Thought for the day

"Everything went strictly ‘by the book,’ using means that were permitted by the constitution. At first there were ‘emergency decrees’ by the president of the Reich, and later a bill was passed by a two-thirds majority of the Reichstag giving the government unlimited legislative powers, perfectly in accordance with the rules for changing the constitution." -- Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler (paperback, Kindle, audiobook)

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Air warfare was by no means an invention of World War I. Already during the Napoleonic Wars and the Franco-Prussian conflict of 1870–1871, balloons were used for observation and propaganda distribution.

 

The planes were used for bombing missions during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912. Nevertheless, aerial warfare during World War I marked a break with these previous examples. This was the first conflict during which aircraft were extensively involved and played an important role.

 

At the start of the war, the usefulness of air machines was met with a certain amount of skepticism by senior officers on all sides. In fact, airplanes were mostly involved in observation missions during the first year of the conflict.

 

However, rapid progress enhanced the performance of the airplane. In 1915, Dutch aircraft maker Anthony Fokker, who was working for the Germans, perfected a French invention that caused machine-gun fire through a propeller.

 

This discovery had a revolutionary result: the creation of fighter planes. This type of aircraft gave the Germans an edge during 1915.