John Killen's exhaustive work is a study of German air power between 1915 and 1945, from the early days of flying when Immelmann, Boelke, Richtofen and other First World War aces fought and died to give Germany air supremacy, to the nightmare existence of the Luftwaffe as the Third Reich plunged headlong to destruction. Here are the aircraft: the frail biplanes and triplanes of the Kaiser's war; the great Lufthansa aircraft and airships of the turbulent Thirties; the monoplanes designed to help Hitler in his conquest of Europe. Here are the generals who forged the air weapon of the Luftwaffe - the swaggering Goering, the playboy Udet, the ebullient Kesselring and the scapegoat Jeschonnek; here, too, are the pilots who tried to keep faith with their Fatherland despite overwhelming odds; Adolf Galland, Werner Molders, Joachim Marseille and Hanna Reitsch. Not least are the actions fought by the Luftwaffe from the Spanish Civil War to the Battle of Britain, through the bloody struggle for Crete and the siege of Stalingrad to the fearful twilight over Berlin.
John Killen was born at Seaton Carew, Durham, in 1925. After army service in Palestine and Cyprus he took up an industrial appointment in Ghana and later returned to England to enter engineering. He is also the author of A Hstory of Marine Aviation, 1911-68.