The golden age of the airship began around the turn of the last century, when the first Luftschiff Zeppelin — named after the German Count von Zeppelin who pioneered the construction of rigid airships — was launched.
The possibility that airships might be used in war was quickly recognized. George Griffith’s The Angel of the Revolution (1893, our review here) has airship bombing Russia’s major cities. H.G. Wells’ The War in the Air (1908) describes the obliteration of entire fleets by aerial attack.
Continue reading “Airships in War: Not So Successful in the Real World”
Although airships are popular in steampunk, their heydays came during the era that is more typically associated with dieselpunk. They shared the skies with that other novelty, the aeroplane. The two coexist elegantly in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004).
Planes represent adventure and perhaps a tad of recklessness. Airships exhale confidence and grandeur. They represent an era that was characterized by progress and great confidence in it.
Continue reading “Airships: True Liners of the Skies”
Referred to as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veteran’s Day, November 11 has a special meaning for dieselpunks. The “diesel era” (1920s-40s) arose out a meaningless war (World War I), saw one of the epic wars of history (World War II) and died a slow death in another meaningless war (Korean War). One could say that dieselpunk is born in blood, lives in blood and dies in blood.
Continue reading “Adversity and the Human Spirit”
Soon after the war in Europe ended, rumors began to circulate that part of Germany’s military and scientific establishment had fled the fatherland before Soviet troops could conquer Berlin. Stories of missing U-boats and forbidden aviation technologies fueled wild theories of Nazi redoubts and the imminent resurrection of the Third Reich. A huge United States Navy operation in the Antarctic in 1946 seemed only to confirm the worst of fears — that the Nazis’ reign of terror had been able to survive underground near the South Pole.
Continue reading “Nazis in Antarctica”
As the war in Europe drew to a close, the Western Allies convinced themselves that the fall of Berlin would not be the end of it. The Nazis, they believed, would hunker down in the Austrian and Bavarian Alps and continue the war from a formidable Alpenfestung in the mountains.
Continue reading “The German National Redoubt That Wasn’t”
While we don’t often think about it, every moment we make decisions that might have serious consequences.
For example, if I had not taken a specific college course in a specific semester, I would have never met the woman of my dreams whom I would someday marry.
Taking this further, if I had never met the jewel of my eye, our daughter would have never been born. Not only was our meeting necessary for her existence but how many lives has she also touched?
Continue reading “Third Reich Victorious”
The genre of steampunk is often inspired by the nineteenth century, the Victorians, and futurism. It’s about alternate futures or futuristic ideas of times past. But how did the Victorians view the future?
The nineteenth century was a time of many rapid changes. In a fairly short span of time many scientific breakthroughs were made, many new objects and machines invented. Things moved at a fast and exhilarating pace. It could be compared to the current developments around the internet and computers: things are changed and invented at such a speed that it’s hard to keep track sometimes, and you can reminisce with your friends about times when no one had a mobile phone. Just like that, Victorians reminisced about times without diesel power, electric motors or bicycles.
Continue reading “The Future as Imagined by the Past”
Probably there is nothing more steampunk than the locomotive — besides the airship, of course. Railways have always represented movement, freedom, human genius, but after their introduction they soon became infected by the germ of war and started serving destructive purposes.
This seems to be the sad destiny of all human inventions, from the ancient chariots to the modern airplanes.
Continue reading “Railways and War”
Stories of Adolf Hitler surviving the war to die an old man in Spain or South America have been around since he committed suicide in his bunker deep below Berlin in April 1945.
Historians have largely dismissed these claims. Skull fragments, long held in Russian archives, were believed to prove that the German dictator perished together with his dream of a Thousand Year Reich, but an archeologist and bone specialist who examined them in 2009 concluded that they most likely belonged to a woman.
This has only fueled the conspiracy theories.
Continue reading “Did Adolf Hitler Survive the War?”
Seaside holidays are today a common way for many people to pass their summer vacation. What many probably don’t know is that the summer vacation we envision today, with children playing on and with the sand, people bathing or walking along promenades and piers, are all traditions rooted in nineteenth-century England.
Continue reading “Victorian Seaside Resorts”