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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Early Perspective of War | Rise of Total War | WWI Perspective | Context for Airpower | Aircraft as a Military Tool | Aircraft for Strategic Effects | Early Airpower Theorists | Aipower Theorists—Douhet | Douhet’s Theory | Implications of Douhet’s Theory | Douhet’s Impact | Aipower Theorists—Trenchard | Trenchard’s Theory | Implications of Trenchard’s Theory | Trenchard’s Impact | Aipower Theorists—Mitchell | Mitchell’s Theory | Implications of Mitchell’s Theory | Mitchell’s Impact | Mitchell’s Legacy | Summary | Quiz ]

Title: Context for Airpower

Voice: It is impossible to understand the early theorists and their views on airpower without putting yourself into the context of their times. The Great War had been one of seemingly endless days of bloodshed and death. World War One was the worst agony in the consciousness of mankind; nothing could be perceived that would be worse than another try at war in the trenches. Practically everyone agreed that the era of total war was here to stay and that on the ground, the defensive form of combat was in great ascendancy. The endless suffering of war on the Western front was the major driving factor behind the strategic air theory and air doctrine of the 1920s and the 1930s.

Action: As the narration plays, yet more scenes of the devastation of World War I are presented. In one, a soldier without a gas mask kneels, clutching his throat, as his masked comrades charge past him. Several scenes depict the wounded, some lying in the mud of the trenches. Text bullets appear to reinforce the narration:

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