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In the pantheon of air power spokesmen, Giulio Douhet holds center stage. His writings, more often cited than perhaps actually read, appear as excerpts and aphorisms in the writings of numerous other air power spokesmen, advocates-and critics. Though a highly controversial figure, the very controversy that surrounds him offers to us a testimonial of the value and depth of his work, and the need for airmen today to become familiar with his thought.
The progressive development of air power to the point where, today, it is more correct to refer to aerospace power has not outdated the notions of Douhet in the slightest In fact, in many ways, the kinds of technological capabilities that we enjoy as a global air power provider attest to the breadth of his vision. Douhet, together with Hugh “Boom” Trenchard of Great Britain and William “Billy” Mitchell of the United States, is justly recognized as one of the three great spokesmen of the early air power era. This reprint is offered in the spirit of continuing the dialogue that Douhet himself so perceptively began with the first edition of this book, published in 1921. Readers may well find much that they disagree with in this book, but also much that is of enduring value. The vital necessity of Douhet’s central vision-that command of the air is all important in modern warfare-has been proven throughout the history of wars in this century, from the fighting over the Somme to the air war over Kuwait and Iraq.