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Posted on Mar 15, 2007 in Front Page Features, War College

Fliegen und Siegen

By A Burke

Sixty-five years ago, Hermann Goering’s Luftwafe showcased its aerial triumphs in a 1942 commemorative book of photographs entitled Fliegen und Siegen (Flying and Victory).  One hundred stereoscopic photographs provided a rare insider’s view of the Luftwaffe during early war years.

Original papers on genuine photographic paper captured Reichsmarshall Goering as he planned strategy with Nazi commanders beside the train that served as his mobile command post.  Aerial shots recorded bombing runs in Greece, Crete, Belgrade and France.  Other photos depicted young German airmen flying missions in Ju52s and Me109s.

Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures.

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The title page which reads "Flying and Victory, a stereoscopic picture story of our Luftwaffe, edited and published by Dr. Heinz Orlovius, Minister of the German Air Force Ministry, with 100 stereoscopic photographs and respectful color illustrations" The inside front and back covers of Fliegen und Siegen featured cut-out compartments in which to store 100 photos, plus the stereo viewer.

When viewed through the stereo glass lenses, photos jump to three-dimensional life.  The viewer feels as if they are in the middle of the picture, able to reach out and touch bombs as they are loaded, or adjust radio dials in the cockpit.

The Fliegen und Siegen books were meticulously crafted by Raumbild-Verlag Ottoc Schonstein K.-G., a Munich publisher that specialized in stereoscopic photography.

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Raumbild also created commemorative volumes for the 1936 Olympics, the 1837 World Exposition in Paris and Hitler’s state visit to Mussolini in Italy.  The 1942 limited editions of Fliegen und Siegen were purportedly given as gifts to important personages and favoured military officers.

Front and back cover of Fliegen und Siegen are half-inch thick, bevelled, fabric-covered wood with inside storage compartments precisely cut to size to store the photos and stereo viewer.  The book also includes several full-color plates, including a portrait of Goering with substantial artistic license to pare down the Reichsmarshall’s corpulence.

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An unusually flattering portrait of Reichsmarshall Hermann
Goering.  In this rendering, the artist display a well-developed
sense of self-preservation.

The book offers considerable insight into the Luftwaffe mindset during the war’s triumphant early years.  A mixture of boastful braggadocio and canny propaganda sets the tone in many photo captions.  Yet the faces of young airmen show pride and dedication to the war effort.  Without their German uniforms, the young men’s faces could easily be taken for patriotic American soldiers.

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