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Giulio Douhet

Douhet, Giulio (jōˈlyō dōāˈ) [key], 1869–1930, Italian military officer and early advocate of airpower. He was an early supporter of strategic bombing and the military superiority of air forces. He served in World War I, organizing Italy's bombing campaign, but was court-martialed for criticizing the Italian high command by publicly declaiming Italy's aerial weakness. He was released when his theories were proven true by the defeat of Italian arms by the Austrian Air Force at Caporetto. He was later recalled and was promoted (1921) to general. In 1922 he was appointed head of Italy's aviation program by Benito Mussolini. His book Command of the Air (1921) was very influential, especially in Great Britain and the United States and was regarded as a classic by early airpower theorists. He argued that command of an enemy's air space and subsequent bombing of industrialized centers would be so disruptive and destructive that the pressure for peace would be overwhelming. He maintained that control of the air could win a war regardless of land or sea power. Douhet's theories remain very popular, especially among military aviators. He is known as the father of airpower.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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