Military Aviation and American Popular Culture After the World War II

Posted: November 27th, 2013





Selling the Air Power: Military Aviation and American Popular Culture After the World War II

In his book Selling the Air Power: Military Aviation and American Popular Culture After the World War II, Call discusses the revolution that took place after the World War II. The revolt acted as a campaign towards advocating the use of airpower in post war activities as well as subsequent warfare. The campaign took place in the 1940s and the 1950s as documented by popular media such as newspapers, magazines, movies, and television shows, amongst others. The diverse media presentations were used in order to create public fascination with the advocates exaggerating public expectations once the airpower was fully incorporated into the military system.

Call has pointed out the two main agendas of the advocates, acting as the publication’s thesis. First, the advocates wanted to justify the building of an independent air force and secondly, the inclusion of strategic bombing that would include the use of nuclear weapons in the air force. The author has cited examples of movies such as the Court Martial of Billy Mitchell (Call 1), Victory through Air Power, Twelve O’clock High and I wanted Wings, amongst others in order to elaborate the extent of the given campaign. The advocates were ready to publicize the outlined ideas to the American Republic and the official proponents towards an establishment of the same.

Additionally, the author identifies and outlines the challenges and criticism that the idea received especially use to the proposed use of nuclear weapons. A book such as The Flying and Modern Literature (Call 4) by Laurence Goldstein reflects the use of space flight and aviation in poetry and fiction. According to him, only a small group of authors focused on the postwar period with the air power. Call analyzes the challenges, especially during the early period, which were faced by the given advocates. The Navy is indicated as one primary group that feared both the nuclear role and the dilution of its funding.

Call has further established the other versions of the campaign that arose during the course of the movement. Books and movies such as Catch-22, Dr. Strangelove and On the Beach depicted the negative and horrific side of the aforementioned campaign. These media appearances challenged the promises of airpower and the strategic bombing doctrine. Following the fact that the media is quite influential, these movies and books coerced public thinking beyond what the presented campaign issues.

The author has utilized media sources in justifying his arguments; movies, articles and books released in the past in order to support or criticize the post war campaign. Call has also used past information and the American culture in order to mould his argument. In the publication’s first few pages, the author has listed sixteen sources/references/illustrations of his work, giving the reader an idea of the writing sources as well as references credibility.

Call offers information beyond public relations perspectives given towards the campaign and explores exactly what shaped and empowered the movement. Additionally, he explores what led to the criticisms, the support and forces behind the whole campaign as well as the military departments that were affected by the campaigns either negatively or positively. Through the references, whether from the books or the movies, one is able to acquire a critical thought on the inferences and true meanings behind the filming and action. For individuals interested in military studies, the publication is quite informative in terms of military history and revolutionary activities that took place prior to and after the Second World War.


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