Institutional Self Interest Exercised The Most Significant Influence On The United States Before The Second World War

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Institutional self-interest exercised the most significant influence on the development of airpower in Europe and the United States before the Second World War because of the limitations of conventional warfare to achieve a decisive victory, the rise of the bomber plane as the ultimate weapon and the ideas of the first advocates of an independent air force. How to achieve a decisive victory has been a constant quest of the Generals through all the history. In Europe, the commanders of XIX century used Napoleon’s “art of war” as a paradigm , focusing on mobility and the efficient use of logistics to move his army corps faster than the enemy does. The concept of victory was a mass against mass battle, where the victor was the biggest army or the smartest general, being the infantry the main weapon of the army. As a result, decisive was an army that pursuit and annihilate its enemy, so it cannot fight anymore. In the XX century, with the development of the fire guns and the artillery, the soldiers had no longer need to physical contact or short distances to engage in combat, so the paradigm needed to change. The World War I was the example of the trench war and its stalemate, where machine guns and artillery were the main weapons. The concept of attrition was at the head of the commanders as the definition of decisive victory, meaning the consumption of combat power (soldiers) without necessary conquering terrain. For instance, in the Battle of Verdun, the French Army lost 542,000 men and the German lost 434,000 , but the result did not define the result of the war. The tanks were the new weapon that broke the stalemate and allowed allies to advance through the trenches, finally helping to win. In the industrial time, this war consum... ... middle of paper ... ...s that United Stated would need and use in the next Great War. In brief, airpower needed to proof its value in the war and this was evident for the advocates of the independent and specialized Air Force as part of its institutional self-interest. The quest for the decisive victory in the industrial time resulted in the ability to cut the weapons production chain. To achieve this, the bombers were the best-suited weapon to penetrate deep in the enemy airspace and drop its bombs with its moral and material effect. The bombers needed the fighter to survive and achieve the air superiority, which will allow winning the modern wars. Finally, this entire new concept was completely independent to the army and the navy, so an independent service, with its own doctrines and methods, rises as the new actor in the battlefield and influenced the development of the airpower.

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