Operation Moonlight Sonata: The German Raid on Coventry

By Allan W. Kurki | Go to book overview
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4
GAF Development and Strategy

" Spain gave me an opportunity to try out my young air force . . . and for personnel to gather experience."

Herman Goering at Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, March 1946

The importance of aviation in modern warfare was clearly established during World War I. All the major participants developed air forces, and certainly among the best of these was the German Flying Corps. The Treaty of Versailles prohibited Germany from having an air force and directed that some 20,000 German military aircraft were to be turned over to the Allies or destroyed. The final disbanding of the German Flying Corps was directed by the head of the army command in an order dated May 6, 1920. The order read:

Disbandment of the Flying Corp. As of May 8, 1920, a young branch of the armed forces, which has served with bravery in action and earned fame in the course of its relatively short history, will lay down arms in silence and with pride. On this day, the German Flying Corps fulfills the demand laid down in the Peace Treaty for the complete disbanding of all its formations and establishments.

After recounting the history and organization of the corps and its achievements, the order concluded with the following statement. "We shall not abandon the hope of one day seeing the Flying Corps come to life again. The fame of the Flying Corps engraved in the history of the German armed forces will never fade. It is not dead, its spirit lives on." 1

Come back to life it truly did and in a remarkably short period of time. The man most responsible for keeping the German Air Force alive was Chief of the Army Staff, General Hans von Seeckt. In the spring of 1920, he began secretly negotiating

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