Throughout the course of history, many wars have taken place. Among these wars, World War I particularly stands out for having contained several war aces and heroes. Some of these aces include Captain René Fonok of France, Major Edward Mannok of Britain, Manfred von Richthofen of Germany, and Eddie Rickenbacker of America (21:26).
However, the one hero that stands out the most is the famous Red Baron or Manfred von Richthofen. Manfred von Richthofen, a German aviator, was very prominent and well known in World War I due to his many feats with his fighter plane.
Before the war occurred, Manfred von Richthofen was already on his way to success (Iavarone).
Richthofen came into this world on May 2, 1892 in Breslau, Germany, which is present-day Wroclow, Poland (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
Manfred came from a family of wealthy Junkers (Iavarone).
He was born the son of Major Albrecht von Richthofen, a Prussian nobleman, and was the eldest of three boys with one older sister (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
By age 11, Manfred was already being groomed for battle. He enrolled in the military school at Wahlstatt (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
Following his attendance at Wahlstatt, Manfred attended the Royal Military Academy at Lichterelde (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
The First World War broke out because of a system of two major European Alliances. These started a war due to Germany’s ruthlessness, and caused a European war. Then the nations’ colonies joined in, and eventually all of the world’s major powers had joined in, causing the First World War. Before the main events of the war, two main alliances had been formed. Germany had defeated ...
Richthofen excelled in athletics and was an exceptionally good horseman (Iavarone).
It is perhaps ironic that it was not his horsemanship, but his flying abilities that made him famous. However, his horsemanship did lead him to the cavalry in the beginning of his war career (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
When the war first broke out, Manfred was a cavalry officer for both the Eastern and Western fronts (Iavarone).
He scouted for Germany, but he quickly became bored with this task (Iavarone).
By May of 1915, Richthofen was transferred to the flying service where he was soon to become the legendary “Red Baron” (Iavarone).
After only one day of training from Overleutnant Georg Zeumer, Richthofen made his first solo flight on October 10, 1915 (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
Manfred ended up crashing his plane when trying to land it, but this did not obstruct his road to fame (The Red Baron: Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen).
Richthofen was not going to let anything get in his way. On September 17, 1916, Richthofen recorded his first aerial and combat victory (Iavarone).
This was only the first flower of a bouquet of victories to come. By the end of his first year, he had shot down 63 aircrafts (Brown 36).
Richthofen was known to have a phenomenal shot, which he relied on more than any other trained ability (Hutchinson Dictionary of World History).
Every time he succeeded in shooting down another aircraft, Manfred would reward himself with an engraved silver cup (Woods).
He would also try to retrieve some type of souvenir from each of the shot down planes (Brown 36).
Richthofen flew a Fokker fighter plane, and commanded the 11th Chasing Squadron, which was known as “Richthofen’s Flying Circus” (Iavarone; Hutchinson Dictionary of World History).
By the end of his war career, Manfred von Richthofen had shot down 80 planes, and killed or captured approximately 130 people (21: 16; Woods).
In July of 1917, Richthofen received a wound to his head, but he made a fast recovery and was quickly back in the war (Brown 36).
John Brown once said, Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose tights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, - I submit; so let it be done! He believed that the only way to rid slavery from the United ...
By 1918, Richthofen had become such a wondrous hero, that it was feared that if he died, the morale of the German people would reach an all time low (Iavarone).
Little was it known, that this fear was about to become a reality. On April 21, 1918, Manfred von Richthofen acquired a fatal wound that would soon end his short yet legendary life (Brown 36).
His death occurred when he was chasing an enemy plane, and another plane snuck up behind him (Brown 37).
As Richthofen was about to shoot the plane he was after, Captain Roy Brown of Canada made the shot that would end Manfred’s life (Brown 37).
The War Times Journal suggests that near the end of Richthofen’s war career, his attitude towards the war itself shifted immensely. As Manfred matured, he decided the war was not something to exalt or rejoice about (War Times Journal).
Before his death, Manfred was quoted, “ I think of this war as it really is, not as the people at home imagine, with a hoorah! and a roar. It is very serious, very grim…” (Iavarone).
In conclusion, it is obvious to see why Manfred Von Richthofen is considered to be the “ace of all aces” of World War I. His countless accomplishments made him very memorable in the hearts of the people of Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany (1888-1918), commented about the death of the Red Baron, “What the youthful leader accomplished in aerial combat will never be forgotten by Me, My army and the German people” (Iavarone).
Aside from being a legendary hero, Manfred von Richthofen is also a role model and an inspiration to all aspiring aviators around the world.