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Analysis from The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet

Douhet, Giulio. The Command of the Air. Michigan: Office of Air Force History, 1942. Print.

Giulio Douhet is an Italian who lived between years 1869 to 1930. He is respected as one of the initial military strategists who took the time to observe and determine how the aerial warfare would prevail and gain dominance in wars of the 20th Century. As a result, many people refer to Douhet as the father of airpower, and, as a result, his theories still feature a lot even among the military aviators of the modern world.  Most of Douhet’s experience in military affairs finds its basis in the fact that he served the Italian Army long before the onset as well as during the World War I. It is from the time he spent in the Italian Army that he found substantial observation and knowledge that he used in the development of his aerial combat theories.

In The Command of the Air, he developed his most revolutionary combat idea. Ideally, he introduced the theory on the necessity of nations at war to have aircrafts at disposal for the purpose of possessing first-strike capabilities (Douhet 16). According to his idea, Douhet’s argument was that such capabilities are necessary for use before the official declaration of wars against other nations. The rationale for the above is that such capabilities help in facilitating decisive, swift, demoralizing victory that would not only shorten the war period, but would also reduce the use of the navy as well as the infantry. According to Douhet, the airplane stands out as the most excellent offensive weapon at times of war. In light of the above, as a military strategist, he established the bombing air warfare strategy that focused on bombing metropolitan and industrial centers of opponents. His reasoning for the above is that even with the knowledge of imminent aerial attacks; an opponent nation can never have the perfect certainty of the specific targets.

With respect to the future war, Douhet predicted that nations would disregard the distinction between military and civilians, justifying the bombing of civilian targets in the context of nations declaring total wars (Douhet 20). The above conclusion finds a basis for the rationale that winning wars depends on the elimination of an opposing country’s will to fight back, which is what happens in upon massive attack on civilians. According to his observation, he predicted that the governments would spend most of their defense budgets in the establishment of numerous air bases as well as the furnishing of their air forces with efficient fighter planes. His perception of the use of airplanes for future wars was so strong to the point that he, rather incorrectly, predicted that both land and navy combat would be insignificant in future warfare.

Initially, the events that followed after Douhet’s theory tended to disapprove his air power ideas. However, that was just the beginning. The effectiveness and reality of his observations started to feature with the onset of the World War II. During the above warfare, the use of fighter crafts was immense, and the resources consumption was huge and the effectiveness of air war clearly visible in most instances of the above war. The above was observed specifically such as in the Battle of Britain, the bomber campaign in Germany, and the naval air attacks in the Marianas, for instance (Douhet 22). The rationale of Douhet’s air power theory substantially featured in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, verifying the fact that quick and strategic attacks on opponent country civilians effectively eliminate its fighting will and spirit.

In the modern world, it is possible to identify two distinct schools of thought upon which the generation and sizing of military forces find a basis. The first involves establishing proper war plans for use in the event that some nations attack without warning. The other thinks that economic problems are more important than military situations thus requiring nations to relax as long as they have strong economic drives. However, since the events of the World War II, the theory of Douhet becomes clear. It has not been easy or possible to determine the warfare activities planned by various countries. In agreement with the predictions by Douhet, the air power idea is widespread across all nations. Besides to the fighter planes present in the World War I, air power now features additional features. Specifically, atomic and nuclear nukes are one feature that creates the uncertainty across various nations. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidence at the end of the World War II helped in adding emphasis on Douhet’s theory leading to many nations secretly establishing and advancing nuclear projects in preparation for any incidence of warfare that would call for the application of Douhet’s theory for quick and less costly warfare.

More so, most people in the current world feel that excessive air power have helped in the reduction of the warfare like it was in the World War I and World War II eras. The rationale for the above finds its basis in the fact that every country is aware that the other is secretly prepared for air combat in the event that it is attacked. In light of the above, irrespective of which country attacks first, it is clear that each will end up with a significant number of war casualties, especially the civilians as observed in the war between the Unites States and the Middle East nations. Therefore, most nations have resolved to stabilize their differences by forming international relations instead of going the war way.

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