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Ap Euro Dbq

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AP Euro
DBQ on German aviation

During the period between 1908 and 1918, Germany went from facing an inevitable war to going into the war. The German army and military needs greatly influenced the airplanes industry. Governmental policies on aircraft industry both encouraged and hindered the technological development of aircraft productions.
At the beginning of 1908, Germany faced an inevitable war as the imperial competition became more intense. At this time, Germany was not sure if airplanes were necessary and suitable for military use, therefore many time nad money were invested into the development of airplanes. Annual Report On Aviation published in Germany stated that at that time, “no flying machine had yet demonstrated its suitability for military purposes” and hence the “investment in aviation technology and its potential use for military purposes should remain in the hands of the private sector and not be the responsibility of the army/the government (DOC 1). In order to make airplane a useful military weapon, the German Army Transportation Research Unit suggested that “a special military aviation organization” (DOC2) to be developed, responding to the fast development of aviation. Moreover, the memorandum of the chief of the German general staff stated that the “newly created military aviation commission provides for prizes, subsidies, and contests to promote the further development of our domestic aircraft industry” (DOC3). Letter from the War Ministry to the German Aircraft Manufacturers suggested that the government supported aircrafts development by making any new factories to be “large-scale and well-capitalized”(DOC5). When realizing that a few factories were inadequate to meet the great demands of the near future, the German Army decided to induce “large industrial enterprises to undertake aircraft construction” (DOC8). According to airplane constructor Anthony Fokker, his co-worker Junkers was developing many advanced aviation theories and “refused to give up his all-metal construction for the sake of wartime necessity” (DOC9). It was proven later in “A Life for Technology and Air Travel” that Junkers’ innovative research did help his firm “recover quickly after the apparently hopeless collapse of aircraft factories at the end of the war” (DOC13).
From 1914 to 1918, Germany officially entered the Great War and the airplanes production increasingly grew. Figure from German Military Archives shows that aircraft production increased from 2,000 to 20,000 from 1914 to 1918 (DOC4). During this time, aircraft industries were forced to systematize their production to achieve mass production of military-use airplanes. Recommendations of the Military Aviation Crash Commission stated that the aviation commission subjected army crafts to certain types with certain weight limit and established requirements for materials, which hindered the innovation of aircrafts production (DOC6). The army also “set new performances requirements for airplanes” (DOC7). Anthony Fokker stated that when he was designing “an altogether new and advanced pursuit plane”, he was forced to stop because the army thought it was not suitable for military use” (DOC10). A position paper prepared by the German Aircraft Manufacturer’s Trade Association claimed that the technology and research for aviation was achieved more before the war and the war had made aircraft production limited to “specialized technical matters” (DOC11). The memorandum on German and Allied aviation also suggested that standardization had “permitted a reduction in the number of types of military aircraft being produced”(DOC13). The standardization and mass production of military-use airplanes in aircraft industries during 1914 to 1918 had greatly hindered the technological development of German aviation.
Some of the documents are biased. Document 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,12 were written by the officials in German Army, therefore the information presented in these documents represent the views from the government. Documents 6,7,9,10,13 were written by individuals, members of private institutions or aircraft companies, therefore they represent individuals’ perspectives. Also, since the latter group of documents were written by individuals who were more objective, they reflect the hindrance of technological development in airplane production caused by the war.

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