If anyone could build an air force quickly, surely it would be the Germans. Even after "the few" of the R.A.F. rose to blast the myth of Nazi Luftwaffe invincibility in World War II, Hermann Göring's "tigers" continued to command respect as fighting airmen, and Hitler's scientists set a hot pace in plane and rocket development.

Two years ago NATO commanders rubbed their hands at the promising prospect opened by the Paris treaties allowing Germany to rearm. Bonn promised NATO the manpower for 1,326 planes in 20 wings by 1960. But last week, two years after the...

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