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Costume Ideas from the Great War

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An Aeronautical Ballet, 1918. NASM 9A 02153

If you’re still stumped over what your costume will be for next Saturday’s big Air & Scare at the Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center (October 29 from 2 – 8 pm), the photograph shown above, from the July 1918 issue of Die Luftflotte, might provide some inspiration. The Hamburg Youth Division of the German Airfleet Association (the Deutscher Luftflotten-Verein) performs their “great and patriotic” aeronautical ballet Through Battle to Victory at a rally of the association to benefitĀ  injured pilots and their families. The dancers outfitted as monoplanes are a superb touch – the fellow on the right with the hammer must be Thor, but there’s no explanation in the original caption as to what the other characters portray. Maybe the chap with the umbrella is portraying a Morane Parasol fighter?

If you picked an aircraft-themed costume for Halloween, what would you choose? I’d like to go trick-or-treating as a sleek SPAD XIII or an Albatros D.Va. But sadly, I’d be more realistic as a blimp… Add your choice to the comments.

Allan Janus is a museum specialist in the Museum’s Archives Division.


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3 thoughts on “Costume Ideas from the Great War

  1. Any idea WHY Thor is featured in this scene with airplanes? Is he striking them down with lightning or something?

  2. Possibly to invest the production with a mythic dimension, Jon. Or maybe to use his hammer on unenthusiastic ballet critics.

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