The airplane has revolutionized warfare in the modern era more than any other warfare technology. In Air Power in the Age of Total War, John Buckley analyzes the impact of aircraft on battle on land and at sea as well as the strategic aspects of air war. Air power has developed as a key determining factor in the outcome of war. The central theme of the book is that air power was both a cause and a measure of "total war" in a period when mass economic and technological mobilization became the cornerstone of victory. Air power was a cause of total war, as it brought conflict home to civilian populations for the first time by widening the battle zone and, more importantly, through the strategic bombing offensives, which directly targeted civilian populations. Demanding so much of a state's economic, resource, and technological base, it was also a measure of total war, in that only a few nations were able to meet this most demanding challenge issued by modern war.
Since 1945 the nature of conflict has changed in many ways, and with the passing of the age of total war, air power has also had to adapt. The rise of nuclear weapons and the spiraling costs of aircraft and their munitions has brought to an end the age of mass air power mobilization and caused a reassessment of the role of air power in modern war. Throughout the book, many myths and false perceptions regarding air power are exploded, notably those concerning the age of aerial chivalry in the Great War, the Luftwaffe's supposed fixation with tactical air power, and the continuing legacy of city bombing in World War II.
Air Power in the Age of Total War will prove essential reading for students ofinternational history, war studies, defense, and strategic studies, providing an invaluable insight into twentieth-century warfare.
1. Air power in the age of total war 2. The birth of air power 3. The First World War 1914-1918 4. The development of air power doctrine and theory 1918-1939 5. Global air power 1918-1939 6. The war in Europe 1939-1945 7. The war in the Far East 1937-1945 8. Air power and the post-war world 9. Conclusions Bibliography Index
John Buckley is Lecturer in History at the University of Wolverhampton.