Segments in this Video

Modern American Military Aviation (03:00)


The United States Air Force is the largest in the world, becoming an independent branch of the military in 1947. Strategic bombers and fighter bombers make up the front line. Supporting forces include a tanker fleet and tactical aircraft.

English Aviation (04:10)

The strategic bomber developed during World War I, triggering the formation of the Royal Air Force. The Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany from having heavy weaponry; European militaries reduced defenses. Winston Churchill implemented Air Control to police the British Empire; Hugh Trenchard asserted the bomber as imperative to winning wars.

Italian Enthusiasm and American Reluctance (03:49)

Giulio Douhet influenced Benito Mussolini’s formation of the Italian Air force in 1923. In hopes of creating an American branch, Billy Mitchell demonstrated aerial bombing accuracy on captured warships; the United States Navy expanded their aerial arm. The Army Air Corps developed the B-17 Flying Fortress long-range bomber.

Navy Aerial Advancements (04:55)

During World War I, the British debuted the Aircraft Carrier; France produced the Bearn. The Washington Naval Conference in 1921-22 restricted warship size and capacity; oversized ships were converted to carriers. The Arrestor Wire reduced accidents; catapults launched planes, enabling warships to utilize reconnaissance craft.

Peacetime Aviation: Pace (04:04)

During the 1920s, Air Forces performed shows; Trenchard established the Hendon Air Pageant. The Schneider Trophy inspired speed developments; in 1929, the British S-6 Monoplane set a new airspeed record. In 1931, John Boothman flew a solo race; economics prevented other countries from participating.

Peacetime Aviation: Endurance (03:26)

John Alcott and Arthur Witten Brown flew a Vickers Vimy bomber nonstop across the Atlantic in 1919; John Polando and Russell Boardman flew 5000 miles in 1931. In-air refueling techniques developed in the twenties; in January 1929, Carl Spatz and Ira Eaker flew nonstop in a Fokker C-2 for 150 hours.

Nazi Ambition (05:28)

Bomber and warfare conduct were restricted by disarmament conferences in Hague and Geneva, and by the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, and expanded its military forces, secretly developing the Luftwaffe with Hermann Goring, Erhard Milch, and Ernst Udet.

World War Precipice: Conflicts (09:13)

In the 1930s, the United States Army Corps developed all-metal bombers, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia with poisonous gas bombs, and the Spanish Civil War broke out in Morocco. In April 1937, Guernica was devastated by Heinkel and Junkers; the Japanese sunk USS Panay, triggering United States support of China.

World War Precipice: Arms Race (08:47)

Hitler formed the Luftwaffe to threaten European neighbors and support ground warfare; they developed the Blitzkrieg. British and French air forces were inferior; they procured American Curtiss Hawk 75 and Lockheed Hudson fighters. Britain implemented coastal radar stations; during summer 1939, the Graf Zeppelin II flew over them for reconnaissance.

World War Precipice: Final Preparations (03:01)

The United States developed the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in 1935; the French purchased Curtiss P-40 Warhawks. In December 1939, Germany readied to invade Poland; Luftwaffe bombers prepared to attack.

Credits: The Shadow Of The Bomber (00:43)

Credits: The Shadow Of The Bomber

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Century Of Flight: The Shadow Of The Bomber

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This episode of Century of Flight examines the development of global power Air Forces between World War I and World War II. Study efforts to disarm Germany and create peace at the Geneva Convention; learn how Hitler secretly formed the Luftwaffe, which carried out terrifying Blitzkriegs. See technological developments in speed and endurance, and of anti-aircraft defenses such as radar.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185486

ISBN: 978-1-64623-961-0

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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