Today in History, February 26: 1935:
Adolph Hitler secretly signed a decree creating the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, and names Hermann Goering it’s commander. At the end of WWI the Treaty of Versailles signed between the combatants, including Germany, declared that Germany could have no military air service.
Hitler quietly built up what would become a larger, and more modern, air force while the rest of Europe and America let their forces languish.
Lufthansa, the civilian airline that was permitted, was used to provide flight training to the men that would become Luftwaffe pilots.
By September 1939 when the German Blitzkrieg swept across Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France, the Luftwaffe consisted of 1,000 modern fighter planes and 1,050 modern bombers.
This build up, and the build up of the Wehrmacht, all took place while the future allies practiced appeasement and protested verbally (the British had built up the Royal Air Force, but it was still much smaller than the Luftwaffe).