ISBN : 9780198804314
Aerial warfare has dominated war-making for over 100 years, and despite regular announcements of its demise, it shows no sign of becoming obsolete. In this Very Short Introduction Frank Ledwidge offers a sweeping look at the history of aerial warfare, introducing the major battles, crises, and controversies where air power has taken centre stage, and the changes in technology and air power capabilities over time. Highlighting the role played by air power in the First and Second World Wars, he also sheds light on the lesser-known theatres where the roles of air forces have been clearly decisive in conflicts, in Africa, South America, and Asia.
Along the way, Ledwidge asks key questions about the roles air power can deliver, and whether it is conceptually different from other forms of combat. Considering whether bombing has ever been truly effective, he discusses whether wars can be won from the air, and concludes by analysing whether there is a future for manned air power, or if it is inevitable that drones will dominate 21st century war in the air.
2: Beginnings: The First World War 1914-1918
3: Theory and Practice: The interwar years 1919-1939
4: The Second World War: air operations in the West
5: The Second World War: the air war in the Pacific
6: Cold war 1945-1982
7: The apotheosis of air power 1983-2001
8: Aerostats to algorithms; 2001-2018
9: Per ardua ad astra?