The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr – Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow (Bundeswehr Museum of Military History – Berlin-Gatow Airfield; formally known as Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr), is the Berlin branch of the Bundeswehr Military History Museum. The museum acts as an independent military department.
The museum is in Berlin at a former Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force (RAF) airfield, RAF Gatow. The focus is on military history, particularly the history of the post-war German Air Force. The museum has a collection of more than 200,000 items, including 155 aeroplanes, 5,000 uniforms and 30,000 books. There are also displays (including aeroplanes) on the history of the airfield when it was used by the RAF.
Aircraft include World War I planes such as the Fokker E.III as reproductions, and World War II planes such as the Bf 109, as well as at least one aircraft of every type ever to serve in the air forces of East and West Germany. Most of those postwar aircraft are stored outside on the tarmac and runways, however, and many are in bad condition. There are long term restoration projects, including a Focke-Wulf Fw 190. Because of that the museum is under construction, some exhibits are shortly removed for restoration, repainting, or lending to other museums.
The MHM in Dresden and Berlin-Gatow: The focus is on people.
The museum at the airfield Gatow (ehem. Air Force Museum) is a branch of the Military Historical Museum of the Bundeswehr. Like the Dresden main house, it is understood not primarily as historical technology, but as a modern cultural history museum.
While in Dresden a general cultural history of violence is told, the Berlin museum focuses on the air war, as the recent occurrence of military violence.
Visitors will learn how the air war has changed our thinking about the war. The following topics are at the center of the museum display:
• Overcoming limits. With aircraft information, diplomats and patient can be transported across borders and fast. At the same time, the advent of airborne bombing campaign led to abolition of the old separation of front and rear.
• Invisible perpetrators, victims invisible. Essentials of the air war include the high speed, long range and the ever more powerful destructive potential. They lead to an anonymisation in the relationship between perpetrator and victim.
• Coverage take flight. The man on the ground can hardly escape abuse from the air. He is subjected to sudden alarms and must in basements and burrows for cover search.
• role models. The role of the pilot is constantly changing: In view of his contemporaries, he was a reckless technology pioneer and a knight of the skies, a go-getter, a machine operator and a flight engineer. Pilots were sacrificed and killed them. Pilots are not always men. What are their roles be in the age of unmanned aviation?
• Military and society. The employment principles and the nature of the assumption of responsibility for the protection of life reflect the political system and the self-image of the respective air forces. Therefore, military aviation must not isolated, but must be considered in the context of their social and political environment.
The Military History Museum at the airfield Gatow sees itself as a museum of learning for Military Personnel and interested visitors. As an interface between the military and society it wants to encourage discussions and contribute to the integration of the army in public life in Germany.
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