The development of British strategic area bombing 1918-1945 : a study in theory and practice

Knott, S 1993, The development of British strategic area bombing 1918-1945 : a study in theory and practice , MPhil thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis contends that it is only by studying the many issues around which the doctrine of strategic bombing developed during the inter-war period that an attempt can be made to achieve a clear understanding of the controversial character of the area bombing offensive against Germany during the Second World Var, including the crucial issue of responsibility. It is the intention of this thesis, therefore, to put the aerial campaign into its full historical context. The first part of this thesis will study the inter-war period and illustrate how the theory of strategic bombing came under fundamental influences and pressures. It will be shown how its development became part of far reaching issues beyond the normal sphere of military planning, including matters of both domestic and foreign policy. This will facilitate a clear interpretation of the factors which necessitated a further change in the doctrine once the theory was put into practice. In the second part of this thesis it will be seen how, largely as a consequence of the issues involved in the development of strategic bombing during the inter-war period, Britain entered the war with an air policy based strictly on the principle of the immunity of civilians from attack. By 1942, however, this principle had apparently been abandoned. It will be illustrated that a combination of factors, many the result of the inter-war period, forced the Government to adopt a policy of area bombing. For the remainder of the war Germany's civilian population became the objective for attack. However, this was an extremely controversial change in policy, to which the Government refused to admit throughout the war. Therefore, it will be illustrated how, by the spring of 1945, when victory in Europe was assured, the politicians attempted to disassociate themselves from the area bombing policy and attach responsibility to the Chiefs of Staff.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Contributors: White, RT (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 14:54
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:54

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