The Hindenburg Disaster, 75 Years On
2012-05-07 0:00

By Elizabeth Leafloor |

It’s been 75 years since the famous and terrible Hindenburg Disaster. On May 6, 1937 the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg burst into flames and fell from the sky while docking in New Jersey. It had departed on its fateful trip three days earlier from Frankfurt, Germany.

Of the 97 people aboard, 35 died, including one casualty on the ground.

This disaster remains a mysterious and macabre incident in history, as dramatic radio coverage of the day details the sheer horror witnessed by those on the ground, and the video of the crash filmed by newsreel cameramen and bystanders.
The immediacy of the catastrophe was felt by the public, as theater goers could see and hear the audio and video the next day.

There have been investigations and theories into what actually caused the destruction of the airship, but there is no one official conclusion to the case.
Theories range from lightning storms, to sabotage with bombs, from static electricity to engine failure, and Adolph Hitler destroying it for political reasons.
The public largely remains of the opinion that it was related to the fact that airships of the day were filled with extremely light, and flammable, hydrogen.

Interestingly, it is noted:

"... normally helium—not the highly flammable hydrogen used for this flight—would have been used to inflate the ship. Because nationalist extremist leader Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) had come to power in Germany, the United States would not sell helium to Germany. The U.S. government suspected that Hitler had plans to use airships for military purposes." (Source)

In the end, the radio broadcast of the tragedy remains one of the most famous in history. The cry of "Oh, the humanity" is still used in modern culture references to this day.

This well known incident destroyed the public’s confidence in the safety of the dirigibles, and thus it signaled the end of the airship era.


Photos, Creative Commons: Wikipedia

Video from:

Video from:

Video from:

Video from:

The Hindenburg Disaster - A Compelling Theory of Probable Cause and Effect,
By Addison Bain, PH.D.

Controversial Hypotheses on the Hindenburg Crash

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The Hindenburg Disaster - Wikipedia

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