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Bombing the People
Giulio Douhet and the Foundations of Air-Power Strategy, 1884–1939


Part of Cambridge Military Histories

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107037946

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About the Authors
  • Giulio Douhet is generally considered the world's most important air-power theorist and this book offers the first comprehensive account of his air-power concepts. It ranges from 1884 when an air service was first implemented within the Italian military to the outbreak of the Second World War, and explores the evolution and dissemination of Douhet's ideas in an international context. It examines the impact of the Libyan war, the First World War and Ethiopian war on the development of Italian air-power strategy. It also addresses the issue of Douhet's advocacy of strategic bombing, exploring why it was that Douhet became an advocate of city bombing; the meaning and the limits of his core concept of 'command of the air'; and the mutual impact of air power, military and naval thought. It also takes into account alternatives to Douhetism such as the theories developed by Amedeo Mecozzi and others.

    • Presents the first full account of the word's most significant air-power theorist for an English-speaking audience
    • Sets air power within the context of global history, revealing how aerial bombing developed from colonial policing and returned to Europe as a feature of total war
    • Draws new attention to little-known, yet fundamental issues in the development of air power, such as the innovative 'anti-Douhet' theories of Amedeo Mecozzi
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Bombing the People presents a convincing argument as to why the development of Italian air power and its doctrines remain fundamental in military aviation today. Anyone with an interest in air power should find it a satisfying read.' Aviation History

    'Detailed and thorough.' History Today

    'The ideas presented on this subject are well worth further examination, as is the book overall.' Thomas Keaney, H-Net

    'Thomas Hippler's book examines Douhet's output in considerable detail. He also quotes from many other (mainly Italian) writers, drawing on the 500+ documents listed in the bibliography. It is a book that needed to be written and his considerable research results in a very comprehensive analysis of Douhet's work, its supporters and its critics.' Aerospace

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107037946
    • length: 291 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Douhet's Strategic Thought:
    1. The early Douhet
    2. History or technology?
    3. From pacifism to indiscriminate bombing
    4. The command of the air
    Part II. Douhetism under Discussion:
    5. Air power and the strategic context
    6. Alternatives to Douhetism
    7. Amedeo Mecozzi, the 'anti-Douhet'

  • Author

    Thomas Hippler, Université de Lyon
    Thomas Hippler is Associate Professor at Sciences Po Lyon, University of Lyon. His previous publications include Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in France and Germany (2007).

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