When it opened in 1923, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport was a beacon of progress and a sign of prosperity on the horizon.
The Great War was over and it was time to rebuild.
. . .
The Golden Era of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport
Under a Nazi initiative and in anticipation of a future filled with air travel, Tempelhof underwent major construction in the 1930s. When finished, it was among the world’s 20 largest buildings and considered one of the era’s most iconic airports, along with those in Paris and London.
Tempelhof in World War II
Throughout the Second World War, Tempelhof Flughafen (the German word for airport) was used to assemble fighter planes, but never actually served as a military airport. In fact, the airport remained open to civilian traffic throughout the war; with the exception of the six month period from September 1939 through March 1940.
After surrendering to the Allied Forces in 1945 and ending their role in World War II, Germany allowed the US Army to use Tempelhof as a base for the next 49 years.
A Cold War Airport
During the Cold War, the airport served as the primary launching point for American military aircraft to access West Berlin. Even after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it would be another five years before the American military officially closed their Berlin, Germany, Army Aviation Detachment.
What Sort of Airlines Did Tempelhof Service?
From the end of World War II in 1945 through the 2008 closing of Tempelhof Flughafen, the airport was a major hub for both domestic and international commercial flights. Though, in its later years, the airport was mostly used by smaller commuter aircraft.
Templehof Park in Berlin
Today, Tempelhof is surrounded by a beautiful park that hosts regular concerts, events and fairs. Though much of the park is still a work-in-progress, it remains a must-visit destination on any trip to Berlin. My personal favorite part is the bike trail that surrounds the entire airport.
Fun Fact: Tempelhof got its name because it was built on land belonged to the Knight’s Templar during the middle ages.
It’s in an Indiana Jones Movie… Kinda
OK, so my memory was a bit off. When I visited Germany’s Berlin Tempelhof Airport in 2012, I was sure that I remembered it from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
However, when I rewatched the film, all I found was the below brief exterior shot of the airport before Indy and his father boarded a zeppelin. There were no scenes actually filmed inside the airport.