The Berlin-Gatow airfield is under a preservation order for historical monuments, both separately and as an ensemble. This enables our Museum to tell history in a historical location.
Built from 1934 onwards within the context of the secret military buildup of Germany, it contained a major Luftwaffe training complex in the Third Reich era which also included the Luftkriegsschule II (Air War School II). Together with the schools in Dresden, Werder, Fürstenfeldbruck, Vienna and Wroclaw, it was one of the central Wehrmacht sites for pilot training.
In April 1945, Berlin-Gatow was occupied by Soviet forces that turned the airfield over to the British occupation force in the July of that year. The airfield gained particular importance at the time of the Berlin Airlift in 1948/49 when approximately one third of the Allied aircraft landed and took off here.
During the Cold War, Gatow was a center of Western military intelligence.
In 1994, after the withdrawal of Allied forces from Berlin, the airfield was handed over to the Bundeswehr. The site was then divided into two parts: the public-access area of the Museum and an enclosed area in which the 3rd Air Division and other Bundeswehr activities have been housed.
Today, the airfield has two runways with a length of 830 meters which are activated for our annual airdays. Our outdoor display area comprises approximately one million square meters where more than 70 aircraft and over 60 major items of defense equipment from the Cold-War era are shown. Of the nine existing hangars, two are at present used as exhibition buildings, one as a museum workshop and three as depot buildings. The remaining three hangars will be turned into exhibition buildings and depot space for the Museum after alteration and restoration measures have been completed.