On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg, the largest German airship, exploded in flames as it was landing in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Although the immediate cause of the spark is debated, the underlying cause was well known – the United States was the only industrial source of helium in the world and would not sell the “strategic material” to the Nazis. The Zeppelin Company was forced to substitute hydrogen, a flammable material, for helium. The rest is history.
The poster featured above was once owned by the advertising director of American Airlines, the company that managed flights from Lakehurst to New York City for Zeppelin customers. It is still attached to the original board he displayed it on in his office.
For photographs and additional history on the Hinderburg Disaster, we recommend this recent article featured on theatlantic.com.