The founding of today’s Max Planck Society

1948

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Photo: Foundation of the Max Planck Society in Göttingen, Archives of the Max Planck Society.

The “Kameradschaftshaus” (association house) of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society’s aerodynamic testing facility (AVA) became the cradle of the modern Max Planck Society on 26 February 1948. Two days prior to that, the first Max Planck Society, valid only in the British zone, had been dissolved to make way for the new Society. The office of President was taken up by chemist and Nobel Prize winner Otto Hahn. Göttingen was a centre of research and administration for the KWS at this time: In the last years of the war, four institutes and the administrative headquarters had already been relocated to the former premises of the AVA in Göttingen. Thanks to massive financial support from the Nazi government from 1933 onwards, the AVA had developed into a major research facility, where discoveries of great military value were made. The facility was largely dismantled after 1945, which freed up space. However, initially, the Max Planck Society founded in Göttingen was only intended for the British and American zones. Here, there were 29 institutes from the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which were integrated into the new Society. It was only after the Federal Republic of Germany was established in autumn 1949 that the five institutes from the former French zone joined them. Today, the old "Kameradschaftshaus" serves as a staff canteen for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Göttingen which took over most of the testing facilities of the former AVA after World War II.

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