Strategic Bombing by the United States in World War II

The Myths and the Facts


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SKU: 9780786414123 Categories: , Tag:

About the Book

The United States relied heavily on bombing to defeat the Germans and the Japanese in World War II, and air raids were touted as “precision” bombing in American propaganda. But was precision possible over cloud-covered Europe or a darkened Japanese countryside? Could the vaunted Norden optical bombsight in fact “drop bombs into pickle barrels” as advertised? Were the American aircrews well trained and well protected? How good were their airplanes? What were the results of the costly raids?
This work sets suppositions against facts surrounding the United States’ use of strategic bombing in World War II. Chapters cover the events leading up to World War II; the start of the war; the seers and the planners; the airplanes, bombs, bombsights, and aircrews; the planes Germany used to defend itself against American planes; the five cities (Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki) that experienced the most destruction; and the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey of the damage done by aerial bombing.
The book also probes the government’s myth-building statements that supported America’s view of itself as a uniquely humanitarian nation, and analyzes the role played by interservice rivalry—“battleship admirals” against “bomber generals.”

About the Author(s)

The late Stewart Halsey Ross was a mechanical engineer and history professor. He spent two years analyzing bomb accuracy tests for the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. He lived in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Stewart Halsey Ross
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 254
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1412-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1611-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

Introduction      7
1 The Beginnings      11
2 The Great War      16
3 The Seers      28
4 The Planners      46
5 The Crucibles      54
6 The Airplanes      83
7 The Bombs      105
8 The Bombsights      123
9 The Aircrews      142
10 The Defenses      164
11 The Five Cities      176
12 The Surveys      195
Epilogue      208

Chapter Notes      211
Bibliography      231
Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“for a country that does not actively seek to expand its territories, but rather to achieve global hegemony, strategic air power is the nearly perfect weapon”—Liberty; “recommended”—Catholic Library World; “highly recommended…a well-written, insightful, thought-provoking survey…most interesting”—Stone & Stone Second World War Books; “a fascinating study, well written and compellingly argued…recommended”—Colorado Libraries; “the most informative work so far…fascinating”—The Military Historical Society Bulletin.