The Role of the Royal Air Force in World War II

1107 Words5 Pages
Following the devastation of trench warfare during World War I, early airpower theorist believed strategic bombing could be the new way to win wars and reduced the number of lives lost. Theorist like, Guilio Douhet, Hugh Trenchard, and William “Billy” Mitchel became pioneers and advocates of strategic bombing. They believed striking the enemy’s troops, war-marking industry, and vital centers would produce a decisive victory. The airpower theory would be a key element to the Allies strategy in Second World War (WW2). Leaders in Britain and the United States believed Germany was a greater threat than Japan. Thus, the airpower strategy of the European theater of operation became the primary focus. Allied airpower was decisive in the European theater of WW2. The combination of strategic and tactical airpower produced the defeat of the Luftwaffe and the Third Reich. The Royal Air Force (RAF) provided the first successful display of air power in a defensive and offensive strategy. In the fall of 1940, the Battle of Britain was the first airpower only operation. The German objective was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF) by attacking military and civilian targets in and around the United Kingdom. The RAF defense of the homeland by tactical aircraft and ground anti-air weapons slowed German aggression. The success of the offensive strategic bombing of Berlin caused Adolf Hitler and the Luftwaffe to shift air resources to protect Germany. The combination of tactical defense and strategic bombing enabled the RAF’s defense of Britain; this was one of the first successful air operations of WW2. Even though Japan attacked the US directly, the primary focus of the war was the threat of Germany. The United States Army Air F... ... middle of paper ... ...were inextricably linked. The cumulative effects of these three overwhelmed the Luftwaffe and Nazi troops. This led to the erosion of civilian support and thus the demise of military, political, and economic systems. “Allied air power was everywhere, a fact not lost to the Germans in the last days of the war” . Quesada stated, “They received the beating that was coming to them” . The Allied Forces obtained the unconditional surrender of their primary target, Nazi Germany, due in large part to air power. Works Cited War Department Office of the Chief of the Army Air Forces, “AWPD-1”, (Washington: War Department, 1941), 17. Thomas A. Hughes, Over Lord, (New York: The Free Press, 1995), 88. Mark Clodfelter, Beneficial Bombing, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010), 155. Ibid., 167. Ibid., 176. Ibid.,183. Thomas Hughes, Over Lord, 300. Ibid.
Open Document