With the end of hostilities in 1918 and the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles being fully implemented on Germany's war-ravaged economy, the end appeared near for the Zeppelin Company. Feverishly, Dr. Hugo Eckener, now chairman of Zeppelin, sought a way to circumvent the unreasonable restrictions placed on Zeppelin production. Already, England and France had taken most of their zeppelins, claiming them as war reparations. These zeppelins were now being pulled apart and studied by Germany's former enemies or being introduced directly into their military arsenals.

There was, however, one major world power that lacked any real expertise in rigid airship construction: the United States. Dr. Eckener proposed to the U.S. Government that he should build them a huge zeppelin for military use, the largest ever made at this time. This had the dual effect of giving the United States the technological edge in zeppelin construction and providing enough money for Zeppelin to stay in business. The U.S. agreed, and in the summer of 1921, with much protest from the allied European governments, the U.S. ordered construction of the LZ 126, the "Los Angeles". Construction began in the summer of 1922 in