The Women Who Flew for Hitler

Twentieth Century • (History Hit) 25m

Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were two talented, courageous, and strikingly attractive women who fought convention to become the only female test pilots in Hitler’s Germany – eventually being awarded the Iron Cross for their services to the Luftwaffe. Both were brilliant pilots, both were great patriots, and both had a strong sense of honour and duty – but in every other respect they could not have been more different.

Despite often being the only two women in the Aero Club who weren’t wives, the women’s backgrounds and ideologies ensured that they came to despise each other.

While Hanna tried to save Hitler’s life, begging him to let her fly him to safety in April 1945, Melitta covertly supported the most famous attempt to assassinate the Führer and would fly over the Buchenwald Concentration Camp to bring hope to the people interned there.

In this fascinating interview, acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley explores some of the astonishing details of these women’s experiences – both those that are remarkably parallel, and those that couldn’t have been more different. Their interwoven lives provide vivid insight into gender and technology, but also coercion, consent and resistance in Nazi Germany.

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