The Museum on the Berlin-Gatow airfield is a branch of the Bundeswehr Museum of Military History. Like its parent agency in Dresden, it does not see itself primarily as a museum of technical history, but rather as a modern museum of cultural history.
The Museum in Dresden tells a general cultural history of violence, whereas the Berlin Museum focuses on aerial warfare as the most recent development in the military use of force.
Visitors will learn how aerial warfare has altered our views on warfare. The following topics are at the center of our presentation:
• Crossing Borders. Airplanes enable us to transport information, diplomats and casualties quickly and across borders. At the same time, the emergence of the aerial bombing warfare resulted in the abolition of the old dichotomy between front and hinterland.
• Invisible Perpetrators, Invisible Victims. Among other things, aerial warfare is characterized by high speeds, tremendous ranges and increasingly huge kill capacities. These characteristics result in a depersonalization in the relationship between perpetrators and victims.
• Cover instead of Flight. People on the ground are practically unable to escape the violence from the air. They are faced with sudden alarms and have to look for cover in cellars and holes in the ground.
• Role Models. The role of a pilot has changed continuously over the years: In the eyes of his contemporaries, he was a daring technical pioneer and knight of the air, a daredevil, an engine operator and a flight engineer. Pilots were sacrificed and became killers. Not all pilots are men. What will be their role in an era of unmanned aviation?
• Military and Society. The doctrines of employment and the manner of taking responsibility for the protection of lives reflect the political system and self-image of the various air forces. For that reason, military aviation cannot be examined separately but must be seen in the context of its social and political environment.
The Museum of Military History on the Berlin-Gatow airfield sees itself a place of learning for military Bundeswehr personnel as well as interested visitors. As an interface between the military and society, it hopes to encourage discussions and to contribute towards the integration of the armed forces into public life in Germany.