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Operation Linebacker II : the last and only pure application of Douhet‚ÄövÑv¥s theory of air power? An analysis of the historiography of strategic bombing in the Twentieth Century

posted on 2023-05-27, 19:34 authored by Buchanan, GI
In 1921, Giulio Douhet published his treatise on airpower, The Command of the Air, which expounded the theory of aerial bombardment of civilian and industrial enclaves of an enemy nation. Douhet postulated that the capability to strike first from the air with ‚ÄövÑv¿terrible impact‚ÄövÑvp would break the will of an enemy and foreshorten a war thereby reducing overall casualties; the application of airpower in this manner would avoid the stalemated land battles and consequent horrendous losses redolent of the Great War. Douhet has been described as the first to provide a coherent and comprehensive philosophy on the utilisation of strategic airpower.1 Yet, the various aerial bombing conflicts of the interwar years and the intense strategic campaigns of the Second World War (WWII) did not realise Douhet‚ÄövÑv¥s predictions. Over three chapters it is argued in this thesis that these bombing operations were not necessarily a failure of the Douhetian strategic framework, but rather that the precepts of that theory were not adequately tested in these conflicts, in particular the strategic bombing campaigns of WWII.



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