In Photos: The History of the Hindenburg Disaster

The end of airships

The Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey, which marked the end of the era of passenger-carrying airships.

(Image credit: Sam Shere/Getty Images)

The LZ 129 "Hindenburg" was a giant passenger airship built by the German Zeppelin Company in the 1930s. The airship made its debut flight on March 4, 1936, but just a little more than a year later, the Hindenburg would become seared in people's minds after an ill-fated flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hindenburg flew its first North American transatlantic flight in May 1937, but during its landing on May 6, 1937, the airship burst into flames and crashed to the ground in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Check out these photos to explore the history of the Hindenburg, including its fiery demise.

Building a behemoth

The frame of the Hindenburg takes shape at the Zeppelin Works in Friedrichshafen.

(Image credit: Underwood Archives/Newscom)

The frame of the Hindenburg takes shape at the Zeppelin Works in Friedrichshafen.

Intricate framework

The vast and intricate framework of the new Zeppelin LZ 129 under construction at Friedrichshafen, Germany, in October 1934.With a gas capacity of 7,070,000 cubic feet, "The Hindenburg" became largest airship in the world.

(Image credit: Central Press/Getty)

The vast and intricate framework of the Zeppelin LZ 129, or the Hindenburg, under construction at Friedrichshafen, Germany, in October 1934.With a gas capacity of 7,070,000 cubic feet, the Hindenburg became the largest airship in the world.

In the hangar

The ill-fated German airship "Hindenburg" (LZ-129) being maneuvered into a hangar. Two swastikas, symbols of the German National Socialist Party, are displayed on its tail.

(Image credit: General Photographic Agency/Getty)

In this photo, the Hindenburg is maneuvered into a hangar. Two swastikas, symbols of the German National Socialist Party, are displayed on its tail.

Fiery demise

The Hindenburg disaster was captured in this photograph.

(Image credit: New York Public Library)

As it prepared to land on May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg burst into flames and crashed to the ground in New Jersey.

Crash landing

The Hindenburg erupted into flames and crashed as it attempted to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937.

(Image credit: Robert Wise/The HindenBurg/Newscom)

The Hindenburg erupted into flames over Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937.

Ill-fated journey

The Hindenburg in flames after crashing as it approached its moorings at Lakehurst Airport, New Jersey, killing 35 of the 97 occupants.

(Image credit: Fox Photos/Getty)

The Hindenburg in flames after crashing as it approached its moorings.

Learning from the disaster

The Hindenburg disaster happened on May 6, 1937.

(Image credit: Zeppelin/AKGphotos/Newscom)

The Hindenburg disaster came to be a symbol of the end of airship travel. An investigation found that a spark ignited the highly flammable hydrogen that filled the airship, causing it to burst into flames.

Trial run

Germany's giant hydrogen-filled Zeppelin, LZ-129, the Hindenburg, on a trial flight at Friedrichshafen on March 7, 1936.

(Image credit: Fox Photos/Getty)

The giant hydrogen-filled Hindenburg is pictured here on a trial flight at Friedrichshafen on March 7, 1936.

Over the Big Apple

The German-built airship "Hindenburg" flying over New York City, showing the swastika symbol on its tail. Filled with the flammable gas hydrogen, the Zeppelin caught fire in May of the same year, killing 36 people.

(Image credit: Keystone/Getty)

The German-built airship Hindenburg flying over New York City.

Preparing to fly

The airship "Hindenburg" (LZ-129) in its hangar during preparations for a voyage on Aug. 9, 1936.

(Image credit: Fox Photos/Getty)

The airship Hindenburg in its hangar during preparations for a voyage on Aug. 9, 1936.