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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: Douhet’s Theory

Action: Another portrait of Douhet appears to screen left while the major premise of his theory appears to the right:

Major Premise:

A quick victory could be won by early air attack on the enemy’s vital centers, while surface forces worked to contain the enemy on the ground.

Voice: Douhet’s theories on airpower have had a lasting effect on airpower employment. The major premise of Douhet’s theory was his belief that during war, a quick victory could be won by early air attack on the enemy’s vital centers, while surface forces worked to contain the enemy on the ground. Douhet differed from other prominent early theorists by proposing that civilian populations be directly targeted as part of the air campaign.

Action: The previous text is replaced by the following links to pop-up boxes. The text of the pop-up boxes follows:

Key Aspects of Douhet’s Theories:

Major Assumptions:

Thoughts on Targeting:

The first step is command of the air; the next priority is destroying vital centers and civilian moral targets.

Thoughts on Air Exploitation:

Once command of the air is won, it must be used to punish the civilians, so that they will coerce their own government to come to terms in order to end the suffering. This will happen so rapidly that total suffering will be less than that experienced in the trenches.

Voice: Key aspects of Douhet’s theories can be viewed by placing your cursor over each of the bullets below.

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