Schiphol began as a military airfield in 1916 in the midst of World War One, when aviation became a major part of modern warfare. In 1920, as Europe entered peacetime, the airport became a civil aviation airport, leading to the first KLM flight taking place in the same year. Amsterdam hosted the 1928 Olympic Games, which prompted the City of Amsterdam to take over airport operations from the Ministry of War.
In 1938, Schiphol became only the second airport in Europe to have a tarmac runway system. The airport then played its role in World War Two, firstly being bombed by German aircraft on 10th May 1940 and then later in the year being used as a base from which the Germans launched bombing raids against Great Britain.
American bombers crippled Schiphol airport in 1943, and German commandos destroyed the remaining buildings during their withdrawal from Holland.