Giulio Douhet

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The contributions to air power of the Italian theorist Giulio Douhet, the American promoter William Mitchell, and the British organizer Hugh Trenchard are briefly discussed.
Before Giulio Douhet wrote The Command of the Air, there were the Zeppelins.
Similarly, the resilience of populations under air attack in the Second World War made Giulio Douhet's propositions about command of the air ring hollow.
Such a strategy posited by Giulio Douhet was sporadically successful in Rotterdam and Rome during World War II despite more public failures during the Combined Bomber Offensive.
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As literature, Striking Power falls into the category of military fanaticism, offering a perspective usually associated with the likes of Ardant du Picq, Erich Ludendorff, or Giulio Douhet. What distinguishes the military fanatic is the conviction that the proper response to failure in war is more war, waged on a different basis.
In the vein of aviation visionaries Billy Mitchell and Giulio Douhet, members of the Department of Defense must look forward 10, 20, or even 30 years to when artificial intelligence allows the deployment of swarm combatants on a regular basis.
This presentation from the Defense Department's policy shop contained a quote from Guilio Douhet, the 1920s Italian air power theorist, and one of the early advocates of strategic bombing--what we would call today "long-range strike"-that stated, "victory smiles upon those who anticipate changes in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur." The briefing also reminded those in attendance that, "the future unveils itself slowly," and that the "most substantive changes may not be the most obvious."
Virtually all the great and many minor strategic theorists and practitioners of the modern era have something to say in this dialogue: Clausewitz, of course, but also Jomini, Mahan, Corbett, Douhet, Billy Mitchell, Brodi, Herman Kahn, Mao Zedong; Generals Powell, Clark, Petraeus, and McChrystal; Admirals Morgan and Mullen; and many, many others.
In addition, Brigadier General Maurice Duval of France, Lieutenant General Ernst von Hoeppner of Germany, and Colonel (later Major General) Giulio Douhet of Italy all achieved distinction as skilled air force commanders, as did American Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell, who showed considerable talent in directing the operations of U.S.