The Coming of the Aerial War

Culture and the Fear of Airborne Attack in Inter-War Britain

The Coming of the Aerial War

In the first half of the twentieth century the possibility of flight opened up entirely new avenues of thought and exploration. Les mer
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The Coming of the Aerial War

In the first half of the twentieth century the possibility of flight opened up entirely new avenues of thought and exploration. In the age of H.G. Wells and Biggles, the opening up of the air to balloons and planes - the Royal Flying Corps was founded in 1912 - appealed to concepts of courage and bravery which would be both encouraged and undermined by the experiences of the First World War. The sky also held new terrors for everyday people who were now within reach of an airborne enemy; these fears included the possibilities of bombing, poison gas, surveillance and social control. This duality of fear and enthusiasm drove the Air Raid Precaution movement, while vocal elements in the press and in parliament called for radical plans to cope with apocalyptic scenarios.

Addressing the key issues of interwar historiography, such as patriotism fear, masculinity and propaganda, Michele Haapamaki charts the history of flight and of war in the air in the early twentieth century.

Introduction
Chapter 1: Situating Moods - Aviation Enthusiasts and Fear
Chapter 2: Anticipating New Weapons - Theorizing Aerial Warfare
Chapter 3: "The Dew of Death" - Dueling Perspectives on Poison Gas
Chapter 4: C.G. Grey and J.B.S. Haldane - Two Professional Men, Two Ideologies
Chapter 5: The Psychology of the Terror Victim in the Spanish Civil War - Morale and Defiance
Chapter 6: Criticism from the Left - Gas Masks, Refuge Rooms, and Deep Shelters
Chapter 7: Terror From the Skies - Wartime and the Challenge to Civil Liberties
Chapter 8: Britishness - Civilians on the Home Front and National Identity
Chapter 9: Architecture and Idealism - The Finsbury Deep Shelter Project
Chapter 10: Dissent, Patriotism and the Final Showdown Over Deep Shelter Policy
Conclusions: Violence and Terror - Reflections on Perpetual Fears

In the first half of the twentieth century the possibility of flight opened up entirely new avenues of thought and exploration. In the age of H.G. Wells and Biggles, the opening up of the air to balloons and planes appealed to concepts of courage and bravery which would be both encouraged and undermined by the experiences of the First World War.

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