The Hindenburg Disaster
Many great tragedies have occured due to unfounded overconfidence by powerful countries.  England thought itself indestructable and assumed that one of its chief accomplishments, the Titanic, was therefore indestructible as well.  Germany had the same arrogance about is airship, The Hindenburg, and it fell to almost as disastrous fate as the Titanic.                                The creator of this airship, Huch Eckener, was wary about the long disatnce flight, since the ship had not flown all the proper test trials due to propanganda flights.  It was assumed that the airship would be safe, however, since it had an absolutely soptless record.  It had even flown through a hurricane without the passengers knowing that they were in peril.  Besides an excellent safety record, the Hindenburg was also one of the most luxurious ways to travel.  For $400 a passenger could get a private cabin with hot and cold running water and private facilities.  There was also a fifty foot dining room which was underneath the promenade deck with painted windows.  This kind of luxury is a good example of the decadent lifestyle that the aristocracy lived between the wars.                  On May 6, 1937 the Hindenburg burst into flames in its flight across the Atlantic.   When the ship was just twenty feet from the ground the passengers could be seen waving and laughing.  The ship had, however, gone several hundred feet past the mast and the crew could not let out the lines any more.  The ship lost its perfect balance and the stern burst into flames.  The flames sprouted out the nose and rose into the air.   Within thrity seconds the outer coating had been burned and when the ship landed it was nothing but a skeleton.        The effects of the crash were felt throughout the world.  Since the crash happened in New Jersey, the United States sent its sympathies to Hitler.  Other countries responded likewise.  The Pope even sent a letter of condolence to Germany.   Many important figures were lost in the accident, including the Captain Ernst Lehmann who had great faith in the machine and who had dedicated his whole life to flying.  Another hero of the accident was passenger John Pannes, who refused to jump out of the ship until he had found his wife.              There were many theories at the time to what caused this tragedy.   One theory was sabotage, which was denied by both the American and German embassy.  It was unlikely, and the idea of it was embarrasing to both nations.  What the experts concluded was the airship's hydrogen was ignited by some type of atmospheric electrical discharge.  There have been many ideas since, but this is still the strongest theory.                     It is incidents such as this that humbe makind into realizing that nothing we create is indestructable.   Just like the Hindenburg, Hitler's Germany thought itself indestructible.  The Hindenburg disaster was a foreshadowing of the fate of Germany.  This does not onl apply  to a certain part of the world, but in our failure to see potential errrors.  To find an example of this we need look no farther than the crash of the Concord.
The pride of Germany, up in flames
My Favorite Links:
Hindenburg
Hindenburg Disaster
Interview with Mr. Butscher
Hydrogen Newsletter: The Hindenburg
Hindenburg Info:
Name: Wendy Teahen
Email: wcthn@mta.ca
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