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The Command of the Air is the greatest military treatise on air war ever written – a dogmatic manifesto promising victory through strategic. The Italian General Giulio Douhet reigns as one of the twentieth century’s foremost strategic air power theorists. As such scholars as Raymond Flugel have . Reprinted in by the Office of Air Force History. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data. Douhet, Giulio, The command of the air.

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The Intellectual Preparation pp.

This would unravel the social basis of resistance, and pressure citizens into asking their governments to surrender. Operations of June 17 pp. Attacks would not require great accuracy. Discover some of the most interesting and trending topics of Outside Italy, Douhet’s reception was mixed. Instead, a million ordinary Londoners, mobilised in a plethora of volunteer roles, kept the city alive and breathing.

Giulio Douhet

The Organization of Aerial Warfare pp. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Controversial though his ideas were, many were adopted, in part at least, by the major powers before and during World War II. Aviation in World Coommand I. The basic weapon systems…. The entire population was in the front line of an air war and they could be terrorized with urban bombing.

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Project MUSE – The Command of the Air

The Aerial Battle pp. He proposed an independent air force composed primarily of long-range load-carrying bombers. However, subsequent conflicts would largely discredit Douhet’s theory. On the contrary, the battlefield will be limited only by the boundaries of the nations at war, and all of their citizens will become combatants, since all ths them will be exposed to the aerial offensives of the enemy.

Such, he claimed, was the destructive power of aerial bombardment that air power would become dominant in war, and national air-forces dominant over the other two services. His severe criticism of the conduct of the war resulted in his court-martial, imprisonment, and retirement. Except for a few months as the head of aviation in Mussolini’s government inDouhet spent much of the rest of his life theorizing about the impact of military air power.


The Independent Air Force pp. The vastness of the sky made defense almost impossible, so the essence of air power was the offensive. The last category was particularly important diuhet Douhet, who believed in the principle of total war. If you prefer to suggest your own revision of the article, you can go to edit mode requires login.

Contact Contact Us Help. Armies became superfluous because aircraft could overfly them and attack these centers of the government, military and industry with impunity, a gijlio later called ” The bomber will always get through “. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.

In his book The War of he described a fictional war between Germany and a Franco-Belgian alliance in which the Germans launched massive terror bombing raids on the populace, reducing their cities to ashes before their armies could mobilize. The War of 19— pp. Air force, military organization of a nation that is primarily responsible for the conduct of air warfare.

Navies were restricted to the sea and slowed by the heavy medium of water. He teamed up with the young aircraft engineer Gianni Caproni to extol the virtues of air power in the years ahead. But investigation of the Italian defeat at Caporetto in justified his criticisms; his conviction was reversed, and he was appointed head of the aviation service.

More than 70 years on, many of his predictions have failed to come true, but some of his concepts gaining command of the air, terror bombing and attacking vital centers continue to underpin air power theory to this day. He was a key proponent of strategic bombing in aerial warfare. The same year he completed a hugely influential treatise on strategic bombing titled The Command of the Air Il dominio cokmand and retired from military service soon after.


His whole conception of air war rests on the assumption that the bomber will always get through, and that the damage it can then do will crush the resistance. This emphasis on the strategic offensive would blind Douhet to the possibilities of air defense or tactical support of armies.

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The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet : a Military Times Classic – Military History Monthly

For going over the heads of his superiors, he was court-martialled and imprisoned for a year. In many cases, he had hugely exaggerated the effects of bombing. Aircraft could go anywhere within their radius of action, flying over enemy lines to bomb industry, infrastructure, and workforces. A decisive victory here would hasten the end of the war.

May Learn how and when to remove this template message. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Air power could break a people’s will by destroying a country’s “vital centers”.

The Causes of the Conflict p. The term strategy derives from the Greek strategos, an elected general in ancient Athens. A supporter of Mussolini, Douhet was appointed commissioner of aviation when the Fascists assumed power but he soon gave up this bureaucrat’s job to continue writing, which he did up to his death from a heart attack in Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.

These would vary from situation to situation, but Douhet identified the five basic target types as: By smothering the enemy’s civilian centers with bombs, Douhet argued the war would become so terrible that the common people would rise against their government, overthrow it with revolution, then sue for peace. He challenged the violent opposition it aroused until strategic air power became an accepted part of military thinking.

Meilinger, The Paths of Heaven: