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Bell, Laurence

(born April 5, 1894, Mentone, Ind., U.S.--died Oct. 20, 1956, Buffalo), U.S. aircraft designer whose experimental X-1 rocket-propelled airplane in 1947 was the first to break the sound barrier in level flight. In 1912 Bell entered the aviation business as a mechanic for his brother, Grover. When his brother was killed in an airplane accident in 1913, Bell decided to quit, but the attraction of flying proved too great. He went to work for another aviation pioneer, Glenn L. Martin, remaining in the field for the rest of his life. He was actively running Bell Aircraft Corporation, Buffalo, at the time of his death. The Bell P-39 Airacobra and the P-63 Kingcobra fighters were widely used in World War II. Bell designed the first U.S. jet aircraft, the XP-59A Airacomet fighter. Originally powered by two British Whittle engines, it made its first flight on Oct. 1, 1942.

 

Braun, Wernher von

(born March 23, 1912, Wirsitz, Ger.--died June 16, 1977, Alexandria, Va., U.S.), German engineer who played a prominent role in all aspects of rocketry and space exploration, first in Germany and, after World War II, in the United States.

Early life
Braun was born into a prosperous aristocratic family. His mother encouraged young Wernher's curiosity by giving him a telescope upon his confirmation in the Lutheran church. Braun's early interest in astronomy and the realm of space never left him thereafter. In 1920 his family moved to the seat of government in Berlin. He did not do well in school, particularly in physics and mathematics. A turning point in his life occurred in 1925 when he acquired a copy of Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen ("The Rocket into Interplanetary Space") by a rocket pioneer, Hermann Oberth. Frustrated by his inability to understand the mathematics, he applied himself at school until he led his class.

In the spring of 1930, while enrolled in the Berlin Institute of Technology, Braun joined the German Society for Space Travel. In his spare time he assisted Oberth in liquid-fueled rocket motor tests. In 1932 he was graduated from the Technical Institute with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering and entered Berlin University.

By the fall of 1932 the rocket society was experiencing grave financial difficulties. At that time Capt. Walter R. Dornberger (later major general) was in charge of solid-fuel rocket research and development in the Ordnance Department of Germany's 100,000-man armed forces, the Reichswehr. He recognized the military potential of liquid-fueled rockets and the ability of Braun. Dornberger arranged a research grant from the Ordnance Department for Braun, who then did research at a small development station that was set up adjacent to Dornberger's existing solid-fuel rocket test facility at the Kummersdorf Army Proving Grounds near Berlin. Two years later Braun received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Berlin. His thesis, which, for reasons of military security, bore the nondescript title "About Combustion Tests," contained the theoretical investigation and developmental experiments on 300- and 660-pound-thrust rocket engines.

By December 1934 Braun's group, which then included one additional engineer and three mechanics, had successfully launched two rockets that rose vertically to more than 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres). But by this time there was no longer a German rocket society; rocket tests had been forbidden by decree, and the only way open to such research was through the military forces.

Since the test grounds near Berlin had become too small, a large military development facility was erected at the village of Peenemünde in northeastern Germany on the Baltic Sea, with Dornberger as the military commander and Braun as the technical director. Liquid-fueled rocket aircraft and jet-assisted takeoffs were successfully demonstrated, and the long-range ballistic missile A-4 and the supersonic anti-aircraft missile Wasserfall were developed. The A-4 was designated by the Propaganda Ministry as V-2, meaning Vengeance Weapon 2. By 1944 the level of technology of the rockets and missiles being tested at Peenemünde was many years ahead of that available in any other country.

Work in the United States
Braun always recognized the value of the work of U.S. rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard. "Until 1936," said Braun, "Goddard was ahead of us all." At the end of World War II, Braun, his younger brother Magnus, Dornberger, and the entire German rocket development team surrendered to U.S. troops. Within a few months Braun and about 100 members of his group were at the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps test site at White Sands, N.M., where they tested, assembled, and supervised the launching of captured V-2s for high-altitude research purposes. Developmental studies were made of advanced ramjet and rocket missiles. At the end of the war the United States had entered the field of guided missiles with practically no previous experience. The technical competence of Braun's group was outstanding. "After all," he said, "if we are good, it's because we've had 15 more years of experience in making mistakes and learning from them!"

Moving to Huntsville, Ala., in 1952, Braun became technical director (later chief) of the U.S. Army ballistic-weapon program. Under his leadership, the Redstone, Jupiter-C, Juno, and Pershing missiles were developed. In 1955 he became a U.S. citizen and, characteristically, accepted citizenship wholeheartedly. During the 1950s Braun became a national and international focal point for the promotion of space flight. He was the author or coauthor of popular articles and books and made addresses on the subject.

In 1954 a secret army-navy project to launch an Earth satellite, Project Orbiter, was thwarted. The situation was changed by the launching of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union on Oct. 4, 1957, followed by Sputnik 2 on November 3. Given leave to proceed on November 8, Braun and his army group launched the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, on Jan. 31, 1958.

After the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed to carry out the U.S. space program, Braun and his organization were transferred from the army to that agency. As director of the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Braun led the development of the large space launch vehicles, Saturn I, IB, and V. The engineering success of each of the Saturn class of space boosters, which contained millions of individual parts, remains unparalleled in rocket history. Each was launched successfully and on time and met safe performance requirements.

In March 1970 Braun was transferred to NASA headquarters in Washington as deputy associate administrator for planning. He resigned from the agency in 1972 to become vice president at Fairchild Industries Inc., an aerospace company. In 1975 he founded the National Space Institute, a private organization whose objective was to gain public support and understanding of space activities.

In attempting to justify his involvement in the development of the German V-2 rocket, Braun stated that patriotic motives outweighed whatever qualms he had about the moral implications of his nation's policies under Hitler. He also emphasized the innate impartiality of scientific research, which in itself has no moral dimensions until its products are put to use by the larger society. During his later career Braun received numerous high awards from U.S. government agencies and from professional societies in the United States and other countries.

Bibliography
Books by Braun. Das Marsprojekt (1952; The Mars Project), a technical treatise on an expedition of 10 spacecraft with 70 men to Mars; Space Frontier, rev. ed. (1971), an easily understandable discussion of the fundamental principles of rocketry and space flight. Books by Braun and others

Across the Space Frontier (1952), Conquest of the Moon (1953), and Exploration of Mars (1956), a series of three popular books describing concepts for the exploration of space; History of Rocketry and Space Travel, rev. ed. (1969), an excellent history and reference work, profusely illustrated; Moon (1970), a tribute to the Apollo 11 lunar landing, including a history of man's study of the Moon.

Biographies
Erik Bergaust, Reaching for the Stars (1960), a definitive and authoritative biography.

 

Breguet, Louis Charles

(born Jan. 2, 1880, Paris--died May 4, 1955, Paris), French airplane builder, many of whose planes set world records, and founder of Air France. Bréguet was educated at the Lycée Condorcet and Lycée Carnot and at the École Supérieure d'Électricité. He joined the family engineering firm, Maison Bréguet, becoming head engineer of its electric service.

Bréguet built his first airplane in 1909, set a speed record for a flight of 10 kilometres in 1911, and in that year founded the Société des Ateliers d'Aviation Louis Bréguet. In 1912 he constructed his first hydroplane and in 1917 designed and flew a "gyroplane," the forerunner of the helicopter. During World War I he manufactured military planes; his Bréguet-XIX was especially noteworthy.

In 1919 he founded the Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes, which ultimately became Air France. A Bréguet plane made the first nonstop crossing of the South Atlantic in 1927; another made a 4,500-mile flight across the Atlantic in 1933, the longest nonstop Atlantic flight up to that time. Bréguet remained an important manufacturer of military planes during World War II and afterward produced a series of large four-engined transports.

 

Curtiss, Glenn

(born May 21, 1878, Hammondsport, N.Y., U.S.-died July 23, 1930, Buffalo), pioneer in the development of U.S. aviation whose aircraft were widely used during World War I.

Curtiss began his career building engines for bicycles. In 1904 he designed and built a motor for the dirigible "California Arrow." His success in building aircraft engines drew him into the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA), founded by Alexander Graham Bell. In 1908, using a plane built by the AEA, Curtiss won the Scientific American trophy for the first U.S. flight of one kilometre (0.6 mile).

Curtiss was the first builder of seaplanes in the U.S.; after demonstrating to the U.S. Navy the practicability of using a seaplane in conjunction with a warship, he was awarded the first contract to build U.S. Navy planes. His factories, which were greatly expanded in 1917, supplied planes to Great Britain and Russia as well as to the U.S. Probably his best known plane was the JN-4, or Jenny, a trainer widely used during World War I. It was also a popular plane among barnstormers after the war and became famous for such exploits as the first Canadian mail flights over the Rocky Mountains.

Though Curtiss and his company were deeply involved in litigation with the Wright Company for patent infringement, the question was dropped during World War I, and afterward the two companies merged into the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

 

Dassault, Marcel

Original name MARCEL BLOCH (born Jan. 22, 1892, Paris, France--died April 18, 1986, Paris), French aircraft designer and industrialist whose companies built the most successful military aircraft in Europe in the decades after World War II.

The son of a Jewish physician, Bloch obtained degrees in aeronautical design and electrical engineering and worked as an aircraft designer for France during World War I. He engaged in real estate in the 1920s but returned to aeronautics in 1930, starting his own company and building military and civilian airplanes with notable success and profitability. During World War II he refused to work for the Germans and was eventually sent to Buchenwald concentration camp.

After the war Bloch changed his last name to Dassault (a nom de guerre of one of his brothers in the Resistance) and converted to Roman Catholicism. His aircraft-manufacturing company, Générale Aéronautique Marcel Dassault, led the postwar revival of the French aircraft industry, producing Europe's first supersonic plane, the Mystčre, as well as the highly successful line of delta-winged military aircraft called Mirages (from 1956). The various Mirage warplanes proved very popular among neutral and Third World nations and became some of the most widely used military aircraft in the world. In 1967 Dassault's company merged with Breguet Aviation, a manufacturer of transport aircraft, to form Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation. (see also Index: supersonic flight)

Dassault was a deputy in the National Assembly from 1951 to 1955 and from 1958 until his death.

 

De Havilland, Geoffrey Sir

(born July 27, 1882, Haslemere, Surrey, Eng.--died May 21, 1965, Watford, Hertfordshire), English aircraft designer, manufacturer, and pioneer in long-distance jet flying. He was one of the first to make jet-propelled aircraft, producing the Vampire and Venom jet fighters.

In 1910 he successfully built and flew an airplane with a 50-horsepower engine. De Havilland then joined the army balloon factory and originated the British Experimental (B.E.) series of tractor biplanes. During World War I he worked as chief designer and test pilot for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company and produced a number of successful fighters and light bombers. In September 1920 he formed the De Havilland Aircraft Company. The success of the Moth, a light two-seater, made the company financially successful and started the flying club movement in Great Britain. In World War II the company's most successful product was the twin-engined Mosquito, a high-speed, all-purpose aircraft of plywood construction. After the war, he pioneered the Comet airliner and D.H. "Ghost" jet engines. De Havilland was knighted in 1944.

 

Dornberger, Walter Robert

(born Sept. 6, 1895, Giessen, Ger.--died June 27, 1980, Baden-Württemberg, W.Ger.), engineer who directed construction of the German V-2 rocket during World War II.

Dornberger enlisted in the German army in 1914 and was commissioned the next year. After being captured by the French, he was released in 1919 and retained in the small army permitted Germany under the terms of the Versailles treaty. He was sent by the army in 1925 to the School of Technology in Charlottenberg; there Dornberger specialized in ballistics and earned an M.A. degree in 1930. He was assigned to the development of rocket weapons, a category not prohibited by the Versailles settlement, but had to struggle to obtain recognition for his efforts. In the summer of 1932, however, he was placed in charge of Research Station West at Kummersdorf, a few miles south of Berlin, where, with Wernher von Braun, he began to perfect the rocket engine. In May 1937 the staff was moved to Peenemünde, where the A series of rocket missiles was built; the A-4 rocket developed there later became widely known in its military form as the V-2 and was the forerunner of all postwar space vehicles. (see also Index: V-2 missile)

After World War II, Dornberger, who had attained the rank of lieutenant general, spent two years in England as a prisoner, then emigrated to the United States in 1947, where he worked as an adviser on guided missiles for the United States Air Force. In 1950 he became a consultant to the Bell Aircraft Corporation and in 1954 wrote V-2, his reminiscences. During his association with Bell, Dornberger participated in the Air Force-NASA project Dyna-Soar, which was eventually transmuted into the space shuttle program. Dornberger retired in 1965.

 

Dornier, Claudius

(born May 14, 1884, Kempten, Bavaria [Germany]--died Dec. 5, 1969, Zug, Switz.), pioneer German aircraft designer and builder. Dornier completed his education in 1907 at Munich's technical college and three years later began working for Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin, at the Zeppelin airship factory at Friedrichshafen. In 1911 he designed the first all-metal plane, and Zeppelin permitted him to found a separate division of the company, the Dornier aircraft works at Friedrichshafen. Wooden and metal fighters designed by Dornier were used by Germany in World War I, after which he assumed full control of his aircraft factory.

During the 1920s he built widely used seaplanes, and in 1929 he introduced the Do X, at the time the world's largest aircraft. With a wingspan of 157 feet (48 m) and length of 130 feet (40 m), the Do X was powered by 12 engines and carried 169 passengers; in 1931 it flew from Germany to New York City. Because of its great cost, however, the Do X was abandoned. During World War II the Dornier 17, a twin-engined bomber, was a standby of the Luftwaffe. Construction of aircraft in postwar Germany was forbidden by the Allies, so Dornier established a factory in Spain. Shortly after the lifting of the Allied ban in 1955, he opened a factory near Munich to construct the Dornier 27, a light, general-purpose transport; the Dornier 31, a STOL aircraft; and the Dornier 32, a collapsible helicopter. (see also Index: Dornier Do X)

 

Douglas, Donald

(born April 6, 1892, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.--d. Feb. 1, 1981, Palm Springs, Calif.), U.S. aircraft designer who founded the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Douglas assisted Jerome C. Hunsaker in building the first wind tunnel, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (1914-15), and was chief engineer for the Glenn L. Martin Company before organizing his own firm in 1920. His early government contracts included an order for the Douglas World Cruiser biplanes. Two of the four planes that set out on the first around-the-world flight, on April 6, 1924, completed the trip on September 28. The prototype DC-1 commercial transport (flown July 1933) and the production model DC-2 were succeeded (1935) by the larger and more powerful DC-3 (military designation C-47 [Dakota]). The four-engined DC-4 (military versions, Air Force C-54 and Navy R5D-1) and the DC-6 and DC-7 series were commercially successful.

During World War II, Douglas manufactured the A-20 (Havoc) and A-26 (Invader) light bombers and the SBD (Dauntless) dive bomber. Postwar aircraft include the DC-8, DC-9, and DC-10 jet transports and the A-4 (Skyhawk) attack bomber. In 1957 he resigned as president of Douglas Aircraft but remained as chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer until 1967, when the company became a division of McDonnell Douglas Corporation.

 

Göring, Hermann

Göring also spelled GOERING (born Jan. 12, 1893, Rosenheim, Ger.--died Oct. 15, 1946, Nürnberg), a leader of the Nazi Party and one of the primary architects of the Nazi police state in Germany. He was condemned to hang as a war criminal by the International Military Tribunal at Nürnberg in 1946 but took poison and died the night that his execution was ordered. (see also Index: National Socialism, Nürnberg trials)

Göring was born in Bavaria, the second son by the second wife of Heinrich Ernst Göring, at the time German consul general in Haiti. The family was reunited in Germany on the father's retirement in 1896. Göring, as a child, was brought up near Nürnberg, in the small castle of Veldenstein, whose owner was Hermann, Ritter von Epenstein, a Jew, who was, until 1913, the lover of Göring's mother and the godfather of her children. Trained for an army career, Göring received his commission in 1912 and served with distinction during World War I, joining the embryonic air force. In 1918 he became commander of the celebrated squadron in which the great German aviator Manfred, Freiherr von Richthofen, served. Göring so deeply resented the treatment given army officers by the civilian population during the troubled period after Germany's capitulation that he left the country. After a period as a commercial pilot in Denmark and Sweden, he met the Swedish baroness Carin von Rosen, who divorced her husband and married Göring in Munich on Feb. 3, 1922.

Göring had met Adolf Hitler the previous year and had joined the small National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party late in 1922. As a former officer, he had been given command of Hitler's Storm Troopers (the SA, Sturmabteilung). Göring took part in the abortive Munich Putsch of November 1923 in which Hitler tried to seize power prematurely. During the Putsch, Göring was badly wounded in the groin. His arrest was ordered, but he escaped with his wife into Austria. Given morphine to deaden the pain from his wounds, he became so severely addicted that he twice underwent treatment in 1925-26 at the Lĺngbro mental hospital in Sweden.

In 1927 he returned to Germany, where his contacts in German industry proved useful, and he was taken back into the party leadership. He occupied one of the 12 Reichstag seats that the Nazi Party won in the 1928 election. Thereafter, Göring became the acknowledged party leader in the lower house, and, when the Nazis won 230 seats in the election of July 1932, he was elected president of the Reichstag.

Göring's sole concern in the Reichstag was to stultify the democratic system, which the Reichstag ostensibly represented up to March 1933. He had the ear of the 84-year-old president, Paul von Hindenburg, and used his position to outmaneuver the successive chancellors, particularly Kurt von Schleicher and Franz von Papen, until Hindenburg was finally forced to invite Hitler to become chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933. The battle for dictatorial power, however, was still not won; between January 30 and March 23, when an enabling bill giving Hitler his dictatorial powers was passed, Göring was tirelessly active. He used his new position as minister of the interior in Prussia, Germany's largest and most influential state, to Nazify the Prussian police and establish the Gestapo, or secret political police. He also established concentration camps for the "corrective treatment" of difficult opponents. The Reichstag fire of Feb. 27, 1933, which the Nazis most probably instigated, made it possible for Göring to accuse the Communists of intending a coup d'état. The wholesale arrest of Communist and even some Social Democrat deputies succeeded in removing any effective opposition to the passage the following month of the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler dictatorial powers.

Göring's position as Hitler's most loyal supporter remained unassailable for the rest of the decade. He collected offices of state almost at will. He was Reich commissioner for aviation and head of the newly developed Luftwaffe, or German air force, which was disguised as a civilian enterprise until March 1935. In 1933 he became master of the German hunt and of the German forests. In June 1934 he took a leading part in the party's purge of the SA leader Ernst Röhm but in the same year ceded his position as security chief to Heinrich Himmler, thus ridding himself of responsibility for the Gestapo and the concentration camps. In 1937 he displaced Hjalmar Schacht, after 1934 Hitler's minister for economic affairs; in 1936, without consulting Schacht, Hitler had made Göring commissioner for his Four-Year Plan for the war economy. He was also constantly employed as Hitler's roving ambassador.

Göring was the most popular of the Nazi leaders, not only with the German people but also with the ambassadors and diplomats of foreign powers. He used his impregnable position to enrich himself. The more ruthless aspect of his nature showed in the recorded telephone conversation by means of which he blackmailed the surrender of Austria before the Anschluss (political union) with Germany in 1938. It was Göring who led the economic despoliation of the Jews in Germany and in the various territories that fell under Hitler's power.

Göring's first wife had died in 1931, and on April 10, 1935, he married the actress Emmy Sonnemann. Göring was devoted in turn to each of his wives. His hunting interests enabled him to obtain a vast forest estate in the Schorfheide, north of Berlin, where from 1933 he developed a great baronial establishment on a scale commensurate with his ambitions. This he called Carinhall in honour of his first wife. It was at Carinhall that he kept the greater part of his enormous art collection. On June 2, 1938, Emmy bore him a daughter, his only child, Edda.

Although Göring was probably sincere in his desire to avert or postpone war--as his abortive negotiations in 1939 with the Swedish industrialist Birger Dahlerus indicate--it was his Luftwaffe that conducted the blitzkrieg that smashed Polish resistance and weakened country after country as Hitler's campaigns progressed. But Göring's self-indulgent nature was too weak to sustain the rigours of war or oppose Hitler's blind prejudice in favour of the production of bombers rather than fighter planes. The Luftwaffe's capacity for defense declined as Hitler's battlefronts extended from northern Europe to the Mediterranean and North Africa, and Göring lost face when the Luftwaffe failed to win the Battle of Britain or prevent the Allied bombing of Germany. On the plea of ill health, Göring retired as much as Hitler would let him into private life, enjoying the luxuries of Carinhall, where he continued to amass his art collection (further enriched with spoils from the Jewish collections in the occupied countries) and receive many gifts from those who sought his favour. His colossal girth was more the result of glandular defect than of gluttony, but his excessive resort to paracodeine tablets (a mild derivative from morphine) poisoned his system and made recurrent treatment for drug addiction necessary. His addiction helped to make him alternately elated or depressed; he was egocentric and bombastic, delighting in flamboyant clothes and uniforms, decorations, and exhibitionist jewelry.

In spite of Göring's faults, Hitler felt he could not afford to discard a man so closely identified with the regime. In 1939 he had declared him his successor and in 1940 had given him the special rank of Reichsmarschall des Grossdeutschen Reiches. The other Nazi leaders both resented his favoured position and despised his self-indulgence, but Hitler did not displace him until the last days of the war, when, in accordance with the decrees of 1939, Göring attempted to assume the Führer's powers, believing him to be encircled and helpless in Berlin. Nevertheless, Göring expected to be treated as a plenipotentiary when, after Hitler's suicide, he surrendered himself to the Americans.

Cured finally of his drug addiction during his period of captivity awaiting trial as a war criminal, he defended himself ably before the International Military Tribunal at Nürnberg. He saw himself as the star defendant, a historical figure; he denied any complicity in the more hideous activities of the regime, which he claimed to be the secret work of Himmler. When after his condemnation his plea to be shot and not hanged was refused, he took poison and died in his cell at Nürnberg the night his execution was ordered. Only in 1967 was it revealed that he had left a note explaining that the poison capsule had been secreted all the while in a container of pomade.

Bibliography
Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel, Hermann Göring (1968); and Leonard Mosley, The Reich Marshall (1974), are full biographies. R.J. Overy, Goering, the "Iron Man" (1984), concentrates on his political and administrative career, 1936-42.

 

Grumman, Leroy

(born Jan. 4, 1895, Huntington, N.Y., U.S.--died Oct. 4, 1982, Manhasset, N.Y.), American aeronautical engineer and founder of the Grumman Aerospace Corp. He designed some of the most effective naval aircraft used in World War II. (see also Index: Grumman Aerospace Corporation)

After graduating from Cornell University, Grumman joined the U.S. Navy and served as a flight instructor and later as a test pilot. Following World War I he worked for the Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corp., but in 1929 he founded the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation on Long Island, N.Y. His FF-1, which entered service with the U.S. Navy in 1933, was a two-seat biplane with retractable landing gear. With the F4F Wildcat, introduced in 1940, Grumman switched to monoplane construction. The F4F featured a folding wing for compact stowage and was the United States' principal carrier-based fighter plane until Grumman's F6F Hellcat entered service in 1943. The F6F showed the bulky, ungainly, teardrop-shaped lines for which Grumman became famous, but it became the most successful fighter in the Pacific theatre, outflying and outgunning the Japanese Zero. The Hellcat was the first plane built to pilot specifications, the first produced in mass before a test flight had been conducted, and an aircraft that set production records because it was built so quickly. Another Grumman aircraft, the TBF Avenger, was the navy's premier torpedo bomber. With the F9F Panther, designed at war's end, Grumman fighters entered the jet age.

In 1946 Grumman stepped down as president of his company, but he remained chairman of the board until 1966. The Grumman Corporation continued its association with the U.S. Navy, producing the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft in the 1960s and the F-14 Tomcat fighter in the '70s.

 

Heinkel, Ernst Heinrich

(born Jan. 24, 1888, Grunbach, Ger.--died Jan. 30, 1958, Stuttgart, W.Ger.), German designer and builder of the first rocket-powered aircraft shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

Heinkel’s first plane, constructed in 1910, crashed and burned. Continuing his work, he became chief designer for the Albatros Aircraft Company in Berlin before the beginning of World War I. After the war he organized (1922) the Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in Warnemünde, where he built the He 70, which set eight world speed records in the early 1930s; the He 176, first aircraft to fly successfully with reaction motors; the He 178, first turbojet-powered aircraft; and the He 111 and He 162, widely used by Germany's air force during World War II. Though he fell into disfavour with the Nazis late in the war, he was arrested by the Allies and tried for war crimes; he was released after the trial. Because his firm had been dissolved, he began a new company in 1950 to manufacture bicycles, motorbikes, and midget autos.

 

Hitler, Adolf

The dictator of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, was born on April 20, 1889, at Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary. His father, Alois (born 1837), was illegitimate and for a time bore his mother's name, Schicklgruber, but by 1876 he had established his claim to the surname Hitler. Adolf never used any other name, and the name Schicklgruber was revived only by his political opponents in Germany and Austria in the 1930s.

Early life
Adolf Hitler spent most of his childhood in the neighbourhood of Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, after his father's retirement from the Habsburg customs service. Alois Hitler died in 1903 but left an adequate pension and savings to support his wife and children. Adolf received a secondary education and, although he had a poor record at school and failed to secure the usual certificate, did not leave until he was 16 (1905). There followed two idle years in Linz, when he indulged in grandiose dreams of becoming an artist without taking any steps to prepare for earning his living. His mother was overindulgent to her willful son, and even after her death in 1908 he continued to draw a small allowance with which at first he maintained himself in Vienna. His ambition was to become an art student, but he twice failed to secure entry to the Academy of Fine Arts. For some years he lived a lonely and isolated life, earning a precarious livelihood by painting postcards and advertisements and drifting from one municipal lodging house to another.

Hitler already showed traits that characterized his later life: inability to establish ordinary human relationships; intolerance and hatred both of the established bourgeois world and of non-German peoples, especially the Jews; a tendency toward passionate, denunciatory outbursts; readiness to live in a world of fantasy and so to escape his poverty and failure.

In 1913 Hitler moved to Munich. Temporarily recalled to Austria to be examined for military service (February 1914), he was rejected as unfit; but when World War I broke out he volunteered for the German army and joined the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. He served throughout the war, was wounded in October 1916, and was gassed two years later. He was still hospitalized when the war ended. Except when hospitalized, he was continuously in the front line as a headquarters runner; his bravery in action was rewarded with the Iron Cross, Second Class, in December 1914, and the Iron Cross, First Class (a rare decoration for a corporal), in August 1918. He greeted the war with enthusiasm, as a great relief from the frustration and aimlessness of his civilian life. He found comradeship, discipline, and participation in conflict intensely satisfying and was confirmed in his belief in authoritarianism, inequality, and the heroic virtues of war.

Rise to power
Discharged from the hospital in the atmosphere of confusion that followed the German defeat, Hitler determined to take up political work in order to destroy a peace settlement that he denounced as intolerable. He remained on the roster of his regiment until April 1920 and as an army political agent joined the tiny German Workers' Party in Munich (September 1919).

In 1920 he was put in charge of the party's propaganda and left the army to devote his time to building up the party, which in that year was renamed the National-sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (of which Nazi was an abbreviation). Conditions were ripe for the development of such a party. Resentment at the loss of the war and the peace terms added to economic chaos brought widespread discontent. This was sharpened in Bavaria, where Hitler lived throughout the 1920s, by traditional separatism and dislike of the republican government in Berlin. In March 1920 a coup d'état by the army established a strong right-wing government. Munich became the gathering place for dissatisfied former servicemen and members of the Freikorps, which had been organized in 1918-19 from units of the German army unwilling to return to civilian life, and for political plotters against the republic. Many of these joined the Nazi Party. Foremost among them was Ernst Röhm, a member of the staff of the district army command, who had actually joined the German Workers' Party before Hitler and who was of great help in furthering his schemes for developing it into an instrument of power. It was he who recruited the "strong arm" squads used by Hitler to protect party meetings, to attack Socialists and Communists, and to exploit violence for the impression of strength it gave. In 1921 these were formally organized under Röhm into a private party army, the SA (Sturmabteilung). Röhm was also able to ensure the protection of the Bavarian government, which depended on the local army command for the maintenance of order and which tacitly accepted his breaches of law and his policy of intimidation.

Although conditions were thus favourable to the growth of the party, only Hitler was sufficiently astute to take full advantage of them. When he joined the party he found it small, ineffective, committed to a program of nationalist and socialist principles but uncertain of its aims and divided in its leadership. He accepted its program but regarded it only as a means to an end--political power. His propaganda methods and his personal arrogance caused friction with the other members of the committee, which was resolved when Hitler countered their attempts to curb his freedom by offering his resignation. Aware that the future of the party depended on his power to organize publicity and to acquire funds, they were forced to give in, and in July 1921 he became president with unlimited powers. From the first he set out to create a mass movement, whose mystique and force would be sufficient to bind its members in loyalty to him. He engaged in unrelenting propaganda through the party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter ("Popular Observer," acquired in 1920), and through a succession of meetings, rapidly growing from audiences of a handful to thousands, where he developed his unique talent for magnetism and mass leadership. At the same time, he gathered around him several of the Nazi leaders who later became infamous -- Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolf Hess, Hermann Göring, and Julius Streicher.

The climax in this rapid growth of the Nazi party in Bavaria came in an attempt to seize power in the Munich (Beer Hall) Putsch of November 1923, when Hitler and Gen. Erich Ludendorff took advantage of the prevailing lawlessness and opposition to the Weimar Republic to force the leaders of the Land government and the local Reichswehr commander to proclaim a national revolution. When released, however, they rescinded the proclamation. When placed on trial, Hitler, although his part in the Putsch had been far from glorious, characteristically took advantage of the immense publicity afforded to him. He also drew a vital lesson from the Putsch--that the movement must achieve power by legal means. He was sentenced to prison for five years. but served only nine months, and that in comfort at Landsberg. He used the time to prepare the first volume of Mein Kampf.

Hitler's ideas included little that cannot be traced to earlier writers or to the commonly accepted shibboleths of Viennese right-wing radicalism in his youth. He regarded inequality between races and individuals as part of an unchangeable natural order and exalted the "Aryan race" as the sole creative element of mankind. The natural unit of mankind was the Volk, of which the German was the greatest; and the state only existed to serve the Volk--a mission that the Weimar Republic betrayed. All morality and truth was judged by this criterion: whether it was in accordance with the interest and preservation of the Volk. For this reason democratic government stood doubly condemned. It assumed an equality within the Volk that did not in fact exist, and it supposed that what was in the interests of the Volk could be decided by discussion and voting. In fact the unity of the Volk found its incarnation in the Führer, endowed with absolute authority. Below the Führer the party (which Hitler often called the "movement" to distinguish it from democratic parties) was drawn from the best elements of the Volk and was in turn its safeguard.

The greatest enemy of Nazism was not, in Hitler's view, liberal democracy, which was already on the verge of collapse. It was rather the rival Weltanschauung, Marxism (which for him embraced Social Democracy as well as Communism), with its insistence on internationalism and class conflict. Behind Marxism he saw the greatest enemy of all, the Jew, who was for Hitler the very incarnation of evil, a mythical figure into which he projected all that he feared and hated.

During Hitler's absence in prison the Nazi Party disintegrated through internal dissension. In the task of reconstruction after his release, he faced difficulties that had not existed before 1923. Economic stability had been achieved by currency reform and the Dawes Plan; the republic had become more respectable. Hitler was forbidden to make speeches, first in Bavaria, then in many other German states (these prohibitions remained in force until 1927-28). Nevertheless, the party grew slowly in numbers, and in 1926 Hitler successfully established his position against Gregor Strasser, who had built up a rival Nazi movement in north Germany.

The slump of 1929 opened a new period of economic and political instability. Hitler made an alliance with the Nationalist Alfred Hugenberg in a campaign against the Young Plan. Through it Hitler was able for the first time to reach a nationwide audience with the help of Hugenberg's Nationalist Party organization and the newspapers it controlled. It also enabled him to commend himself as a gifted agitator to the magnates of business and industry who controlled political funds and were anxious to use them to establish a strong right-wing, anti-working-class government. The subsidies he received from the industrialists placed his party on a secure financial footing and enabled him to make effective his emotional appeal to the lower middle class and the unemployed, based on the proclamation of his faith that Germany would awaken from its sufferings to reassert its natural greatness. Like his later intrigues with the conservatives, Hitler's dealings with Hugenberg and the industrialists exemplify his skill in using those who sought to use him.

Mass agitation and unremitting propaganda, set against the failure of the government to achieve any success in internal or external affairs, produced a steadily mounting electoral strength for the Nazis, who became the second largest party in the country, with more than 6,000,000 votes at the 1930 election. Hitler opposed Hindenburg in the presidential election of 1932, capturing 36.8 percent of the votes on the second ballot.

Placed in a very strong position by his unprecedented mass following, he took part in a series of intrigues for the favour of the aging president in which the other principal participants were Franz von Papen, Gen. Kurt von Schleicher, Otto Meissner, and Hindenburg's son, Oskar. In spite of a decline in the party's votes in November 1932, he held to the chancellorship as the only office he would accept, and this by constitutional, not revolutionary, methods. Throughout, he showed a unique ability to exploit conditions favourable to success. He created the Hitler myth; he propagated it by every device of mass agitation and with an actor's ability to be absorbed in the role that he created for himself. Yet all the time he remained a shrewd and calculating politician, aware of the weaknesses of his own position, perceiving more quickly than anyone else how a situation could best be turned to his own advantage. In January 1933 he reaped his reward when Hindenburg invited him to be chancellor of Germany, and he took office with the support of Papen and Hugenberg and with Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg as minister of defense.

Hitler's personal life had grown more relaxed and stable with the added comfort that accompanied the success of the party. After his release from prison, he went to live on the Obersalzberg, near Berchtesgaden. His income at this time was derived in a haphazard manner from party funds and from writing in nationalist newspapers. When he became chancellor he accepted the material comforts that followed but remained independent of them. He was indifferent to clothes and food, never smoking or drinking tea, coffee, or alcohol. He continued, even as Führer, to rebel against routine or regular work--a characteristic that he ascribed to his artistic temperament.

When he went to live at Berchtesgaden, his half sister Angela Raubal and her two daughters accompanied him. Hitler became devoted to one of them, Geli, but his possessive jealousy drove her to suicide in September 1931. For weeks Hitler was inconsolable. Later Eva Braun, a shop assistant from Munich, became his mistress. Hitler rarely allowed her to come to Berlin or appear in public with him and would not consider marriage on the grounds that it would hamper his career. Eva was a warmhearted girl with no intellectual ability. Her great virtue in Hitler's eyes was her unquestioning loyalty, and in recognition of this he made her his legal wife at the end of his life.

Dictator, 1933-39
Once in power, Hitler proceeded to establish an absolute dictatorship. He secured the President's assent for new elections on the grounds that a majority in the Reichstag could not, after all, be obtained. The Reichstag fire, on the night of February 27, 1933 (apparently the work of a Dutch Communist, Marinus van der Lubbe), provided an excuse for a decree overriding all guarantees of freedom and for an intensified campaign of violence. In these conditions, when the elections were held (March 5), the Nazis polled 43.9 percent of the votes. The Reichstag assembled in the Potsdam Garrison Church, a theatrical gathering designed by Hitler to show the unity of his own movement with the old conservative Germany, represented by Hindenburg. Two days later an enabling bill, giving full powers to Hitler, was passed in the Reichstag by the combined votes of Nazi, Nationalist, and Centre party deputies (March 23, 1933).

Thus far successful, Hitler had no desire to carry too far a radical revolution. Conciliation was still necessary if he was to succeed to the presidency and retain the support of the army; nor had he ever intended to disappropriate the leaders of industry, provided they served the interests of the Nazi state. Ernst Röhm was the chief protagonist of the "continuing revolution"; he was also, as head of the SA, greatly distrusted by the army. Hitler tried first to secure Röhm's support for his policies by persuasion and by giving him government office but failed to win him over. Göring and Heinrich Himmler were eager to remove Röhm, but Hitler hesitated until the last moment. Finally, on June 29, 1934, he reached his decision. Röhm and his lieutenant Edmund Heines were executed without trial, together with Gregor Strasser, Schleicher, and others. The army leaders, satisfied at seeing the SA broken up, approved Hitler's actions. When Hindenburg died, on August 2, they, together with Papen, assented to the merging of the chancellorship and the presidency--with which went the supreme command of the armed forces of the Reich--and officers and men took an oath of allegiance to Hitler personally. Economic recovery and a reduction in unemployment (coincident with world recovery, but for which Hitler took credit) made the regime more acceptable, and a combination of success and terrorism brought the support of 90 percent of the voters in a plebiscite.

In power, Hitler devoted little attention to the organization and running of the domestic affairs of the Nazi state. Responsible for the broad lines of policy, as well as for the system of terror that upheld the state, he left detailed administration to his subordinates. Each of these exercised arbitrary power in his own sphere, but, by deliberately creating offices and organizations with overlapping authority, Hitler effectively prevented any one of these private empires from ever becoming sufficiently strong to challenge his own absolute authority.

Foreign policy claimed his greater interest. His objectives were laid down in Mein Kampf, and Hitler worked toward them with consummate skill. He had early admired the pan-Germanism of the Austrian Georg Ritter von Schönerer, and the reunion of the German peoples was his first ambition. Beyond that, the natural field of expansion lay eastward, in Poland, the Ukraine, and the U.S.S.R.--expansion that would necessarily involve renewal of Germany's historic conflict with the Slav peoples, who would be subordinate in the new order to the Teutonic master race. He regarded Fascist Italy as a natural ally in this crusade against Bolshevism, provided its rivalry with Germany in central Europe could be overcome, and was ready to abandon the Germans of the Tirol to this end. Britain was a possible ally, provided it abandoned its traditional policy of maintaining the balance of power in Europe and limited itself to its interests overseas. France alone in the west was the natural enemy of Germany and must, therefore, be subdued to make expansion eastward possible.

Before such expansion was possible, it was necessary to remove the restrictions placed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler used all the arts of propaganda to allay the suspicions of the other powers. He posed as the champion of Europe against the scourge of Bolshevism and insisted that he was a man of peace who wished only to remove the inequalities of the Versailles Treaty. Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and from the League of Nations (October 1933), but Hitler hastened to sign a nonaggression treaty with Poland (January 1934). Every repudiation of the treaty was followed by an offer to negotiate a fresh agreement and insistence on the limited nature of Germany's ambitions. Only once did he overreach himself: when the Austrian Nazis, with the connivance of the German embassy, murdered Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss of Austria and attempted a coup d'etat (July 1934). The attempt failed, and as Mussolini moved troops to the frontier, Hitler disclaimed all responsibility and sacrificed those who had acted with his sanction. In January 1935 a plebiscite in the Saarland returned that territory to Germany, and Hitler took the opportunity to renounce any further claims on France. In March of the same year, he announced the introduction of conscription, and, although this provoked the united opposition of Britain, France, and Italy at the Stresa Conference, his peace propaganda was sufficiently successful to persuade the British to negotiate a naval treaty (June 1935) recognizing Germany's right to rearm. His greatest stroke came in March 1936, when he used the excuse of a pact between France and the Soviet Union to remilitarize the Rhineland--a decision that he took against the advice of his own general staff. Meanwhile, the alliance with Italy, foreseen in Mein Kampf, rapidly became a reality as a result of the sanctions imposed by Britain and France against Italy in the Ethiopian war. In October 1936 the Rome-Berlin axis was established; shortly afterward came the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan; and these two were linked a year later. (see also Index: Axis Powers)

By 1937-38 a new stage had been reached. In November 1937 Hitler outlined his plans of future conquest (beginning with Austria and Czechoslovakia) to a secret meeting of his military leaders. He now dispensed with the services of those who were not wholehearted in their acceptance of Nazi dynamism--Hjalmar Schacht, who declared Germany's further rearmament a danger to its economy; Werner von Blomberg and Werner von Fritsch, representatives of the caution of professional soldiers; and Konstantin von Neurath, Hindenburg's appointment at the foreign office.

In February 1938 Hitler invited the Austrian chancellor, Kurt von Schuschnigg, to Berchtesgaden and forced him to sign an agreement giving the Austrian Nazis virtually a free hand. When Schuschnigg attempted to repudiate the agreement and announced a plebiscite on the question of an Anschluss with Germany, Hitler immediately ordered the occupation of Austria by German troops. The enthusiastic reception that Hitler himself received decided him to settle the future of Austria by outright annexation. He returned in triumph to Vienna, the scene of his youthful humiliations and hardships. No resistance was encountered from Britain and France. Hitler had taken special care to secure the support of Italy, and when this was forthcoming proclaimed his undying gratitude to Mussolini.

Having given assurances that the Anschluss would not affect Germany's relations with Czechoslovakia, Hitler proceeded at once with his plans against that country. Konrad Henlein, leader of the German minority in Czechoslovakia, was instructed to agitate for impossible demands on the part of the Sudetenland Germans, thereby enabling Hitler to justify the annexation of Czechoslovakia. But the willingness of Britain and France to compel the Czech government to cede the Sudetenland areas to Germany presented Hitler with the choice between substantial gains by peaceful agreement and even greater acquisitions by a spectacular war against Czechoslovakia. Mussolini's intervention appears to have decided him, and he accepted the Munich Agreement on September 30--only to feel resentment immediately afterward at being cheated out of an impressive military conquest.

It was to be expected, therefore, that Hitler would waste no time in provoking an occasion for occupying the whole of Czechoslovakia. This he did by fostering Slovak discontent. On March 16, 1939, from the Hradcany Castle in Prague, he proclaimed the dissolution of the state whose existence he, as an Austrian, had always regarded as unnatural. Immediately afterward the Lithuanian government was forced to cede Memel (Klaipéda), on the northern frontier of East Prussia, to Germany.

Hitler was now ready to advance toward the ultimate objective of Lebensraum in the East. Confronted by an uncompromising Poland, guaranteed by Britain and France, he strengthened the alliance with Italy (the "Pact of Steel," May 1939) and negotiated a nonagression pact with the Soviet Union, signed on August 24--just within the deadline set for an attack on Poland before the winter. He still disclaimed any quarrel with Britain, but to no avail, and the invasion of Poland (September 1) was followed two days later by a British and French declaration of war.

In his foreign policy Hitler combined complete opportunism in means and timing with unwavering pursuit of the objectives laid down in Mein Kampf. He showed astonishing skill in judging the mood of the democracies and exploiting their weaknesses--in spite of the fact that he had scarcely set foot outside Austria and Germany and spoke no foreign language. Up to this point every move had been successful--even his anxiety over British and French entry into the war was dispelled by the rapid success of the war in Poland. The result was to convince him more and more of his own infallibility and to induce him to push ahead still faster with his plans for conquest.

World War II.
Hitler from the first had assumed direction of the major strategy of the war. When the success of the campaign in Poland failed to lead to the peace negotiations with Britain for which he had hoped, he ordered the army to prepare for an immediate offensive in the west. Bad weather, however, provided the reluctant generals with the opportunity to postpone the western offensive, and this in turn led to two major changes in planning. The first, on the suggestion of Adm. Erich Raeder, commander in chief of the navy, was Hitler's order to occupy Denmark and Norway in April 1940. Hitler took a close personal interest in the operation, and from this time his intervention in the detail of military operations was to grow steadily greater.

The second was the adoption of Gen. Erich von Manstein's plan for an attack through the Ardennes (opened May 10) instead of through the Low Countries. Against his generals' advice, Hitler held back Gen. Heinz Guderian's tanks south of Dunkirk, thus enabling the British to organize the evacuation of their army. But the campaign as a whole was a brilliant success, and Hitler could claim the major credit for its overall planning. On June 10 Mussolini entered the war on the side of Germany, and at the end of June Hitler avenged the Treaty of Versailles by signing an armistice with France on the site of the Armistice of 1918.

The next step was the subjugation of Britain by aerial bombardment, followed by invasion. But, in the summer of 1940, long-term preparations were begun for the invasion of the Soviet Union, and, as the expected surrender of Britain still failed to materialize, the eastern campaign quickly came to dominate Hitler's conception of the grand strategy of the war to the exclusion of everything else. The Soviet Union had occupied eastern Poland and Bessarabia, and Hitler sought to counter any further moves by forcing the governments of Hungary and Romania to accept an agreement that he dictated and by urging the abandonment of Mussolini's plans for the invasion of Greece. Mussolini, however, piqued at being kept in ignorance of Hitler's intentions, invaded Greece; and the lack of success of the Italian armies made it necessary for German forces to come to their aid in the Balkans and North Africa. Hitler's plans were further disrupted by a coup d'état in Yugoslavia in March 1941, overthrowing the government that had made an agreement with Germany. Regarding this as an insult to Germany and himself, Hitler immediately ordered his armies to subdue Yugoslavia. The campaigns in the Mediterranean theatre, although successful, remained subordinate to the eastern offensive, with which Hitler was so preoccupied that he lost the opportunism and flexibility that he had shown in political affairs. Even when Raeder and Erwin Rommel urged Hitler to destroy the whole British Middle East position by a final blow at Suez, he would spare no more forces from Operation "Barbarossa"--the planned invasion of the Soviet Union.

The attack against the U.S.S.R. was launched on June 22, 1941, with Hitler so confident of success that he refused to provide winter clothing and equipment for his troops. The German army advanced swiftly into the Soviet Union but failed to destroy its Russian opponent. Hitler became completely overbearing toward his generals. He disagreed with them about the object of the main attack, and he wasted time and strength by failing to concentrate on a single objective and by frequently reversing his own decisions. In December 1941 an unexpected Russian counterattack made it clear that Hitler's hopes of a single campaign would not be realized.

The next day came the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hitler precipitately declared war on the United States--although the pact with Japan was purely defensive and he had not been informed of the Japanese intentions. Misled by an essentially central European view of world politics, he apparently took no account of the force that a mobilized United States could bring to bear in Europe.

Hitler's conduct throughout 1942 was marked by further errors of judgment--he paid insufficient attention to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic at a time when a relatively small additional effort in those theatres might have been decisive. In the Soviet Union his continued unreadiness to concentrate on a single objective probably forfeited the opportunity to capture Stalingrad while it was still lightly defended.

Meanwhile, he directed Himmler to prepare the ground for the "new order" in Europe. The concentration camps were expanded, and there were added to them extermination camps such as Auschwitz and Mauthausen, as well as mobile extermination squads. The Jews of Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union were most numerous among the victims; in German-occupied Europe between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 had been killed by the end of the war as the only solution in Hitler's view of the Jewish "problem." The sufferings of other races were only less when measured in numbers killed. Such barbarism was indiscriminate, even where, as in the Ukraine, Hitler might have encouraged nationalist feelings to his own advantage. (see also Index: war crime)

At the end of 1942, defeat at el-Alamein and at Stalingrad brought the turning point in the war, and Hitler's character and way of life began to change. Theretofore, the success that he had imagined had been largely realized, but to preserve the world of fantasy from defeat and failure he isolated himself more and more from reality. Directing operations from his headquarters in the east, he refused to visit bombed cities or to read reports of setbacks; those close to him, especially Martin Bormann, his secretary, took care that only pleasing information reached him; and he became increasingly dependent on his physician, Theodor Morell, and the injections that he supplied. Even so, he had not yet lost the power to react vigorously in the face of misfortune. After the arrest of Mussolini in July 1943 and the Italian armistice, he not only directed the occupation of all important positions held by the Italian army but ordered the kidnapping of Mussolini, with the intention that he should head a new Fascist government. On the eastern front, however, the refusal to withdraw led only to greater losses without any possibility of holding up the Soviet advance. Inevitably, relations with his army commanders grew increasingly strained, the more so with the growing importance given to the SS divisions, directly responsible to Hitler. Meanwhile, the failure of the U-boat campaign and the bombing of Germany made more evident how reduced were the chances of victory.

All these factors made more desperate the few soldiers and civilians who were ready to remove Hitler and negotiate a peace. Several attempts were planned in 1943-44; the most nearly successful was made on July 20, 1944, when Col. Claus von Stauffenberg exploded a bomb at a conference at Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia. But Hitler escaped with superficial injuries, and, with few exceptions, those implicated in the plot were executed. The reduction of the army's independence was now made complete, with National Socialist political officers appointed to all military headquarters. (see also Index: July Plot)

Thereafter, Hitler was increasingly ill and fatigued; but he did not relax or lose control over the Nazi Party or the army, and he continued to exercise an almost hypnotic power over his close subordinates, none of whom was able to wield any independent authority. In December 1944 he moved his headquarters to the west to direct an offensive in the Ardennes for which the last reserves of manpower were mobilized. When it failed, his hopes for victory became ever more visionary, based on the use of new weapons or on the breakup of the grand alliance, especially after the death of Roosevelt. Far from trying to save what could be rescued from defeat, he ordered mass material destruction and condemned his armies to death by refusing to allow them to surrender.

From January 1945 Hitler never left the chancellery in Berlin or its bunker, abandoning a plan to lead a final resistance in the south as the Soviet forces closed in on Berlin. In a state of extreme nervous exhaustion, prematurely senile if not insane, he at last accepted the inevitability of defeat and thereupon prepared to take his own life, leaving to its fate the country over which he had taken absolute command. Before this, two further acts remained. Around the midnight of April 28-29 he married Eva Braun. Immediately afterward he dictated his political testament, justifying his career and appointing Karl Dönitz as head of the state and Josef Goebbels as chancellor.

On April 30 he said farewell to Goebbels and the few others remaining, then retired to his suite and either shot or poisoned himself. His wife took poison. In accordance with his instructions, their bodies were burned.

Hitler's success must be attributed to the susceptibility of postwar Germany to his own unique talents as a political leader. His rise to power was not inevitable, and any change in a complex conjunction of circumstances might have relegated him to the obscurity and failure of his youth; yet there was no one who equalled his ability to exploit and shape events to his own ends. The power that he wielded was unprecedented, both in its scope and in the technical resources at its command; but he made no permanent contribution, moral or material, to mankind. His originality and distinctiveness lay in his methods rather than in his ideas and purpose, which were shared in whole or in part by millions of people, in Germany and elsewhere. By the time he was defeated, he had broken down the whole structure of the world in which he lived and inaugurated a new era with even greater potentialities of power and destruction. (A.B./W.F.Kn.)

 

Iljuąin, Sergej Vladimirovič

(born March 30 [March 18, Old Style], 1894, Dilyalevo, Vologda province, Russia--died Feb. 9, 1977, Moscow), Soviet aircraft designer who created the famous Il-2 Stormovik armoured attack aircraft used by the Soviet air force during World War II. After the war he designed civil aircraft: the Il-12 twin-engined passenger aircraft (1946), the Il-18 Moskva four-engined turboprop transport (1957), the Il-62 turbojet passenger carrier (1962), and the Il-86 airbus, which made its first flight in 1976.

Ilyushin was mobilized in the Russian army in 1914. He transferred to the army air arm and received a pilot's certificate in 1917. He later joined the Red Army, and in 1922 he entered the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy, Moscow, graduating in 1926. He then served as chief of design at various military and civilian aviation institutes. On April 21, 1938, while commuting by plane, he was forced to make a solo emergency landing, suffering injuries that left his forehead permanently scarred. He eventually became a lieutenant general in the Soviet Red Army engineering technical service and a professor at his old academy. He was awarded three Hero of Soviet Labour medals as well as the Order of Lenin.

 

Jakovljev, Aleksander Sergejevič

JakoJakovljev, Aleksandr Sergeyevich (born March 19 [April 1, New Style], 1906, Moscow, Russia--died Aug. 22, 1989, Moscow), aircraft designer noted for his series of Yak aircraft, most of them fighters used by the Soviet Union in World War II.

After graduation from the Air Force Engineering Academy in 1931, Yakovlev immediately began to design aircraft, both piston- and jet-engined. Just before World War II he designed the Yak-1 fighter. His first jet fighter, the Yak-15, was designed in 1945, followed by the Yak-17 and Yak-23. His successful twin-engined "flying wagon" helicopter (the Yak-24) set several world records. In the years after World War II, as the MiG design increased in popularity, Yakovlev began to design civilian aircraft, especially sport planes.

A member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1938, Yakovlev served from 1940 to 1956 as a deputy minister of the aircraft industry and as chief designer thereafter. He was awarded the Stalin Prize seven times and the Order of Lenin eight times and became a member of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in 1976.

 

Johnson, Kelly

CLARENCE LEONARD JOHNSON (born Feb. 27, 1910, Ishpeming, Mich., U.S.--died Dec. 21, 1990, Burbank, Calif.), highly innovative American aeronautical engineer and designer.

Johnson received his B.S. (1932) and M.S. (1933) degrees from the University of Michigan before beginning his career with the Lockheed Corporation in 1933. As head of the "Skunk Works," Lockheed's secret development unit, he helped design more than 40 airplanes. Among them were the P-38 Lightning (see photograph); in 1943 the P-80 (later F-80) Shooting Star, the first American jet fighter to go into production; the Constellation (designated C-69 in its military transport role) and the later Superconstellation (1950); the F-104 Starfighter (1954), which traveled at twice the speed of sound; the high-altitude U-2 (1954), the first plane to sustain flight above 60,000 feet (18,000 m); and the YF-12 and SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest and highest-flying planes in the world, with speeds exceeding 2,000 miles per hour (3,000 kilometres per hour) and operating altitudes in excess of 85,000 feet (26,000 m). Johnson used titanium alloy instead of standard aluminum on the SR-71, which allowed high-speed flying despite intense temperatures.

Among Johnson's many honours and awards was the Medal of Freedom (1964). After retiring from Lockheed in 1975 as senior vice president, Johnson remained a director until 1980 and was senior adviser until his death.

 

Junkers, Hugo

(born Feb. 3, 1859, Rheydt, Prussia [Germany]--died Feb. 3, 1935, Gauting, near Munich, Ger.), German aircraft designer and early proponent of the monoplane and all-metal construction of aircraft.

Junkers patented a flying-wing design in 1910, the same year in which he established an aircraft factory at Dessau. His J-1 Blechesel ("Sheet Metal Donkey") monoplane was the first successful all-metal airplane (1915), and his F-13 was the first all-metal transport (1919). Many Junkers aircraft had a corrugated sheet-metal skin, which was copied by several American builders, including the Ford Motor Company. The Junkers works also built "Jumo" aircraft engines, designed one of the first turbojet engines during World War II, and played an important part in German airpower during the war, supplying the Luftwaffe with the Ju 52, a trimotor monoplane used as a troop transport and glider tug; the Ju 87 dive bomber (Sturzkampfflugzeug, shortened to "Stuka"); and the Ju 88, a twin-engine all-purpose bomber.

 

Lippisch, Alexander Martin

(born Nov. 2, 1894, Munich--died Feb. 11, 1976, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S.), German-American aerodynamicist whose designs of tailless and delta-winged aircraft in the 1920s and 1930s were important in the development of high-speed jet and rocket airplanes.

Lippisch designed the world's first successful rocket-propelled airplane (a tailless glider fitted with two solid-fuel rockets, flown June 11, 1928, in the Rhön Mountains, Germany) and was largely responsible for the first operational liquid-fuel rocket aircraft (the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet fighter, first used by the Luftwaffe in 1944). After World War II Lippisch moved to the United States and in 1965 established the Lippisch Research Corporation, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was an early proponent of the delta-wing configuration.

 

Martin, Glenn L.

(born Jan. 17, 1886, Macksburg, Iowa, U.S.--died Dec. 4, 1955, Baltimore, Md.), American airplane inventor whose bombers and flying boats played important roles in World War II.

In Santa Ana, Calif., before World War I, Martin designed his first powered airplane and leased an abandoned church as his first factory. He became one of the outstanding barnstorming flyers (from about 1910 to 1914) and used his experience to develop several successful types of military aircraft. The first Martin bomber, designated the MB, appeared in 1918-19, too late for active use in World War I, but its success in the hands of Colonel "Billy" Mitchell established Martin as one of the leading military airplane manufacturers of the United States. He built a factory in Cleveland and in 1929 moved his manufacturing facilities to Middle River, Md., near Baltimore. Toward the end of his life Martin took great interest in civic affairs, education (he gave large sums to the engineering school of the University of Maryland), and wildlife conservation.

 

Messerschmitt, Willy

(born June 26, 1898, Frankfurt am Main--died Sept. 17, 1978, Munich), German aircraft engineer and designer.

Messerschmitt was educated at the Munich Institute of Technology, where he received a degree in engineering in 1923. From 1926 he was employed as chief designer and engineer at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke in Augsburg. His interest in gliders and sailplanes was carried into his early designs, which included the Bf 109 single-seat monoplane.

In 1938 the Augsburg company became the Messerschmitt-Aktien-Gesellschaft. The new company produced Messerschmitt's first military aircraft, the Me 109 (based on the Bf 109), which in 1939 set the world speed record at 481 miles (775 km) per hour. During World War II, about 35,000 Me 109s were produced for the German Luftwaffe. Other military designs produced during the war included the Me 110, a two-seater bomber and night fighter; the Me 163, the first operational rocket-propelled aircraft; and the Me 262, Germany's first operational jet-propelled aircraft.

After the war, Messerschmitt was detained by the U.S. occupation forces for two years; during the postwar ban on aircraft production, his firm produced prefabricated housing and sewing machines. In 1952 he served as an adviser to the Spanish government, and in 1958 he resumed aircraft production. In 1968-69 the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm company was formed with Messerschmitt as honorary chairman. The firm produced satellites, helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.

 

Mitchell, William

Mitchell, William, byname BILLY (born Dec. 29, 1879, Nice, France--died Feb. 19, 1936, New York, N.Y., U.S.), U.S. Army officer who early advocated a separate U.S. air force and greater preparedness in military aviation. He was court-martialed for his outspoken views and did not live to see the fulfillment during World War II of many of his prophecies: strategic bombing, mass airborne operations, and the eclipse of the battleship by the bomb-carrying airplane. (see also Index: United States Air Force, The)

After serving as a private in the infantry during the Spanish-American War (1898), Mitchell received a commission as a second lieutenant in the signal corps. He served in Cuba, the Philippines, and Alaska and in 1909 graduated from the Army Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In 1915 he was assigned to the aviation section of the signal corps. During World War I Mitchell became the outstanding U.S. combat air commander, advancing to the rank of brigadier general. In September 1918 he commanded a French-U.S. air armada of almost 1,500 planes--the largest concentration of air power up to that time. In the Meuse-Argonne campaign he used formations of up to 200 planes for mass bombing of enemy targets.

After the war Mitchell was appointed assistant chief of the air service. He became a strong proponent of an independent air force and of unified control of air power, both of which were opposed by the army general staff and the navy. As a result, he became increasingly outspoken in his criticism of the military hierarchy, and, when his term ended in April 1925, he was sent to the remote post of San Antonio, Texas. The climax came in September 1925, when the loss of the navy dirigible Shenandoah in a storm inspired him publicly to accuse the War and Navy departments of "incompetency, criminal negligence, and almost treasonable administration of the national defense." In December an army court-martial convicted him of insubordination. Sentenced to suspension from rank and duty for five years, he resigned from the army (Feb. 1, 1926).

Nevertheless, Billy Mitchell was awarded many decorations and honours during his lifetime, and in 1946 the U.S. Congress authorized a special medal in his honour; it was presented to his son in 1948 by the chief of staff of the newly created U.S. Air Force.

Bibliography
Accounts of Mitchell's life and career include Isaac Don Levine, Mitchell: Pioneer of Air Power (1943, reissued 1972), including a list of his writings; Roger Burlingame, General Billy Mitchell (1952, reprinted 1978); Ruth Mitchell, My Brother Bill (1953); and Burke Davis, The Billy Mitchell Affair (1967).

 

Mitchell, R. J.

Mitchell, R.J., in full REGINALD JOSEPH MITCHELL (born May 20, 1895, Talke, near Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, Eng.--died June 11, 1937, Southampton, Hampshire), British aircraft designer, developer of the Spitfire, one of the best-known fighters in World War II.

After secondary schooling Mitchell was an apprentice at a locomotive works and attended night classes at technical colleges. In 1916, before the age of 22, he went to work at Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton, where he remained the rest of his life, serving as the company's director for his last 10 years. He designed seaplanes (used largely for racing) between 1922 and 1931 and by 1936 had designed and developed the Spitfire, more than two dozen versions of which were eventually created before and after his death and which was known for its aerodynamic sleekness and maneuverability.

 

Northrop, John Knudsen

Northrop, John Knudsen (born Nov. 10, 1895, Newark, N.J., U.S.--died Feb. 18, 1981, Glendale, Calif.), American aircraft designer, an early advocate of all-metal construction and the flying wing design. (see also Index: airplane)

Northrop graduated from high school in 1913 and in 1916 became a draftsman and designer for the Lockheed (formerly Loughead) brothers, builders of seaplanes and sport biplanes in Santa Barbara, Calif. From 1923 to 1927 he designed fuel tanks for the Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica, and then he joined Allan Lockheed as chief engineer for the Lockheed Aircraft Company, Hollywood. There he designed and built the Vega, a high-wing monoplane noted for its plywood fuselage of monocoque, or stressed-skin, construction, in which the plywood sheath, rather than heavy internal trusses, provided the structural support.

In 1928 Northrop cofounded the Avion Corporation in nearby Burbank, where he perfected a light, strong "multicellular" wing, built up from a number of sheathed-over, boxlike subcompartments. In 1929 Avion was bought by United Aircraft and Transport Corporation and was renamed Northrop Aircraft Corporation. Under this arrangement Northrop produced the low-wing, aluminum Alpha, which was used to carry mail and passengers. In 1932 he formed the Northrop Corporation in partnership with Douglas, which used his multicellular wing structure on its famous DC-3 passenger and transport plane. In 1939 he founded Northrop Aircraft, Inc., and directed it until his retirement in 1952. Northrop's lifelong interest was in the flying wing, a configuration consisting essentially of a short but very broad wing with no fuselage and tail. From the 1920s he experimented with several small prototypes, and during World War II he designed a bomber 172 feet (52 m) wide and 53 feet (16 m) long. First flown in 1946, the XB-35 was powered by pusher propellers; its jet-propelled version, the YB-49, first flew in 1947. The following year the U.S. Air Force rejected the flying wing, citing as one factor the instability caused by its lack of a vertical tail fin, but four decades later the Northrop Corporation adapted Northrop's design to new control mechanisms and radar-avoiding materials in designing the B-2 stealth bomber.

 

O’Hain, Hans Pabst von

(born Dec. 14, 1911, Dessau, Ger.--died March 13, 1998, Melbourne, Fla.), German designer of the first operational jet engine.

After obtaining his doctorate at the University of Göttingen, he became a junior assistant to Hugo von Pohl, director of the Physical Institute there. When the German aircraft builder Ernst Heinkel asked the university for assistance in design, Pohl recommended Ohain, who joined Heinkel's manufacturing firm in 1936. Ohain's experiments, carried out in secret at Heinkel's factory, resulted in a bench test by 1937 and a fully operational jet aircraft, the He178, by 1939. The first jet aircraft flight took place in the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 1939; Ohain's centrifugal flow turbojet engine, the HeS3b, performed perfectly, though the landing gear of the plane failed to retract, preventing the test pilot from accelerating to planned speed.

Ohain continued his work, developing an improved engine, the HeS8-A, which was first flown on April 2, 1941. Although the German High Command was kept informed of these developments, it was more interested in rocketry; as a result, Ohain's engines saw little use in World War II.

 

Tupoljev, Andrej Nikolajevič

Tupolev, Andrey Nikolayevich (born Oct. 29 [Nov. 10, New Style], 1888, Pustomazovo, Russia--died Dec. 23, 1972, Moscow), one of the Soviet Union's foremost aircraft designers, whose bureau produced a number of military bombers and civilian airliners--including the world's first supersonic passenger plane.

In 1909 Tupolev entered the Moscow Imperial Technical School (now Moscow N.E. Bauman State Technical University), where he became a student and disciple of Nikolay Y. Zhukovsky, the "Father of Russian Aviation." In 1918 they organized the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, of which Tupolev became assistant director in 1918. He became head of the institute's design bureau in 1922 and supervised the work of various designers--including Pavel O. Sukhoy, Vladimir M. Myasischev, and Vladimir M. Petlyakov--who later became notable in their own right. This bureau, in producing military and civilian planes that were designated by Tupolev's initials, ANT, made all-metal construction a standard feature of Soviet aviation.

In 1936 Tupolev was accused of selling secrets to Germany. In common with many Soviet designers at the time, he was arrested and placed in charge of a team that was to design military aircraft. From this came the Tu-2, a twin-engine bomber that saw wide use in World War II and, in 1943, earned Tupolev his freedom and a Stalin Prize. In 1944 he was given the job of copying the United States' B-29 Superfortress, three of which had force-landed in the Soviet Far East. This project resulted in the Tu-4, which first flew in 1947 and was the Soviets' principal strategic bomber until the mid-1950s.

After adapting jet propulsion to several piston-engine airframes, Tupolev in 1952 came up with the Tu-16, a medium-range bomber that featured swept wings and light alloy construction. A team under Aleksandr A. Arkhangelsky, Tupolev's longtime associate, designed the Tu-95, a huge turboprop bomber that first flew in 1954 and became one of the most durable military aircraft ever built. Two civilian aircraft were derived from these; the Tu-104, which appeared in 1955 and became one of the first jet transports to provide regular passenger service; and the Tu-114 long-range passenger plane, the largest propeller-driven aircraft ever in regular service.

In 1963 Tupolev's son Alexey became chief designer of a team that produced the Tu-144 supersonic transport. Intended to shorten travel time between Moscow and Central Asia or the Far East, the Tu-144 broke the sound barrier on a test flight in 1969 and reached twice the speed of sound a year later, but it was plagued by design problems and mismanagement and had only a short life as a passenger jet in the 1970s.

After Andrey Tupolev's death, Alexey became chief of the design bureau. He oversaw the introduction in the 1970s and '80s of a new generation of variable-wing bombers, the medium-range Tu-26 and the long-range Tu-160--the latter bearing features derived from the supersonic transport.

 

Whittle, Sir Frank

(born June 1, 1907, Coventry, Warwickshire, Eng.--died Aug. 8, 1996, Columbia, Md., U.S.), English aviation engineer and pilot who invented the jet engine.

The son of a mechanic, Whittle entered the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a boy apprentice and soon qualified as a pilot at the RAF College, Cranwell. He was posted to a fighter squadron in 1928 and served as a test pilot in 1931-32. He then pursued further studies at the RAF engineering school and at the University of Cambridge (1934-37). Early in his career Whittle recognized the potential demand for an aircraft that would be able to fly at great speed and height, and he first put forth his vision of jet propulsion in 1928, in his senior thesis at the RAF College. The young officer's ideas were ridiculed by the Air Ministry as impractical, however, and attracted support from neither the government nor private industry.

Whittle obtained his first patent for a turbo-jet engine in 1930, and in 1936 he joined with associates to found a company called Power Jets Ltd. He tested his first jet engine on the ground in 1937. This event is customarily regarded as the invention of the jet engine, but the first operational jet engine was designed in Germany by Hans Pabst von Ohain and powered the first jet-aircraft flight on Aug. 27, 1939. The outbreak of World War II finally spurred the British government into supporting Whittle's development work. A jet engine of his invention was fitted to a specially built Gloster E.28/39 airframe, and the plane's maiden flight took place on May 15, 1941. The British government took over Power Jets Ltd. in 1944, by which time Britain's Gloster Meteor jet aircraft were in service with the RAF, going up against Germany's jet-powered Messerschmitt Me-262s.

Whittle retired from the RAF in 1948 with the rank of air commodore, and that same year he was knighted. The British government eventually atoned for their earlier neglect by granting him a tax-free gift of Ł100,000. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1986. In 1977 he became a research professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. His book Jet: The Story of a Pioneer was published in 1953.