The War in the Air
It has been two months since the last time I wrote to you, I wonder how fast time flies, the scene of me leaving home with mother and sisters' crying on the front deck of our newly painted 2-storey house (Hickman 1), is still in my fresh memory. My homesickness grows more and more vigorous day by day. I miss the tranquility and charm of April back in our home Krefeld (Hickman 1)---a peaceful place where there is no war, no gunshot, no terror and no fear, but peace. In these 3 years, I experienced terrible fear on the Eastern Front (Hickman 1), sorrowful separation of my comrades who are now in the other world, and intolerable feelings of loneliness. But I never regret of joining the military, I am glad that I can devote myself in Lufestreitckräft (German Air Force) and serve my country. I understand that an average airman only survives a few weeks on their plane. But I am different, I was born to be a pilot, born to serve the glorious Lufestreitckräft. In the 9 months, not only that I have kept myself in good health, I gained 24 victories---24 enemy planes are shot down by me. Yesterday I was awarded the highest honor "Pour le Mérite" (Hickman 3) for my bravery in the air and my constant contributions toward Germany. I believe the remarkable air force will thrive our country and stabilize our influence in the world, as our planes carry most advanced technologies and are now dominating the sky (Wilkin 2) of Europe.
As we well know, Germany's biggest air rivals are Britain and France, however in my opinion, Britain doesn't have the capability to compete against us. Us, Germans surely the greater race, more intelligent and tactical in this war. I clearly remember at the beginning of this war, a group of British high-rank officers stated that "planes are useless and expensive" (YorkMills folder) to oppose aircraft manufacturing and to deny the planes' usefulness in the later wars (Wilkin 2). These people must have had their minds brainwashed, to which I actually give a big thanks to for their contribution in impeding Britain's air force development. This has caused the mindless British to rely heavily on French for most of their aircraft engines. In contrast, we Germans are far more broad-minded. We have the power to foresee the bright future that lies behind planes and we constantly improve our aircraft technologies. From the most ancient Zeppelins to three-wing aircraft for reconnaissance; from the early Fokker E.III to the matured Fokker D.VI (Magazine 9) with synchronized gears which enable a machine gun to accurately shoot bullets to the ground; until the final creation which brought planes in a new generation---the Gotha Fighters (Boucher. Each Gotha plane is an artwork crafted by God, they are condensed and equipped with the most overwhelming technologies of all humans, they are quality works of wisdom. Germany is the leading country in terms of aviation that its proud aircraft technologies and smartness had amazed the world. It shows how powerful our nation is, and it secures our military position in Europe as well as increased our chance of winning the war.
However very sadly, I'm sure you also heard the news this morning, it is spreading everywhere now, that the U.S. declared war on us. These cunning Americans---can't wait to join the fun of the battle to show their affection for Britain. The German officers predict that this action will affect more mutual countries and bring them into the swirl of war. Aside from Germany's rapid development of weaponry technologies, our military troops are not doing great. We are slowly consuming up soldier population while the enemy power, dominantly indicated to resources and ammunitions, are increasing. Now in Germany, people are living in panics, thus storing up foods become a popular activity very recently. According to our family "traditions", mom and sisters are probably doing the same thing, anyways. I believe what Germany needs to do right now is to soothe people down, there are no signs nor evidence showing we are sloping down. In fact, the Allied powers are reserved to us due to their fear of our powerful military: the artilleries, bombs, submarines (U.S. joined the war partly due to our marine campaign), and significantly---planes. The invention of synchronized gears on planes had changed people's definition of war. Enemies could be suddenly attacked at night and die in their dreams without noticing, or they can be shot in the back without knowing who the murderer is. Planes have changed from honorable "knights" to a symbol of fear (Magazine 9. The fascinating German aircrafts helped build the "reputation" of our military, more importantly, it builds up the nation's confidence. Lufestreitckräft (German Air Force) creates a positive and powerful image as a token for hope and winning. It motivates our people to support our country and support our military campaigns (Air Force campaign, Submarine Campaign etc). Always remember, supports from the publics have enormous effect on a country's performance in a war. Many mutual countries are secretly betting on us as the success of our Air Force continues.
My excitements never diminish once I start talking about aircrafts, or any other machines you could say. Aircrafts are indispensable and they contributed greatly to Germany. I am adroit in dogfights, so far I have shot down 24 planes, and people describe me as one of the most outstanding Aces (Mérite 2). My friend Manfred von Richthofen had an air combat with Lanoe George Hawker, a commander of No.24 British Squadron (Magazine 17). It was an intense dogfight that they were attacking each other from 10 000 feet above ground then to tree level, and were circling and chasing each other 300 meters in diameter until eventually Manfred defeated Hawker for his 11th victory ( Magazine 18). Furthermore, back on February 12, 1916, our superior air force made a blockade against the French attack. This helped to secure Germany's position in the battle of Verdun. I believe in the future, the usefulness of aircrafts will be demonstrated through bigger and more significant results and make bigger contribution.
I am proud to say that I serve the gallant Lufestreitckräft and serve our country. I enjoy working together with my good friend Manfred. We devote ourselves to the air force, to Germany, and to the people. Our patriotisms will never die away as we strongly believe that the war will soon be ended with Germany as the strongest and prosperous nation. Dear father, please tell mother and sisters do not worry about me. Shortly later I get my "Pour le Mérite" break and I will be on my way home to visit you and mom.
April 7, 1917.
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