In World War I, Gotha manufacturer a highly successful series of bombers based on a 1914 design by Oskar Ursinus. From 1917, these aircraft were capable of carrying out strategic bombing missions over England, the first heavier-than-air aircraft used in this role. Several dozen of these bombers were built in a number of subtypes - the Gotha G.I, G.II, G.III, G.IV, and G.V. This last variant was the most prolific, with thirty-six in squadron service at one point.
Whilst Germany was prohibited from aircraft manufacture by the Treaty of Versailles, Gotha returned to its railway endeavours, but returned to aviation with the rise of the Nazi government and the abandonment of the Treaty's restrictions.
Gotha's main contribution to the new Luftwaffe was the Gotha Go 145 trainer, of which some 9,500 were built. The firm also produced the Gotha Go 242 assault glider. Perhaps the most famous Gotha product of World War II, however, was an aircraft that never actually entered production, the Gotha Go 229. This was an exotic jet-powered, flying wing fighter aircraft designed by the Horton brothers, who lacked the facilities to mass-produce it. Only one prototype flew before the end of the war.