World War I (WWI) refers an international conflict that was mainly based in the continental Europe, and spanned from mid-1914 to late-1918. The conflict engaged all the great nations of the world, apparently grouped into two rival alliances; the Allies which mainly included France and Britain, and the Central Powers mainly involving Germany and Italy. Human casualty rate was particularly high due to technological inventions, such as the lethal use of warplanes. Primary causes of the conflict entailed imperial, territorial, as well as economic quests of the leading European powers, mainly involving the German, British and Russian Empires. The killing of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 proved to be the ultimate trigger of the battle. The US was reportedly unsuccessful in inventing an airplane model of it’s own during the war, but still the battle –presented its underdeveloped airplane industry with the basic momentum, alongside groundwork to stabilize from. World War I (WWI)
Even though the war started in Europe, it eventually spread to almost every corner of the world. The era that preceded the conflict involved intricate diplomatic deals, alongside political alliances. Nevertheless, experts have collectively concurred about the battles aftermaths, such as that it eventually prompted the Second World War besides establishing the ground for other numerous significant proceedings of the twentieth century. Official estimates suggest that above 40 million people perished during the war under diverse circumstances but mainly combat, and epidemics such as diseases inflicted by the hostile environments of war. Political hostility was particularly at its peak in Europe over the early twentieth-century. While abroad, the same nations were gradually fuming up due to the acquirement of new territories. Moreover, the conventional Turkish-based Ottoman Empire was eventually falling apart, and the various ethnic people of Austria-Hungary, motivated by the emerging southern European states, started to struggle for their respective liberty.
Furthermore, European technological as well as industrial growths were evolving at an extraordinary pace. According to History SparkNotes (1-2), martial technology was particularly leading, although terrific battle involving the modern armaments was both dreaded and perceived as inevitable. Eventually, the First World War proved to be an exhibition of modern technologies, which consequently altered the nature, speed, along with aftermaths of war over the prospective years. Airplanes, tanks, trains, trucks, as well as submarines came to dictate combat tactics since they guaranteed efficiency. While chemical combat was initially vastly practiced, and resulted in horrible consequences alongside global criticism. Its results further ended the pragmatic imperialism in Europe, and the global European dominancy. Major European states progressively adopted the democratic system of administration, as socialism gained fame. Finally, the hostility of war alongside the mass deaths triggered a new affinity among states to opt for diplomacy in settling disagreements in the following years. Role played by airplanes during WWI
WWI was the first one, in which airplanes were deployed on large scale. Tethered surveillance balloons had conventionally been applied in numerous conflicts, and were consequently utilized to locate enemy weapons. Germany particularly used Zeppelins for surveillance as well tactical bombing of the North Sea region of England. Airplanes, primarily reserved for reconnaissance, had just been introduced to facilitate combat activities incidentally by the onset of the war. Pilots as well as technicians through familiarity designed various superior models ranging from bombers, ground-attack airplanes and fighters. Notably, Fighter pilots were cherished as contemporary knights, and embraced as public heroes. The battle further witnessed the assignment of top officers to overlook the belligerent states air war strategies. Whereas the influence of airplane in the course of conflict was still inadequate, various new ideas would were merged in prospective wars. The aviation industry
Airplanes were originally deployed in late 1911 by the Italians during the Italo-Turkish War particularly in Libya for surveillance purposes, then later for dropping missiles, as well as aerial photography. They were afterwards applied for ground attack, and to eliminate opponent planes, anti-aircraft artillery, and these trends were eventually adjusted to design fighter airplanes. Tactical bombers were developed mainly by the British, alongside the Germans, even though the latter also invented Zeppelins. Over the last period of the war, airplanes with HMS Furious attacking Sopwith Camels were also introduced by the Allies, in an operation to wipe out the Zeppelin base at Tondern. Surveillance balloons floating deep within the trenches were often utilized as immobile reconnaissance bases, monitoring rival activities besides directing missiles.
Highly valued as observation points, balloons represented major targets for enemy air raids, and hence were tightly guarded by antiaircraft guns as well as monitored by Allied aircrafts. Eventually the surveillance purpose of balloons alongside blimps led to the emergence of air-to-air conflict among all models of aircraft, along with the trench standoff, considering the fact it was impractical to shift vast groups of troops unobserved. The Germans carried out persistent air attacks on British territories between 1915 and 1916 supported by airships, with the aim of demoralizing British confidence, besides diverting enemy airplanes from the combat front lines. US participation in WWI
Aviation was one of the major challenges during war mobilization. Even though the US was the first country to fly an airplane, the sector had stalled mainly because of disagreements concerning patent rights. In 1916 when European nations were dogged in aerial armament contests, the US troops along with its only aerial unit, using the first Aero Squadron, were being engaged by the Mexican activist, Pancho Villa, over its hilly southwestern region. The squadron reportedly outfitted with the finest of the federal military, six Curtiss JN-2, proved to be irrelevant as America’s ground-breaking warplane (History SparkNotes 1-2). When the impact of the aerial unit was assessed after the operation, it was noted that with adequate scheming, an aerial arm might be of indispensable assistance to the ground wings. The federal administration hence unveiled a commission to research on how to advance military aviation.
Nonetheless, the commission faced many challenges since the government selected various distinctive bodies, such as the Signal Corp and Aircraft Production Board, with equal powers in decision making, and none of them was ready to approve other ideas. The federal was also badly in need of a stable industrial infrastructure to jumpstart the sector as opposed to the dozen airplane industries with a maximum of 10,000 accomplished personnel. To ensure growth towards the right direction, Congress assigned resources for the sector to endorse growth, besides spearheading accords that permitted patents to be acquired by rival companies, thus terminating the patent standoff involving the Wright Company and the airplane society. Progressively, the Signal Corps created an aerial unit that later became the US Air Service (USAS). The country was also urgently in need of brilliant aircraft designers such as Anthony Fokker and Luis Blériot, to assist in devising a modern warplane. The US Air Service (USAS)
The USAS prepared the foundation for US Air Force during as well as after the First World War. Even though the Europe conflicts forced Congress to particularly improve funding for the Signal Corps in1916, it later introduced a bill that required the aviation unit to integrate all facets of military aviation. The early 1917 affirmation of combat against Germany also forced the US to find amicable solutions to the prevailing engineering and manufacturing challenges. The government further formed a consultative Aircraft Production Board made up by members of the Army, Navy, as well as the sector to assess the Europeans’ fortunes in aircraft sector and to upgrade the aircraft devices. After the US formerly joined the conflict, the Allies volunteered their aircraft models to guide the sector. However, the English-model De Havilland DH-4 became the only US-assembled aircraft to partake in the war. The country also exhibited a shortage of pilots and technicians, since in absence of modern warplanes and familiarity; they were unable to edify themselves in war skills.
Nonetheless, contracts were negotiated with the Allies late in 1917 and various contingents of pilots were trained at flying centers in France alongside Italy. The earliest US squadrons were by April 1918 ready for duty and were posted in France around Toul, where they could ease to duty when called upon. By June 1918, intelligence alleged that the Germans were planning an attack on Chateau-Thierry, hence the US ground units were ordered to resist the advance. The USAS headed by the military Commander Colonel Billy Mitchell also combined a couple of squadrons to form the First Pursuit Group (FPG), to assist the ground troops. However, the Germans with numerous superior and experienced squadrons expectedly overwhelmed the amateur Americans in hired, old Nieuports. Although, the Americans were up to the challenge and were never demoralized, and later under the command of Mitchell as well as the help from Allied powers, proved victorious in assisting to thwart the German invasion, though with considerable losses.
By September 1918, Mitchell headed about 1,500 squadrons from all the Allied countries which presented the best aerial wing of the conflict. Halting the Pershing’s approach at Saint-Mihiel, Mitchell deployed around three-quarters of the unit directly to provide support for ground contingents, while the rest concentrated in bombing enemy points on the back line, in an attempt to destabilize Germany’s determination on the battle front. The USAS recorded a successful performance, as Mitchell’s squadrons held air dominancy as well as witnessed at least 60 victories, and in the process assisted the ground force to recapture the region, following the 1914 German incursion. The USAS generally by the conclusion of the war in 1918 had relied on around 45 airplanes to cover about 137 kilometers, whereas 71 pilots were endorsed for bombing an average of five German airplanes during the war. Financial, economic, and production issues of the US airplane industry
The US was notably, unsuccessful in designing airplanes of its own throughout the First World War era. Nonetheless, the experience guaranteed momentum for the developing sector and offered numerous aircraft companies a lifeline. Financial issues
According to Hare (1), The US entered WWI under the vow that it would rock German skies using the best aerial squadron in existence, and consequently backed the assurance with about $600 million. However, as opponents alleged, after the conclusion of the war, the US only exhibited 196 home assembled airplanes in the European battle Front, thus rendering the incentive subject to various federal enquiries concerning misuse of huge resources. Besides the 196 DH-4’s machines, the country had about 270 aircrafts designed for its training units, 323 under supply bases, and 2000 pending consignment to the western front. Generally, about 3540 fighter airplanes had been manufactured alongside around 6000 training models. While a minimum of 1400 warplanes were acquired from Europe. Even though the amount seemed impressive, it was arguably a shortfall considering the financial backup that was awarded to the sector and a maximum of 2000 airplanes that were in record by July 1918. Economic issues
Following the declaration of war, America never even attempted to deploy its enormous resource potential in the European war (Hare 1). Instead, it opted to preserve its manpower that reportedly exceeded those of all the other nations that took part in the combat. This allowed the US to concentrate on its emerging industrial supremacy, which progressively surpassed the impasse as well as squalor of the draining battle, and eventually boosted the Allies to defeat Germany. Besides being a modern and efficient weapon, the airplane had been originally invented in the US, by its citizens. Supported with progress in other economic sectors during the Great War era, it emerged as the countries greatest input to the WWI operation. Production issues
Most American aircraft production during the WWI era was tailored on the development of training airplanes of the Britain model, De Havilland DH-4 fighters, besides airplane equipments. Prior to the mass manufacturing, the US channeled its resources on invention of a specific European aircraft. Early in 1917, the defense department dispatched the Bolling Commission to Europe to appraise the sector and choose a specific airplane model to be adopted by the country. They opted for British DH-4, apparently invented by Geoffrey de Havilland as reported by History SparkNotes (1-2).Federal law during the era recommended that the administration must not solely depend on private producers to supply their aircraft equipments.
This accordingly resulted in formation of the Philadelphia based Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF) by 1971 to invent and manufacture wartime airplanes besides putting private companies in costs alongside profit check. Although the private sector attempted to thwart its development, the NAF efficiently invented and manufactured a variety of naval airplanes such as the Curtiss H-16s, flying boats and corresponding spare parts. Apart from the development exhibited by the established aircraft industries, a range of emerging manufacturers sprung up throughout the war era, including the Dayton-Wright Company, the Lewis and Vought, and the Aero Corporation. A total of 31 airplane companies were recorded at the end of the conflict in 1919. Nonetheless at its best, wartime service was estimated at 175,000, while manufacturers produced at the level of above 12,000 airplanes annually by the conclusion of the war. Conclusion
Finally, WWI remarkably signaled the fall of European supremacy that had spanned for over five centuries. As the European nations concentrated on the domestic disastrous combat, others continents successfully fulfilled and reduced their vitality by making up for their imports and knowledge. The US particularly for the first time rallied its vast industrial capability to intervene beyond the American region. America’s involvement in the First World War was notably limited; and by the period the nation joined the battle, aviation technology ad already advanced far much ahead. Still, the US with an exceptional magnitude of moral, energy, along with determination managed to assist in ensuring success for the Allies over last months of the battle. Moreover, it also acquired the highly needed aviation technology from the brief combat stint coupled with a federal passion for flying, which eventually provided groundwork for the US Golden Age of Flight (GAF).
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