We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Luftwaffe?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The word “Luftwaffe” in German translates literally as “air weapon,” and it is a generic term used to describe an air force. Many people associate the Luftwaffe specifically with the Wehrmacht-era air force, which dominated the skies of the Second World War. Today, the Luftwaffe is part of the Bundeswehr, Germany's modern defense force.

Germany first started exploring the possibilities of military aircraft before the First World War, when the Imperial German Army Air Service was established. Germany as well as Europe quickly realized the potential for military aircraft, developing fighters, bombers, and reconnaissance planes. At the close of the First World War, Germany's air force was disbanded by treaty, remaining dormant until 1935, when the air force was resurrected in the form of the Luftwaffe.

The Wehrmacht-era Luftwaffe was a formidable aerial opponent. Germany sunk a great deal of money into developing an air force and supporting infrastructure, focusing on the creation of fast, powerful, easy maneuvered fighter planes like the Messerschmitt 109 and bombers such as the Stuka dive bomber. Luftwaffe pilots were highly trained and very skilled, giving Germany a distinct advantage when war broke out.

The Luftwaffe was disbanded again in 1946 after the defeat of Germany and the Axis powers, and the aviation infrastructure which had supported it was allowed to fall into decay. In 1955, West Germany was invited to join NATO, and the need for an military force became obvious, leading the nation to establish the modern Bundeswehr. Many former Luftwaffe pilots were pressed into service for training and reorganize the nation's air force, and the modern Luftwaffe contains a number of talented pilots and support crews using innovative military technology for tasks as varied as humanitarian missions and air shows.

When East and West Germany were reunited, the respective air forces of both nations were joined. For a brief period, the Luftwaffe contained a bewildering mix of equipment, much of it Soviet issue, thanks to the fact that the East German air force had been supplied by Russia, but eventually the Russian equipment was phased out and a unified air force was created.

The first combat mission for the modern Luftwaffe occurred in 1999, when Luftwaffe pilots supported the NATO-led invasion of Kosovo. Many newspapers made much of the fact that Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe pilots were participating together in a military action, given that the two had been mortal enemies during the Second World War.

The role of the Luftwaffe in Germany today is controversial. By treaty agreement, Germany is not allowed to engage in wars of aggression, and many Germans with pacifistic leanings would like to see the Luftwaffe disbanded or severely curtailed. However, other Germans argue that Germany has a right to defend itself and to support military operations led by its allies, making a fully modern and efficient Luftwaffe necessary.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a CulturalWorld.org researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By glinda — On Aug 11, 2010

The German air force during Word War II.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.