On this day:
1706 – During the Battle of Fraustadt Swedish forces defeat a superior Saxon-Polish-Russian force by deploying a double envelopment.
The Battle of Fraustadt was fought on 2 February 1706 (O.S.) / 3 February 1706 (Swedish calendar) / 13 February 1706 (N.S.) between Sweden and Saxony-Poland and their Russian allies near Fraustadt (nowWschowa) in Poland. During the Battle of Fraustadt on February 3, August II was only 120 km away, with a cavalry force about 8,000 men strong. That was one of the main reasons that Swedish General Rehnskiöld hurried to engage Schulenburg. The battle is an example of a successful pincer movement and was one of Sweden’s greatest victories in the Great Northern War.
The Saxon army had not chosen its position carefully; Schulenburg had been maneuvered into a position chosen by the Swedes. Rehnskiöld withdrew his forces from Schlawa to Fraustadt. Rehnskiöld later stated in his journals, (Swedish) “Så resolverade jag att draga mig till Fraustadt tillbaka i den tanken att locka till mig fienden efter mig utur sin fördel, inbillandes honom att jag ville alldeles draga mig av” roughly translated as ”Thus I resolved to withdraw to Fraustadt with the thought to lure the enemy to me away from his advantageous position, deceiving him into thinking I was in full retreat”.
The Saxons, superior in numbers regarding infantry (9,000 Saxons and 6,300 Russians), but with less cavalry (4,000 Saxons) than the Swedes, took a strong defensive position behind lines of chevaux de frise littered by artillery. In two lines, with cavalry on both flanks, between the villages of Geyersdorf and Röhrsdorf and ahead of the town of Fraustadt, entrenched behind frozen lakes and marshes opposing the Saxon-Russian army, Rehnskiöld placed his infantry of 3,700 men in the center in three columns and his cavalry consisting of 5,700 units on both flanks.
Double envelopment or Pincer Movement
The pincer movement, or double envelopment, is a military maneuver in which forces simultaneously attack both flanks (sides) of an enemy formation. The name comes from visualizing the action as the split attacking forces “pinching” the enemy.
The pincer movement typically occurs when opposing forces advance towards the center of an army that responds by moving its outside forces to the enemy’s flanks to surround it. At the same time, a second layer of pincers may attack on the more distant flanks to keep reinforcements from the target units.
A full pincer movement leads to the attacking army facing the enemy in front, on both flanks, and in the rear. If attacking pincers link up in the enemy’s rear, the enemy is encircled. Such battles often end in surrender or destruction of the enemy force, but the encircled force can try to break out. They can attack the encirclement from the inside to escape, or a friendly external force can attack from the outside to open an escape route.
Sun Tzu, in The Art of War (traditionally dated to the 6th century BC), speculated on the maneuver but advised against trying it for fear that an army would likely run first before the move could be completed. He argued that it was best to allow the enemy a path to escape (or at least the appearance of one), as the target army would fight with more ferocity when completely surrounded, but it would lose formation and be more vulnerable to destruction if shown an avenue of escape.
The maneuver may have first been used at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The historian Herodotus describes how the Athenian general Miltiades deployed 10,000 Athenian and 900 Plataean hoplite forces in a U-formation, with the wings manned much more deeply than the centre. His enemy outnumbered him heavily, and Miltiades chose to match the breadth of the Persian battle line by thinning out the centre of his forces while reinforcing the wings. In the course of the battle, the weaker central formations retreated, allowing the wings to converge behind the Persian battle line and drive the more numerous, but lightly armed Persians to retreat in panic.
The tactic was used by Alexander the Great at the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC. Launching his attack at the Indian left flank, the Indian king Porus reacted by sending the cavalry on the right of his formation around in support. Alexander had positioned two cavalry units on the left of his formation, hidden from view, under the command of Coenus and Demitrius. The units were then able to follow Porus’s cavalry around, trapping them in a classic pincer movement. That tactically-astute move from Alexander was key in ensuring what many regard as his last great victory.
The most famous example of its use was at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, when Hannibal executed the maneuver against the Romans. Military historians view it as one of the greatest battlefield maneuvers in history and cite it as the first successful use of the pincer movement that was recorded in detail, by the Greek historian Polybius.
It was also later used effectively by Khalid ibn al-Walid at the Battle of Walaja in 633, by Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 (under the name crescent tactic), at Battle of Mohács by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1526 and by Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld at the Battle of Fraustadt in 1706.
Daniel Morgan used it effectively at the Battle of Cowpens in 1781 in South Carolina. Many consider Morgan’s cunning plan at Cowpens the tactical masterpiece of the American War of Independence.
Zulu impis used a version of the manoeuvre that they called the buffalo horn formation.
Genghis Khan used a rudimentary form known colloquially as the horns tactic. Two enveloping flanks of horsemen surrounded the enemy, but they usually remained unjoined, leaving the enemy an escape route to the rear, as described above. It was key to many of Genghis’s early victories over other Mongolian tribes.
The Battle of Kirkuk (1733)
Even in the horse-and-musket era, the manoeuvre was used across many military cultures. A classic double envelopment was deployed by the Asiatic conqueror Nader Shah at the Battle of Kirkuk (1733) against the Ottomans; the Persian army, under Nader, flanked the Ottomans on both ends of their line and encircled their centre despite being numerically at a disadvantage. In another battle at Kars in 1745, Nader routed the Ottoman army and subsequently encircled their encampment. The Ottoman army soon after collapsed under the pressure of the encirclement. Also during the famous Battle of Karnal in 1739, Nader drew out the Mughal army which outnumbered his own force by over six to one, and managed to encircle and utterly decimate a significant contingent of the Mughals in an ambush around Kunjpura village.
The manoeuvre was used in the blitzkrieg of the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Then, rather than a mere infantry maneuver, it developed into a complex, multi-discipline endeavour that involved fast movement by mechanized armor, artillery barrages, air force bombardment, and effective radio communications, with the primary objective of destroying enemy command and control chains, undermining enemy troop morale and disrupting supply lines. During the Battle of Kiev (1941) the Axis forces managed to encircle the largest number of soldiers in the history of warfare. Well over half a million Soviet soldiers were taken prisoner by the end of the operation.
1971 – New York Police Officer Frank Serpico is shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survives to later testify against police corruption.
Francesco Vincent “Frank” Serpico (born April 14, 1936) is a retired American New York Police Department (NYPD) officer who holds both American and Italian citizenship. He is known for whistleblowing on police corruption in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an act that prompted Mayor John V. Lindsay to appoint the landmark Knapp Commission to investigate the NYPD. Much of Serpico’s fame came after the release of the 1973 film Serpico, which was based on the book by Peter Maas and which starred Al Pacino in the title role, for which Pacino was nominated for an Oscar.
Serpico was born in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest child of Vincenzo and Maria Giovanna Serpico, Italian immigrants from Marigliano. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed for two years in South Korea as an infantryman. He then worked as a part-time private investigator and a youth counselor while attending Brooklyn College.
On September 11, 1959, Serpico joined the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as a probationary patrolman. He became a full patrolman on March 5, 1960. He was assigned to the 81st precinct, then worked for the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) for two years. He was finally assigned to work plainclothes, where he uncovered widespread corruption.
Serpico was a plainclothes police officer working in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan to expose vice racketeering. In 1967 he reported credible evidence of widespread systematic police corruption. Nothing happened, until he met another police officer, David Durk, who helped him. Serpico believed his partners knew about his secret meetings with police investigators. Finally, he contributed to an April 25, 1970, New York Times front-page story on widespread corruption in the NYPD which drew national attention to the problem. Mayor John V. Lindsay appointed a five-member panel to investigate accusations of police corruption. The panel became the Knapp Commission, named after its chairman, Whitman Knapp.
Serpico was shot during a drug arrest attempt on February 3, 1971, at 778 Driggs Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Four officers from Brooklyn North received a tip that a drug deal was about to take place. Two policemen, Gary Roteman and Arthur Cesare, stayed outside, while the third, Paul Halley, stood in front of the apartment building. Serpico climbed up the fire escape, entered by the fire escape door, went downstairs, listened for the password, then followed two suspects outside.
The police arrested the young suspects, and found one had two bags of heroin. Halley stayed with the suspects, and Roteman told Serpico, who spoke Spanish, to make a fake purchase attempt to get the drug dealers to open the door. The police went to the third-floor landing. Serpico knocked on the door, keeping his hand on his revolver. The door opened a few inches, just far enough to wedge his body in. Serpico called for help, but his fellow officers ignored him.
Serpico was then shot in the face by the suspect, with a .22 LR pistol, and the bullet struck just below the eye lodging at the top of his jaw. He fired back, fell to the floor, and began to bleed profusely. His police colleagues refused to make a “10-13” dispatch to police headquarters indicating that an officer had been shot. An elderly man who lived in the next apartment called the emergency services reporting that a man had been shot and stayed with Serpico. When a police car arrived, aware that Serpico was a fellow officer, they transported him in the patrol car to Greenpoint Hospital.
The bullet had severed an auditory nerve, leaving him deaf in one ear, and he has suffered from chronic pain from bullet fragments lodged in his brain. He was visited the day after the shooting by Mayor John V. Lindsay and Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, and the police department harassed him with hourly bed checks. He later testified before the Knapp Commission.
The circumstances surrounding Serpico’s shooting quickly came into question. Serpico, who was armed during the drug raid, had been shot only after briefly turning away from the suspect when he realized that the two officers who had accompanied him to the scene were not following him into the apartment, raising the question whether Serpico had actually been brought to the apartment by his colleagues to be murdered. There was no formal investigation.
On May 3, 1971, New York Metro Magazine published an article about Serpico titled “Portrait of an Honest Cop”. On May 10, 1971, he testified at the departmental trial of an NYPD lieutenant who was accused of taking bribes from gamblers.
Testimony before the Knapp Commission
In October, and again in December 1971, Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission:
“ Through my appearance here today… I hope that police officers in the future will not experience… the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to… for the past five years at the hands of my superiors… because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist… in which an honest police officer can act… without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated…at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings… is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this… an independent, permanent investigative body… dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential.. ”
Serpico was the first police officer in the history of the New York City Police Department to step forward to report and subsequently testify openly about widespread, systemic corruption payoffs amounting to millions of dollars.
Retirement and activism
Serpico retired on June 15, 1972, one month after receiving the New York City Police Department’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. There was no ceremony; according to Serpico, it was simply handed to him over the desk “like a pack of cigarettes”. He went to Switzerland to recuperate and spent almost a decade living there and on a farm in the Netherlands, as well as traveling and studying.
When it was decided to make the movie about his life called Serpico, Al Pacino invited Serpico to stay with him at a house that Pacino had rented in Montauk, New York. When Pacino asked why he had stepped forward, Serpico replied, “Well, Al, I don’t know. I guess I would have to say it would be because… if I didn’t, who would I be when I listened to a piece of music?” He has credited his grandfather who had once been assaulted and robbed and his uncle, a respected policeman in Italy, with his sense of justice.
Serpico still speaks out against police corruption, brutality, the weakening of civil liberties, and corrupt practices in law enforcement, such as the alleged cover-ups following Abner Louima’s torture in 1997 and Amadou Diallo’s shooting in 1999. He provides support to “individuals who seek truth and justice even in the face of great personal risk”. He calls them “lamp lighters”, a term he prefers to the more common “whistleblowers”, which refers to alerting the public to danger, just as Paul Revere was credited with doing during the American Revolutionary War.
A policeman’s first obligation is to be responsible to the needs of the community he serves…The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around.
— Frank Serpico 
In an October 2014 interview published by Politico entitled “The Police Are Still Out of Control… I Should Know”, Serpico addresses contemporary issues of police violence.
In 2015 Serpico announced he was running for a seat on the town board of Stuyvesant, New York, where he resides, his first foray into politics.
Among police officers, his actions are still controversial, but Eugene O’Donnell, professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, states that “he becomes more of a heroic figure with every passing year.”
As a result of Serpico’s efforts, the NYPD was drastically changed. Michael Armstrong, who was counsel to the Knapp Commission and went on to become chairman of the city’s Commission to Combat Police Corruption, observed in 2012 “the attitude throughout the department seems fundamentally hostile to the kind of systemized graft that had been a way of life almost 40 years ago.”
On June 15, 1972, Serpico left both the NYPD and U.S. to move to Europe. In 1973, he lived common law with a woman named Marianne (a native of the Netherlands), who was his only wife; she died from cancer in 1980. He decided to return to the United States afterward. His son and only child, Alexander, was born out of wedlock to a woman who allegedly “deceived and entrapped” Serpico into fathering the child by saying she was on birth control. He waged a lengthy and unsuccessful court fight to prove deception, but the mother was awarded 21 years of child support.
On June 27, 2013, the USA Section of ANPS (National Association of Italian State Police) assigned him the “Saint Michael Archangel Prize”, an official award by the Italian State Police with the Sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of Interior. Francesco Serpico is now an Italian citizen: during the same ceremony, he received his first Italian passport after extended research by the president of ANPS USA, Chief Inspector Cirelli, who established the Jus sanguinis, allowing him to gain Italian citizenship.
1995 – Astronaut Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle as mission STS-63 gets underway from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Eileen Marie Collins (born November 19, 1956) is a retired NASA astronaut and a retired United States Air Force colonel. A former military instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle. She was awarded several medals for her work. Colonel Collins has logged 38 days 8 hours and 10 minutes in outer space. Collins retired on May 1, 2006, to pursue private interests, including service as a board member of USAA.
Collins was born in Elmira, New York. Her parents were James E. and Rose Marie Collins, immigrants from County Cork, Ireland. She has three siblings. As a child, she participated in Girl Scouts, and expressed an interest both in space flight and in being a pilot.
After graduating from Elmira Free Academy in 1974, Collins attended Corning Community College where she earned an associate degree in mathematics/science in 1976. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1978, then earned a master of science degree in operations research from Stanford University in 1986, and a master of arts degree in space systems management from Webster University in 1989.
Following graduation from Syracuse, she was one of four women chosen for Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. After earning her pilot wings, she stayed on at Vance for three years as a T-38 Talon instructor pilot before transitioning to the C-141 Starlifter at Travis Air Force Base, California. From 1986 to 1989, she was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, where she was an assistant professor in mathematics and a T-41 instructor pilot. In 1989, Collins became the second female pilot to attend the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and graduated with class 89B. She was selected for the astronaut program in 1990.
Collins was selected to be an astronaut in 1990 and first flew the Space Shuttle as pilot in 1995 aboard STS-63, which involved a rendezvous between Discovery and the Russian space station Mir. In recognition of her achievement as the first female Shuttle Pilot, she received the Harmon Trophy. She was also the pilot for STS-84 in 1997.
Collins was also the first female commander of a U.S. Spacecraft with Shuttle mission STS-93, launched in July 1999, which deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
Collins commanded STS-114, NASA’s “return to flight” mission to test safety improvements and resupply the International Space Station (ISS). The flight was launched on July 26, 2005, and returned on August 9, 2005. During STS-114, Collins became the first astronaut to fly the Space Shuttle through a complete 360-degree pitch maneuver. This was necessary so astronauts aboard the ISS could take photographs of the Shuttle’s belly, to ensure there was no threat from debris-related damage to the Shuttle upon reentry.
On May 1, 2006, Collins announced that she would leave NASA to spend more time with her family and pursue other interests. Since her retirement from NASA, she has made occasional public appearances as an analyst covering Shuttle launches and landings for CNN.
Born on this day:
1757 – Joseph Forlenze, Italian ophthalmologist and surgeon (d. 1833)
Joseph-Nicolas-Blaise Forlenze (born Giuseppe Nicolò Leonardo Biagio Forlenza, 3 February 1757 – 22 July 1833), was an Italian ophthalmologist and surgeon, considered one of the most important ophthalmologists between the 18th and the 19th century. He was mostly known in France, during the Napoleonic Empire, for his cataract surgery.
Son of Felice and Vita Pagano, Forlenze was born at Picerno (Basilicata), at the time part of the Kingdom of Naples, from a family of physicians. His father Felice, his uncles Sebastiano and Giuseppe were barber surgeons of the noble family Capece Minutolo from Ruoti. After attending the catechism class at Ruoti, he moved to Naples to study surgery and continued his formation in France under the teachings of Pierre-Joseph Desault, of whom he became a close friend and collaborator for his anatomical studies.
Subsequently, Forlenze went to England, where he stayed two years, increasing his experience at the St George’s Hospital in London, then directed by John Hunter; he also traveled in the Netherlands and Germany. Returning to France, he began his ophthalmologist career. He determined the different eye diseases and represented them on masks of wax.
In 1797, he practised an eye surgery at a retirement home in Paris, in the presence of a commission appointed by the Institute, as well as several members of the government, and French and foreign scholars. In 1798, he became surgeon at the Hôtel national des Invalides and the Hôtel-Dieu of Paris, where he made many remarkable interventions.
Forlenze cured the soldiers of Napoleon’s army returning from Egypt, affected by serious eye diseases. He healed renowned personalities such as Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis, minister of Worship, and the poet Ponce Denis Lebrun, removing a cataract which had been present for twelve years from one of his eyes. Lebrun dedicated to him a verse in his ode called Les conquêtes de l’homme sur la nature. Napoleon, with a royal decree, gave him the assignment of “chirurgien oculiste of the lycees, the civil hospices and all the charitable institutions of the departments of the Empire”, thus Forlenze was sent into the French provinces to treat eye diseases.
His activity extended to England and Italy, where he performed free surgeries in cities such as Turin and Rome. In Rome, he cured the Cardinal Doria and was publicly honored by Caroline de Bourbon, Duchesse de Berry. His manuscript Considérations sur l’opération de la pupille artificielle (1805) is considered one of the most important medical works of the time. Forlenze died on 22 July 1833, stricken with apoplexy at the “Café de Foy”, in Paris, where he spent often his evenings.
1859 – Hugo Junkers, German engineer, designed the Junkers J 1 (d. 1935)
Hugo Junkers (3 February 1859 – 3 February 1935) was a German engineer and aircraft designer. As such, he is generally credited with pioneering the design of all-metal airplanes and flying wings. As founder of the Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, he was one of the mainstays of the German aircraft industry in the years between World War I and World War II. In particular, his multi-engined all-metal passenger- and freight planes helped establish airlines in Germany, as well as all over the world. Although his name is also linked to some of the most successful German warplanes of the Second World War, Hugo Junkers himself had nothing to do with their development. He was forced out of his own company by the Nazi government in 1934 and died on his 76th birthday, in 1935.
As well as aircraft, Junkers also built both diesel and petrol engines and held various thermodynamic and metallurgical patents. He was also one of the main sponsors of the Bauhaus movement and facilitated the move of the Bauhaus from Weimar to Dessau (where his factory was situated) in 1925.
Amongst the highlights of his career were the Junkers J 1 of 1915, the world’s first practical all-metal aircraft, incorporating a cantilever wing design with virtually no external bracing, the Junkers F 13 of 1919 (the world’s first all-metal passenger aircraft), the Junkers W 33 (which made the first successful heavier-than-air east-to-west crossing of the Atlantic Ocean), the Junkers G 38 “flying wing”, and the Junkers Ju 52, affectionately nicknamed “Tante Ju”, one of the most famous airliners of the 1930s.
Junkers was born in Rheydt in the Prussian Rhine Province, the son of a well-off industrialist. After taking his Abitur exams in 1878, he attended the Royal Polytechnic University in Charlottenburg and the Royal Technical University in Aachen, where he completed his engineering studies in 1883.
At first, he returned to Rheydt to work in his father’s company, but soon attended further lectures on electromagnetism and thermodynamics held by Adolf Slaby in Charlottenburg. Slaby placed him with the Continental-Gasgesellschaft in Dessau, where he worked on the development of the first opposed-piston engine. In order to measure heating value, Junkers patented a calorimeter and founded a manufacturing company in 1892. Junkers personally introduced the calorimeter at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it was awarded a gold medal. The next year, he patented a gas-fired bath boiler, which he refined as a tankless heater. In 1895, he founded Junkers & Co. to utilize his inventions.
From 1897, he was offered a professorship of mechanical engineering at Aachen, where he lectured until 1912. Working as an engineer at the same time, Junkers taking substantial gains of Junkers & Co. devised, patented, and exploited calorimeters, domestic appliances (gas stoves), pressure regulators, gas oil engines, fan heaters, and other inventions.
Junkers’ aeronautical work began in earnest only at the age of fifty, when he worked with engineer Hans Reissner in Aachen. Reissner had developed an all-metal aircraft, on which work first started in 1909 at the Brand Heath, equipped with corrugated iron wings built by Junkers & Co. in Dessau. The iron wings were patented one year later. Junkers had a wind tunnel built and invented a hydraulic brake.
He had far-sighted ideas of metal aeroplanes and flying wings, but the necessities of the war held him back. During World War I, the government forced him to focus on aircraft production. In 1915, he developed the world’s first practical all-metal aircraft design, the Junkers J 1 “Blechesel” (Sheetmetal Donkey), which survived on display in Deutsches Museum in Munich until World War II. His firm’s first military production design in 1916–17 was the armored-fuselage, two-seat, all-metal sesquiplane known by its IdFlieg designation, the Junkers J.I, considered the best German ground attack aircraft of the war. During this time, the German government’s IdFlieg military aviation inspectorate forced him to merge his firm with Anthony Fokker’s to form the Junkers-Fokker Aktiengesellschaft on 20 October 1917. The J.I’s pattern of an armored fuselage that protected the nose-mounted engine, pilot, and observer in a unitized metal “bathtub” was the possible inspiration for Sergei Ilyushin’s later Il-2 Shturmovik (conceivably appropriate as Junkers did have a manufacturing plant in Fili, a suburb of Moscow, in the Soviet Union in the 1920s) with a similar armored fuselage design. By 1918, his firm had created the world’s first low-winged, single-seat fighter aircraft, the Junkers D.I, which also pioneered the use of duralumin throughout an airframe. However, the D.I did not enter production until 1918. He also produced a two-seat fighter, the Junkers CL.I. Both the postwar Soviet aviation pioneer Andrei Tupolev and the American aviation designer William Bushnell Stout owed much to Hugo Junkers in the designs of their earlier aircraft, which benefited from Junkers’ corrugated, light-metal construction technique.
The Junkers F.13 of 1919 was the first of several successful civil aircraft designs produced by Junkers Flugzeugwerke: later designs include the Junkers Ju 52/3m from 1932. Through a variety of business initiatives, Junkers was also active in founding and developing airlines around the globe initially aiming to sell them its aircraft. Airlines where Junkers played a pivotal role in early phases of their development include Deutsche Luft Hansa and Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano. However, several business ventures failed from wider economic or political problems that hamstrung sound engineering plans. But Junkers always had more ideas: the massive four-engined G.38, nicknamed “Der Grosse Dessauer”, delivered to Luft Hansa, made no commercial trips for many months as he repeatedly recalled it to the factory for improvements.
Junkers was a socialist and a pacifist. For these reasons, he had several occasions to cross swords with German leadership. In 1917, the government forced him into partnership with Anthony Fokker to ensure wartime production targets would be met.
During the 1920s in Germany and among Junkers’ employees, a wide spectrum of political views was present. About every aspect of the business and of its environment, there were differing opinions. For members of all the many groups represented in Junkers, aviation offered hope for national renewal. Their varied views led to lively internal corporate politics. In 1926, unable to make government loan repayments after a failed venture to build planes for the USSR, he lost control of most of his businesses. In 1931, he appointed Adolf Dethmann, a communist activist, as Managing Director of what remained of his business.
Upon the 1933 Machtergreifung, the new Nazi government interfered, and the new Reichskommissar of Aviation, Hermann Göring, (who allegedly had unsuccessfully applied as a test pilot in the early 1920s) aimed to make Junkers a tool of German re-armament. The Nazi authorities immediately demanded ownership of Hugo Junkers’ patents and the majority of shares of his remaining companies. Under threat of imprisonment, he eventually acquiesced, to little avail; a year later, he was under house arrest and was finally forced to leave Dessau. He died on 3 February 1935 in Gauting near Munich.
Hugo Junkers is mainly known in connection with aircraft bearing his name. These include some he reluctantly developed for the German Empire during World War I, later in minor association with Anthony Fokker, as well as civil aircraft designs during the Interwar Period produced by Junkers Flugzeugwerke (Junkers Aircraft Works). Junkers, a pacifist and not on good terms with the Nazis, died in 1935 and was not involved in the development of Junkers military aircraft for the Third Reich’s Luftwaffe before or during World War II.
The earliest all-metal post-World War I aircraft designs of both Andrei Tupolev — with his Tupolev ANT-2 two-passenger small aircraft of 1924 — and William Bushnell Stout’s initial all-metal design, the Stout ST twin-engine torpedo bomber of 1922, were both based directly on the pioneering work of Herr Junkers, with each engineer (one Soviet, one American) separately developing examples of aircraft like Tupolev’s enormous, 63 meter wingspan, eight-engined Maksim Gorki — the largest aircraft built anywhere in the world in the early 1930s — and Stout’s popular Ford Trimotor airliner.
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