prohibited an air force, large numbers of German boys gained experiemnces in flying through an extensive glider sports program which received covert military support. This program was begun before the NAZIs seized powe. This continued after Göring and Hitler announced the creation of the Luftwaffe. This photogrph was probably taken about 1937-38. The RAF nearly lost the Battle of Britain because of the shortage of trained pilots.

The new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, soon after taking office appointed one of his cloest associates, Herman Göring, as National Commissar for Aviation and former Lufthansa employee, Erhard Milch, to be his deputy. This enabeled Göring and Milch not only to coordinate the programs alread secretly in place by the German military, but to use the vast new sums approved by Hitler for aew German airforce. Soon afterwards, Hitler created the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM - Reich Air Ministry) (March 1933). The RLM was created to developm and produce new aircraft. Its cover was that it was working on civilian aviation. A test site was opened at Rechlin. Hitler looked on Göring with his World War I experience for expertise in aviation. As a result, Göring had absolute control over all aspects of aviation in the Reich. The NAZIs next seized control of the Deutschen Luftsportverband (DVLA--German Air Sport Association) March 23, 1933). It proceeded to absorb all private and national organizations, while retaining its 'sports' title. The RLM scretly took control of all military aviation organizations (May 15, 1933). While not announced at the time, this was n fact the creatioin of the Luftwaffe. At this time members of the Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps (NSFK--National Socialist Flyers Corps) transferred to the Luftwaffe. As these men were NAZI Party members, this gave the Luftwaff from its very creation, a NAZI core. While the there was considerable support for the NAZIs in the Heer, the other services did not have a NAZI core. Luftwaffe a strong Nazi ideological base in contrast to the other branches of the German military. Göring despite his leadership post, left the development of the new service to Milch and other subordinates with actual expertise. Führer Adolf Hiter ordered Reichmarshal Herman Göring to formally establish the Luftwaffe (February 26, 1935). The Versailles Treaty was still theoretically in force. Göring announced the existence of the until then secret Luftwaffe (March 10). This must have been carefully coergraphed with Hitler in advance. It is unclear why it was Göring who made the announcement. Of course he was the head of the new Luftwaffe, but an announcement of such significane you would think would be made by Hitler. As a violation of the Versailles Treaty, it could have meant Allied intervention. Presumably because Göring made the announcement, Hitler had some room for maneuver if the Allies threatened to intervene, but they did not. This left Hitler free to make an event more important announcement. Shortly after Göring's announcenent and following the celevbation marking the return of the Saarland to Germany, Hitler announced his the new Luftwaffe to the German public. Sureptitious steps taken by the German military before and after the NAZI takeover made this a less daunting proposition than it might seem. The personnel was lrgely drawn from the Heer. This had the consequence of creating a tctical support mentality in the new Lutwaffe which bwould have significant consequences for World War II. (The American and British sairforces had a more strastehic vission.) Hitler also announced a new military conscription program. Both were flagrant violations of the Versailles Treaty. This would have justified the Allied reoocupation of Germany. Britain and France took no action beyond purfunctoary diplomatic protests. Allied kleaders as erll as the general public had no stomache for it. In fact Britain, bent on appeasing Hitler, proceeded to reward him with a naval treaty.

Weimar Evasions of the Versailles Treaty


National Commissar for Aviation (February? 1933)

The new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, soon after taking office appointed one of his cloest associates, Herman Göring, as National Commissar for Aviation and former Lufthansa employee, Erhard Milch, to be his deputy. This enabeled Göring and Milch not only to coordinate the programs alread secretly in place by the German military, but to use the vast new sums approved by Hitler for aew German airforce.

Reichsluftfahrtministerium (March 1933)

Soon afterwards, Hitler created the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM - Reich Air Ministry) (March 1933). The RLM was created to developm and produce new aircraft. Its cover was that it was working on civilian aviation. A test site was opened at Rechlin. Hitler looked on Göring with his World War I experience for expertise in aviation. As a result, Göring had absolute control over all aspects of aviation in the Reich.

Deutschen Luftsportverband (March 1933)

The NAZIs next seized control of the Deutschen Luftsportverband (DVLA--German Air Sport Association) March 23, 1933). It proceeded to absorb all private and national organizations, while retaining its 'sports' title.

Secret Creation (May 1933)

The RLM scretly took control of all military aviation organizations (May 15, 1933). While not announced at the time, this was in fact the creatioin of the Luftwaffe. At this time members of the Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps (NSFK--National Socialist Flyers Corps) transferred to the Luftwaffe. As these men were NAZI Party members, this gave the Luftwaff from its very creation, a NAZI core. While the there was considerable support for the NAZIs in the Heer, the other services did not have a NAZI core. Luftwaffe a strong Nazi ideological base in contrast to the other branches of the German military. Göring despite his leadership post, left the development of the new service to Milch and other subordinates with actual expertise. >nt>

Public Announcement

Führer Adolf Hiter ordered Reichmarshal Herman Göring to formally establish the Luftwaffe (February 26, 1935). The Versailles Treaty was still theoretically in force. Göring announced the existence of the until then secret Luftwaffe (March 10). This must have been carefully coergraphed with Hitler in advance. It is unclear why it was Göring who made the announcement. Of course he was the head of the new Luftwaffe, but an announcement of such significane you would think would be made by Hitler. As a violation of the Versailles Treaty, it could have meant Allied intervention. And at te time, the Germany Army was not prepared to resist an Allied invasion. Presumably because Göring made the announcement, Hitler had some room for maneuver if the Allies threatened to intervene, but they did not. This left Hitler free to make an event more important announcement. Shortly after Göring's announcenent and following the celebration marking the return of the Saarland to Germany, Hitler announced his the new Luftwaffe to the German public. >nr>

Building the Luftwaffe

Sureptitious steps taken by the German military before and after the NAZI takeover made this a less daunting proposition than it might seem. The personnel was largely drawn from the Heer. This had the consequence of creating a tctical support mentality in the new Lutwaffe which bwould have significant consequences for World War II. (The American and British sairforces had a more strastehic vission.)

Conscription

Hitler also announced a new military conscription program. This mean that the Germans meant to build a large army capable of wageing war. This was, as a result, and even greater violsation of the Versailles Treaty than the creation of the Luftwaffe.

Allied Response

Both were flagrant violations of the Versailles Treaty. This would have justified the Allied reoocupation of Germany. Britain and France took no action beyond purfunctoary diplomatic protests. Allied kleaders as erll as the general public had no stomache for it. In fact Britain, bent on appeasing Hitler, proceeded to reward him with a naval treaty.







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Created: 12:57 AM 1/5/2010
Last updated: 12:58 AM 1/5/2010