World War 2

The Dream of the Largest Aircraft ever built – H-4 Hercules

The Dream of the Largest Aircraft ever built – H-4 Hercules

On November 2, 1947, business magnate, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, film maker and philanthropist Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose or H-4 Hercules; the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built. Wait, this is not true anymore. In terms of wingspan, it was the largest aircraft ever flown until it was replaced by the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch on April 13, 2019. Since the only flight of the H-4 took place…
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Chuck Yeager – Breaking the Sound Barrier

Chuck Yeager – Breaking the Sound Barrier

On October 14, 1947, US American test pilot Charles “Chuck” Yeager was the first to officially break the sound barrier with a rocket powered test aircraft Bell X-1, reaching a supersonic speed peak of Mach 1.06. Education and Military Career Charles Yaeger was born in 1923 and grew up as a curious child, hunting, fishing and hiking. Even though his overall achievements at school were only average, he excelled in everything that…
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Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the Radar Technology

Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the Radar Technology

On February 26, 1935, British engineer and Fellow of the Royal Society Robert Alexander Watson-Watt started with first experiments on detecting and locating aircrafts with radio technique, later called ‘RADAR‘. Radar was initially nameless and researched elsewhere but it was greatly expanded on 1 September 1936 when Watson-Watt became Superintendent of Bawdsey Research Station located in Bawdsey Manor, near Felixstowe, Suffolk. Work there resulted in the design and installation of aircraft detection and tracking stations…
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Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

On February 18, 1943, Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the University of Munich, calling for passive resistance against the Nazis, and were arrested. Four days later, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They…
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Anna Seghers – Prominent Advocate of German Exile Literature

Anna Seghers – Prominent Advocate of German Exile Literature

On November 19, 1900, German writer Anna Seghers was born. Seghers became famous for depicting the moral experience of the Second World War. I came across the writer at the end high school. “The Seventh Cross” of Anna Seghers was the last piece of literature that we officially had to read in the German literature courses before high school graduation. And I remember that I was rather impressed by this novel. “What…
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Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

On June 23, 1912, English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst,Alan Mathison Turing was born. Outside the world of computer science or mathematics the name of probably the most influential figure and in some sense the father of all computing technology Alan Turing is hardly known. But it was him, who laid the foundations of the theory of computing. Already in the 1930s, when no digital electronic computer had ever been built,…
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How Albert Einstein Revolutionized Physics

How Albert Einstein Revolutionized Physics

On March 14, 1879, German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein was born, who has become an iconic figure for physics as well as science of the 20th century. He is best known for his theories on special and general relativity, as well as for the discovery of the photoelectric effect – for which he received the Nobel Prize – and he developed what has been named the most famous equation in history, the mass energy…
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The Third Man – A Film Noir Masterpiece

The Third Man – A Film Noir Masterpiece

On September 2, 1949, The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton, was officially released. Based on a novel by Graham Greene, The Third Man has become an iconic masterpiece that has been voted as the greatest British film of all time by the British Film Institute in 1999. Set in the ruins of post war Vienna it plays with the damaged history of its protagonists, about…
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The Aircraft Designs of Willy Messerschmitt

The Aircraft Designs of Willy Messerschmitt

On June 26, 1898, German aircraft designer and manufacturer Wilhelm Emil “Willy” Messerschmitt was born. Probably Messerschmitt’s single most important design was the Messerschmitt Bf 109, designed in 1934 with the collaboration of Walter Rethel. The Bf 109 became the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe as Germany rearmed prior to World War II. To this day, it remains one of the most-produced warplanes in history, with some 34,000 built. Willy Messerschmitt…
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Henri Busignies and the Development of the Huff-Duff System

Henri Busignies and the Development of the Huff-Duff System

On December 29, 1905, French engineer Henri Gaston Busignies was born. Busignies is best known for his contributions to radar, radio communication, and radio navigation. His invention (1936) of high-frequency direction finders (HF/DF, or “Huff-Duff“) permitted the U.S. Navy during World War II to detect enemy transmissions and quickly pinpoint the direction from which a radio transmission was coming. Early Years Henri Gaston Busignies was born in Sceaux, in suburban Paris, France, the…
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