The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
The Deutsche Luftstreitkräfte —known before October 1916 as the Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches or simply Die Fliegertruppe—was the World War I air arm of the German Army, of which it remained an integral part.
World War I, also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.
Why the Luftwaffe failed in World War 2 by Military History Visualized
During the interwar period, German pilots were trained secretly in violation of the treaty at Lipetsk Air Base.
Lipetsk Air Base is an air base in Lipetsk Oblast, Russia located 12 km northwest of Lipetsk.
Wings of the Luftwaffe: The Sea Planes by Ryan98063
With the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Versailles Treaty, the Luftwaffe was officially established on 26 February 1935.
The Condor Legion, a Luftwaffe detachment sent to aid Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, provided the force with a valuable testing ground for new doctrines and aircraft.
The Spanish Civil War, widely known in Spain simply as The Civil War or The War, took place from 1936 to 1939 and was fought between the Republicans, who were loyal to the democratic, left-leaning and relatively urban Second Spanish Republic in an alliance of convenience with the Anarchists, versus the Nationalists, a falangist, Carlist and a largely aristocratic conservative group led by General Francisco Franco.
The Condor Legion was a unit composed of military personnel from the air force and army of Nazi Germany, which served with the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War of July 1936 to March 1939.
Partially as a result of this combat experience, the Luftwaffe had become one of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced, and battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II broke out in 1939.
By the summer of 1939, the Luftwaffe had twenty-eight Geschwaders.
During World War II, German pilots claimed roughly 70,000 aerial victories, while over 75,000 Luftwaffe aircraft were destroyed or significantly damaged.
Of these, nearly 40,000 were lost entirely.
The Luftwaffe proved instrumental in the German victories across Poland and Western Europe in 1939 and 1940.
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges in the south.
During the Battle of Britain, however, despite inflicting severe damage to the RAF's infrastructure and, during the subsequent Blitz, devastating many British cities, the Nazi air force failed to batter the beleaguered British into submission.
The Battle of Britain was a combat of the Second World War, when the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against the German Air Force attacks from the end of June 1940.
From 1942, Allied bombing campaigns gradually destroyed the Luftwaffe's fighter arm.
In addition to its service in the West, the Luftwaffe operated over the Soviet Union, North Africa and Southern Europe.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.
Despite its belated use of advanced turbojet and rocket propelled aircraft for the destruction of Allied bombers, the Luftwaffe was overwhelmed by the Allies' superior numbers and improved tactics, and a lack of trained pilots and aviation fuel.
In January 1945, during the closing stages of the Battle of the Bulge, the Luftwaffe made a last-ditch effort to win air superiority, and met with failure.
The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German offensive campaign of World War II.
With rapidly dwindling supplies of petroleum, oil, and lubricants after this campaign, and as part of the entire combined Wehrmacht military forces as a whole, the Luftwaffe ceased to be an effective fighting force.
After the defeat of Germany, the Luftwaffe was disbanded in 1946.
The Luftwaffe had only two commanders-in-chief throughout its history: Hermann Göring and later Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim.
Generalfeldmarschall was a rank in the armies of several German states and the Holy Roman Empire; in the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, the rank Feldmarschall was used.
Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a German politician, military leader, and leading member of the Nazi Party.
The Luftwaffe High Command was involved in Nazi medical experiments.