By John Duggan, Henry Cord Meyer
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Additional info for Airships in International Affairs, 1890-1940
35 This bureaucracy contributed to the problems of the interwar British airship programmes. In America the naval airship design corps worked with the Germans from the birth of ZR3 at Friedrichshafen in 1922 through to the completion of ZRS5 at Akron in 1933. Where US naval bureaucracy had more problematical inﬂuence on airships, it was most likely in the troublesome areas of the presence and role of contrasting carrier aviation. On balance, the informal political behaviour and personal politicking of institutional and governmental bureaucracies was relatively least damaging to German airship enterprise, disastrous for the British, and became irrelevant on the American scene – where, by its multiplicity of functions, carrier aviation soon overtook the airship in importance.
Five hundred feet long and almost ﬁfty feet high, the Luftschiff passed at twenty miles an hour, its two Daimler motors in a throaty roar, often less than a hundred feet above the ground. Ever greater grew the masses of sightseers as LZ4 moved northward from Basel via Freiburg, Baden-Baden, Speyer, Worms, and Darmstadt towards Wiesbaden. Hourly bulletins, newspaper extras, and electrifying word of mouth sent people rushing towards the expected route of the airship. By dozens and hundreds they moved, soon to become crowds of thousands.
Only when such innovations were opera- German Precedents 23 tional and privately tested were they acceptable to the Reich military for ﬁnal evaluation and ultimate purchase. In such circumstances Zeppelin submitted his ﬁrst airship project to the German Army on 14 September 1893. The Count’s appeal to Berlin was more than just an opportunistic canvass for some well-endowed sponsor. He wrote with deep feeling about his personal sacriﬁces for the Reich over the past three years, which had been meant to give his nation a superior military weapon.
Airships in International Affairs, 1890-1940 by John Duggan, Henry Cord Meyer