In the years following World War 1, the nations involved in the conflict began developing more powerful aircraft to support ground operations troops. Military tacticians knew that aviation would play a vital role in the following war and experimented with dozens of different aircraft configurations and combat roles.
Russia, on the other hand, wanted something different. As another effective way of increasing the reach of propaganda from the Communist regime, Joseph Stalin approved the construction of the Tupolev ANT-20, an eight-engine aircraft that would become the largest of its time.
This colossal beast, which had a wingspan of 63 meters, was baptized as Maxim Gorky to commemorate the Russian author’s literary career.
And it was no coincidence, for the aircraft was conceived with a particular purpose: to promote the ideas of Communism in all of Russia.
To fulfill this task, the Maxim Gorky was equipped with a massive library, equipment for printing thousands of leaflets, a radio set to speak to the masses, and even a projector to display images in the skies.
The aircraft would take part in its propaganda missions for over a year before it fatally crashed in an accident during an air demonstration over Moscow.
Russian engineers built another Maxim Gorky, but the beginning of Operation Barbarossa and the German offensive in the West made it impossible to return to its propaganda objective.
The USSR was by then fighting for its survival, and inspirational propaganda would give way to the forced conscription of millions of indoctrinated peasants that would become the backbone of the Soviet military.
Credit to : Dark Skies