The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces

The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces

by Linda R. Robertson

Hardcover(New Edition)

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The Dream of Civilized Warfare: World War I Flying Aces by Linda R. Robertson

Linda R. Robertson argues that the development of the United States as a global military power arose from the influence of an image of air combat carefully constructed during World War I to mask the sordid realities of modern ground warfare. The Dream of Civilized Warfare carries this trajectory to its logical end, tracing the long history of the American desire to exert the nation's will throughout the world without having to risk the lives of ground soldiers-a theme that continues to reverberate in public discussions, media portrayals, and policy decisions today.Histories of American air power usually focus on World War II, when the air force became the foundation for the military strength of the United States. The equally fascinating story of World War I air combat is often relegated to a footnote, but it was the earlier war that first inspired the vision of the United States attaining dominance in world affairs through a massive air force. In The Dream of Civilized Warfare, Robertson presents the compelling story of the creation of the first American air force-and how, through the propaganda of the flying ace, a vision of "clean" or civilized combat was sold to politicians and the public. During World War I, air combat came to epitomize American ingenuity, technological superiority, adventure, leadership, and teamwork. Robertson reveals how the romantic and chivalric imagery associated with flying aces was a product of intentional propaganda and popular culture. Examining aviation history, military battles, films, literature, and political events, she looks at how the American public's imagination was shaped-how flying aces offered not only a symbol of warfare in stark contrast to the muddy, brutal world of the trenches, but also a distraction to an American public resistant to both intervention in a European conflict and the new practice of conscription. Linda R. Robertson is professor and director of the Media and Society program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816642700
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 10/08/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 5.88(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Part I.America Looks to the Skies
1."We Were Dealing with a Miracle" The Fantasy of Air Power3
2."Did You Ever Buy a Pig in a Poke?" Promoting the Military Aviation Appropriation Bill27
3.A Matter of Class51
Part II.The Images of the Ace
4."They Made Grand Copy" Origins of the Images of the Ace87
5.Casus Belli War as Melodrama115
6.Civilized Warfare and the Gentleman-Knight155
7.Mechanized Warfare and the Man195
8."The Man Is Alone" Free Lance and Lone Wolf231
9.The Sporting Life267
Part III.Death and Transfiguration
10."As Swimmers into Cleanness Leaping" Primitive Instinct, Civilized Character, and the Hero's Fate305
11.American Pilots as Symbols of American Democracy339
12.Death Wears a Romantic Mask361
Epilogue: Democratizing War401

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