Ww Ll The Air War Essay, Research Paper
World War ll is one of the biggest and most remembered wars in American history. The Bombing of Germany was a big part of the war. General Arnold wanted his service to use a selective bombing technique against Germany because he considered it the most efficient way for winning the war. He also described it as a morally superior way of conducting war. In the spring of 1943, he sent his combat commanders a memorandum offering ethical and practical reasons for precision bombing. He urged them to make sure that Army forces planes bombed as accurately as possible so the American flyers would not have to risk their lives repeatedly to destroy targets that could be eliminated with one bomb. He also warned his generals to avoid needless harm to enemy civilians. Careless, inaccurate bombing would spread and intensify feelings of hatred toward other countries after the war was over.(Schaffer 60-61). With the successful allied landing in Western Europe and the advance of Soviet armies in the East, it was clear that Germany had lost the war. But this was very different from bringing the German government to the point of surrender. Those who controlled the American and British air forces continued to search for ways of using air power to make Germany capitulate. Their proposals continued to include attacks on civilians- to disrupt their morale and break their ties with Nazi leaders, to teach their lessons about the fate of those who begin wars. Before the war American planers had imagined that bombing civilians at the right moment precipitate Germany’s collapse.(Schaffer80). One of the obstacles to direct attack on the German populace -a shortage of planes- had stopped being a problem. Nevertheless, among AAF officers and their advisors controversy persisted about proposals to destroy Germany’s will to fight by attacking and terrorizing the German people.(Schaffer80). In July of 1944, responding to a decision by the British Chiefs of Staff, the Air Ministry produced an analysis of proposals for ending the war through airial terror raids. It examined suggestions for bombing small towns; for raids on several large cities; for wide spread strafing of civilian objectives, such as road and railroad traffic; and for a single devastation attack on Berlin. A copy of this paper went to Washington, where General Laurence Kuter, the assistant chief of air staff for plans, analyzed the proposals and forced all of there deficient.(Schaffer80). The most important factor moving the AAF toward Douhetian war was the attitude of the countries best civilian and military leaders. The chief movers, some of them moved at times by other leaders and by circumstances, were Arnold, who, despite his preference for selective bombing, sometimes promoted less discriminate forms of attack; Eisenhower, who would do anything to bring a fast end to the problem; Marshall, who wanted to put on CLARION and THUNDERCLAP and to show the Germans going to Munich that their situation was hopeless; and Lovett, who felt the war should be painful and unforgettable to German civilians.(Schaffer106) The detonation of nuclear weapons over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were an effort by American strategic air forces to destroy almost every important city in Japan. The first was the great Tokyo raid of March 9-10, 1945. The men who directed it hoped that incendiary air attack, together with precession bombing of industrial and military together and the explosion of nuclear bombing would stop the will of the Japanese people and destroy their nations ability to fight. Optimistic that a Douhetian kind of warfare, which had not achieved the result the others had that were anticipated in Europe, would succeed in Asia, but never knew what it would take to make the Japanese surrender. American planes devoted intellectual and physical resources to determine how to take out Japans cities. Some of the men who were privy to these deliberations wondered at the same time about the morality of what was being planned, but for the most part controversy about the moral issue in the American bombing of Japan awaited the end of the war.(Schaffer107). When the Atomic bomb explosion stopped the Pacific air offensive, planned so carefully by so many military and civilian specialists over so many years, American civilians and service men and other people throughout the world were happy, for a terrible war was ending. But debates had already started over the way the United States used air power to punish and defeat the empire of Japan.(Schaffer148). When people cause events to happen that are as important as the destruction of the Japanese cities, it is natural to wonder how they thought about the moral issues involved. Were the Americans responsible for the way Japan was bombed. Finding the answers to the questions is very hard for the historians to decide.(Schaffer149). Some AAF commanders might lead to the conclusion that they felt no concern about the morality of the nuclear and fire bomb attack on Japan. General Eaken’s remark that he never thought there was any moral sentiment among leaders of the AAF applied to those who directed the attacks against Japanese urban centers, officers he knew well. General LeMay’s comments seem to verify Eaker’s view. When an Air Force cadet asked him how much moral consideration affected his decisions about bombing Japan, Le May said, “Killing Japanese didn’t bother me at this time. It was getting the war over with that bothered me, so I wasn’t worried particularly about how many people we killed in getting the job done……….. All war is immoral, and if you let it bother you, you’re not a good soldier(Schaffer150.)” Dropping the atomic bomb caused him he said, “no difficulty”.(Schaffer150).
Long before the United States was forced into the war, all the pilots knew what would be expected of them. They knew that themselves and all others in active training or about to enter training knew that air power could dominate any military situation on land or sea. They knew once at war, American air power could dominate everything. Planes flyers, maintenance crews, and a continuous flow of air force supplies in fast increasing volume would have to be provided in order to blast out the everywhere. Everywhere that had a foothold must be the ultimate scene for air warfare carried on mostly with American equipment operated and kept serviceable by Americans. All armies that they and there Allies might send against the enemy from the beginning would need some of our air power. Even the British would continue to need this help from them because they would not have enough air force strength of their own. The flying men knew all this because they knew what flying could do and they had followed closely the trend of the war in Europe and North Africa. Had not the bad reality of ruin from the air been brought home to the world when the German legions controlled most of Europe with their air strength? The pilots had no difficulty seeing what lay in wait for them. The British had been doing fairly well in North Africa for several months in the early period of 1941. Their advance against the Axis armies had been followed by American pursuit planes and bombers, along with the few British Machines they thought they could spare from other outposts of the Empire. But they underestimated Axis air strength again.(Mingos9-10). It is difficult to realize that not until August 1, 1941 did the United States ban shipments of aviation fuel to Japan. On December 7, while her emissaries actually were negotiating a settlement of mutual problems with the American Government in Washington, Japan struck withought warning and according to the most famous of the Axis precepts for starting a war on the same day against American Army and Navy bases, and neighboring civil communities at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Manila in the Philippines, wake and other islands, and against the British in Hong Kong and Malaya. At 7:55 a.m. on December 7, 1941, Japanese dive bombers came over the Army Air Base, Hickam Field, and the Naval Air Station on Ford Island. A few minits earlier, the Japanese had struck the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe Bay. Bare seconds later. enemy torpedo planes dive bombers came in from various areas to attack on the heavy ships at Pear Harbor. The enemy attack was very successful. Torpedo planes, helped effectively by dive bombers, constituted the major threat of the first phase of the Japanese attack, lasting about a half hour. Twenty one torpedo planes made four attacks, and 30 dive bombers came in, in eight waves during this period. Fifteen horizontal bombers also participated in this phase of the attack. Although the Japanese launched their first attack as a surprise, battleship ready machine guns opened fire at once and progressively shot by the remaining anti-aircraft batteries were firing within five minutes; cruiser, with an average time of four minutes, and destroyers, opening up machine guns almost immediately, averaged seven minutes in bringing all anti aircraft’s guns into action.(Mingos12). Obviously the most important part of the air war were the plannes so here are a few of them and some stuff about them. The North American B-25J Mithcell Medium Bomber was named for air power advocate General William Mitchell. The versatile B-25 served in every part of the war. adapted for strafing attacks by the 396th Bomb Squadron in the central Pacific, B-25s such as this one had 12 forward-firing machine guns and carried 300 pounds of bombs.(Jablons106). The Douglas A-20G Havoc Attack Bomber was one of the most widely used attack planes of the War, the A-20 had a top speed of 339 mph and carried 2,600 pounds of bombs. It had two turret mounted .50-caliber guns and six forward-firing machine guns.(Jablons107). The Martin B-26 Marauder Medium Bomber had a top speed of 317 mph. The B-26 was extremely fast, but required a highly skilled pilot to land it. Armed with 11 machine guns and 4000 pound of bombs, it was powered by two 2,000-hp radial engines and had a maximum range of 1,100 miles.(Jablons107). The Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber, whose nickname came from its heavy defensive armament, had a 104-foot wingspan, weighed 65,500 pounds, and could carry 17,600 pounds of bombs. The plane was armed with 13 machine guns.(Jablons108). The Boeing B-29 Superfortress had a 141 foot wingspan and a gross weight of 141000 pounds, made the B-29 the largest operational bomber of the war. Used only against the Japanese, it relied on its spread and heavy defensive armament to render it almost invulnerable to enemy fighters. In August of 1945, B-29s dropped the firstatomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.(Jablons108). The North American P-51D Mustang had six-wing mounted machine guns, a top speed of 437 mph, and unmatched maneuverability, made the P-51 a brilliant fighter and one of the most famous planes of the war. More than 15,000 Mustangs were built.(Jablons110). The Lockheed P-38 Lightning Fighter was powered by two 1,425-hp liquid cooled engines, the P-38 had a top speed of 414 mph and carried a 20.mm. cannon and four machine guns in its nose. Designed as a high-altitude interceptors, the P-38 shot down more Japanese planes than any other US fighter.(Jablons111). The Republic P-47D Thunderbolt was nicknamed the Jug because of its stubby, rounded fuselage, the P-47 was extremely nimble. Powered by a 2,300-hp radial engine, it had a top speed of 428 mph and carried eight wing-mounted machine guns.(Jablons111). The Northrop P-61A Black Widow Night Fighter was made for a crew of three and was designed for night missions. It got its name from its black paint and deadly armament-four20-mm. cannon, four machine guns and 6,400 pounds of bombs. Its twin booms made it resemble the P-38.(Jablons111). Written by adam WWII The Air War name grade levelTeachers name date
1. Jblonski, Edward. America In The Air War. Alexandria: Time Life Books, 1982. 2. Mingos, Howard. American Heros Of The War In The Air. New York: Lancian Publishers INC., 1943. 3.Schaffer, Ronald. Wings of Judgement. Oxford: New York, 1985.