Strategic Air Raids and Nuclear Bombing of Japan
World War II was a war of unprecedented feats and military actions. Never before had two global superpowers faced off and clashed in predominately ocean-based warfare. In addition, the tremendous focus on air power and supremacy was unique to the modern warfare tactics of World War II. In the end, America’s military expansion and strategy of systematically bombing Japanese cities and military targets was successful, although it did lead to the controversial decision to drop the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities.
While America’ s attention was directed primarily towards the escalating war in Europe against Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, an unexpected blow to the U.S. military force in the Pacific suddenly mobilized the country to war. The unforeseen and devastating attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941 pushed the US off the cliff of neutrality into the savage waters of war. In response to the crisis at his hands, Roosevelt ordered the creation of tens of thousands of aircraft. However, the US initially did not possess more than 5500 aircraft due to the recovering economy and isolationist politics leading up to the war.(Madison) A transformation therefore occurred in which the US economy became wholly devoted to supporting the war effort. In addition, America’s strategy concerning its air production changed significantly due to the observed superiority of European aircraft power and abundance. The shift to aerial warfare incited the US to increase its production steadily from 12,000 aircraft annually in 1941 to 96,000 in 1944.(Madison) An increase in manpower accompanied this expansion and the number of Air Corps personnel rose precipitously from 43,000 in 1939 to 300,000 by the Pearl Harbor attacks.(Madison) With this augmentation of personnel and aircraft, the Air Corps developed into the US Army Air Forces, which was the coequal of the Army Ground Forces and Army...
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