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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 ]
Action: The background shows a faded collage of war images from many eras. An image of aerial bombardment replaces the collage.
Voice: This lesson discussed how the conduct and carnage of World War One shaped the concepts of early airpower theorists. The most significant concept of early air doctrine was the idea of strategic bombardment. Central to the concept of striking the war-making capabilities of industrialized nations was the realization that massed slaughter on the battlefield did not guarantee victory. Early airmen realized the strategic effects that could produce victory did not depend upon armies achieving tactical success. This lesson has discussed how aircraft offered an alternative to the static nature of trench warfare by attacking the key vital centers of an enemy’s war-making ability.
Action: Three pictures of Douhet, Mitchell, and Trenchard are faded into the bottom left, top center, and bottom right of the screen, respectively. An image of a plane and the following bullet points fade in, overlaying the pictures:
Voice: The lesson further illuminated how early airpower theorists, such as Billy Mitchell, influenced airpower doctrine. These early airmen expressed many of the fundamental beliefs that have become central to airpower thought. Mitchell’s zeal for airpower and his insight into what it offered the nation was instrumental in giving form to the United States Air Force as an independent service. It is only from an understanding of these early events that you can fully gain an appreciation for the evolution of airpower thought over the decades of powered flight. From these early beginnings were laid the foundations of airpower doctrine.
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