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There are many myths surrounding the development of the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. Its unparalleled performance is beyond doubt, easily able to outpace its opponents and possessing the firepower to shred them in seconds. Yet immediately after the Second World War, rumours abounded that official indifference, technical shortcomings and interference from the Führer himself had crippled the Me 262’s progress and delayed its appearance on the front line until it was far too late.Begun as a series of design concepts during 1938, the fighter would not enter mass production until the spring of 1944. Even then it failed to make any notable impact until the closing weeks of the war, when Me 262s began destroying USAAF bombers at an alarming rate. Exactly what happened to cause this apparently late start and who was responsible has until now been largely a matter of conjecture. Grounded in research involving thousands of wartime documents spread across archival collections in three countries, Messerschmitt Me 262 Development & Politics finally sweeps aside the myths and provides a clear understanding of the real history. Examining the aircraft’s technical development in unparalleled detail as well as analysing the ongoing discussions surrounding the Me 262 at the highest levels within the Messerschmitt company, the German Air Ministry and Adolf Hitler’s inner circle.
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