Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: The Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-1945

By Tami Davis Biddle | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
The United States in the Interwar Years

THIS chapter traces the intellectual progress of American airmen during the interwar years. It examines how theories about long-range bombing developed, gained influence, and established themselves in the organizational mind of what ultimately became the United States Army Air Corps (and later Army Air Forces). It points out parallels and contrasts between the American experience and the British experience. Though there are clear and important similarities in the way ideas evolved in the two nations, there are also some notable differences. The Americans, like the British, would rest their ideas about long-range bombing on assumptions about the complexity and vulnerability of modern industrial societies, but they would take a particular interest in what they believed to be the inherent weaknesses of interdependent, interlocking national economic systems.

In comparing the British and American interwar experiences, several issues must be acknowledged from the start. First, American interwar air doctrine was not formulated by an independent service. While the Royal Air Force came into existence as a separate organization in 1918, American airmen required nearly thirty more years to achieve such standing. The U.S. Army was not willing to condone any statement that implied a revolutionary role for long-range bombers based on their ability to impose, independently, a shattering blow on the enemy. In an attempt to make itself very clear on the subject in 1934, the War Plans Division of the War Department argued, “The effectiveness of aviation to break the will of a well-organized nation is claimed by some; but this has never been demonstrated and is not accepted by members of the armed services of our nation.” 1 The latter clause was untrue: members of the U.S. Air Corps were among the “some” making strong claims for aviation. Indeed, a 1928 document from the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps had argued, “It is not hard to visualize a situation in which the destructive power of the air force will be adequate to subdue the enemy's will and in which both the Army and Navy would operate in support.” 2 Thoughout the interwar years a debate raged inside the U.S. military—sometimes quietly and sometimes openly—about the degree to which an air force could and should act independently in war. A desire for greater autonomy naturally inclined the airmen to focus their

-128-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: The Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare *
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - The Beginning: Strategic Bombing in the First World War 11
  • Chapter Two - Britain in the Interwar Years 69
  • Chapter Three - The United States in the Interwar Years 128
  • Chapter Four - Rhetoric and Reality, 1939–1942 176
  • Chapter Five - The Combined Bomber Offensive: 1943–1945 214
  • Conclusion 289
  • Notes 303
  • Bibliography of Archival Sources 387
  • Index 391
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 406

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.