Douhet, Giulio(jo͞o`lyō do͞oā`), 1869–1930, Italian military officer and early advocate of airpower. He was an early supporter of strategic bombing and the military superiority of air forcesair forces,
those portions of a nation's military organization employing heavier-than-air aircraft for reconnaissance, support of ground troops, aerial combat, and bombing of enemy lines of communication and targets of industrial and military importance.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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 MussoliniMussolini, Benito
, 1883–1945, Italian dictator and leader of the Fascist movement. Early Career
His father, an ardent Socialist, was a blacksmith; his mother was a teacher.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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.
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.