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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Before Giulio Douhet wrote The Command of the Air, there were the Zeppelins.
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.
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.
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 1921, Giulio Douhet, an Italian general and military theorist, predicted that recent advances in aeronautics would contribute an element to the horrors of war unlike anything humanity had ever experienced.
Chief among the great theorists of the early interwar years was the Italian Giulio Douhet, whose The Command of the Air in 1921 stressed the need first to obtain air superiority, a job for the fighters, after which the bombers would take over, hammering enemy population centers: "Within a few minutes some 10 tons of high explosive, incendiary and gas bombs would rain down.
Giulio Douhet's airpower theory was founded on his concept of command of the air.
Giulio Douhet, Billy Mitchell, Hugh Trenchard, and the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) bunch all argued both implicitly and explicitly for effects.
As we look ahead, we remain of the belief that we are on the right course, and find validity in our approach by the prescience of the Italian artillery officer, Giulio Douhet, who nearly a century ago noted:
In 1912, Giulio Douhet led the first Italian air battalion in the dawning days before World War I.
Military `revolutions' based on new technology, of course, have come and gone since air-power fanatics like Giulio Douhet, Billy Mitchell, and Hugh Trenchard first proclaimed the obsolescence of traditional armies and battleship navies in the early 1920s.