Published Airpower Journal - Spring 1992
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.


A Study in Strategic and National Security Decision Making

Col Ed Crowder, USAF

POINTBLANK was the code name for the British-American combined bomber offensive of World War II, a campaign mandated by the Allies' "Casablanca directive" of 1943 and carried out from May 1944 to April 1945. Having attained almost mythical status in today's Air Force, this operation was one of the key campaigns that "proved" the decisiveness of air power in war and led to the establishment of the Air Force as a separate service in 1947. Given this legacy of notoriety and importance, one could reasonably expect an analysis of Pointblank to produce insights into strategic and national security decision making of general applicability to policymakers and strategists alike. Toward that end, this article examines the political background that affected the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1932 to 1941; weighs the importance of the American-British staff conversations of March 1941 and the related Rainbow 5 plan; dissects the so-called AWPD-1 plan, the strategic foundation and predecessor of Pointblank; reviews the Pointblank campaign results; and draws lessons for today's national security decision makers and military strategists.

Political Background

In the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, aviation enthusiasts--including Charles A. Lindbergh and Gen William ("Billy") Mitchell--popularized the airplane as an improved instrument of both transportation and war. Although Giulio Douhet and others emphasized the offensive nature of air power, Mitchell stressed the utility of long-range bombardment aircraft for defense, an idea that was more in tune with American public opinion of the time.1 Due largely to Mitchell's efforts, Americans came to view Army aviation as

a way to uphold New Era virtues of economy, efficiency, and technological innovation. The argument or air power appealed to widespread sentiment for the reduction of federal expenditures. . . . It also responded to postwar disillusionment with involvement in European wars by portraying a self-reliant America that would defend its shores without venturing abroad.

Above all, arguments for air power fed on a widespread image of naval armaments as the foremost expression of militarism. . . .

The fighting within the military services sharpened the image of airmen as challengers of militarism and waste.2

With this public sentiment as a backdrop, during his 1932 presidential campaign Franklin D. Roosevelt courted and flattered Mitchell and supported the idea of a major role for air power in US national defense. As late as 1937, the Roosevelt administration was still popularizing military aviation as a primarily defensive arm for stopping invasions by air or sea.3

However, the Munich agreement of 30 September 1938, in which France and Britain made concessions to Germany to avoid war, initiated a change in the administration's private--if not public--view of air power. William Bullitt, US ambassador to France, summarized his analysis of the Munich appeasement in a cable to Roosevelt: "If you have enough airplanes you don't have to go to Berchtesgaden."4 Thus, Bullitt and other members of the Roosevelt administration felt that the threat of Nazi air attack was one reason for Britain's and France's appeasement of Hitler.5 Lindbergh, who was in Germany in October 1938, reported to Roosevelt through Joseph Kennedy, US ambassador to England, that "`Germany now has the means of destroying London, Paris, and Praha [Prague] if she wishes to do so.'"6

Based on public opinion, the Nazi threat, and Bullitt's admonition, Roosevelt concluded that a large air force with an offensive capability would serve as a deterrent to further German aggression.7 Furthermore, in September 1938 Roosevelt predicted that aerial warfare "would cost less money, would mean comparatively fewer casualties, and would be more likely to succeed than a traditional war by land or sea."8 Soon afterward, at a meeting with key members of his administration in November 1938, the president announced that he wanted to expand the air force to 10,000 aircraft and production capacity to 10,000 planes a year. Not only was this decision "a bolt from the blue,"9 it was "far beyond the airmen's own plans for expansion that autumn."10 Gen Henry H. Arnold, chief of the Army Air Corps, left the meeting delighted, "feeling that the Air Corps had finally `achieved its Magna Carta.'"11 Finally, Roosevelt also envisioned an added benefit: high levels of airplane manufacturing would "`mean prosperity in this country and we can't elect a Democratic Party unless we get prosperity. . . . Let's be perfectly frank.'"12

But the Munich agreement did not change the sentiments of the public and Congress. Isolationists did not trust Roosevelt, no matter how strongly he professed his intention to avoid war. Roosevelt biographer Frank Freidel points out that in Congress, the isolationists introduced a constitutional amendment that would have required a national referendum to declare war, a threat which Roosevelt took seriously. Republicans urged Roosevelt "to take a firm stand for peace . . . `to steer clear and keep quiet.'" Even after the German invasions of Poland and France in 1939 and 1940, respectively, public and congressional opinion opposed direct US participation in the war.13

In the three years following Munich, Roosevelt simultaneously tried to prepare for and prevent war. Further, he continued to emphasize air power as the best instrument for achieving these objectives:

For Roosevelt . . . air power seemed an ideal instrument, decisive yet humane, for deterring, limiting, or at the worst, waging war. Meanwhile, it also served American and hemispheric defense, objectives so uncontroversial that the expansion of American air power could proceed with minimal opposition. . . . Therefore, Roosevelt's new aerial policy squared with the dominant prejudices and priorities of Americans: alarm over fascist aggression, aversion to military expeditions abroad, desire to preserve American isolation, and faith in aviation as a benign technology.14

ABC-1 and Rainbow 5

In 1940, consistent with his policy of preparing for war while trying to prevent it, President Roosevelt approved a proposal for a secret conference between American and British military staffs. Held from January to March 1941, the conference produced a final report known as ABC-1, which had the following key provisions:

1. The main effort should be in the European theater. The strategic defensive should be maintained in the Pacific.

2. There will be a sustained air offensive against both Germany and other regions under enemy control that contribute to German military power.

3. The Allies will build up forces for an invasion of the Continent and a subsequent offensive.15

Ironically, the Army Air Corps was not the driving force behind ABC-1's second point on the sustained air offensive because no Army Air Corps representative was invited to take part in writing ABC-1. Instead, the inclusion of this point was the work of Air Vice-Marshal John C. Slessor of the Royal Air Force (RAF), a strong advocate of strategic bombing.16

Following the issuance of ABC-1, the Joint Army-Navy Board (a joint planning organization) directed that the joint plan called Rainbow 5 be modified to include the provisions of ABC-1. Subsequently, the joint board as well as Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox approved both ABC-1 and the modified Rainbow 5 and submitted them to Roosevelt for his approval. Although Roosevelt took no action on these plans, Stimson directed the Army to follow their provisions since they had not been explicitly disapproved.17


On 9 July 1941, Roosevelt wrote to Stimson and Knox, requesting that they develop production requirements needed to win a possible war with the Axis. The joint board, anxious to respond rapidly to his request, decided that each service would develop its own requirements, but within the guidance of ABC-1 and Rainbow 5.18

The Army General Staff War Plans Division (WPD) was tasked to develop requirements for the Army, including the Army Air Corps. However, in an audacious move that had great impact on the strategy of the war, Lt Col Harold L. George, chief of the newly created Air War Plans Division (AWPD) of the Air Staff, argued for and won the right for AWPD to develop requirements for the Army Air Corps.19

The requirements plan subsequently developed by AWPD, called AWPD-1, established the strategy that was later used in Pointblank. To analyze this strategy, one may use a simple model that breaks down strategy into three components: military objectives based on national policy, military strategic concepts (i.e., how to achieve the objectives), and military resources. The latter can be either the resources available or the resources required to carry out a military strategic concept, depending on whether the strategy is of the operational or force-development variety, respectively.20

The simplest approach for determining resource requirements was the path taken by WPD for determining those of the Army: develop force requirements comparable in size and capability to the forces then fielded by the Axis, discounted by the quantity and capability of fielded British forces. AWPD took a different approach: develop a strategy and then calculate requirements from that.21 Thus, AWPD-1 was a requirements plan based on a force-development strategy--that is, a strategy for how the war should be fought if the required resources were actually produced and available in the time frame envisioned.

National Policy Guidance

Roosevelt's letter to Secretary Stimson and Secretary Knox contained only one piece of national policy guidance: defeat potential enemies. Although vague, this directive was important because it called for military victory--not containment, deterrence, or passive defense. In addition, the joint board had directed that requirements be developed in accordance with the policies in ABC-1 and Rainbow 5, which explicitly included a provision for a sustained air offensive against Germany.22

Military Objectives

In view of the policy guidance in ABC-1 and Rainbow 5, AWPD debated the objectives of the air strategy, finally settling on three alternatives

1. Defeat Germany, then Japan, through air power alone.

2. Attempt to defeat Germany, then Japan, through air power alone; failing that, prepare the way for a land invasion of the Continent (then Japan).

3. Prepare the way for an invasion of the Continent; then defeat Germany through airland operations against the enemy army (with similar operations to follow in the Pacific).23

Army doctrine dictated the selection of the third option as the military objective for AWPD-1. On the other hand, Army Air Corps doctrine as taught at the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) and the collective heart of the members of AWPD--all former instructors at ACTS--dictated the first option as the objective.24 But the collective brain of AWPD selected the second option as the objective for the very practical reason that the AWPD members knew they could not "sell" the first option to the Army, which would have to approve AWPD-1.25 After all, half an air power loaf was better than none.

Strategic Concepts

AWPD-1 specified four air tasks to be accomplished in the postulated war:

1. Conduct a sustained . . . Air Offensive against Germany . . . to destroy [its] will and capability to continue the war and to make an invasion either unnecessary or feasible without excessive cost. . . .

2. Provide air operations in defense of the Western Hemisphere. . . .

3. Provide air operations in Pacific defense. . . .

4. Provide . . . support of the surface forces in the invasion of the Continent and for major land campaigns thereafter. Large tactical air forces would be required for this task, when the Army was ready for invasion.26

The first air task reflected the premier strategic concept that underlay AWPD-1: strategic bombardment designed to undermine the will and capability of Germany to continue the war. The fourth air task addressed another strategic concept, an invasion followed by airland operations; however, AWPD-1 did not draw on this concept for its generation of requirements. Indeed, AWPD assumed that an invasion might not be required, due to the strategic bombing campaign. If it were in fact necessary, the Allies could plan for and obtain large tactical air forces as D day drew near.27

In the 1930s the ACTS faculty, which included the four members of AWPD, enthusiastically adopted and advocated the doctrine of strategic bombardment, which was based on the following postulates:

1. Vital Targets Postulate. Modern nations need industries to produce weapons for their forces and to provide products and services to their populations. Industries contain vital targets that, if destroyed, will paralyze those industries, which in turn will undermine both the enemy's capability and will to fight.

2. Bomber Accuracy Postulate. Aircraft can deliver bombs with adequate accuracy to destroy the vital targets.

3. Bomber Invincibility Postulate. Unescorted bombers can penetrate air defenses on their way to the vital targets and not suffer unacceptable losses.28

In its search for vital targets, AWPD identified three critical German industries: (1) electric power, (2) transportation, and (3) oil. To hedge against the possibility that bombers were not invincible, AWPD members added to this list the "overriding intermediate" goal of neutralizing the Luftwaffe. AWPD then identified 154 vital targets in these four areas and decided that they should be destroyed in six months. (An otherwise detailed account of the development of AWPD-1 provides no hint of a rationale for this particular amount of time--it was apparently arbitrary.29)


Having identified vital targets, AWPD officers determined the number of bombers required to destroy the 154 targets in six months. Other calculations were performed for nonbomber aircraft, taking into consideration the required number of bombers and the nonbombing air tasks that had to be performed. However, there was one type of aircraft for which they did not calculate requirements--the escort fighter. After all, their doctrine told them that they did not need this aircraft.30 Nevertheless, following a discussion of German air defenses, AWPD planners did include the following statement in AWPD-1 regarding escort fighters:

Consideration of all these factors leads to the conclusion, that by employing large numbers of aircraft with high speed, good defensive firepower, and high altitude, it is feasible to make deep penetrations into Germany in daylight [emphasis in original].

It is believed that the degree of reliability of conducting sustained offensive air operations would be greatly enhanced by development of an escort fighter.31

The four men of AWPD completed AWPD-1 in nine days. To their relief, both Gen George C. Marshall and Secretary Stimson approved AWPD-1 in September 1941. Why? According to historian Michael Sherry,

the general staff still believed that destruction of the enemy's ground armies was the only sure path to victory. But doubts about the survival of Britain and Russia ran large in the War Department, making a land invasion of the Continent seem remote at best: hence even conservative officers acknowledged the imperative of first weakening Germany by bombing. Strategy, then, along with Roosevelt's wishes about how to fight the war, made the War Department amenable to a vision of air war that would have seemed . . . fanciful a few years earlier.32

The Victory Program and the Leak

Roosevelt incorporated the AWPD-1 requirements, along with those of the Army land forces and the Navy, into his so-called Victory Program. Public opinion at the time seemed to favor an increase in defense production because it was good for the economy. But on 4 December 1941, the entire Victory Program plan (classified Secret), including the AWPD-1 objectives and target lists, was leaked to the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Times-Herald by Sen Burton Wheeler, who had obtained it from a source within the Air Corps. Wheeler and both newspapers were staunchly isolationist and believed that public exposure to the plan would prove Roosevelt's intention to lead the nation to war.33 However, public outcry over the plan was silenced three days later by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the most part, Congress funded the Victory Program, thus providing the resources for the eventual Pointblank campaign.34

German agents in the US quickly cabled the plan to Berlin, where the German General Staff immediately recognized its importance. On 12 December, Hitler issued his "F-hrer Directive 39" in reaction to the Victory Program. This directive called for massing air defenses around key German industrial targets, increasing attacks in the Atlantic to prevent US forces from reaching Europe, and assuming the strategic defensive on the Eastern Front. Fortunately for the future Allied war effort, after visiting the Eastern Front and witnessing setbacks there, Hitler angrily and irrationally rescinded Directive 39 on 16 December, thereby minimizing the damage done by Wheeler's security leak.35


An updated requirements plan called AWPD-42 was completed under the direction of Brig Gen Haywood S. Hansell in September 1942. This plan envisioned a combined bomber offensive involving daylight attacks by the Army Air Forces and night attacks by the RAF.36 Like AWPD-1, AWPD-42 did not call for escort fighters; unlike AWPD-1, it did not even mention the need to develop these aircraft. Instead, the plan presented this optimistic assessment:

With our present types of well armed and armored [unescorted] bombers, and through skillful employment of great masses, it is possible to penetrate the known and projected defenses of Europe and the Far East without reaching a loss-rate which would prevent our waging a sustained offensive.37

Even though AWPD-1 and AWPD-42 had been approved as production requirements plans only, the US Eighth Air Force accepted them as authoritative strategic plans until January 1943, when Roosevelt and Churchill met with their Combined Chiefs of Staff at Casablanca, Morocco, to discuss Allied strategy.38 This group produced a document known as the "Casablanca directive," drafted by Air Vice-Marshal Slessor and approved by the principals at the conference. Like ABC-1, the Casablanca directive called for a sustained air offensive and stated that its purpose was

to bring about the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where the capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened.39


In response to the Casablanca directive, a team began developing the Pointblank operations plan, which--unlike AWPD-1 and AWPD-42--had to be based on existing capabilities. The general Pointblank strategy differed from that of AWPD-1 in only one respect: like AWPD-42, it called for the RAF to continue bombing enemy cities at night. Daylight precision bombing, in accordance with AWPD-1 principles and ACTS doctrine, was to be the mission of the Army Air Forces.40

The final Pointblank operations plan retained as an "overriding intermediate" objective the neutralization of German fighter strength but changed other target types and priorities of AWPD-1 and AWPD-42 in accordance with the latest operations analysis. Following its presentation by Gen Ira C. Eaker, commander of Eighth Air Force, the plan was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington on 20 April 1943.Sup>41 Sometime between this date and final approval of the Pointblank plan by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the Trident Conference in Washington on 18 May 1943, the combined chiefs made a one-sentence addition to the Casablanca directive, which--to American and British airmen--changed its entire thrust:

To accomplish the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial, and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened. This is construed as meaning so weakened as to permit initiation of final combined operations on the Continent [emphasis added].42

According to General Hansell, for the combined chiefs, "the real objective of the bombing offensive was making possible an invasion of the Continent," whereas the airmen thought that "`Fatal weakening' meant impending collapse of the entire German state, not simply a breach in the coast defenses of France."43

Campaign Results

The Pointblank campaign began in May 1943, but inclement weather, heavier-than-anticipated attrition of unescorted bombers, diversions of bombers from Pointblank to other operations, and changes in targets by the Combined Chiefs of Staff all hampered the initial effort. In particular, heavy losses from fighter attacks soon proved that bombers were definitely not invincible, so that a high priority was given to fielding escort fighters.44 Consequently, full-scale bombing operations did not get under way until February 1944, and operations uninterrupted by diversions to other missions did not commence until September 1944, well after the Overlord invasion in June.45

Nevertheless, Pointblank was successful in achieving the neutralization of the Luftwaffe prior to the initiation of Overlord. Much of this success was due to the addition of long-range escort fighters to the bomber formations and the resultant attrition of German fighters and their pilots, something not envisioned in AWPD-1 or AWPD-42.46 The diary of German fighter pilot Heinz Knoke reflects the effect on the Luftwaffe:

Once again Division Control reports those blasted concentrations in sector Dora-Dora. . . .

This report has now come to have a different significance for us: it is a reminder that, for the moment, we are still alive. . . .

Every time I close the canopy before taking off, I feel that I am closing the lid of my own coffin. . . .

Every day seems an eternity. There is nothing now; only our operations which are hell, and then more waiting--that nerve-racking waiting for the blow which inevitably must fall, sooner or later.47

Though controversial, both the US Strategic Bombing Survey and Albert Speer, Hitler's armaments minister, thought that Pointblank's post-Overlord operations were "decisive," especially in their effects on oil and transportation. According to Speer,

I shall never forget the date May 12 [1944]. On that day the technological war was decided. . . . With the attack . . . of the American Eighth Air Force upon several fuel plants . . . a new era in the air war began. . . . It meant the end of German armaments production.48

The US Strategic Bombing Survey had this to say about transportation:

The attack on transportation was the decisive blow that completely disorganized the German economy. It reduced war production in all categories and made it difficult to move what was produced to the front.49

Yet, one must note that the term decisive is misleading if it is taken to mean that strategic air power was all that was necessary to win the war. In actuality, air power was not employed alone in World War II, so there is no empirical evidence on what its solitary impact might have been. All we know is that it had considerable impact in combination with the Soviet land campaign on the Eastern Front and the Allied Overlord invasion in the west. The following passage from the Strategic Bombing Survey shows that decisive in context meant something like made a major contribution:

Allied air power was decisive in the war in Western Europe. Hindsight inevitably suggests that it might have been employed differently or better in some respects. Nevertheless, it was decisive. In the air, its victory was complete. At sea, its contribution, combined with naval power, brought an end to the enemy's greatest naval threat--the U-boat; on land, it helped turn the tide overwhelmingly in favor of Allied ground forces. Its power and superiority made possible the success of the invasion [emphasis added].50

Superior air power was, then, a necessary--but not sufficient--condition of Allied victory in Europe in World War II. Air power alone could not guarantee victory, but neither could the Allies have won without it.


Three major lessons can be drawn from this analysis of Pointblank and its foundations in strategy and policy. None of these lessons are about policies and strategies per se. Instead, they are primarily lessons about the processes of policy and strategy formulation.

Multiple Roles of the President

The first and most important lesson for national security decision makers and military strategists alike is the impact of the threefold nature of the presidency. Because the president is the head of his political party, head of the executive branch of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces, the Clausewitzian notion that national defense and politics are inextricably intertwined is an inescapable truth in our government. As with early air power theory and its related national policies and strategic concepts, many politicians--including the president--embrace or oppose policies and strategies for all the wrong reasons, from a military or national security point of view. Conversely, many strategists do not consider political factors when devising strategy, forgetting that the president is more than commander in chief. For example, domestic politics and economics, the desires of an ally, and relatively uninformed public opinion all played major roles in the formulation of national security policy and strategy for Pointblank.

This lesson is certainly not new, but it is often wished away by military strategists and inadequately recognized by civilians who are influential or have a hand in making national security policy. Mutual recognition and accommodation must be a feature of both the policy-making and strategy formulation processes; otherwise, substantial disconnects may result, to the detriment of national security.

Panacea Strategies

From 1932 until at least 1941, the Roosevelt administration was searching for a military strategy that would (1) be popular with the public, (2) be relatively inexpensive, (3) have a low public profile, (4) result in low casualties, and (5) produce quick victory with minimum effort--in other words, a "panacea" strategy. Although most of the upper levels of the War Department held a more realistic view of strategy, AWPD planners and their superiors in the Air Staff had not only conducted a similar search for a panacea strategy, but thought they had found it.

The fact that the Pointblank campaign turned out well--at least according to the Strategic Bombing Survey and Albert Speer--has led some subsequent policymakers and strategists to continue the search for panacea strategies and to continue to think that air power alone might provide one. This way of thinking was certainly true of the Rolling Thunder campaign in Vietnam and appeared to be evident in some quarters with regard to Operation Desert Storm. It seems clear, however, that the real lesson of World War II was that neither air power nor land power alone but the combination of both was responsible for the defeat of Germany.

In the final analysis, panacea strategies are invalid because they address only "war on paper." In real warfare, fog and friction ensure that there are no effective panacea strategies, and the principle of mass dictates that, where possible, we apply both air power and land power against the enemy's center of gravity.

Strategies of Doctrine

Another important lesson of Pointblank is that strategies do not spring into being as detached, rational solutions to objectively perceived military problems. Rather, they are formulated to respond to subjectively perceived problems and tend to be constructed of existing military doctrines. Therefore, strategies are not necessarily rational in the sense of having been optimized for the situation at hand, a phenomenon addressed by Graham Allison in his organizational-process model.

Allison maintains that in order for organizations such as government departments to make decisions on and carry out complex policies, strategies, or plans, they must use a previously established standard procedure or an authoritative statement of the way things are done in the organization (i.e., a doctrine).51 Especially under the pressures of time, an organization tasked to develop a policy, strategy, or plan will use available doctrines as building blocks, even if these doctrines are not completely in consonance with the actual strategic situation. The resultant doctrinal strategy may therefore contain small or large flaws that will have to be addressed during execution of the strategy if it is to succeed.

In AWPD-1 and AWPD-42, the lack of escort fighters was a doctrine-based flaw that the Air Corps, fortunately, was able to rectify during the execution of Pointblank. Both common sense and the wartime experience of the Luftwaffe and RAF should have pointed to a need for escort fighters. However, the doctrine of the Air Corps Tactical School said that bombers could always get through unescorted, and the authors of AWPD-1 and AWPD-42 were steeped in that doctrine. The point here is that because decision making is based in an organizational process, correct strategies depend on correct doctrines. Strategists should be in the forefront of those people who try to ensure that doctrines are based on experience, are realistic, and are up-to-date. Otherwise, their efforts are bound to be flawed and prone to failure.


The lessons of Pointblank are about the processes of national security policy-making and the formulation of military strategy. Unfortunately, many texts and educational programs, as well as most "shoptalk," seem to focus on the product of these processes: the policies and strategies themselves. There is no doubt that studying historical national security products is a valuable endeavor for policymakers and strategists. But the foregoing analysis of Pointblank demonstrates a like need to study the processes involved, for the simple reason that a policymaker or strategist who uses a faulty process or misunderstands the nature of the process will have difficulty turning out a product that is not equally faulty.


1. Michael S. Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987), 22, 29.

2. Ibid., 35.

3. Ibid., 49, 61-62.

4. Orville H. Bullitt, ed., For the President, Personal and Secret: Correspondence between Franklin D. Roosevelt and William C. Bullitt (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), 288.

5. Sherry, 76.

6. Quoted in Telford Taylor, Munich: The Price of Peace (New York: Doubleday, 1979), 849.

7. Sherry, 79.

8. Harold L. Ickes, The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes (New York: Doubleday, 1954), 2: 469.

9. H. H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York: Harper, 1949), 177.

10. Sherry, 79.

11. Arnold, 179.

12. Quoted in John Morton Blum, From the Morgenthau Diaries, vol. 2, Years of Urgency, 1938-1941 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965), 118.

13. Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Rendezvous with Destiny (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1990), 260, 301, 321.

14. Sherry, 81-82.

15. Haywood S. Hansell, Jr., The Air Plan That Defeated Hitler (Atlanta: Higgins-McArthur/Longino and Porter, 1972), 58-59.

16. Haywood S. Hansell, Jr., The Strategic Air War against Germany and Japan: A Memoir (Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1986), 28-29.

17. Louis Morton, "Germany First: The Basic Concept of Allied Strategy in World War II," in Command Decisions, ed. Kent Roberts Greenfield (Washington, D.C.: Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1960), 37.

18. Hansell, Air Plan, 61.

19. Ibid., 65-66.

20. Arthur F. Lykke, Jr., "Toward an Understanding of Military Strategy," in Military Strategy Analysis--SF 613 Readings: Book 2, ed. William P. Snyder (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War College, 1990), 1-3.

21. Hansell, Air Plan, 62-63, 72-78.

22. Hansell, Strategic Air War, 30-32.

23. Hansell, Air Plan, 73.

24. Ibid., 30-40, 63; and James C. Gaston, Planning the American Air War: Four Men and Nine Days in 1941 (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1982), 2-3.

25. Hansell, Air Plan, 75-76.

26. Ibid., 76-77.

27. Ibid., 77.

28. Hansell, Strategic Air War, 7, 10.

29. Hansell, Air Plan, 80, 84-85.

30. Ibid., 15-18, 86-88.

31. AWPD-1 (1941), United States Air Force Historical Research Center document no. 145.82-1, Maxwell AFB, Ala., tab 1, "Intelligence," 12.

32. Sherry, 100.

33. Gaston, 97-98.

34. Freidel, 392.

35. Gaston, 100-103.

36. Hansell, Air Plan, 100, 102.

37. AWPD-42 (1942), Special Collections, Air University Library, Maxwell AFB, Ala., part 4, "Report," 5.

38. Hansell, Air Plan, 144.

39. Ibid., 153.

40. Ibid., 151

41. Ibid., 153-55, 158-63, 168.

42. Ibid., 168.

43. Ibid., 170, 171.

44. William R. Emerson, Operation Pointblank: A Tale of Bombers and Fighters, The Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History, no. 4 (Colorado Springs, Colo.: United States Air Force Academy, 1962), 33; and Herman S. Wolk, Strategic Bombing: The American Experience (Manhattan, Kans.: MA/AH Publishing, 1981), 22.

45. Hansell, Air Plan, 180-92.

46. Ibid., 208-9.

47. Heinz Knoke, trans. John Ewing, I Flew for the F-hrer: The Story of a German Airman (London: Evans Brothers, 1953), 143, 167.

48. Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich (New York: Macmillan, 1970), 346.

49. The United States Strategic Bombing Surveys (1945-1946; reprint, Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Press, October 1987), 30.

50. Ibid., 37.

51. Graham T. Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1971), 67-68.


Col George E. ("Ed") Crowder, Jr. (USAFA; MSSM, University of Southern California; MS, Air Force Institute of Technology), is deputy commander, 416th Operations Group, 416th Wing, Griffiss AFB, New York. He has served in a variety of flying and staff assignments in Strategic Air Command and the Pentagon. Colonel Crowder is a graduate of Air War College.


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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