I suspect this may well be the key air power text to come out this year. It is, Bombing the People: Giulio Douhet and the Foundations of Air Power Strategy, 1884–1939 by Thomas Hippler and it is due to be published by Cambridge University Press later this year.  Guilio Douhet is one of the triumvirate of inter-war air power thinkers whose ideas still reverberate to this day. The others are Major-General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Viscount Trenchard; though the latter was not so much of theorist but a pragmatist. With the exception of a few scholarly articles there has been little real analysis of Douhet’s thinking on air power and its strategic role. Hopefully, this book will fill that gap. The is no blurb on the Cambridge University Press website for it yet but this short description appears on Amazon:

Giulio Douhet was one of the world’s most important early air power strategists. This book offers the first comprehensive interpretation of Douhet’s strategic thinking and its broader context. It charts the development of the strategy of targeting civilian populations from colonial warfare to the wake of World War II.

I do hope it lives up to its billing!


5 thoughts on “Bombing the People: Giulio Douhet and the Foundations of Air Power Strategy, 1884–1939

  1. Ross, thanks. If they get their posterior properly connected to the gearbox and publish in August as advertised, this will be extremely timely for me. On another note, help me out, if you can, please. The cover image, I have seen it very recently but cannot for the life of me remember where. Do you recognise the painting and can you provide chapter and verse? Thanks. Adam

  2. It is a 1939 painting by the futurist artist Tullio Crali. It is called ‘Nose Dive in the City’. He was associated with the Aeropittura movement that was founded in 1929. There is an air of propaganda in the painting and were often used to ingratiate artists with the Italian regime. Indeed many of the artist painted portraits of Mussolini.

  3. Ross. Many thanks. I’ve remembered where I saw it – on a powerpoint slide! Very effective picture and I rather wish it were mine! Adam

  4. Currently researching the early air power theorists and the impact on British military and political thought in the Inter-war years. While this is nothing new per se, this book shows the potential to offer some new view points.

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