Giulio Douhet

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Douhet, Giulio


Born May 30, 1869, in Caserta; died Feb. 15, 1930, in Rome. Italian fascist military theoretician; general.

Douhet was an artillery officer by training. He served in the air force from 1912 to 1915, when he was discharged for criticizing the command. He returned to the army in 1921 and aligned himself with the fascists. Until 1930 he was commander of the Italian Air Force. In 1910, Douhet stressed the leading role that aviation would play in a future war, a contention that was not borne out by the course of World War I. In Domination in the Air (1921; Russian translation, 1935) and The War of 19… (1930; Russian translation, 1936) he developed the theory of “independent air forces,” supposedly capable of determining a war’s outcome. It was his opinion that an air force, having gained domination in the air, could by itself secure victory in a war with strikes against the political and economic centers of the enemy. The army and navy were assigned an auxiliary role. Douhet’s theory was a reflection of the imperialists’ striving for a method of warfare that would require comparatively small forces, not mass armies. World War II proved the complete groundlessness of Douhet’s theory.

References in periodicals archive ?
The main advocates of the idea, developed in the 1920s, were the Italian Guilio Douhet, the American William Mitchell, and the Englishman Hugh Trenchard.
Guilio Douhet, the celebrated Italian air power theorist and his principal work, The Command of the Air, are well known.
There have been many notable airpower theorists, but five in particular laid the foundation of airpower theory as it exists today: Guilio Douhet, William C.
Guilio Douhet, an early airpower theorist and believer in total war strategies, was an early proponent of transitioning aircraft from intelligence platforms to offensive military platforms, most notably for strategic bombing.
By the time war commenced again in Europe in September 1939, aircraft and aerial bombs had undergone significant development, and the idea of using such weapons to attack populations and production centers in the prosecution of war had received elaboration and notoriety at the hands of the Italian theorist, Guilio Douhet ([1921] 1943).
These achievements have been made possible in large measure by what air power theorist Guilio Douhet at the beginning of the century called "command of the air.
Eight years later an Italian theorist named Guilio Douhet wrote The Command of the Air, the first comprehensive work on air power.