Early Theories of Air Strategy
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS United States
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This paper considers the early development of air strategy and air doctrine. The intellectual content of the ideas for employment of the aircraft as a military weapon is the central focus. Technological and political considerations were not treated as primary subjects but only as they impinged upon the development of ideas. A survey of literature revealed three men who were instrumental in shaping the development of air strategy. They were Giulio Douhet of Italy, Billy Mitchell of the United States, and Sir Hugh Trenchard of Great Britain. From their experiences in World War I, these man shaped the early doctrine. By the early 1930s the role of military aviation in national power was fully recognized. The early aviation theoriests agreed on the basic doctrinal issues some form of air superiority was absolutely essential air power was essentially offensive in nature air forces should be unified and organized as independent forces from the ground and naval elements and strategic bombardment was the primary mission of air power.