Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Going Direct: Eighty Years Ago, With Freedom Under Attack, Hope Took Wing.

In 1939, Nazi Germany brought war to Europe. In 1941, Japan drew America into a conflict that seemed unwinnable. Aircraft changed everything.

"The first big raid by the 8th Air Force was on a Focke Wulf plant at Marienburg. Coming back, the Germans were up in full force and we lost at least 80 ships - 800 men, many of them pals." 1943. Army Air Forces. (OWI) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 208-YE-7 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1087
“The first big raid by the 8th Air Force was on a Focke Wulf plant at Marienburg. Coming back, the Germans were up in full force and we lost at least 80 ships – 800 men, many of them pals.” 1943. Army Air Forces. (OWI) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 208-YE-7 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1087
Advertisement

The Arsenal Of Democracy Fly-Over of Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World World II, is an impressive display in so many ways. It shows the brilliance of the aviation hardware that America brought to bear on the Axis powers during the war, a fight that took place many thousands of miles away from home. Aircraft, and the people who designed, built, flew, and supported them, got us there, both literally and otherwise. And the existence of pristine, flyable examples of this hardware, is a testament to those who restore, fly and support them today, and to those who contribute to the cause, which is an expensive one. 

World War II was the crucible for modern aviation. Before it, aircraft were still fundamentally primitive machines. And they were few in number. Over the course of the war, which lasted roughly six years, the United States, which had around 3,000 aircraft in its fleets before Pearl Harbor, manufactured approximately 300,000 aircraft, everything from small liaison aircraft to the biggest bombers, for bringing the battle to the farthest corners of the world. Without the involvement of the United States and its ability to mobilize such military might, there’s no telling how much more terrible the war could have been and what long-lasting damage the efforts of Hitler’s war on Europe and Japan’s war on the United States, China, and the Pacific would have brought. The sacrifice of the nation at a time of national crisis continues to inspire.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a Plane & Pilot Member to explore our complete range of flight reports, technique articles, gear reviews and aviation buyer’s guides written by our experts.
Advertisement

Save Your Favorites

Save This Article