“We must learn from Germany”: gliders and model airplanes as tools for Japan’s mass mobilization

Melzer, Jürgen GND

This article explores the prominent role of Germany in the emergence of Japan’s glider and model-aircraft boom. It examines how the invitation of German specialists to Japan in 1935 started a “glider fever” that enabled the Japanese military to forge close bonds with the press and an air-minded public. In the following years Nazi Germany also provided the organizational blueprint for comprehensive aviation education that mobilized all aviation activities of Japanese youth in the service of national defense. Japanese anxieties about the expansion of foreign air power thus were successfully channeled into a wave of popular enthusiasm and participation that became instrumental for Japan’s military buildup and mobilization.

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