Essay on The United States Air Force

1768 Words Nov 22nd, 2016 8 Pages
These two quotes from the leaders who brought the United States Air Force (USAF) through its coming of age and into the Cold War present an interesting view of how the United States perceived its recently forged air “weapon.” General Arnold was the last commander of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and spent a long and distinguished career pursuing an independent air force, without which “there can be no national security.” General Spaatz was the first Chief of Staff of the air force that Arnold envisioned. Coincident with its creation the USAF and Spaatz were immediately thrust into a fight for survival and resources in a time of massive post-war drawdown, while simultaneously facing the potential for a third world war employing devastating new weapons. As a tool to maintain independence and garner precious resources, the USAF sold itself as being the sole service capable of delivering the new nuclear weapon. The advent of nuclear power and the fear of escalatory war with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and to a lesser degree China, guided politicians for the next 45 years. The need to prove that independent airpower was requisite for national security, and was the only force capable of dealing with the cataclysmic forces unleashed by the nuclear weapon, guided the manner in which military leaders employed airpower throughout the Cold War. Whilst air power in the Cold War is generally depicted in the form of a B-52 dropping massive…

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