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Unformatted text preview: General Douhet’s strategies: Terrorism or a means to end war? During World War I and earlier battles, most of the fighting was done at sea and on the land, utilizing nations’ navies and armies . It wasn’t until General Giulio Douhet came to the forefront that air power was utilized as a major tactic for the offensive efforts of those at war . Douhet served in World War I, as the organizer for Italy’s aerial bombing strategy . 1 His aggressive ideas regarding aerial tactics and bombings during a war were questioned, and some people may relate it to terrorism, as it centered around pressuring a country to surrender in a quick period of time by taking out major cities, and in turn, killing huge amounts of civilians . 2 Douhet’s ideas were adopted by those in charge of the bombings at Guernica, Dresden, and Hiroshima, which also are deemed acts of terrorism by some . This raises the question of whether Douhet was a terrorist and these incidents, used as attempts to shorten the war, were terrorism . When examined, we can see that the general’s ideas and the bombings being strategies for ending the war sooner were independent of being acts of terrorism . Douhet believed that air power was the one force that could win a war the quickest . “The army and navy…cannot ward off air attack . There is no real defensive against air war… The only safe course for an inferior air force to follow is to avoid an engagement with a 1 1 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6 th Edition; 12/1/2009 2 2 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6 th Edition; 12/1/2009 Spell 2 superior enemy .” 3 Armies and navies fight on the same level, whether on land or at sea, and battles on either front are at a relatively slow pace . Airplanes have the advantage against either front, being able to drop bombs on top of the enemy, who are, for the most part, unprotected . Air forces are also able to get their assignment done quickly with a flyover instead of having soldiers on feet or with slow moving ships . General Douhet was also an advocate for the bombing of large cities in an attempt to end a war . “The solution to the next war-whenever and wherever it came-was not to conduct it like the last one, but to use high technology to win it before the opponent can respond .” 4 This is clearly seen in the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima during World War II . The atomic bomb was a weapon that hadn’t been used before and Japan was certainly not expecting that attack or the amounts of lives that could be lost with a solo air attack . “The stronger force will use its margin to bomb extensively the industrial heart of the enemy .” 5 This strategy can be seen in the bombings of Guernica, during the Spanish Civil War, and Dresden and Hiroshima during...
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- Spring '09
- World War II, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Aerial warfare, Strategic bombing, Terror Bombing Victims.