The F4F Wildcat, a carrier-based aircraft, saw service from the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941 to the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri nearly four years later.

How the Rugged F4F Wildcat Held the Line During World War II

Designed by Grumman Iron Works, the tough little fighter kept America in the fight during those early dark days in the Pacific Theater

Often overshadowed by more famous jets in World War II, the Ar 234 B-2—known as the Blitz, or Lightning—had caught the Allies by surprise when the nine soared through the skies on December 24, 1944.

With Lightning Speed and Agility, Germany's Ar 234 Blitz Jet Bomber Was a Success That Ultimately Failed

Only one is known to survive today and it is in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

“The P-47 was one of the most versatile aircraft we had in World War II,” says Jeremy Kinney, curator and chair of the aeronautics department at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which houses one in its collections.

Why the P-47 Thunderbolt, a World War II Beast of the Airways, Ruled the Skies

Remarkably tough, the versatile fighter delivered far more punishment than it took

The F/A-18C Hornet is ready to be exhibited, in near-perfect condition even after being put through a myriad of maneuvers with the Blue Angels: rolls, dives, loops, tight formations and synchronized passes, which did cause some wear and tear to the plane’s surface.

A Special Air Delivery From the U.S. Navy Arrives With Only a Few Dings

An F/A-18C Blue Angels Hornet just flew into D.C. to make its debut as a museum artifact at the National Air and Space Museum

The True History of Netflix's 'The Liberator'

The new animated series tells the story of the U.S. Army's most integrated World War II unit

Several line items in Alexander Hamilton's cashbook indicate that the Founding Father purchased enslaved labor for his own household.

New Research Suggests Alexander Hamilton Was a Slave Owner

Often portrayed as an abolitionist, Hamilton may have enslaved people in his own household

In 1943 the all-wing and jet-propelled Horten Ho 229 promised spectacular performance and the German air force (Luftwaffe) chief, Hermann Göring, allocated half-a-million Reichsmarks to brothers Reimar and Walter Horten to build and fly several prototypes.

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction With Horten's All-Wing Aircraft Design

New research dispels some of the myths behind the world's first jet-powered flying wing

The little red car with the yellow roof that is propelled by foot power has been a hit with young children since its creation in 1979.

A Brief History of the Cozy Coupe

Invented by a former auto designer, the foot-powered kids toy still outsells engine-powered cars

The B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay was one of a few dozen World War II-era aircraft specially modified for the express purpose of delivering atomic weapons.

Why the Enola Gay, the Plane That Dropped the First Atomic Bomb, Will Always Inspire Debate

The Enola Gay, fully restored and on view at the Smithsonian, left an indelible mark

A scene of the wreckage left behind by a hurricane that swept through the Florida Keys in 1935.

How Hurricanes Have Shaped the Course of U.S. History

A new book examines the 500-year record of devastating storms affecting the nation's trajectory


The Bloody Hell of Okinawa

More than seventy-five years ago, the final great battle of WWII convinced Allied leaders to drop the atomic bomb on Japan

Stewart Adams had originally set out to find a cure for rheumatoid arthritis.

The Inventor of Ibuprofen Tested the Drug on His Own Hangover

Stewart Adams' headache subsided—and his over-the-counter pain reliever became one of the world's most popular medications

Flak-Bait made history on April 17, 1945, when it became the only American bomber to fly 200 missions.

This World War II Bomber Took More Enemy Fire Than Most Others and Always Came Home

Known for its memorable April 17, 1945 mission, the B26 bomber 'Flak-Bait' undergoes preservation at the National Air and Space Museum

The Microbus revolutionized the automobile industry just as America's social revolution was beginning.

How the Volkswagen Bus Became a Symbol of Counterculture

Seventy years ago, the German car manufacturer started producing the Microbus—the first van and a striking vehicle for protest

The military latched on to the trampoline as a training device for pilots, to allow them to learn how to reorient themselves to their surroundings after difficult air maneuvers.

How the Trampoline Came to Be

Inspired by circus performers, George Nissen created the bouncing ‘tumbling device’ that still captures imaginations 75 years later

Winston Churchill visits bomb-damaged Birmingham, England, during the Blitz.

How Winston Churchill Endured the Blitz—and Taught the People of England to Do the Same

In a new book, best-selling author Erik Larson examines the determination of the ‘British Bulldog’ during England’s darkest hour

The History of the Hard Hat

With some canvas, leather, shelac and black paint, inventor Edward Bullard helped America usher in a new era of workplace safety

Annual sales of the Nerf football peaked at 8 million in 1979, but the toy continues to be a popular seller today.

The Nerf Football Has Been Inspiring Backyard Championships Since 1972

Former Minnesota Vikings kicker Fred Cox invented the safer, softer football for kids of all ages

Flying Santa plane flies past Boston Light in 1947.

After 90 Years, the 'Flying Santa' Is Still Dropping Gifts From a Plane

In New England, a long-standing tradition continues with pilots delivering gifts to lighthouses and lifesaving stations

Playmobil is sold in nearly 100 countries worldwide.

How Playmobil Went From a Simple, Smiling Figure to a Worldwide Sensation

A new movie plays off the narrative nature of a toy that has been capturing imaginations for 45 years

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