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Making the American CenturyEssays on the Political Culture of Twentieth Century America$
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Bruce J. Schulman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199845392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845392.001.0001

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Liberal Democracy and the Lure of Bombing in the Interwar United States

Liberal Democracy and the Lure of Bombing in the Interwar United States

(p.109) 6 Liberal Democracy and the Lure of Bombing in the Interwar United States
Making the American Century

Sean L. Malloy

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the tangled history of strategic bombing during and after World War II. The idea of strategic bombing—a technological antidote to the brutality of modern war that could shorten conflicts with pinpoint strikes on the war-making capacity of potential aggressors—powerfully attracted policymakers and citizens in the United States and Great Britain. But it quickly ran up against reality: aerial bombardment devastated cities and resulted in the deliberate killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Analyzing that disconnect and the continuing allure of strategic bombing even after its wartime failures, the chapter investigates the factors leading the liberal democracies to pursue a different path from their enemies and how the United States diverged even from its British allies.

Keywords:   strategic bombing, Henry Stimson, aerial bombardment, civilian casualties

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