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FINAL CAP NHJ Volume 1, Issue 1, OCT-DEC 2013.pdf

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…a journal of
CAP history,
feature articles,
scholarly works,
and stories of
interest.

CIVIL AIR PATROL
CAP National Historical Journal
Volume I, Issue I: OCT-DEC 2013

The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal is published quarterly by professional volunteer staff. As academic historians by trade,
we recognize the demand for quality publications reflecting a variety of interests to Civil Air Patrol readers, and strive to offer the
best in feature and thought provoking articles. We trust you will enjoy what the e-journal has to offer and will consider contributing
to the mission of our staff in providing a forum for the great traditions of our organization.

A Different
Legacy
A unique look at the late Gill Robb
Wilson, who served as the first
executive officer of the Civil Air
Patrol, and after whom the
highest senior member
professional development award
is named written by his
granddaughter, Jill Robb Paulson.

N

early on a whim I was asked to write an article about curious
remembrances of my grandfather, Gill Robb Wilson. After all, who
better to reminisce about him than his namesake, Jill Robb? Truth be told,
I’m named after my grandfather because I’m the youngest of three girls,
which means the grandmothers’ names were taken by the time I appeared.
My sisters knew him far better than I (when they were small he bought a
house in our neighborhood so he could be near them). After I was born, he
moved—to the opposite coast! The woes of being the baby in the family
meant many things, and worst of all at the time (or so I believed) is that I did
not get the awesome gifts from him that my sisters did! On one particular
occasion, after a speaking engagement in Oklahoma, officials there offered
him anything from the state as a token of their appreciation. Of all things, he
took a pony as a gift for my elder sister. A pony! Again, I felt the pain of
being the youngest!
My eldest sister had the benefit of receiving books with personal inscriptions
from him, like this partial one from the inside cover of The Airman’s World:

Gill Robb Wilson (r) photo courtesy of
Jill Paulson (c)

“It is Christmas Eve, 1957 and I’m giving Mommy one of these little books. It
will mean nothing to you now and may not even mean much when you are
grown because the world changes rapidly and the things this book talks about
will seem as old fashioned to you as the covered wagons seemed to me when
I was your age. Nonetheless, it will illustrate certain points that have
meaning in any age. One of them is consciousness of your heritage. You have
behind you a long line of ancestors who explored the frontiers wherever they
found them—on land, on sea or in the air. They never surrendered to fear and
they fought for freedom – not only their own but everyone’s.”

Staff & Acknowledgements
Journal Editor
Capt Kurt Efinger
National Historical Editor
Lt Col Richard B. Mulanax
Chief Historian
Maj Frank Blazich
National Commander
Maj Gen Charles Carr

Call for Submissions
The Civil Air Patrol National Historical
Journal welcomes articles, essays, and
commentaries not exceeding 2,000
words on any topic relating to the
history of the Civil Air Patrol and
military aviation. CAP’s history extends
to the present day, and the Journal
seeks accounts of on-going activities
and missions, as well as those of earlier
years. We encourage readers to submit
responses to essays, articles and
commentaries.
All historiographical works and essays
must be submitted in Chicago Manual
of Style. We encourage authors to
submit digital photographs and
illustrations only for publication,
however, all content should be the work
of the author or open source.
Adjustments to pixel saturation, color
and size will be made according to the
editorials staff’s recommendations.
The CAP NHJ editorial staff reserves the
right to refuse, edit, and publish any
work submitted. All submissions must
be sent as MS Word attachments and
mailed to the CAP NHJ editor at
kefinger@sercap.us.

T

he second thing this book talks about is God. I don’t know any more
about God than anyone else, but I have a certainty that there is a
supreme intelligence behind the universe and where there is intelligence
there must be personality. And this book talks about happiness. To make a
living is one thing, but it is a much greater thing to make a life, and a good life
can’t be made out of fear and complaint.”
My middle sister—whose pony arrives years later—also received a nice
inscription in her copy of The Airman’s World:
“Granddaddy has spent most of his life about airplanes and affairs of the air
age. It’s been fun to live with danger and challenge—a lot of laughs at
himself and others. But the real fun has not been the flying itself but what the
flying led—and will lead—to: the opportunity of humanity to know itself…you
have a firm foundation under you. You don’t need a crown on your head to
make you a queen. You were born free, so you don’t need money to make
you wealthy. Your wealth is beyond what all the money in the world could
buy. Be queenly to all but bow to none. Give of yourself and you will have
made the greatest gift of all.”
To make a living is one thing, but it
Me? What did he write me?
is a much greater thing to make a
Nothing. Nada. Life as a tag-along
life, and a good life can’t be made
can be so unfair! On the other
out of fear and complaint.
hand, I did get his name, or at least
his name modified for a girl (But really, how many girls do you know named
Robb?) We even shared the same family nickname, which I will not divulge
under any circumstances—certainly not here! The name is sufficient for me,
however. Perhaps a name carries some incalculable and mysterious power—
who knows?
Continued on page 4

No Small Contribution
Lt Col Winton Adcock Jr. addresses the life and contributions of Harry K.
Coffey, an early Civil Air Patrol pioneer in this excerpt from an historical
monograph he composed in 2012. The complete monograph can be
obtained with permission by contacting the author via the editor.

W

hen Civil Air Patrol was created on December 1st, 1941, Harry Coffey
was one of the three original national advisors.1 Along with General
Carl “Tooey” Spaatz2, known as the “Father of Strategic Bombing”, General
“Hap” Arnold and Gill Robb Wilson, Harry Coffey played a significant role in
the founding of Civil Air Patrol.
As the National Director for the Office of Civilian Defense, Fiorello LaGuardia,
former Mayor of New York and World War I flying ace signed the formal
order creating Civil Air Patrol on December 1st, 1941.
2

O

n December 9th 1941, Coffey flew his twin engine
plane to Washington, D.C. to meet with
LaGuardia. Accompanying him was Leo G. Devaney,
Oregon state aviation director, who LaGuardia
appointed as Wing Commander for the state of Oregon.
Coffey would become the third Wing Commander for
Oregon, serving from July 1946 to April 1948. Two days
after Pearl Harbor there was a universal suspension of
private flying throughout the United States. Coffey
received special approval and became one of the first
Oregon private pilots to obtain federal war-time flying
permission.3
Coffey was the Northwest representative and one of
five civilian members appointed on the general planning
staff for Civil Air Patrol. He quickly became national
coordinating officer. In that role he aided in setting up,
organizing and manning bases that patrolled the
Atlantic Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican
Border on anti-submarine patrol. He also organized the
tow-target and tracking activities in support of antiaircraft artillery training for the Fourth Air Force on the
Pacific Coast.4
Only five months after the Japanese bombed Pearl
Harbor, a Life magazine article titled, “Civil Air Patrol America’s private pilots are mobilized for war”5 told
America about how the nation’s 100,000 civilian pilots
had become the third arm of U.S. airpower. It described
the latest assignment of patrolling U.S. coastlines. The
article highlighted Civil Air Patrol pilots who
volunteered their services for one to two weeks at a
time and got one day off a week.
Mexican Border Patrols
eneral Walter Krueger, Commander of Southern
Defense Command “Believing that surveillance of
the Mexican Border from the air would be of value,”
issued a request on July 24, 1942, “That Civil Air Patrol
planes be provided the Southern Defense Command for
that purpose.”6 Soon afterwards, Harry Coffey, began
his role as coordinator of CAP border patrol and
acquired data on people and equipment while
establishing a close relationship with federal counterespionage authorities in the area.7 He also worked with
William E. Mueller, owner of Southwest Air Rangers to

G

establish the Southern Liaison Patrol. Flying out of Biggs
Field in El Paso, Texas, its mission was to monitor the
border between El Paso and Mexico.
Between July 1942 and April 1944 Civil Air Patrol logged
approximately 30,000 flight hours patrolling
approximately 1,000 miles along the Texas border with
Mexico. They often flew low enough to read the license
plates of suspicious vehicles in the border area. By
1944, Civil Air Patrol had more than 125,000 active
members in a working well established organization in
48 states. In addition, some 75,000 former members
were serving in the armed forces or in war industries,
having been better prepared as a result of their CAP
experience. In just over three years, CAP had given
aviation training to over 200,000. In 1944, the cadet
program alone had over 65,000 cadets. In Oregon,
Governor Earl Snell signed up as a full-fledged active
member.8
In a news release by Civil Air Patrol Headquarters on its
third anniversary, CAP is credited for “keeping hometown airports open” and contributing to the future
postwar development of private flying. It reports that
fully a third of the 1,600 airports open would not be
operating if not for the help and patronage of CAP,
whose members built 81 airports with their own labor
and made improvements to over 100 more at no cost to
the Federal Government.9 Without CAP, it would have
been necessary to ground private flying.
Civil Air Patrol’s biggest job at the time was to continue
expansion of the cadet program and the training of
volunteer instructors for military and pre-flight courses.
The former was seen as a means of building up a
reserve of pre-trained young men for the maintenance
of American air power.
Air Rescue Service, Military Air Transport Service Information letter, 1 July 1953
“One of CAP Founders Receives Highest AF Civilian Award.”
2 Spaatz, Carl. Born: June 28, 1891, died: July 14, 1974. Civil Air Patrol National
Commander 1948-1959. Awarded Federation Aeronautique Internationale pilot
certificate # 29 on July 6, 1911.
3 Oregonian, 10 Dec 1041 “Two Portlanders Get Call to Civil Air Patrol Parley” copy
in appendix A
4 Silver Wings, Vol.1 No.1 June 1949
5 Life Magazine. Volume 12, number 17, dated April 27, 1942 pp 63,64, 66
6 Historical Record, Southern Defense Command, p.33, RG 338.
7 Flying Minute Men, Robert E. Neprud, 1948, pg. 48.
8 CAP News Bulletin, Vol. III No. 24, Aug 4, 1944
9 CAP News Bulletin Vol. III, No. 36, Nov 4, 1944
1

3

(continued from page 2)

W

Though some of my memories of Granddaddy are
vague, I recall most his complete kindness and
gentleness. I remember people were happier when he
was around. But I can’t cite specifics nor can I claim
many gifts—including a pony—like my sisters can.

I wrote poems too, (often about wanting a pony).
When I was in the 7th grade, my school was across the
street from my church, so one day, gazing out the
window in class, I wrote a poem about my church. A
few weeks later my mom showed me the church’s
monthly newsletter. It appears she found my poem
because it now graced the newsletter’s cover. She
smiled, “You’re just like your grandfather.” Well, not
totally. I had written that illustrious poem during math
class, a fact my mom discovered on my next report
card.

Although I don’t remember, he was present at my
baptism. He and my sisters were sitting in the balcony
of our small church, and in order to see my baptism, he
had to lean over the ledge and look down. The older I
get, the more I appreciate that picture: that during the
holy moments of my life, he is still leaning over and
looking down at me. That’s both the joy and the
challenge of being loved by grandparents, isn’t it? By
the time we realize the importance of their
unconditional love, they aren’t around to thank.
Perhaps the only way to respond is to pass on that love
to the next generation. I guess I wasn’t shortchanged
after all. My grandfather gave me the greatest gift of
all—love. Now that’s even better than a pony.

hile growing up, my mom would often look at
me in wonder and say, “You are so much like
your grandfather” (pretty interesting since I was just
short of eight years old when he died in 1966). Back
then he was the most prolific American aviation poet.

In the 1970’s the courts mandated girls be given equal
sports opportunities as boys, something that was
radically new. So I joined the boys’ track team. Mom
said, “You’re just like your grandfather.” I didn’t get it
until one night I came home after a track meet to find
medals on my dresser. They were my grandfather’s
from when he had broken several college and regional
track records—records that consequently held for years.
I was thrilled with his medals, because I wasn’t going to
earn any on my own, unless there are awards for
coming in last.
Years later when I announced I was attending Princeton
Theological Seminary my mom was chagrined. “Your
grandfather is rolling over in his grave” she said. My
grandfather’s first solo parish was in Trenton, NJ, not far
from Princeton. Back then in the church, everyone
who’s anyone went to Princeton…except my
grandfather, who graduated from what is now
Pittsburgh Seminary. Colleagues never failed to remind
him of his inferior status. When he ran for Congress in
1950, he lobbed a few zingers on the campaign trail
specifically to aggravate Princeton snobbery—he
subsequently lost the election.

Obscure facts about my grandfather
He loved dogs. As soon as he moved out of the parsonage until
the day he died, he had dogs. His first dog was given to him by
close friend Norman Schwarzkopf.
In the 1950’s his wife became Betty Crocker on TV, garnering
almost as much publicity as her aviator spouse. In real life she
wasn’t much of a cook.
He and Billy Mitchell were close friends. After being offered an
aviation job in Hawaii, it was Billy Mitchell who urged him to
stay put and be “a pattern maker” for aviation nationally.
A trip to Germany on 1936 convinced my grandfather that war
was inevitable( a very unpopular notion at the time). He fought
for years to convince a nation that war was coming and civil
aviation MUST prepare. Many relationships, including the one
with Charles Lindbergh, were strained by his unwavering stance.
Yet during this trip, he wrote several loving cards and letters
home, including one to his daughter on her birthday which ends,
“Good night, darling. Your old man knows you’re perfect and
hopes he can be a good father always.” He was.

4

Editors Column

O

n the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor in early December 1941, news of the
creation of an all-civilian augmentation force under
the leadership of U.S. Army Air Corps officers had
barely hit the streets. Other than G. Robb Wilson, and a
handful of aviators keen on the decisive role such a
force could potentially play in national defense, it is
fair to say that not many could have predicted such an
egregious act of war that would ensue a week later.
The history of the Civil Air Patrol is as much about
service and dedication to a cause as that of the armed
forces of the day. The shared relationship to the U.S.
Army Air Corps and later United States Air Force is
inexorable—after all, its early leaders came from those
organizations and were frankly some of the great
pioneers of both aviation, as well as the application of
air-power theory in warfare. We as historians should
not underestimate the contributions of these
individuals, and ought to regard them with high
esteem as not just doers, but rather “thinkers” who
molded and shaped our post WWII way of thinking
with respect to the decisive role air-power would play
in combat as a result of our experiences with it.
The idea that a civilian force of pilots could patrol the
North American coast in search of enemy vessels, and
potentially target them for destruction proved to be an
attractive force multiplier for the war planners who
saw every means necessary of defeating an aggressive
enemy as being “necessary.” The following is the first
installment of an article assessing the efficacy of the
strategic bombing campaign directed towards
Germany in WWII. The essay addresses some of the
moral components of aerial bombing, and provides a
platform for dialogue on how such a role reversal came
to be, wherein civilian non-combatants were asked to
target military combatants during war, and is thus
historically relevant to CAP’s potential wartime
missions.

A Systematic Analysis of Air
Doctrine in WWII and The
Changing Attitudes Towards
Area Bombing

W

ith the end of World War I, the reevaluation of
air-power theory had fundamentally begun. Airdoctrine as it was, barely emerged from infancy
following the “war to end all wars.” This fact, however,
did not exempt it from strong opinions as to what the
future might look like. Douhet would posit much along
the lines of Mitchell that air power would play a major
role in warfare—they were both correct, but not to the
extent that it would render infantry and armored
divisions obsolete. There was however, a paradigm
shift that would take place between wars wherein the
centers of gravity characterized in WWI by pursuing
armies and taking ground between the trenches now
focused on breaking the enemy’s morale which might
very well include targeting the civilian populations. This
is in keeping with Douhet, who supported such in an
effort to quickly bring an enemy to the point of
surrender, and thus avoid greater conflict. The right
pressure exerted at the proper point and at the correct
time, could produce significantly different results and
exhaust fewer resources if believed that air-superiority
was the answer to the modern war.
“The Strategic bombing campaign has long been a
subject of intense controversy and may well remain so
for years to come. Certainly the moral issue will be
debated as long as morality itself lacks a confirmed
definition.”
Major General Haywood S Hansell, Jr. USAF
1930’s German Air-Doctrine and its Application
By the time German forces marched into Poland on the
1st of September, 1939, the Luftwaffe had
demonstrated its ability to effectively combine air and
ground forces in an assault that overwhelmed Polish
defenses in a matter of weeks.1

1

In speaking of the German victory over the Polish in the
month of September, Dr. Murray states: "Overwhelming German

5

The overall unpreparedness of Western Europe in a few
short years was eradicated by countermeasures and a
revision of policies that in turn, overwhelmed the once
predominant German air force. The moral principles
guiding Allied air-doctrine also saw a transformation
from the outbreak of World War II through August
1945—changes in opinion that were largely
necessitated by circumstances that indicated the
conflict could not be fought with the “civility” first
envisaged by those fundamentally opposed to the
carnality of war culminating with the Allied bombing of
Dresden in 1945. For all Germany did to prepare for
war and initially present as a formidable force to be
2
reckoned with , it underestimated the Allied response
as well as the duration of the war, and therefore was
destined to fail.
From the outset, Germany’s opinion on the use of airpower against civilian populations—whether it included
strafing or bombing—differed from that of the United
States and her allies. The disparity between the two,
however, would rapidly diminish with the progression
of hostilities in which both the United States and Great
Britain became involved.
On the same day that Germany invaded Poland,
President Roosevelt appealed to several western
European governments—including Germany—to refrain

from targeting civilian populations.3 In retrospect, there
is little reason to believe that Germany would have ever
heeded this admonition. Luftwaffe leaders not only
ignored the appeal, but revealed an indifference to the
idea by deliberately targeting military forces and several
populated cities in Poland.4 Such lack of concern for
human life—in particular those individuals not related
to military operations—had been demonstrated earlier
in the Spanish Civil War in which Germany’s renowned
Condor Legion made its debut.5 The German Luftwaffe
went through a tactical as well as a philosophical
transformation during its involvement with the Spanish
Nationalists as they had no other experience as a
modernized force up until that point.6 Previous
concepts of how air support ought to have been applied
were quickly reevaluated; the nature of how the aircraft
were employed as well as the degree to which they
were effective against enemy forces was demonstrated.
Martin van Creveld says of the Spanish Civil War with
reference to the Condor Legion:
This was the first time since 1918 that Luftwaffe
personnel had seen any action at all.
Commanders, pilots and ground crews gained
experience that they, acting as instructors, were
later able to pass to others. Every kind of mission
was flown...The nature of the ground
organization needed to support air warfare was
3

superiority, however, soon told. On the ground for the first time in
modern war, the combination of armored mobile formations
supported by aircraft proved devastatingly effective." Williamson
Murray, Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe 1933-1945
(Montgomery: Air University Press, 1983), 31.
2

“When Adolf Hitler launched the Wehrmacht against
Poland on September 1, 1939, to begin the Second World War, the
Luftwaffe was in a considerably better position than it had been the
previous fall. The staff and commanders had solved most of the
teething problems that had marked a transition into a new
generation of aircraft in 1937 and 1938. Air units possessed modern
equipment, and anti-aircraft and airborne forces gave the Germans
capabilities that other European air forces could not match. In 1939,
the Luftwaffe was closer to realizing the potential of the aircraft,
while the doctrine of close air support and cooperation with the
army placed the German air force in the position to have a decisive
impact on the coming battles beside the army’s armored forces."
Ibid., 20.

[Roosevelt, Franklin D.], Appeal of President Franklin D.
Roosevelt on Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations
(Washington D.C., 1939),
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15797 (accessed August
12, 2008).
4

One may interpret air-power theorist Guilio Douhet’s
proposed bombing of civilian populations as a prerequisite to
engaging forces in land battles with the hopes of turning a "quick"
victory. Infantry, artillery and armored forces would not need to
engage if the enemy thus surrendered at the thought of being
utterly destroyed by air. Giulio Douhet, The Command of the Air,
trans. Dino Ferrari (Washington D.C.: Office of Air Force History,
1983), 20.
5

Richard G. Davis, Carl A. Spaatz and the Air War in Europe
(Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993), 366.
6

"For the Luftwaffe, Spain was a helpful testing ground for
its aircraft and tactics...the Germans learned invaluable combat
lessons in Spain which they quickly absorbed into their doctrine."
Strategy for Defeat, 15.

6

studied in depth; in 1937-38, the legion,
alternating between the northwest and the
country around Madrid, was already able to
display the astonishing capability for the rapid
redeployment of its forces that was to serve the
Luftwaffe well later on…The experience gained
was invaluable.7

T

he Luftwaffe’s bombing of the Polish city of
Wieluń, for example, was without any definitive
military purpose other than to presumably make known
the seriousness of Germany’s intentions. The attack on
Warsaw at least had some military significance, though
the fact that it was an occupied city as well seemed not
to matter to the Germans.8 The Allies would learn from
the Germans that the targeting of civilian populations
was a strong statement to the lengths each would be
compelled by the other to go with the hope of exerting
pressure on the enemy to capitulate. Any criticism of
Germany’s position on the issue, or even the Allies
eventual practice of targeting population centers, ought
to first consider the resistance of both governments to
go to such measures. The United States as evidenced
by Roosevelt’s warning was at first utterly opposed to
bringing the war to anything other than military targets
of an industrial or commercial advantage to the enemy.
It may come as a surprise that the tactics applied by
Germany while assisting Franco were contrary to those
promoted by the Luftwaffe’s leadership just a few years
prior. It is equally important to separate the military
aspirations, operations, and considerations from those
of the civilian population—Truman did not consult the
American people prior to the events of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki in 1945.

In speaking of the 1935 German air force’s operation
manual—Die Luftkriegfuehrung—van Creveld says:
…the manual was signed by the first chief of staff
of the Luftwaffe, Gen Walther Wever. It opened
by reasserting the traditional German belief that
the enemy’s center of gravity lay in his armed
forces and that those forces could only be
defeated by the combined action of all three
services…air power was to contribute to victory by
attacking military objectives that were quite
broadly defined. On the other hand, attacks
having as their sole objective the terrorization of
the enemy civilian population were explicitly
forbidden as being both counterproductive and
contrary to the law of war.9
Van Creveld asserts that the initial attacks on civilian
populations “seem to have been the results of errors in
identification or else of individual pilots getting rid of
their surplus armament on their way back from
missions.”10 This is debatable, as civilians were clearly
targeted by air groups in Spain, and not so
coincidentally, Wolfram von Ricthofen—former Chief of
Staff of to the Condor Legion—was behind the air
assault on Warsaw, and anxious to demonstrate just
how destructive air-power could be by bringing the city
to ruin.11 One could reasonably assume that targeting
civilians was considered as part of that effort. Though
he may differ in his belief that the Germans were not
purposeful in their targeting of civilians, Martin Van
Creveld does concede however, with respect to
Warsaw, that “only toward the end of the campaign did
the Germans, having repeatedly failed to induce the
Polish government to lay down its arms, deliberately
attack civilian targets on a large scale in order to bring
about the city’s surrender.” 12

7

Martin van Creveld, Steven L. Canby and Kenneth S.
Brower, Air Power and Maneuver Warfare (Montgomery: Air
University Press, 1994), 33.
8

"...at the conclusion of the Polish campaign, the
Luftwaffe launched massive air assaults against military targets in
Warsaw. In these raids, the Germans were not adverse to any
collateral damage inflicted on the civilian populace." Strategy for
Defeat, 30.

9

Air Power and Maneuver Warfare, 28.

10

Ibid., 39.

11

Strategy for Defeat, 31.

12

Air Power and Maneuver Warfare, 39.

7

Allied Policy and the Issue of Targeting of Civilians
The Air Staff was convinced that bombers could
provide a quick victory in a war by destroying the
enemy’s will and capability to make war even
before ground forces became heavily involved in
the conflict.13

A

ccording to Col. Thomas Cardwell, this was the
prevalent attitude that US planners had towards
the use of bombers and air power. Just as submarines
in WWI were not the means to an end in achieving
naval supremacy, bombers would not end wars before
they ostensibly began. Even still, retrospect can do
nothing to eradicate the thinking of those who were the
architects of US air strategies in WWII. In explaining
some of the thinking behind the Air War Plans Division;
Plan 1 (AWPD-1), historian Russell Weigley explains:
AWPD-1 envisioned bombers relying on speed,
massed formations, high altitude, their own
armament and armor, and simultaneous strikes
from many points to be able to penetrate deep
into Germany. Its authors believed that such
raids intensively bombing the selected target for
six months might defeat Germany without need
for a surface invasion.14
This was at least the general consensus among the
Americans with regard to the role bombers would play.
Again, strategies and doctrines would change as much
as some of those in power wanted them to remain the
same. Change was inevitable, if not in some ways
immoral.
The American air planners in AWPD-1 had
rejected one major phase of Douhet’s proposed
employment of air power. They did not favor a
general policy of terror bombing of civilian
populations. The air planners doubted on the
experience of the war that terror bombing would
break civilian morale as Douhet and Mitchell had
predicted. Throughout the subsequent

participation of the United States in the European
war, Army Air Forces officers, especially General
Spaatz, consistently expressed moral revulsion at
the wholesale slaughter of noncombatants which
terror bombing of cities obviously entailed.
Strategic judgment and morality seemed to point
to a common conclusion.15

W

eigley’s assessment of the US approach towards
civilian bombing indicates that it was not
shaped by any particular experience, but rather what
appears to be a relatively strong moral opposition. The
British, on the other hand—however morally
predisposed towards the subject in 1939—formulated
war-time doctrine based on having experienced
bombing themselves, and therefore, less apt to
denounce such actions taken against the Germans. As a
point of fact, the British spearheaded plans to carry-out
terror bombings against non-military targets. Whether
the initial raids over German cities were under the
ubiquitous guise of targeting military objectives or not is
irrelevant. They translated to terror bombings by virtue
of the fact that civilians were calculated as collateral
damage just as the Germans had themselves performed
in much the same manner when bombing cities in
Poland. The German attack on London, for example,
was followed by a British attack on Berlin, which
included more than just “military” targets. It was in
some cases unavoidable, and in others curiously
questionable. Hitler’s response to the British retaliatory
strikes on Berlin: “If they attack our cities, we will rub
out their cities from the map….” 16 Any concern as to
the commitment Britain had to seeing Germany was
paid-in-kind for the bombings of London, can be
answered by evaluating the reasons for having placed
Sir Arthur Harris in a position of command over the
bombers. He was without compunctions when it came
to coordinating efforts to see that Germany was
brought to a point of submission—his plans specifically
called for the bombing of civilians as part of the
strategy.

13

Thomas A. Cardwell, Airland Combat: An Organization
for Joint Warfare (Montgomery: Air University Press, 1992), 13.
14

Russell F. Weigley, The American Way of War: A History
of the United States Military Strategy and Policy (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1977), 337.

15

Ibid., 354.

16

Ibid.

8

Churchill was by no means without misgivings
about terror bombing; but his somewhat
sinister…scientific adviser Lord Cherwell…favored
it, and together Churchill and Cherwell gave a
rather free hand to its foremost apostle in the
RAF, Air Marshall Sir Arthur Harris, after February
22, 1942, the head of the Bomber
Command…Harris’s elevation to the leadership of
Bomber Command followed immediately after
and coincided in purpose with a directive to the
command on February 14 to open a new
offensive aimed primarily at the homes of the
German people. Cherwell argued in April that
this campaign, striking Germany’s fifty-eight
largest cities, would render one-third of the
German population homeless within fifteen
months and that there was no better way to
break their spirit.17

I

t is not so much a question of whether or not the
German will was broken; it was rather a case where
everything that was directed at Germany ultimately had
an effect, culminating in the disintegration of
Germany’s ability to continue the fight; the eventuality
of Germany’s surrender as opposed to the immediate
concerns of stopping her ability to persist. One may see
the entire economic infrastructure of Germany as a
center of gravity, or the collective morale as such—
regardless, the combined efforts to collapse the
industrial quarters while at the same time “punishing”
Germans for having been the aggressor in another
conflict was more likely than not accomplished in
reflecting on six years of war. Germany was in ruins
after the war, the people resolved to defeat, and the
nation divided among the Allied powers—perhaps
enough of a reminder that they ought not try for a third
chance at dominating Europe. (to be continued)

Editor’s Note
The views expressed in the Civil Air Patrol National
Historical Journal are those of the authors only and
do not reflect the official policy or position of the
Journal Staff or Editorial Board, the Civil Air Patrol,
its officers or members, nor the United States Air
Force.
Submissions must be sent to the editor at the
following address:
kefinger@sercap.us
Please note that when submitted to the editor at the
Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal, all
works and related media are released from copyright
infringements if published in the CAP NHJ.
Editorial changes are at the sole discretion of the
editorial staff, and will be faithful to the original text
as much as possible. Significant changes will be
discussed with the author prior to publication.
“Letters to the Editor” will be published at the
discretion of the CAP National Historical Editor, and
the Chief Historian at CAP NHQ. The CAP NHJ
staff is not required to respond to, or publish
submissions.

The second part to this essay will follow in the JAN-MAR 2014
issue of the CAP National Historical Journal.

Capt Efinger is the Deputy Chief of Staff for A5 Plans,
Programs and Requirements at Southeast Region HQ.
He is a full-time teacher of Economics and Adjunct
Professor of History at Indian River State College in Ft.
Pierce, Fl.
17

Ibid, 355.

9