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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 3, No. 4. 1940

An American Guesstimate

An American Guesstimate

"My friend Major +Alfred Williams, who is known to all in British aviation as one of the world's finest pilots, and formerly as one of the atar aviators of the United States Navy, and now writes a daily piece in the Scripps-Howard chain of newspapers in the States, whose circulation runs into millions, has his own theories on this subject. (Heavy bombing of civilian populations) Says he:

'The air forces see some action, just enough to keep them aware that they are training for the big test - if and when it comes. Air casualties so far have not been high enough to do more than inspire flying men to deeds of glory. An acrobatic contest that had run as long as this war has been on would likely have shown a comparable death list.

There are enough bombers in Europe right now to stop the intricate community machinery without which we cannot live huddled together in millions.

The true role of air power is to stop this machinery and thus break the will of a people to fight. Without electricity, water, sewerage, communications, heat and light, a modern community becomes uninhabitable and a centre of pestilence and epidemic.

Why haven't these bombers been turned loose? Is it because the political leaders of this age are more humano than, those of 1914-18? Certainly not I They planned and effected continued mass bombardment of civilian and industrial centres in the last war. But terrible as the results were, the machinery couldn't hold a candle to the power of the modem bombers. And they know that the heads of politicians fall in the trail of destruction these modem wings can create.

Don't believe them when they tell you the bombers cannot get through the anti-aircraft and single seater defences. Operating on heckling ratios, they have gotten through, even though only a dozen at a time have tried There are thousands of bombers, and only a few hundreds need break through to stop London, Paris or Berlin. It seems man has at last built a Frankenstein he dare not use. There is revolution and government breakdown in the wake of its use.

This is the war airmen have predicted would put every government official and politician on the firing line in more ways than one. Think this over - in more ways than one. If the British didn't fear reprisal, they would go to it right now. So would the Germans. This is a hard war to keep going. It is not a holy war, neither is it an emotional war. It's a short order war, a calculated economic war. A slip of mass psychology either way can end it... either way.

There is another intricate factor. The Western nations of Europe fear Communism, and Communism is the finale to breakdown of Government. And, by strange paradox, Communism in Germany means Imminent throat to France and England. Turn Europe's air power loose and this unparalleled type of war would end in a few hours. But it's to the end that the political leaders of all three nations are looking. Invoke the ending of an all-out air war, and you have revolution, and revolution means that the heads of politicians will roll.

Each group wants victory, but not at the risk of losing their heads. In lieu of a more logical reason, this is my answer as to the refusal to turn air power loose.

God grant that this fear may effect a restraint that reason could never achieve."