The Airship President and Legacy


In 1932, the German Presidency was up for grabs. In the Running was incumbent and World War I hero Paul von Hindenburg. Challenging him was a man who was head of an up-and-coming political party by the name of Adolf Hitler. In the end, Hindenburg won with 53% of the vote to Hitler's 36.8%. The following year, Hitler would become Chancellor of Germany, and the year after that, when Hindenburg died in office, Hitler abolished the Presidency and declared himself "F├╝hrer" (or Leader). 

But what if things had gone differently? What if, a few short months before the 1932 election, President Hindenburg died of natural causes, leading the election for Germany's highest office wide open? There were many possible candidates considered to run had Hindenburg decided not to seek reelection. One was a man known the world over for his historic flight around the globe in the iconic rigid airship Graf Zeppelin: Hugo Eckener, head of the Zeppelin Company of Friedrichshafen, Germany. What would have happened had Herr Eckener entered this alternate 1932 race with Hindenburg gone and Hitler chomping at the bit to take power?

The Airship President and Legacy Story attempts to answer that what-if question. Admittedly at times it can be overly optimistic, a reflection of the author's own outlook in life, but the hope is that this story will engage the reader in at least a semi-plausible world where history took a very different turn. In this world, the giant airship never goes away, the Nazis never take power, the Cold War never begins, and man has continued it's exploration of the solar system and have visited the Moon and the Red Planet. There are some unexpected twists and turns, which I believe can be said of our own history just as easily as this fictional one.

What started this crazy adventure through alternate time and space? Back in 2009, as a history student having to learn how to write a "perfect" research paper, I was doing my project over one of my favorite subjects: the airship. And as I wrote the paper, I kept thinking about what a shame it was that these massive feats of engineering had not survived the test of time, and what could have happened differently to save the airship. With these questions in mind and research material concerning the end of the airship era in 1938, reading about the man behind the Zeppelin Company of the 1930s, the idea soon formed in my imagination of a world where Eckener defeated Hitler in the 1932 election, and from there altered the course of modern history and incidentally altered the fate of the craft that, in our world, he had devoted his whole life to.

So, without further adieu, I invite you to join me in a journey through an alternate world, and sail the skies on giant airships, dance to a second generation of electrified big-bands, and take a trip to our colonies on the Moon. Let us go to the world of the Airship President.

The Airship President (1932-1954)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

The Airship Legacy (1954-2005)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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