The Influence of Airpower upon History: Statesmanship, Diplomacy, and Foreign Policy since 1903

Article excerpt

The Influence of Airpower upon History: Statesmanship, Diplomacy, and Foreign Policy since 1903. By Robin Higham and Mark Parillo, Eds. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013. Photographs. Notes. Index. Pp. ix, 317. $40.00 ISBN: 978-0-8131-3674-5

This collection of ten essays can be divided into two groups. The overview group includes essays by the two editors and one on air power before World War II by John Morrow, best known for his works on World War I aviation. Higham, of course, is one of the West's most highly regarded air power historians. Parillo has served on the faculty of Kansas State University for more than twenty years. The seven remaining essays are of a national or regional nature. These cover Germany, France, the Soviet Union, Latin America, two on the United States, and China.

Higham's chapter provides a solid review of the use of air power, citing specific instances up to the U.S. intervention in Libya in the spring of 2011. Morrow's piece emphasizes trends in Europe and the United States from 1906 to 1939, particularly regarding strategic bombing as opposed to a subordinate role to ground forces. In chapter three, noted French aviation historian Patrick Facon examines policies concerning the development of air power in France and how that affected the perception of Germany's emerging strength in the 1930s.

Richard Muller, Professor of Military History and Associate Dean of the USAF School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, shares insights into his specialty, the German Luftwaffe, and its impact on Adolf Hitler's policies in the 1930s. David Jones, a Soviet military specialist, discusses the changing Russian perception of the role of the strategic bomber as an instrument of national policy from 1909 to 1959. …