The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces and the American Imagination

The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces and the American Imagination

The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces and the American Imagination

The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces and the American Imagination

Synopsis

In "The Dream of Civilized Warfare, Robertson presents the compelling, story of the creation of the first American air force--and how, through the propaganda of the flying ace, a vision of "clean" or civilized combat was sold to politicians and the public. She traces the long history of the American desire to exert the nation's will throughout the world without having to risk the lives of ground soldiers--a theme that continues to reverberate in public discussions, media portrayals, and policy decisions today.

Excerpt

This is the story of an air force that did not exist, except in the American imagination.

This is the story of how war-as-imagined gave birth to the dream that America could design, build, and fly the largest aerial armada in the world and use it to become the arbiter of war and peace.

This is the story of how a war-as-imagined was shaped by the forces of the mass media and state-sponsored propaganda, offering a promise that has shaped the American vision of air power as the foundation for America’s emergence as the premier military force into the twenty-first century.

Telling the story of the seductive vision of American air power requires a different kind of attention than is usual for telling the story of the actual development of American air power, which came during World War II. As a cultural and political force, this vision took shape at the time the United States entered World War I. This study is an argument for the significance of that vision, although it was intangible and the American participation in World War I was too short to allow for the dream to be realized.

When the United States entered World War I, two things were true. It did not have an air force, and there was a deep aversion to the prospect of sacrificing American lives to the slaughter of the ground war IX

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