Reich Air Ministry
The Ministry of Aviation was a government department during the period of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...
(1933–45). It is also the original name of the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus in Wilhelmstraße
The Wilhelmstrasse is a street in the center of Berlin, the capital of Germany. Between the mid 19th century and 1945, it was the administrative centre, first of the Kingdom of Prussia and then of the unified German state, housing in particular the Reich Chancellery and the Foreign Office...
in central Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...
, the capital of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
, which today houses the German Finance Ministry (Bundesministerium der Finanzen).
The Ministry was in charge of development and production of aircraft, primarily for the German Air Force (the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....
). As was characteristic of government departments in the Nazi era, the Ministry was personality-driven and formal procedure was often ignored in favour of the whims of the Minister, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...
. As a result, development progressed only slowly and erratically during the war.
HistoryThe Ministry was formed in April 1933 from the Reich Commissariat for Aviation (Reichskommissariat für die Luftfahrt), which had been established two months earlier with Göring at its head. In this early phase the Ministry was little more than Göring's personal staff. One of its first actions was to requisition control of all patents and companies of Hugo Junkers
Hugo Junkers was an innovative German engineer, as his many patents in varied areas show...
, the German aeronautical engineer. These included all rights to the Junkers Ju 52
Junkers Ju 52
The Junkers Ju 52 was a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler...
Defence Minister General Werner von Blomberg
Werner von Blomberg
Werner Eduard Fritz von Blomberg was a German Generalfeldmarschall, Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces until January 1938.-Early life:...
decided that the importance of aviation was such that it should no longer be subordinate to the German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...
(Heer). In May 1933 he transferred the army's Department of Military Aviation (the Luftschutzamt), to the Ministry. This is often considered the birth of the Luftwaffe. The Ministry was now much larger, consisting of two large departments: the military Luftschutzamt (LA) and the civilian Allgemeines Luftamt (LB). Erhard Milch
Erhard Milch was a German Field Marshal who oversaw the development of the Luftwaffe as part of the re-armament of Germany following World War I, and served as founding Director of Deutsche Luft Hansa...
, the former head of Deutsche Luft Hansa
Deutsche Luft Hansa
Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. was a German airline, serving as flag carrier of the country during the later years of the Weimar Republic and throughout the Third Reich.-1920s:Deutsche Luft Hansa was founded on 6 January 1926 in Berlin...
, was placed in direct control of the LA, in his function as State Secretary for Aviation.
In September 1933, a reorganization was undertaken to reduce duplication of effort between departments. The primary changes were to move the staffing and technical development organizations out of the LB, and make them full departments on their own. The result was a collection of six: Luftkommandoamt (LA), Allgemeines Luftamt (LB), Technisches Amt (LC, but more often referred to as the C-amt) in charge of all research and development, Luftwaffenverwaltungsamt (LD) for construction, Luftwaffenpersonalamt (LP) for training and staffing, and the Zentralabteilung (ZA), central command. In 1934, an additional department was added, the Luftzeugmeister (LZM) in charge of logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...
With the rapid growth off the Luftwaffe following the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
in 1939, the Ministry grew so large that Göring was no longer able to maintain control. This period was marked by an increasing inability to deliver the new aircraft designs that were desperately needed, as well as continued shortages of aircraft and engines. In 1943 Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...
took over from Milch, and things immediately improved. Production reached their highest levels in 1943 and 1944, and though Speer introduced the same measures of self-regulation that he had introduced in other areas of industry, and tried to take credit for the so called Armaments Miracle, contemporary German statistics show that the real reason for increased production were measures and investments made by Milch and his staff in 1941 and 1942.
Though German aircraft production had finally caught up with the Allies in 1944, the RLM never overcame the shortage of raw materials and fuel supply, lack of experienced pilots and deficits in technology and know-how that had handicapped it since the beginning of the war.
The Ministry building was one of the few public edifices in central Berlin to have survived the severe Allied bombings in 1944-45.
Reich Minister for AeronauticsOn 5 May 1933 the German Air Ministry, with Hermann Göring as Reich Minister for Aeronautics (Reichsluftfahrtminister) was founded. This event came along with the introduction of a command flag that was produced in different sizes, ranging from 200 cm down to 30 cm. The flag consisted of bright red material on which was placed in the centre of the obverse a wreath of silver coloured laurel leaves. In the centre of the leaves was a black eagle. Suspended from the base of the wreath was a true-coloured representation of the "Pour le Mérite". Extending from the left and right side of the wreath were a pair of stylised wings each consisting of four ascending "feathers". Also extending from the wreath towards the four corners of the flag were four black-edged white inactive wedges, a feature that was to be incorporated in the design of the future unit Colours of the new Luftwaffe. In each of the four corners was set a black swastika. The reverse looked almost the same as the obverse but with the following differences: Instead of the eagle there was placed a black swastika and instead of the four swastikas there were placed four eagles. The flag was in use until the end of 1935. There was also an alternative pattern of the flag with slight differences: The eagle in the centre was set on a red field and the four plain white wedges did not extend right into the corners of the flag. Exact details about the reverse of this flag are not established.
Reich Minister for Aeronautics and Commander-in-Chief of the German Air ForceOn 26 Feb 1935 Hitler officially created the Luftwaffe with Hermann Göring as its Commander-in-Chief (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe). Late in 1935 a flag was instituted that consisted of a square of bright red silk. The flag was similar to some extend to that used before. The differences of the obverse were that now there was placed in the centre a gold swastika and instead of the four black swastikas four golden Luftwaffe eagles were added. The wings were left out. Moreover the flag was edged on all four sides with a gold-braided border, which incorporated a row of 76 small gold swastikas all standing on their points. The reverse displayed a golden Luftwaffe eagle in the centre and four golden swastikas set in each corner of the flag. Suspended from the base of the silver laurel was a true representation of the "Pour le Mérite". When Göring was promoted to "Generalfeldmarschall" a pair of Luftwaffe field marshal's batons were added to the flag's reverse design and shown crossed above the "Pour le Mérite". The obverse remained the same as before. This alteration took place on 28 April 1938.
- RLM aircraft designation systemRLM aircraft designation systemThe German Air Ministry had a system for aircraft designation which was an attempt by the aviation bureaucracy of the Third Reich to standardize and produce an identifier for each aircraft type produced in Germany...
- List of World War II military aircraft of Germany
- List of aircraft engines of Germany during World War II
- List of RLM aircraft (RLM-GL/C list)
- RLM aircraft by manufacturerRLM aircraft by manufacturer-Albatros:*Albatros Al 101, 'L 101', two-seat sportsplane + trainer, 1930 *Albatros Al 102, 'L 102', two-seat sportsplane + trainer, 1931 *Albatros Al 103, 'L 103', two-seat sportsplane + trainer, 1932-Arado:*Arado Ar 64, fighter...
- List of weapons of military aircraft of Germany during World War II
- List of RLM paint designations
- Air MinistryAir MinistryThe Air Ministry was a department of the British Government with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Royal Air Force, that existed from 1918 to 1964...
— the British government department organising the Royal Air ForceRoyal Air ForceThe Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...