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Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin Probably hardly a shape of aviation history is part of as many legends as Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin He was born on July 8 1838 in Konstanz at the Bodensee He was educated at the Ludwigsburg Military Academy and the University of Tbingen He entered the Prussian army in 1858 and went to the United States in 1863 to work as a military observer for the Union army and observed the Civil War Zeppelin served in the Franco-German War of 1870-1871 he retired in 1891 with the rank of brigadier general It was quite usual in his noble and high-decorated family that he chose a military career And later explored the headwaters of the Mississippi River and made his first balloon flight while he was in Minnesota And on August 7 1869 he was married to his wife Isabe His military career however successful did not run He along with others at that time preferred modern opinions over combat tactics which brought his career into conflicts with the military authorities In the age of 52 he was prematurely retired in 1890 for his criticism of the Prussian war office giving him free time to work on his airship ideas Zeppelin now finally found the time to concern himself with his visions to the topic of Lenkbare Luftschiffe or guidable airships This idea had always pursued him in the last 20 years It was particularly the success of the airship LA FRANCE which had very much impressed Zeppelin In a letter to his king Zeppelin referred particularly to the possibilities of the military use of this technology A meeting with the military authorities following on it did not bring good results for it The authorities over-estimated the problem of air resistance as substantially higher than it really was Only in the year 1892 the concrete work
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