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US Air Power During World War II

World War II, or the Second World War was a global military conflicts lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world's nations including all of the great powers organised into two opposing military alliances. The Royal Air Force began its air offensive against Germany in May 1942, and on 4 July the first American crews participated in air raids against the Continent. In this thesis, i will discuss how the USA used their air power in their encounter with the germans,japanese and more importantly the impacts it had to todays dominanace of the air,space and cyberspace.

The US provided millions of dollars in weapons, armament as well as money itself to the Allied forces. But the attack on Pearl Harbor pushed us officially into the war.The real reason why US entered the WW2 was because Japan did not like the fact that they stopped selling oil and scrap metal to them which they needed. So on December 7, 1941 they attacked US. The next day US declared war on them and in return Germany and Italy declared war on US. Because U.S. interests were attacked and U.S. citizens were killed, the united States officially entered World War 2 on December 8, 1941 by declaring war on Japan following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th. FDR said it would be a day to live in infamy. They also got involved because they got attacked in Hawaii. This is known as Pearl Harbor(michael, 1987).

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The japanese attacked the fleet that was anchored in the harbor and also the military airfields on the island. They sent a second wave of bombers 30 minutes later. By 10 a.m. the U.S. Pacific fleet had lost 21 ships, 188 aircraft had been destroyed. and 159 more damaged.Despite the damage the base facilities and oil storage tanks were left intact, ensuring that the navy could recover. Most importantly, Americans were now united in their desire for war and revenge. Heavy Bombing was also used to great effect against Japan in the war in the Pacific. The B-29 conducted bombing raid on the Japanese mainland, including the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Responding to a promise to British prime Minister Winston Churchill U.S. strategic air operations began on 4 July 1942, with a raid of six U.S. Eighth Air Force light bombers on Dutch airfields. On 11 December, the Germany and Italy, declared war on the US, drawing the US firmly into the war and removing all doubts about the global nature of the conflict .The US caused much collateral damage. It was shown at the time that Bomber Commands ability to hit a target at night was better than the US's ability to hit targets during the day. They could only better BC ability to hit a target when it was a clear day with no clouds. The German battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired the first shots of World War II with the bombardment of the Polish garrison at Westerplatte and the final surrender of the Japanese Empire took place aboard a United States Navy battleship, Missouri. Between those two events, it had become clear that aircraft carriers were the new principal ships of the fleet and that battleships now performed a secondary role.(Thirne, 1978)

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Air Power was also used to a great effect at sea. The Aircraft Carrier proved itself to be the true power of the Navy during World War II. The Battle of Midway, in June, 1942 demonstrated that properly utilized aircraft launched from carriers could defeat a superior surface force. The entire naval battle took place without opposing surface ships firing a shot. In addition to contributing to surface naval warfare, air power also played an important role in anti-submarine warfare.(americanairpowermuseum, 2010)

Strategic air power is the bombing of enemy resources (by bombers); tactical air power is the battle for control of the air space (by fighters); close air support is the direct support of ground units; naval aviation refers especially to the use of aircraft carriers U.S. air operations in the Mediterranean and Europe evolved into two distinct fields of effort: the strategic air campaign against the German war economy and the tactical air support of American ground forces

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Some of the effects of World War 2 were the destruction of cities and families and the unprecedentedly large number of deaths amongst civilians and soldiers. Those are the obvious answers. Another after effect of World War 2 was the Cold War. The world lived with the threat of nucleur warfare between the two most powerful nations, the United States and the Soviet Union. The good effects: More people had a job. Women had a chance to work. Independence for some nations. Hitler died. U.S.A had a end to their depression. The bad effects: Lots of people died. Bombs destroyed many buildings. Food shortage for nations. Children had their parents leave them to go to war. People lost family members. World was divided. Many countries became Communist. Countries were also short of food for a few years after the war. The effects of World War II had far-reaching implications for most of the world. Many millions of lives had been lost as a result of the war. The U.S. suffered very little during the war and because of military and industrial exports became a formidable manufacturing power. This led to a period of wealth and prosperity for the U.S. in the fields of industry, agriculture and technology(Hartmann, 1998).

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The effect of the use of air power by the use remained significant during ww2 as it enabled them deal with thier enemies . Strategic and tactical lessons learned by the US, such as the importance of air superiority and the dominance of the aircraft carrier in naval actions, continue to guide US military doctrine more than 60 years later.The USA have continued to build their trust on the superiority on air power in dealing with the currently increasing scases of terrorism . Highly relevant today, World War II has much to teach us, not only about the profession of arms, but also about military preparedness, global strategy,use of air power and combined operations in the coalition war against fascism.

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